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Hammerfest, Norway, lays claim to being the northernmost "town" in the world, with over 9,000 inhabitants at a latitude of 70° 39' 48". There are some villages farther north, but none larger than 2000 people.

Hammerfest is one of the capitals of Sami (also known as Lapp or Lapplander) culture.


The first church in Hammerfest was built in the 17th. c. In 1789, Hammerfest was issued its city charter, to promote trade and prosperity in the north. In 1790, Hammerfest sent its first hunting expedition to Svalbard, and the city was a pioneer in arctic trapping, although Tromsø took over by around 1850. In 1809, British forces burned and sacked the city as part of their blockade policy. During the 19th c., Hammerfest flourished as a minuscule trade centre exporting fish to Russia. In 1891, a devastating fire flattened the city. As part of the reconstruction, the city was the first in Europe to install electric street lamps. In 1945, the city was again destroyed, this time as part of the German occupiers' scorched earth policy. Post war prosperity was ensured by the big Findus fish processing factory, that is now history. At the turn of the millennium, Hammerfest became an important base for gas extraction.

Get in[edit]

  • By air you fly to Hammerfest with the small aircraft of Widerøe [1] from Tromsø. Due to a lot of oil traffic, getting a cheap seat is difficult.
  • There are a couple of buses a day to Alta[2], from where you can get a cheap flight to Oslo with SAS Braathens [3] or Norwegian [4].
  • There is also a catamaran to Alta most days of the week. [5]. The tour is highly scenic and recommended.
  • The famous Hurtigruten calls at Hammerfest [6]. It's about five hours to Honningsvåg and Nordkapp, and 12 hours to Tromsø.

Get around[edit]


Despite being the oldest city in the north of Norway, there is precious little history. The city was destroyed by the British in 1809, by a devastating fire in 1891 and by the Germans in 1945.

  • The Museum of Reconstruction tells the tale of the destruction of Hammerfest and the north in 1944-45, and the reconstruction after the war.
  • The 1961 Church of Hammerfest is striking and modern, yet warm and welcoming. The grave chapel next door was the only WWII survivor in town.
Hammerfest church
  • St. Michael's Church is the local Roman Catholic church, donated by German soldiers after WWII.
  • The Royal and Ancient Polar Bear Club is an exclusive club for anyone who's been to Hammerfest.
  • 1 Fuglenes – Fuglenes, "Bird's peninsula" is in the Fuglenes district of Hammerfest on a hill with a view to the Arctic Sea. It's the northernmost point on the world heritage listed Struve Geodetic Arc. The point is marked by a green globe standing on a granite pedestal, this monument is called Meridianstøtten.


The Arctic Open - beach volleyball tournament - July The Beer Festival - July Music Festival - August The Blue Season Festival: Concert Theatre Festival - November

Join the Royal and Ancient Polar Bear Club.


Odds Mat- og Vinhus (Odd's Food and Wine)




  • Thon Hotel Hammerfest. Thon Hotel Hammerfest is a full service hotel for business travellers, conference guests and vacationers. The hotel is in the city centre with a great view of the harbour adjacent the City hall.
  • Rica Hotel Hammerfest. Is another alternative.
  • [dead link] Hotell Skytterhuset, Skytterveien 24 (about 10 minutes walking distance from the centre of town), +47 78422010. The hotel has 75 rooms, conference rooms, breakfast service, a sauna and a solarium. In a quiet area with hiking trails nearby.

Go next[edit]

By plane, the neighbouring go-to villages when leaving Hammerfest are Båtsfjord, Kirkenes and Karasjok. Using conventional aviation, a trip north to the desolate Svalbard region will take between six and seven hours.

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