Nordkapp is a very popular tourist destination. It is symbolic and extraordinary and therefore so attractive for many to reach the northernmost point of the European continent. Although its position of the northernmost point of Europe has been already impugned it is a nice place to visit and it can satisfy all kinds of tourists and travellers.
For us Nordkapp was one of the important milestones of our expedition called To Gibraltar through Nordkapp. We have reached it on 22nd July 2016 and spent three whole days there. Thanks to our Nordkapp experience we identified three things you should know before visiting this place.
Everybody knows the globe made of metal that has already become a symbol of the northernmost point of Europe. It appears on all pictures taken at Nordkapp.
What you however cannot see on the pictures is the rest of the Nordkapp complex. What it is and what service you can get here? Before you enter the complex you have to pay an admission fee. At the time we were to Nordkapp it was 260 NOK/person. The admission fee applies only on persons. So if you arrive by car, you can park it for free. The entrance ticket is valid for 24 hours and during this time you can leave and come back as many times as you wish or need.
Next to the parking place there is a building in which you find souvenir shop, northernmost post-office, tourist information desk, restaurant, coffee shop, bar, museum, panorama cinema, cave of lights, chapel, viewing platform, toilets and free wifi. All the services and attractions are available daily from 11.00 till 2.00, the toilets are open from 7.00 till 2.00.
Nordkapp is quite crowded in the summer – especially around midnight. Buses full of people willing to see the midnight sun arrive each day. The good news is, as soon as the midnight is over, they leave again. So at 2 or 3 o’clock in the morning you can find yourself absolutely lonely at Nordkapp.
It is also possible to stay overnight if you arrive with a camper car or decide to sleep in a tent. Be however careful. The arctic nature is very fragile and can be damaged very easily. So enjoy the moment when you wake up and first thing you see is a herd of reindeers grazing just a couple of steps away from your tent as we did. But do not leave any rubbish behind, do not build stone cairns, do not pick plants or gather bird eggs.
Get even more northern than Nordkapp
As already mentioned, Nordkapp is actually not the northernmost point of the Mageroya island and the European continent. There is Knivskjelodden – a cape that lies even more northern than Nordkapp. Knivskjelodden is a good destination for those who like to deserve their achievements and prefer real nature and real experience. How to get there?
Five kilometers prior to the Nordkapp complex there is a small and inconspicuous parking place that is actually a starting point of the 16km long trail to Knivskjelodden and back.
The trail is good marked with small or really big stone cairns.
Although there is not big camber on this trail it is actually quite demanding. The surface is rough, rocky and very often sodden. It is also quite monotone. But the Knivskjelodden is definitely worth of all that hard work.
The final part of the trail that leads to the tip of the cape provides you with beautiful views of Nordkapp. The cape is indeed impressive and you might actually find out that it is better to look at the Nordkapp than to be on the Nordkapp. We reached Knivskjelodden at midnight and could enjoy the view of Nordkapp glittering in the rays of the midnight sun. It was a great and unforgettable experience.
Enjoy the silence
If you prefer to stay out of the loud crowds and do not mind skipping the tourist attractions, Kjerkeneset could be the right place for you. It is a beautiful cape, a high and steep rock cliff that allows you to enjoy a breathtaking views of the western parts of the Mageroya island and the Gjesvaer and Storstappen islands in an absolute silence and loneliness. Well, maybe a couple of reindeers will accompany you.
Trail to Kjerkeneset starts at the very same parking space we have already mentioned in the text above. For a couple of kilometers it is identical with the trail to Knivskjelodden. Afterwards it is also marked with stone cairns but absolutely not in such a consequent way like the Knivskjelodden trail. You must stay very focused in order not to get lost. There is no obvious footpath. You simply have to identify the next stone cairn somewhere on the horizon and try to get to it.
Get well prepared for this trek since the surface is really demanding – sodden most of the time. What is awaiting you at its end is however absolutely worth of all that sweat.
We have combined both treks – we went first to Kjerkeneset and to Knivskjelodden afterwards. It was almost 30km altogether. We have experienced ourselves that it is really important to well prepare for such a trek. The weather conditions on Knivskjelodden changed literally within a couple of minutes. We advice you to take enough food and liquids with you as well as the appropriate clothes for various weather conditions.
A good idea is to make the trail with an overnight stay. There were a couple of cool places where you can raise your tent and enjoy the beautiful views and absolute silence. And on the next day you can go on with the trek fresh and relaxed.
And here is a short video from our trek to Kjerkeneset and Knivskjelodden.
More photos from Norway on www.tomaskozik.com.