Kirkenes Travel Tips: An Arctic frontier at road’s end

by Norway

Kirkenes is quite literally an Arctic frontier at road’s end, located as far northeast as possible in Norway, close to the Varangerfjord. It is both the endpoint for the northbound Hurtigruten ferry and the northern terminus of the E6, the main road that runs north-south between Kirkenes and Oslo. If you are ending or beginning a Hurtigruten cruise in Kirkenes, it is well worth spending a few hours or even a few days exploring. While on our own Hurtigruten cruise, we had nearly half a day to spend wandering around Kirkenes and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves wishing we had more time to spend.

Kirkenes travel tips showcase things to do on an excursion.

Here, then, are a few Kirkenes travel tips to help you plan your next visit:

A unique multicultural experience

According to official stats from Kirkenes municipality, approximately 10 percent of the people living in Kirkenes are Russians, in large part due to the close proximity with the Russian border. Street signs and many storefront signs are written in both Russian and Norwegian. On the last Thursday of every month Kirkenes hosts a Russian market where traders come from Murmansk to sell their handicrafts and merchandise. Hurtigruten offers an excursion to the Russian border if you are on one of the company’s official cruises.

A Hurtigruten cruise from Bergen to Kirkenes is a great way to experience the Norwegian coast — sort of a Norway in a Nutshell tour by boat. Read more in our series of Hurtigruten stories: Hurtigruten Cruises: Travel booking tips, Choosing Hurtigruten cabins: differences, details, Food and drink on Hurtigruten cruises in Norway and Hurtigruten cruise excursions – Insider tips and advice.

Kirkenes travel tips discover history everywhere

From the indigenous Sámi population to its geographic significance as an industrial mining town to its place in recent wartime history, this frontier town has many important tales to share.

Sami hut in Kirkenes.

Replica of a Sami hut near the Borderland Museum in the Kirkenes Friluftsomrade (Kirkenes Recreation Area).

Our several hour exploration in Kirkenes took us past the Andersgrotta, an underground museum that was unfortunately closed during our visit there. The Andersgrotta cave once served as an air-raid shelter and bunker during the onslaught of Russian bombers that sought to destroy the Nazi ore shipping facility there. It was because of iron ore and Kirkenes’ strategic position near the Russian port of Murmansk that the town was virtually destroyed during WWII. Kirkenes was subsequently rebuilt and iron ore production continued until 1996.

Andersgrotta is worth a visit when in Kirkenes.

Another interesting museum we ducked into is the Grenselandmuseet (Borderland Musuem) which houses exhibits that feature the iron ore trade, WWII, and more about the Sami. For war and airplane buffs, there is a Russian Ilyushin fighter plane, one of only seven still in existence and the only one on display in a Western country. If you are seeking a quick bite to eat, there is also a café inside.

Advertisement

And we walked up to the Russian Monument – a memorial for the liberation of Sør-Varanger by the Red Army in the autumn of 1944. Interesting history, but not much to see other than the monument.

Our Kirkenes travel tips advise visiting the Russian Memorial.

Natural wonders for nature buffs

The Borderland Museum sits alongside a very large nature and recreation area as well, with illuminated trails during the dark winter months. There is excellent opportunity for cross-country skiing, dogsledding and walking on the many trails. Click here to view a map of the Kirkenes Recreation Area.

Dog sledding in the Kirkenes Recreation Area.

Do be warned – or if you are like us, thrilled — that you will find many major predators living in the woods and natural areas around Kirkenes. Best known is the brown bear, with around 20 bears residing in the Pasvik Valley. There are also wolverines, lynx and, on rare occasions, wolves. And yes, you stand a very good chance of seeing both reindeer and elk. The Barents Sea is home to the renown and delicious King Crab – which is fished by the fleet in Kirkenes.

In winter and spring Kirkenes is the home of the famous Kirkenes Snow Hotel (we did not have the time to visit unfortunately). Activities in summer include boating, hiking, fishing, canoeing, climbing and diving.

Bonus Kirkenes travel tips

Take part in Hurtigruten excursions either pre and post cruise. Spend the night outside in the polar wilderness on an overnight snowmobile or husky tour. If that seems too extreme, the company can arrange for you to have an Arctic experience in the Snow Hotel or a traditional Sami hut called a gamme – and if you are extra lucky you will see Northern Lights as well. And if fishing is your thing, then a King Crab Safari will offer the chance to meet and eat this gigantic – and delicious – crab.

Want to see Kirkenes live?

Click in to view one of the numerous webcams the city has installed around the town and port. We promise lots of white in the winter months. Unless it’s simply dark or nearly, which it is a lot of the time then. On the other hand, take a peek during the summer and it’ll be sunny 24 hours!

Amazing sculptures in Kirkenes.

War Mothers Monument in the Kirkenes town square commemorating women’s efforts in the war.

I

So many great places to visit in Norway

There are so many magical cities in Norway to visit, such as Trondheim, Alesund, Bergen and Roros. Be sure to read Eight reasons to visit Trondheim, Visit Roros, Norway: UNESCO World Heritage Town, Beautiful Alesund inspires artists and photographers, and Bergen travel essentials – what to do in Bergen.

[et_pb_map_extended address=”Kirkenes, Norway” zoom_level=”11″ address_lat=”69.71507940871176″ address_lng=”30.045987337573248″ bounce_on_click_on_off=”off” marker_animation=”off” map_type=”4″ admin_label=”Kirkenes Map Extended” _builder_version=”3.0.97″ box_shadow_style=”preset6″ box_shadow_position=”outer” global_module=”629351″ saved_tabs=”all”][et_pb_map_pin_extended title=”The Snow Hotel” pin_address=”Kirkenes Snowhotel, Sandnesdalen 14, 9910 Bjørnevatn, Norway” pin_address_lat=”69.6766169″ pin_address_lng=”29.904003099999954″ pin_on_off=”on” pin_src=”https://hitraveltales.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/lodging-vrbo-hotel.png” _builder_version=”3.0.97″]

Spend the night outside in the polar wilderness on an overnight snowmobile or husky tour. If that seems too extreme, enjoy an Arctic experience in the Snow Hotel or a traditional Sami hut called a gamme – and if you are extra lucky you will see Northern Lights as well.  Book your stay at The Snow Hotel here through our lodging partner.

[/et_pb_map_pin_extended][et_pb_map_pin_extended title=”Hurtigruten Dock” pin_address=”Havneveien 770, 9900 Kirkenes, Norway” pin_address_lat=”69.72929888837623″ pin_address_lng=”30.076100701110818″ pin_on_off=”on” pin_src=”https://hitraveltales.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/cruiseship.png” _builder_version=”3.0.97″]

Kirkenes is both the endpoint for the northbound Hurtigruten ferry and the northern terminus of the E6, the main road that runs north-south between Kirkenes and Oslo. If you are ending or beginning a Hurtigruten cruise in Kirkenes, it is well worth spending a few hours or even a few days exploring.

[/et_pb_map_pin_extended][et_pb_map_pin_extended title=”Borderland Museum | Varanger Museum” pin_address=”Gnr 26 Bnr 77, 9900 Kirkenes, Norway” pin_address_lat=”69.7169768″ pin_address_lng=”30.04337929999997″ pin_on_off=”on” pin_src=”https://hitraveltales.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/museum_crafts.png” _builder_version=”3.0.97″]

Another interesting museum we ducked into is the Grenselandmuseet (Borderland Musuem) which houses exhibits that feature the iron ore trade, WWII, and more about the Sami.

[/et_pb_map_pin_extended][et_pb_map_pin_extended title=”Kirkenes Recreation Area” pin_address=”Unnamed Road, 9900 Kirkenes, Norway” pin_address_lat=”69.71522819088135″ pin_address_lng=”30.05148050163575″ pin_on_off=”on” pin_src=”https://hitraveltales.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/forest-park-open-space.png” _builder_version=”3.0.97″]

The Borderland Museum sits alongside a very large nature and recreation area, with illuminated trails during the dark winter months. There is excellent opportunity for cross-country skiing, dogsledding and walking on the many trails.

[/et_pb_map_pin_extended][et_pb_map_pin_extended title=”War Mothers Monument” pin_address=”9900 Kirkenes, Norway” pin_address_lat=”69.7270652″ pin_address_lng=”30.0456054″ pin_on_off=”on” pin_src=”https://hitraveltales.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/modern-monument.png” _builder_version=”3.0.97″]

The War Mothers Monument in the Kirkenes town square commemorates women’s efforts in the war.

[/et_pb_map_pin_extended][et_pb_map_pin_extended title=”Andersgrotta” pin_address=”Krysset Presteveien Haganesveien, Sør-Varanger, Norway” pin_address_lat=”69.7270597″ pin_address_lng=”30.050001899999984″ pin_on_off=”on” _builder_version=”3.0.97″]

The Andersgrotta cave once served as an air-raid shelter and bunker during the onslaught of Russian bombers that sought to destroy the Nazi ore shipping facility there.

[/et_pb_map_pin_extended][et_pb_map_pin_extended title=”Russian Memorial” pin_address=”Roald Amundsens gate 1, 9900 Kirkenes, Norway” pin_address_lat=”69.7280231″ pin_address_lng=”30.049668500000053″ pin_on_off=”on” pin_src=”https://hitraveltales.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/memorial-map-icon.png” _builder_version=”3.0.97″]

We walked up to the Russian Monument – a memorial for the liberation of Sør-Varanger by the Red Army in the autumn of 1944. Interesting history, but not much to see other than the monument.

[/et_pb_map_pin_extended][/et_pb_map_extended]
Heads up! This information on Kirkenes travel tips was accurate when we published it on HI Travel Tales, but, as we know, traveling is all about changes (and inflation, sadly). It is your sole responsibility to confirm prices, transportation schedules, hours of operation, safety and health considerations, and any other important details before your adventure.

GET YOUR FREE BOOKS!

Evacuation Coverage We Use

Global Rescue Ad - travel insurance for when it matters most

Travel Insurance We Recommend

OUR AMAZON INFLUENCER STORE

HITravelTales Amazon Influencer Storefront

Best Hotel Deals



Booking.com

Need a Visa? Find out!

Offers For You

TRAVEL INSPIRATION

Old man and a bird. Amazing street art in Berlin created during the 2019 Berlin Mural Fest. Smug is an Australian-born street artist – his real name is Sam Bates -- and is internationally famous for his detailed murals demonstrating a photo-realistic style. He currently calls Scotland home. This recent mural can be found at Manteuffelstraße 70 in Berlin. ⁣ ...👉 Tap the link in our bio for more 👍...@visit_berlin @berlinmuralfest @smugone @urbannation_berlin⁣ ...⁣ ..#visitberlin #exploreberlin #ihavethisthingwithberlin #berlinstagram #officialfanofberlin #berlinlove #instaberlin #berlinlovers #berlin365 #unlimitedberlin #visit_berlin #berlinmylove #ig_berlincity #berlincity #berlinbreeze #berlinpage #srs_berlin #bestofberlin #berlinstyle #ig_berlin #berlinfashion #smugone #mural #muralart #urbanartberlin #urbanart #spraypaint #iloveberlin #streetartphotography #streetartandgraffiti ...

0 0

Reflective reflections. At the cistern in El Jadida, Morocco, the water is so still and the reflections stunning. El Jadida is a small city south of Casablanca on the coast with thick "un-moorish" Portuguese-built city walls. The cistern is -- historians think -- a former warehouse, but was converted to its cistern use in the 16th century. The city is a popular summer retreat for well-to-do Moroccans but go in the off season and you'll see the local scene come to life. @nationalparksatnight @loves_morocco @visit_morocco_.⁣ .⁣ .⁣ .⁣ .⁣ .⁣ #morocco #maroc #marrakech #casablanca #rabat #moroccan #tanger ⁣ #marocaine #maghreb #tangier ⁣ #marruecos #tetouan #essaouira ⁣ #marrakesh #chefchaouen ⁣ #meknes #eljadida #cistern #waterreflection #reflection_perfection #eljadida #portoguese #fortifiedcity #opendoorsmorocco #loves_morocco ...

0 3

What a cutie! There he was, pursing his lips and spouting water along the Danube River BIke Trail in Szentendre, Hungary. Szenrtendre was a stop on our Danube River Ride from Regensburg to Budapest. Do we know what this little guy spouting water means? Nope. But he's sure cute! @visithungaryhu @explusbicycling.⁣ .⁣ .⁣ .⁣ .⁣ .⁣ #visithungary #szentendre #waterfountain #danube #danubebikepath #budapestagram #thisisbudapest #donau #vscohungary #budapest_hungary #danuberiver #chainbridge #donau #budapest #budapestagram #hungary #ig_budapest #momentsinbudapest #thisisbudapest #welovebudapest #cyclinglife #travelphotos #funnystatue #hungarytravel #cyclingphotos #ig_hun #instabudapest ...

0 1

Christmas market historic ambiance. In Berlin, Christmas markets are quite the spectacle, but they vary a lot in style and offerings! At the Gendarmenmarkt market, there is a sense of glam with strolling performers on a square surrounded by amazing architecture. Read our story about the best Christmas Markets in Berlin here: http://bit.ly/berlinchristmasmarkets @visit_berlin @best_berlin_photos @visit_germany @thereseiknoian.⁣⁣ .⁣ .⁣ .⁣ .⁣ #thecreative #aroundtheworldpix #ig_masterpiece #theprettycities #flashesofdelight #travelog #mytinyatlas #theglobewanderer #forahappymoment #exploringtheglobe #travelon #awesome_earthpix #ig_deutschland #diestadtberlin #berlinstagram #berlinstyle #ig_berlin #christmas #christmasdecorations #merrychristmas #christmastime #christmaslights #festive #christmasart #winter #visit_berlin #berlingram #gendarmenmarkt #berlinchristmasmarket ...

0 3

Colors of the street. A cat contemplates its next meager meal on the streets of Moulay Idriss. Moulay Idriss is considered the most holy of places in all of Morocco. The town itself is not heavily touristed (only opening to overnight stays by Western tourists in 2005). The streets are narrow, winding, quaint. .....⁣👉 Tap the link in our bio for more 👍⁣ .....@opendoorsmorocco @loves_morocco.⁣⁣ .⁣⁣⁣ .⁣⁣⁣ .⁣⁣⁣ .⁣ ⁣ #thecreative #aroundtheworldpix #theprettycities #travelog #visualmobs #forahappymoment #exploringtheglobe #travelon #awesome_earthpix #visualoflife #awesome_naturepix #unlimitedparadise #loves_Morocco #moroccotravel #travelmorocco #moroccotrip #visitmorocco #unlimitedmorocco #hitraveltales #streetphotographers #street_photography #streetphotographer #ig_streetphotography #traveler_stories #wheretofindme #thewanderingtourist #travelgrams #beststreets #photojournalism #bestplacestogo ...

0 0

Affiliate Advertising Dislcaimer

Posts and pages on our website contain references to products and services from our affiliate advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links and/or purchase products from one of our affiliate advertisers. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases you might make. Purchasing from our affiliate network does not cost you any more than going direct and, helps keep the lights on in our office, for which we are eternally grateful. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Follow Me

Michael Hodgson

Co-Conspirator at HI Travel Tales
Winner of a 2018 Silver Medal from the North American Travel Journalists Association for travel writing excellence, Michael has authored more than 16 books and penned many hundreds of feature articles over the years. His bylines have appeared in Backpacker, Men's Journal, Men's Health, Outside, The San Jose Mercury News, Portland Oregonian and more. His travels have taken him to all seven continents. He is a member in good standing of the North American Travel Journalists Association and the Professional Travel Bloggers Association.
Follow Me