Northern Norway

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Northern Norway (Nord-Norge) is Europe's northernmost region which borders on the Arctic Circle.


Regions of Northern Norway
The largest and the northernmost continental Norwegian region lies entirely above the Arctic Circle. The main attractions include the North Cape, the petrogliphs in Alta, and the Sami municipalities of Karasjok and Kautokeino. There are no trees on the coast of the northernmost fjords, and the landscape are sometimes like on the Moon.
Here we have Tromsø, the only real city of Northern Norway, as well as four hardly accessible national parks.
The main attractions here are Lofoten and Vesterålen, the Svartisen glacier, the Helgeland coast, more great fjords, as well as multiple national parks along the Swedish border.


Other destinations[edit]



With a low population density, Northern Norway is dominated by nature. Since the ice age ended 12,000 years ago, the coast has remained ice free in winter. The coast is protected by islands in most areas (except east of North Cape), and until modern technology helped build good roads, travel by sea was always more practical than across the rugged land. The sea has a rich life, and fishing provided food year round. Fishing in combination with small scale agriculturee as far north as Troms was for centuries the dominant way of life. Today, North Norway has good communications and a more varied economy than ever before. Nature, however, is still dominant in most areas outside the towns, although you might notice small farms along the fjords and on the coastal lowlands.


Norwegian is the official language of Norway and it is the most commonly spoken language in Northern Norway. Norwegian is mutually intelligible with Danish and Swedish. Sami is official in seven municipalities and Kven (close to Finnish) is official in one municipality. Russian is a common language in Kirkenes due to immigration, but it is not an official language.

Most Norwegians speak English well. In theory, all Norwegians are also able to speak a third language, usually German or French (but also Spanish, Italian or Russian), as learning a third language is mandatory in the Norwegian school. However, most people's knowledge of their third "school language" is basic at best.

Get in[edit]

The easiest way to travel to Northern Norway is by air. It is also possible to drive or to travel by boat. Some parts of Northern Norway can be reached by train.

By Plane[edit]

From Southern Norway[edit]

The following cities/airports have non-stop flights to and from Southern Norway

Flights to/from Oslo arrives at and departs from Oslo Gardermoen Airport (OSL).

Domestic flights are operated by SAS, Norwegian and Widerøe


To/from Tromsø:

  • London Gatwick, United Kingdom, operated by Norwegian
  • Stockholm, Sweden (summer only, Mondays and Fridays, operated by SAS
  • Murmansk/Arkhangelsk, Russia, operated by Nordavia
  • Several tourist cities in Southern Europe, both charter and regular.

The international flights do not go every day. See also Tromsø Airport on Wikipedia, where there is a better updated list.

By car[edit]

E6 is the main route to Northern Norway when driving from the southern parts of the country (Oslo, Trondheim). Be aware that the distance from Oslo to the southernmost part of Northern Norway is appr. 800 kilometers and that the rest of E6 through Northern Norway is appr. 1600 kilometers. The distance from Trondheim to Mo i Rana is appr 450 kilometers, to Narvik 920 kilometers and to Tromsø is appr 1,160 kilometers.

When going from southern Norway to Finnmark, driving through Sweden and Finland may save time and kilometres. E45 has connections via Finland to western Finnmark, deviating from it at Arvidsjaur one can drive to Haparanda and by E75 in Finland towards eastern Finnmark.

The main connections from abroad are E8 (via Finland to Tromsø), which joins E6 at Skibotn, E75 (via Finland to Vardø), which joins E6 in Tana and E105 (via Russia to Kirkenes) to the end of E6.

If you arrive during winter, be aware that winter tires are necessary and required by law. Do not try to drive without, even if you don't expect snow or ice. Some roads may be closed in wintertime, after first heavy snow. See Driving in Norway and Winter driving

By bus[edit]

From Southern Norway:

There is no bus connection between Northern and Southern Norway, except for a few local routes in the border area.

From Sweden:

  • Skellefteå–Bodø (a.k.a. Silverexpressen). Operated by Skelleftebuss between Skellefteå-Jäckvik and Nordlandsbuss between Jäckvik-Bodø. [1]
  • Kiruna–Narvik. Operated by Ofotens Bilruter.


From Finland:

Eskelisen Lapin Linjat operates buses to Tromsø, Alta, Nordkapp/Lakselv, Vadsø and Kirkenes from Rovaniemi/Oulu. Summer only.

By train[edit]

Trains to Northern Norway depart from Trondheim. There is usually two trains per day, one leaves in the morning and the other leaves in the late evening. The train stops at Mosjøen, Mo i Rana and Fauske (and other smaller places) before it reaches its end destination Bodø just above the Arctic circle. The journey to Bodø takes about 9 hours and 30 minutes. Prices may vary, lowest possible price as of January 2008 is 199 NOK. (one way, limited number of seats, look/ask for "minipris"). Trains are operated by NSB.

Narvik is connected to the Swedish rail network. Trains are operated by SJ and go from Stockholm.

There is no railroad in the two northernmost counties, Troms and Finnmark.

By boat[edit]

The Hurtigruten (Coastal Express) sails along the coast of Norway, from Bergen in the south to Kirkenes close to the Russian border. It calls at 25 ports in Northern Norway and 9 ports in Southern Norway. Each port is visited twice a day, once by the southbound boat, and once by the northbound boat.

Get around[edit]

By plane

The distances are long, and air planes are important to get around for longer distances in Northern Norway. Flights inside Northern Norway generally start at one of the regional hubs: Bodø, Tromsø or Kirkenes. There are at least a dozen small airports. These flights are fairly expensive. Widerøe operates most of them.

By train

Train can be used as far north as Fauske and Bodø, and from Sweden to Narvik.

By boat

Hurtigruten follows the entire coast and calls at all major ports, except Mosjøen, Mo i Rana, Narvik and Alta (which are all situated in the innermost parts of long fjords. which would be too long detour). There are also local express boats. An express boat connects Tromsø and Harstad in less than three hours.

By car

Travel by own car or rental car is the most practical, as there are road connection to virtually every small village, and buses go seldom. Note that the distances are long, and driving takes time. Also do fill the tank in time.

The distance from Mo i Rana to Tromsø is 680 km, needing around 10 hours plus stops. From Narvik to Alta it is 510 km, needing around 7 hours plus stops.

By bus

Without a car, travel by scheduled bus routes are the most economical. They have sparse schedules. An important bus connection goes north from Bodø/Fauske to Narvik, and further to Tromsø and Alta (there are many other routes). Search at Rutebok


  • Unique remote island in the north. A small cabin is for rent on this paradise of the north. Fishing, hunting and picking eggs are some of the included activities, along with amazing views of the midnight sun in the summer, and the northern lights in the winter!


Six days hiking on Moskenesøy


Be well dressed, because you are in the Arctic and there's a plethora of activities:

  • Experience the amazing northern lights or the midnight sun, depending on the time of year
  • Whale watching (in the country which also harvests in these animals)
  • Fishing in some of the world's richest fishing waters, such as Lofoten
  • Dogsledding
  • Reindeer sledding
  • Snowmobiling
  • Explore the indigenous Sami people and their lifestyles and culture
  • Mountain climbing
  • Mountain hiking
  • Diving
  • Boating
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Sailing
  • Rafting
  • Cycling
  • Skiing
  • Swimming in not well tempered waters (or indoors)
  • Hiking
  • Golf
  • Strolling small towns and villages


Norwegian cuisine is known for eclectic food with a good supply of many local ingredients.

  • In particular, Northern Norway is a seafood paradise!


Local Norwegian beer, aquavit and cider. Or simply clean and fresh tap water.

Stay safe[edit]

If you venture outdoors, know what to do! Otherwise, there is little crime in the region, but you may end up in trouble if you try really hard

Go next[edit]

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