We are on Magerøya Island, the northernmost island of continental Europe, our stop at the North Cape has been canceled due to bad weather (you can read about our misadventure here), but we cannot return to Finland empty-handed, so we divert our visit to Honningsvåg. There is not so much time, in the North Cape the storm has already arrived, it won’t be long before it gets here. We take the opportunity to have lunch, before getting back on the road, and to take a tour in this particular Nordic town.
We are in January and Honningsvåg is completely shrouded in polar night; we walk at midday, the moment of maximum light intensity but…it seems late afternoon!! We notice several tourist agencies. Yes, because here apparently more than “seeing” we should “do”: take part in activities in contact with nature, spot animals in their natural habitat, but undoubtedly the most popular excursion is the visit to the North Cape, just 30 km away. This region lives mainly from tourism and fishing (the export of North Sea fish is the most profitable activity), the area in particular is renowned for fishing of the King Crab. In winter, the excursions that can be done are less than in summer, for example:
- snow safaris and excursions with snowmobiles and quads;
- Arctic night expeditions in search of the Northern Lights;
- King Crab Safari, that is the boat trip for fishing the King Crab (the King Crab with enormous dimensions and a tonnage of 2 or 3 kg, more info here).
In general, we suggest you visit this website for info about all available winter activities and their prices. We missed them because we had too little time available, these activities infact need to be planned even a few days in advance and require a minimum stay of a few days in the area.
For those who come for a quick visit to Honningsvåg during the polar night, we suggest taking a tour of the city center and focusing on the attractions present. We follow the main road that leads to the port. There aren’t many tourist shops, few shops windows catch our attention; we notice an ICE BAR but far be from us the idea of entering: the temperatures are already below zero outside, sincerely in these conditions we have not the desire to drink an iced cocktail, served in a glass made of ice, seating on ice benches!
The life of the town is concentrated mostly around the harbor area, where there is always a cruise ship docked. In winter, with the constant blue light of the polar night, the Christmas lights, the lights that stand out in the snow and are reflected in the water, it could certainly be a good place to take scenic photos.
For tourists who want to buy some souvenirs, at the port there are several shops, the most well-stocked is called Arctic Suvenir, located behind the Scandic Hotel, you will recognize it for the troll-shaped installation that is outside. Other places of interest in the town are:
- the Nordkappmuseet, a museum that tells the story of these remote lands, the expeditions that were made here in the years and which houses works by local artists, for info click here;
- the Honningsvåg Kirke, an all-white church, one of the few buildings left intact from the Second World War.
Outside the town there are several viewpoints from which you can embrace the entire fjord and Honningsvåg with a single glance…if you didn’t stop on the way, make at least one stop before leaving the city! One of these is located at the entrance of the town, not far from the service station, while the other is located immediately at the mouth of the Nordkapptunnelen. In addition to the view of the sparkling town, let yourself be amazed by the landscape made of snowy mountains that plunge into the Arctic Ocean.
We would have liked to give you some more ideas about Honningsvåg, but in winter during the polar night apparently the possible activities are drastically reduced, because they follow the normal life cycles of nature, of day and night, and so also for the animals that live here. If, on the contrary, you have the opportunity to visit this location during the summer season, you will be spoiled for choice among the numerous excursions available (such as raft or fishing boat safaris to spot puffins, cormorants and other ornithological species or even the whales), but remember not to miss the midnight sun…because if the sun never rises in winter, it never sets in summer!
See you soon!