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Destination: if I had one day...to visit Finnmark (Arctic Norway)

Every now and then, we encounter those seemingly unattainable queries: What if you had only a single day to make the most of? What if you were granted millionaire status for a fleeting moment? Yet, when the context shifts to arctic Norway, this introspective exercise doesn't seem quite as outlandish.


So, let's embark on this mental exploration without hesitation. If I were to find myself with a solitary day in Norway's embrace, it's safe to say that I would eagerly set forth along one of the country's renowned national tourist routes, specifically, the one traversing Varanger. My reference to this more remote path isn't intended to complicate matters more than I have to; rather, it's due to the unfortunate oversight that this may well be one of the most obscure and underestimated national tourist routes—unjustly so, regardless of its geographical seclusion.


Coastal town in Arctic Norway

The journey would start in Varangerbotn, and the road would gracefully lead to Hamningsberg. The simplicity of this route is truly striking. However, anticipate making frequent stops en route, about thirty of them, as you'll find yourself irresistibly drawn to halt the car, your jaw hanging in sheer awe, as the landscape unfolds before your eyes, leaving you humbled by its beauty.

Finnmark stands as a distinct realm on its own. Both for its people and its landscape. While I don't particularly adhere to religious beliefs (not at all in fact), let's entertain for a moment the possibility that the narrative of a biblical creation offers a plausible hypothesis for our planet's origin.

Picture, if you will, the notion that fragments of landscape remained scattered in various corners—a handful of sand dunes, a pair of imposing basalt cliffs, a smattering of pebble-strewn shores, a slice of tundra, expanses of sandstone, and so on. These remnants, it would seem, were masterfully employed to craft the entire northeastern coastline of Finnmark. The captivating tapestry of diverse terrains, each with its own character, unfolds as a testament to nature's artistry (that on the other hand, I am a strong believer of). Every inlet and peninsula reveals a unique countenance, a true celebration of the natural world. This visual symphony also accompanies the Varanger tourist route.


Yet, what lends an enchanting quality to these national tourist routes is the fact that the Norwegian authorities have extended invitations to architects, tasking them with designing essential amenities—restroom facilities, panoramic viewpoints, and inviting seating areas—thoughtfully situated at strategic points along the route. These havens are discreetly indicated by this logo on adorning roadside signs, serving as beacons for those traversing these paths. Allow me to assure you, without reservation, that each pause taken here is an investment yielding abundant rewards. Not trying to be grotesque here. It is what it is.


I'll refrain from delving too deeply into the experiences you'll encounter on your voyage; those are best savoured firsthand. Nevertheless, I do intend to dedicate several separate posts to unveil tips and recommendations for those intending to visit Finnmark. Those you will stumble upon when using the tag 'Finnmark'. And so, I reiterate: should you find yourself with a mere day to spare in Norway, embark on a national tourist route—particularly the one meandering through Varanger.


Keen to spend the night in the region? Consider the Kongsfjord Arctic Lodge or the Jakobselv Kaia.


**Getting there: it is most likely you'll arrive at Kirkenes Airport (KKN) since there's direct flights from Oslo. From there it is most wise to reserve a rental car (long) in advance. Charging stations are rather scarce in this outpost of the world, so in this case rather rent a petrol car. Check here for availability.



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