In Kirkenes there is polar night and polar day, an ice hotel and exotic migratory birds.
Fly to Kirkenes
When you land in Kirkenes, you find yourself about 250 miles north of the Arctic Circle, surrounded by a wild landscape; a boreal rainforest, tundra and taiga. All a short drive from the Russian border.
Kirkenes offers countless activities. But the winter here is a true winter, so remember to dress warmly, with insulating and windproof layers. Then you can go ahead and have fun!
Feel the rush of being pulled across the snowy landscape in a dog sled. Get in a boat and follow the king crab from the sea to a plate.
Explore the plateau of Finnmarksvidda and escape the artificial lights of civilization. Lie in the snow gazing at the northern lights. Isn’t it beautiful?
After a long and eventful day, wrap yourself in a reindeer hide and relax in the famous Snowhotel that is rebuilt every winter.
Activities in Kirkenes
Summer in Kirkenes is also lovely. You wouldn’t think so if you visit during winter, but the temperature can approach 90 degrees Fahrenheit during summer. Explore Grense Jakobselv, the watery border between Norway and Russia – but don’t forget your sunscreen! Or you could go rafting in the Barents Sea, testing the waves.
Tourism is the main industry of today’s Kirkenes. Historically, though, it is a mining town, and nickel was an important resource. Did you know that 10% of the population of this town is Russian, and that all public signs are written in Norwegian, Sami and Russian?
Kirkenes is a melting pot of different cultures and national identities, right in the middle of the wild nature of Finnmark.
Trym Ivar Bergsmo/Nordnorge.com
RIVER SAFARI: Explore Grense Jakobselv from a river boat. This is the watery Russian border.
BIRD WATCHER’S PARADISE: There are large colonies of migrating birds on the cliffs near Kirkenes. The best way to see them is from a RIB boat.
SÁPMI: Finnmark is the home of the Sami people. Traditionally, they are a nomadic people, following the reindeer flock back and forth between the plains and the coast.
THE RUSSIAN KING: The enormous king crab wandered across the Russian border one day, and today it is an important resource for businesses in Finnmark and Kirkenes.