Honningsvåg – gateway to the North Cape
Excellent shopping and exciting activities at the end of the world. Stand at the edge of the cliff with the iconic globe monument and gaze across the ocean.
Honningsvåg with its 2,800 inhabitants is the capital of the North Cape. Walking through Honningsvåg you’ll find excellent shops, Arctic dining experiences and other exciting activities. Check out the Perleporten Kulturhus (the local cultural centre), the Once Upon A Dream art gallery, and the Artico Ice Bar. A visit to the church is highly recommended: it was the only building left standing in Honningsvåg at the end of World War II.
Naturally, the most popular attraction in Honningsvåg is a visit to the North Cape. Stand at the edge of the cliff with the iconic globe monument and gaze across the ocean. Only the Svalbard Islands separate you from the North Pole. With clean, crisp air and vistas that extend to where the sea meets the horizon, North Cape feels like the end of the world. So, it's no surprise that the cliff is a major tourist attraction. In fact, the first tourist arrived here in 1664, and visitors have been coming ever since. It is known as Europe's northernmost point, making it a destination for all world travellers. Kinnarodden and Knivskjellodden are both a little farther north, but North Cape is more accessible. Due to its location, the Cape ranks among the great places to watch the northern lights. There is also a visitor centre here with modern facilities. Inside, visitors will find a museum and a restaurant that serves finger food and beverages.
In the summer, visitors might encounter the indigenous Sami people before witnessing the midnight sun. In the spring, the Norwegian Army’s landing craft transport around 3,800 reindeer across the Magerøy Strait to their summer pastures on Magerøy Island. However, during the autumn, when it is time for the reindeer to return to the snow-clad plains of Karasjok, the animals and their calves swim across the 1,800 m wide strait.
Gjesværstappan, one of the biggest bird cliffs in Norway is located due west of the North Cape and is home to an impressive variety of species. Almost 1 million puffins live there, along with numerous northern gannets, cormorants, kittiwakes, common guillemots and northern fulmar.
The area was first settled in prehistory, as much as 10,300 years ago. The sea was probably the main food source. The excellent harbour at Honningsvåg eventually developed into a large fishing port, which in turn led to growth in the fishing, processing and refrigeration industries and trade in capelin fish meal and capelin oil. The Old Norse form of the name was probably Hornungsvágr. The first element is the ancient name of a mountain, Hornungr, a tall and hornlike peak near Honningsvåg. The last element is vágr, which means bay. The full name then means "the bay lying beneath the mountain Hornungr".