By Corey Sandler
We’ve reached the top of Norway.
Honningsvåg is the northernmost city on the mainland of Norway.
There are a few gotchas in that description. Mainland, not on an island. City, not a town or village or settlement.
Honningsvåg has only about 2,484 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 was grandfathered in place.
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 dramatic landscape North Cape.
A small fishing village near the cape was totally destroyed by the Germans in 1944 and never rebuilt.
What today is called Nordkapp, North Cape, arose in 1950 as the northernmost municipality on the mainland of Europe.
The steep cliff of North Cape at 71 degrees 10 minutes North Latitude is about 2,102 kilometers or 1,306 miles from the geographic North Pole. But it is not the northernmost piece of land in Europe to purists like me.
The tourist attraction at Nordkapp includes a metallic sculpture of planet earth a display of art and artifacts, plus a gift shop.
Nordkapp is just across the bay from the actual northernmost piece of land in Europe.
So why is the gift shop there?
Because Nordkapp has a road, a parking lot for buses, and plumbing and electricity.
Neighboring Knivskjellodden Point, just to the west, extends about a mile further north. But that place is a rather difficult hike and has no parking lot or plumbing.
But actually, since both of these points are situated on an island, some purists will maintain that neither is on the mainland of Europe.
And so, they point to Cape Nordkinn (Kinnarodden) about 70 kilometers or 43 miles to the east. It’s not quite as far north, but it is on the mainland of Europe.
All photos and text Copyright 2019 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved. See more photos on my website at http://www.coreysandler.com
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