The North Cape on a clear night, surrounded by blue lights with the sea in the background

Visit North Cape Norway – The Spectacular Northernmost Point Of Europe! (2024)

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to stand on the northernmost point of mainland Europe, the North Cape Norway, and gaze out over the dark Arctic sea where the next stop (apart from Svalbard) is the North Pole?

No?

Well, I am about to share with you what it is like to live in Honningsvåg, just south of the North Cape, where I am staying for six months during the summer season.

You will also find out why you should visit, what incredible adventures you can have up here, how to get here, and where to stay!

So buckle up!

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Epic Visit To The North Cape Norway

Me on my first visit to the North Cape plateau, standing small next to the famous globe, with nothing but sea in front, and the distant horizon where the sea meets the blue sky, on a cold clear sunny day in May.
Visiting the North Cape plateau

Norway is a long and rugged country, stretching from the mellow south, via the majestic west and middle, to the rugged and fierce Arctic North – all the way to the Arctic island group of Svalbard (which is where the polar bears roam the streets).

The North Cape plateau is on the top of mainland Norway, which is also the top of mainland Europe.

Technically, it is situated on an island called Magerøya, which is connected to the real mainland by a subsea tunnel, but it is still considered to be part of the mainland.

This is an incredible spot where the elements are fierce, the weather can change in 15 minutes, and you have one of the most unique and beautiful views and wildlife in the world!

📍 Quick facts about Norway:

  • Population 5 million
  • Capital city: Oslo
  • North Cape: northernmost point in Norway & Europe
  • Language: Norwegian (most people speak English)
  • Currency: Norwegian Krone (currency calculator)
  • Coastline: 62000 miles
  • Has territory in the Arctic region
  • Midnight Sun in summer and Northern Lights in winter

North Cape Norway Map

How To Travel To North Cape Norway

The harbor in Honningsvåg, with a myriad of fishing vessels amidst the houses in the hilly town, below the mountains that are still covered in snow on a cold clear sunny day in early spring
The harbor in Honningsvåg

There are several ways to get safely to the North Cape, and have a wonderful journey at the same time.

You can fly all the way to Honningsvåg, the small town just south of the cape, to an airport called Valan. This probably will work fine in the summer, but be aware that the elements here are unpredictable, and the airport closes regularly during winter because of the weather.

So, in the winter, it is a risky business to count on flying all the way up here.

The airline that flies to small airports up here is called Wideroe. They have some of the fiercest pilots in the world tackling flying in really rough weather and winds, but even they must throw in the towel from time to time.

The second option is to fly to Alta, a slightly bigger city around three hours south of Honningsvåg. From here, you can take the northern Norway long-haul bus across the plains up north called Snelandia.

You can also rent a car in Alta and make your own way up to the Honningsvåg and the North Cape. Be aware, though, that from September to April (May), you probably should feel confident driving in potentially snowy, windy, and icy conditions to do this road trip.

Search for flights from Oslo (or your departure airport) on websites like Skyscanner, and they will make the best route for you.

Lastly, you can get here on a cruise ship!

The Norwegian coastal cruise lines Hurtigruten and Havila dock almost daily in Honningsvåg, and the Otto Sverdrup ship also has a 14-day cruise from Hamburg all the way up to the North Cape and back.

Several international cruise lines also have summer cruises to the North Cape, starting at the end of May and ending in August each year.

Best Things To Do In Honningsvåg And The North Cape

A wihte raindeer below the North Cape Plateau in Norway, walking on the snow covered plains
You will meet reindeer on Magerøya Island in the spring and summer

In the Arctic region of Norway, you can enjoy a wide variety of nature and wildlife experiences in addition to visiting the actual North Cape.

First, to get to the North Cape plateau, you can drive yourself if you feel comfortable doing that with the conditions during your visit.

If not, guided organized tours are available to the Cape year-round, as long as the road between Honnigsvåg and the North Cape is open.

You can choose to take a tour that will take you up to the North Cape, where you will spend around 1.5 hours, and then back down to Honningsvåg.

Meet the King Crab in Skarsvåg on Magerøya Island, this impressive big creature roaming the Arctic Sea Beds
Meet the King Crab in Skarsvåg on Magerøya Island

Some tours will take you to the North Cape plateau and also make stops in other interesting places, like meeting the Sami indigenous people and visiting the raindeers and the king crabs that this region is famous for.

There is also one single local bus going daily from Honnigsvåg to the North Cape in the summer season, which is the cheapest way to get up to the plateau.

But be aware that there can be thousands of visitors in one single day here. This means that not everyone will fit on that bus, so it can be risky to try to secure a seat.

Other Adventures Around The North Cape

The norwegian cruise line Hurtigruten with its white, red, and black ships dock in Honningsvåg almost daily, here on a bright sunny day in early spring, when there is still snow covering hte ground of the docks and the mountians around.
Hurtigruten Cruiseline arrives in Honningsvåg almost daily

Apart from the North Cape tours, there are other tour destinations, like boat birdwatching trips, ATV adventures, and RIB safaris in the Arctic waters of the Barents Sea.

You can also join organized hikes or go hiking on your own if you feel competent to do so, with the necessary skills to manage the elements of the time you are visiting.

If you are not a seasoned hiker used to polar or really cold environments, though, I suggest you choose to do this with an experienced guide who knows the region, nature, and terrain and is familiar with navigating the elements.

Popular hikes in the area around Honningsvåg are:

  • The Sherpa Stairs to Storfjellet
  • Hike to Kirkeporten (The Church Gate)
  • Hike to Knivskjellodden

In the summer, many travelers come here as part of a longer road trip, bike trip, or even hike!

Things To Do In Honningsvåg

The view from Storfjellet Mountain on top of the Sherpa Stairs

In this small town, there are a few things you can do, and you will not need more than one day to get through everything here.

You should definitely visit the local North Cape Museum and see the Aurora Show (the northern lights).

There is also an art gallery called West of the Sun, which displays artwork from a local artist, and a small jewelry shop called Frozen Summer, which sells locally made silver jewelry inspired by the Arctic region.

The culture center Perleporten (Pearly Gates) is worth a visit; it occasionally puts on a show depicting what it is like to live in the Arctic.

As I have already mentioned, you can reach the Sherpa Stairs to the Storfjellet Mountain on foot from the center of Honningsvåg.

To get to the top, it will probably take you less than one hour if you are in ok physical shape.

The hike is not too strenuous, and on the top, you will have incredible, infinite 360-degree views of Honningsvåg, the northern coastline, and the fjords around Magerøya Island. A stunning sight on clear days!

Where To Stay In Honningsvåg

The light wooden modern The View Hotel in Honningsvåg, nestled under the barren rugged Arctic mountains on a spring evening in blue lights

In this small community that is also a very popular destination, there are a variety of nice places to stay in town as well as outside of town. Below is a list of the hotels you find in Honningsvåg:

  • Scandic Hotel Honningsvåg
  • Scandic Hotel Bryggen
  • Arctic Hotel
  • The View Hotel
Evening view from The View Hotel in Nordvågen Honningsvåg on a spring evening with blue lights over the sea and mountains
Evening view from The View Hotel in Nordvågen Honningsvåg

Outside of the town (or village) center, there are also a few nice options, mainly with a more authentic vibe.

  • Scandic Hotel North Cape
  • North Cape Camping Cabins
  • Skarsvåg Fishing Village
  • Hotel Repvåg
  • North Cape Cabins
  • BaseCamp North Cape
  • Nordkapp Arran Hotels
  • Nordkappferie

Skarsvåg North Cape Norway

Skarsvåg is a small fishing village situated between Honningsvåg and the North Cape. It is especially famous for its king crab shows and tours. Skarsvåg is a tiny community, but it does have a vibrant fishing industry, and you can also go on deep-sea fishing trips from here.

If you prefer to stay here rather than Honnignsvåg, there are some Airbnb options for accommodation, and in the summer, the reindeer roam the streets as often as the locals.

There are no shops in Skarsvåg, so you need to prepare and stock up what you need to eat and drink for your stay.

What To Pack For Norway

When you are planning what to pack for your Norway visit, it will depend on what time of year you travel and where you are going in Norway.

If your visit is restricted to urban areas like Oslo, Bergen, and Trondheim in the south and the middle, packing is not too hard.

However, even in summer, bring a jacket for the evenings when it can get chilly, a light scarf, and clothes that can withstand rain and wind.

Traveling in the shoulder seasons, fall and spring, requires a bit more planning. And for winter, I have a long list of suitcase suggestions!

Shoulder Season Travel Packing For Norway

  • Lightly insulated jacket
  • Rain proof clothing
  • Mittens or gloves
  • A hat
  • Thermal underwear, top, and trousers
  • Shoes or boots with some insulation
  • Warm sweaters
  • Woolen or fleece jacket for layering
  • Warm socks

Winter Season Travel Packing For Norway

When traveling in Norway in the winter, be prepared for temperatures down to -25 to 30 degrees Celsius, which is below zero in some places.

Combine the low temperatures with wind and snow; the effective temperature that hits your face and body feels colder, so be prepared for really rugged weather.

We have a saying in Norway; “there is no bad weather, just bad clothing.” – When traveling in Norway between September and March (April), packing the right clothes for your trip is a success criterion for a wonderful holiday.

  • Thick insulated jacket
  • Thermal underwear
  • Thick warm mittens
  • A warm scarf
  • A warm, windproof hat
  • Boots with insulation and good soles
  • Warm sweaters
  • Woolen or fleece jacket for layering
  • Warm woolen socks
  • Cold cream for your face

How To Get To North Cape Norway

There are several ways to get to the North Cape on the top of Norway.

You can fly to Valan Airport in Honningsvåg town, although in winter, the airport might close, so be aware of the risk of canceled flights. You can also fly to Alta town, which is about three hours south of Honningsvåg, and take the bus or drive up from there.

You can also drive here as part of a road trip to Norway. Again, be aware of the weather and elements, especially in the winter, early spring, and late fall. If traveling between October and April, you should probably be comfortable driving on snow and ice.

Lastly, you can get here on a cruise ship. Either you book a trip with Hurtigruten or Havila, two Norwegian cruise lines that have (almost) daily docking in Honningsvåg. There are also a variety of international cruise lines that offer cruises up the Norwegian coast and all the way to the North Cape.

Oslo To North Cape

The distance from Oslo to the North Cape is about 1964 kilometers, which will take you about 28 hours to drive if you drive non-stop.

To travel from Oslo to North Cape, the best option (unless you are on a serious road-trip) is to fly up. You can fly to Valan Airport in Honningsvåg in the summer, and some days in the winter if the airport does not close down because of the weather.

Or fly to Alta, three hours drive south of Honningsvåg, and take the bus from there, or rent a car.

Why Visit Arctic Norway & The North Cape

If you are a city person in love with nightlife and the distinct urban vibe, the Arctic region of Norway is probably not for you.

On the other hand, if you love to feel alive, feel the elements, experience incredible nature, go off-the-beaten paths, and have adventures, I would say that Arctic Norway is probably a destination you will love to visit.

FAQ North Cape Norway

Is North Cape Norway Worth Visiting?

Yes, absolutely!

North Cape Norway is a one-of-a-kind destination on top of the world (well, Europe), and with its wild, rugged nature, climate, and elements, in addition to the majestic North Cape plateau, it is definitely worth a visit.

What Is Special About North Cape?

The most special thing is definitely the epic North Cape plateau, but there are several things about the North Cape area that make this a special destination.

It is situated on a beautiful rugged island called Magerøya, is home to the northernmost supermarket in the world, and has reindeer walking in the streets in summer.

If that is not enough, you can go birdwatching, go on adventures with RIBs oand ATVs, and learn about the local indigenous population. And, you can walk the Sherpa Stairs that were built by sherpas from South America in 2023!

When To Visit North Cape Norway?

That depends on what kind of journey and experience you want to have. In the summer, you can experience the midnight sun, close encounters with the raindeer, and green (or greenish) beautiful plains completely without trees on Magerøya.

In the winter, you will have the polar night and northern lights and really get to experience the elements of the Arctic.

With temperatures far below zero, this weather-beaten place will show you the smallness of humans and the strengths of the elements, and on a clear day you will have other-worldly views of an all-white frozen landscape that is utterly stunning.

What Town Is Near North Cape Norway?

The nearest town to the North Cape is Honningsvåg, which is actually defined as a town despite being home to only 2500 inhabitants year-round. You can fly here to Valan Airport, but be aware that this airport is subject to the Arctic elements and often needs to close during the winter.

The next town is Alta, where you have standard flights year-round, which is about a three-hour drive from Honningsvåg and 3,5 hours from the North Cape.

The famous North Cape plateau with the midnihht sun glowing in the horizon right over the vast deep blue Barents Sea.
The North Cape plateau on a calm day with a bit of glow from the sun in the sky after sunset, and the glope surrounded by evening blue light

Wrap-Up North Cape Norway

Whether you had a dream of reaching the North Cape Norway, or not, I hope I have both inspired you to visit and given you the necessary information about how to plan and book your journey and adventures here in the blue Arctic.

You will have an amazing experience on Magerøya in both summer and winter.

Just make sure you do your research, plan your activities, and pack according to the season you will visit—and you will have an adventure to remember for a lifetime!

Related blog posts:

113+ Incredible Things To Do In Norway By Destination!

Epic Tours In Norway From A Native

Best Lofoten Tours And Adventures From A Local

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3 Comments

  1. Oooh Hege I would LOVE to visit the North Cape of Norway! Each time I blog about the prettiest places in Canada you mention that it looks like Norway, so you got me all curious. 🙂 It’s interesting to hear that it gets so busy that you might not bag a space on the bus! I sort of thought it would be quiet!

    I looove the contrast between the beautiful blue of the sea and the white snow on the mountains. It’s just stunning.

  2. Visiting the North Cape of Norway and hiking in this arctic environment looks incredible–beautiful views all around.

  3. I’ve lived in Norway for so many years and would you believe it that I’ve never visited Nordkapp? 😀 The closest I ever got was to Hammerfest. I’d love to do a little roadtrip from Alta and do some hiking in Honningsvåg and finishing off the trip in Nordkapp just so I can officially say I’ve been to the northernmost point on continental Europe! Probably need to crave out some time to visit some day

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