KirkenesKirkenes is a town in the Finnmark region of Norway, far east near the Russian border, more or less in the end of mainland Norway. This is the last port for Hurtigruten and the end of Norway's main road E6, 2500 km from Oslo and 3120 km from Trelleborg (Sweden).
Kirkenes is also known as a mining town, and mining for iron ore has been taken up again after a hiatus. Kirkenes has some 3,500 inhabitants.
Tourist officeThe municipal tourist information is at the public library downtown.
- Kirkenes is at the very end of the all-through-Norway 3,000 km long highway E6. Visitors can also enter by road from northern Finland (about 7 hours from Rovaniemi), and north-western Russia (about 4 hours from Murmansk, including border formalities).
- From southern Norway or Germany by car, the shorter and faster route is through Sweden and Finland. The normal route would be over Rovaniemi, although from Sweden there is a shortcut over Pajala and Kittilä which is shorter but slower. Kirkenes is some 2,600 km from Hamburg through Sweden, through Norway well over 3,000 km from Hamburg (some 40–50 hours drive, meaning 6 days if driving 8 hours per day). It is advised to visit interesting places along the way, even if this takes time, not just drive as much as possible per day.
- Long distance buses, with connections to most of Norway.
- Regional buses
- Buses to Finland (direct connections in summer, in winter you have to transfer at Tana)
- Buses to Russia (get a visa, make a bus reservation, and do not miss the bus on the trip back)
By seaKirkenes is the northern terminus port (Bergen being the southern) of the Hurtigruten , arguably the most beautiful sea voyage in the world, covering most of the Norwegian coast in 5–6 days.
Kirkenes Airport, HøybuktmoenDue to its remote location, most visitors arrive and depart by plane. Daily flights to Oslo, Tromsø and others by Norwegian, SAS and Wideroe. Also flights to Russia and Germany (summer only). Most flights have a bus to town waiting outside (timetables snelandia.no), kr 85, credit cards accepted. A taxi will set you back some kr 300.
By trainThere are no passenger trains to Kirkenes, but it is possible to go by public bus from cities with railway station.
- The Russian rail network reaches Murmansk, for travelling from as far as Moscow, Vladivostok, Ulan Bator and Beijing.
- The closest Finnish stations are Kolari and Rovaniemi (some 500 km away).
- The northernmost railway station in Norway is Narvik (on the "iron ore line"), while Kiruna, Luleå and Boden are stations in Sweden on the same line. The Norwegian railways are even farther away, with railhead in Bodø.
Local buses. Long distance buses leave outside the main shopping center in the middle of town. Some buses only take cash, however there is an ATM inside the shopping center.
- The midnight sun in summer
- The Aurora Borealis in winter
- The Russian border, including the , where also Finland joins in. Caution should be exercised; presume all movement is under surveillance near the border. It is allowed to go almost to the border on the Norwegian side, but not the Russian. Respect the border and border zone as if we still had the cold war (e.g. long lens use is restricted, talking over the border forbidden except in emergencies). The easiest place to reach the border is , signposted from road E105. The three-borders-mark is in the Pasvik–Inari Trilateral Park, see below.
phone: +47 78 994880address: FørstevannsliaShowcases history and lifestyle of the far north of Norway including a section devoted to the devastating effects of Second World War on Kirkenes. Also has a fine exhibition of woodcuts by the Sami artist Jon Savio
address: NeidenA museum about Eastern / Skolt Sámi people. First opened in June 2017.
Arctic AdventureA number of offers, the most desired being a King Crab Safari, catch guaranteed!
- Local summer festival Kirkenes Days around the first week of August multiplies the activity level.
phone: +47 78-970-540A range of activities, some of which vary by the season (you do not have to stay at the hotel to participate): king crab excursions, including catching and eating, husky tours, reindeer watching.
phone: +47 46-41-36-00The largest area of primeval forest in Norway, part of the Russian taiga. Forested hills, lakes and bogs. Also eastern species seldom seen in western Europe. Bears. A few open wilderness huts, wild camping allowed. The Piilola trail has information boards telling about the nature and cultural history of the area, and continues through Vätsäri Wilderness Area in Finland. The visitor centre (nasjonalparksentre) is in Svanhovd, Svanvik, and features also a botanic garden, best visited in Jul-Aug.
Local Norwegians can get a 5-year multitravel visa and they like to go to Russia to buy petrol (less than half the price) and some Russian products and services. They are not allowed to bring meat over the border, and alcohol only if they been in Russia for 24 hours (and then only a small quota), products which otherwise are the most bought by Norwegians in the border trade in Sweden and Finland. Visitors need a visa which is costly and tricky to get.
phone: +47 78 99 34 81address: Dr. Wessels gate 17
Surf & Turfphone: +47 464 45 245address: Dr. Wessels gate 2
phone: +47 78 99 80 28Camping site. Also rents cabins. Summer only.
address: By the Russian border, some 10 km from townHas a good restaurant.
phone: +47 78998600address: Dr Wessels gate 3
Overnatting Liv Mikkelbrogaddress: Kronprinsensgate 21, Kirkenes
phone: +47 78995900address: Kongens gate 1
phone: +47 78 971050address: Johan Knudtzens gate 11Opened in 2010 directly along the waterfront
- Go up the Pasvik valley for quite a change of flora. Here you find the last bit of the enormous Russian Taiga, a pine forest that stretches all the way to Siberia. At the southern end of the valley (105 km of paved road, 15 km of dirt, then 1h15m walking along the Russian border) is the Tri-Border Mark, where Norway, Russia and Finland meet. Heavy fines for trespassing into Russia! The Pasvik-Inari trilateral park, including areas with different protection status in the three countries, features much untamed wilderness, but also some services and cultural attractions.
- At Grense Jakobselv (58 from Kirkenes), the open Barents Sea washes a beautiful sandy shore. Never gets above 8°C, though! You can also peek at the "King Oscar II" church.
- The highest peak around is "Øretoppen", at 466 metres. It is a 2-hour hike along a marked path from Ropelv, where buses go. Magnificent views in a landscape of large stones spread upon the hills.
- If you plan on crossing the border into Russia, you will probably need a visa. In theory, this should be obtainable at the Russian Consulate in Kirkenes, but you might find it worthwhile to pay any local travel agency a little extra for the job. You need quite a few documents, especially if you are using car, like paid a hotel booking and insurance forms. Start the process one month before leaving home.
- If you are heading for Finland, and feel that you need some euros, there is an ATM at the DnB bank that will hand them over. The route by foot straight through the forest to the Finnish side is possible for experienced wilderness backpackers (Piilola trail, 35 km from Sortbryststjern to Kessintie, unless you want to find your own routes; clear with customs beforehand if needed); sleep in huts on the way and arrange somebody to fetch you with taxi or boat (over Lake Inari) from there or from Nellim, to Ivalo or Inari. Sortbryststjern is on the road towards the tripoint, some 25 km before the tripoint. There is no marked trail from the tripoint itself, and the shortest route from there is blocked by the border zone. The nearest border crossings for vehicles are at Neiden/Näätämö and Nuorgam.
- Alternatively, if your travel budget allows, you can take the Hurtigruten cruise ferry to your destination of choice along the Norwegian coast. A trip to Bergen will take a full week, to places like Nordkapp, Tromsø, Lofoten or Trondheim a couple of days.