20 June 2017:
Honningsvåg, Norway:
The Northernmost* City of Europe

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Honningsvåg is the northernmost* city on the mainland of Norway.

*There are a few gotchas in that description. Mainland, not on an island. And city, not a town or village or settlement.

(And in case you are wondering, Murmansk in Russia just around the corner is slightly to the south and Reykjavik in Iceland is not on the mainland.)

That said, Honningsvag has only about 2,436 inhabitants which is below the Norwegian definition of a city as a place with at least 5,000 residents. But its status as a city wa s grandfathered in place.

COLD COMFORT TODAY

Tomorrow is midsummer’s day here in Norway but we arrived this morning to find wintry conditions: 4 degrees Celsius or a bit less than 40 degrees Fahrenheit and drizzle.

But we spent the day walking around what is for us a familiar place in a very remote corner of the world.

Here is some of what we saw.

It’s a rather small place, too, especially in the wide open spaces up north. The city consists of 1.2 square kilometers or 300 acres, within a bay on the southeastern side of the large island of Magerøya.

The famous North Cape and its visitors center is on the northern side of the island.

Searching for a northeast passage to India in 1553, British navigator Richard Chancellor—among the early explorers of the far north—came upon a jut of rock 307 meters or 1,007 feet above the Barents Sea. Chancellor named the place North Cape.

It’s a dramatic place, a rite of passage for many visitors to the far north. There are a small number of Sami people who still live something close to a traditional life in the far north.

The tourist attraction at Nordkapp, which includes a metallic sculpture of the planet earth—plus a display of art and artifacts, plus a gift shop, is just across the bay from the actual northernmost piece of land in Europe.

Why is the visitors center not at the actual northernmost spot in Europe? Because the northernmost spot is at the end of a narrow and somewhat fragile cliff, and there’s no place to park tourist buses.

All photos and text Copyright 2017 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

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