Nuorgam (Northern Sámi: Njuorggán) is in Finnish Lapland and is situated at the top of Finland and the EU, 510 kilometers north of the Arctic Circle, in the municipality Utsjoki. It is very central while on route to the Arctic Ocean and the Finnmark area in Norway. The close proximity of the Norwegian border crossing gives the village with its 200 inhabitants an international atmosphere, with many tourists visiting during the summer season.
Summer in this salmon valley is dominated by the king of fish and sports fishermen from all over Europe come to try their luck. The winter passes slowly, just like the water under the icy cover of the Teno River (Norwegian: Tana, Sámi: Deatnu. This is when Norwegian traders and European snowmobiling tourists arrive. When the sun rises over the horizon the village fills with people on snowmobiles and ice-fishermen and their families here to catch the giant Arctic Char. Nuorgam is also a place to visit during the period of winter twilight (officially November 26th – January 16th). At this time you have the possibility to experience the blue light and peacefulness of midwinter. It is not pitch-dark throughout the day, the snow gives us some light and softens the moment. And you may also experience the Northern Lights already in the early afternoon.
The EU’s northernmost school, Nuorgam lower elementary, had 16 pupils in 2018.
Even though it is allowed to cross the Finland-Norway border anywhere it is an outer border of EU and customs regulations apply. If you aren't a citizen of a Nordic Country you also need to carry all necessary documents with you. The corresponding border station is the 1 Polmak customs office in Norway.
The ways to get in are car or bus.
Distances by road
- Utsjoki main village 47 km
- Ivalo (airport) 210 km
- Rovaniemi (airport and train station) 510 km
- Saariselkä 250 km
- The border (Polmak village) 3 km
- Tana Bru 23 km
- Vadsø (airport) 85 km
- Vardø (airport) 160 km
- Båtsfjord (airport) 160 km
- Kirkenes (airport) 165 km
- Lakselv (airport) 270 km
The closest airport in Finland is in Ivalo, to which Finnair flies daily from Helsinki. SAS and Wideroe fly to the airport in Kirkenes in Norway.
In the village you can get around on foot, for longer distances a car is needed.
All the airports in close proximity offer car rentals: Ivalo, Kirkenes airport and also Vadsø have Hertz, Europcar and Avis car rental companies.
Sights in the Nuorgam village and nearby areas:
- The midnight sun is shining from May 16th to July 27th.
- The period of winter twilight from November 26th to January 16th when the Sun doesn't rise at all.
- The autumn colors (Sámi:ruški/Finnish: ruska) rule the views in September. The first snow falls usually early October.
- 1 The northernmost point of the European Union. The official monument is next to the road just few meters from the Norwegian border. The actual northernmost point is about 400 meters north in the middle of river Teno but perhaps this is more suitable place to take the selfie. Free.
- 2 The Museum Road and Alaköngäs rapids (Museageaidnu/Museotie). A 5 km long historic road is included to the list of nationally significant built cultural environments. The road is centuries old as Alaköngäs rapids make the Teno river unsuitable for boating. Nowadays, the Alaköngäs rapids are among the most popular places for salmon fishing. Free.
- 3 The Sitting Stone (Čohkkangeađgi/Istumakivi). A large, flat stone (or actually two of them) on top of Isonkivenvaara fell. For centuries, when the reindeer herdsmen left the village the stone was used as a resting place. Awesome views to the fells in Norway and the vast Kaldoaivi Wilderness Area. Free.
- 4 Lake Pulmanki and the Pulmanki river valley (Buolbmatjávri/Pulmankijärvi). Lake Pulmanki was once a bottom of a fjord. This can still be seen from the extraordinary nature in and around the lake. The only place in Finland where you can find Myricaria germanica bushes. The river Pulmanki south from the lake is notable for its meandering. The 70 km long hiking trail from Sevettijärvi ends to the road by the lake. Free.
- 5 Nuorgam chapel (Njuorggáma rohkosviessu/Nuorgamin rukoushuone), Seuraniementie 11. The EU's northernmost chapel was established in 1880s. Modernized in 1960s and 1970s. The service is held six times a year. Free.
- 6 The Tana Museum in Polmak (in Norway, 5 km from Nuorgam), ☏ . A small museum about life in Teno river valley and Sami people. adult €6/NOK50, child €4/NOK30.
- 7 The King's Stone (Gonagasgeađgi/Kuninkaankivi) (in Vetsikko). Two stones with a border marks from 1766 indicating Strömstad border between kingdoms of Sweden and Denmark. The stones carry king Adolf Fredrik of Sweden's monogram. Strömstad treaty (1751) created the first time an exact border between these countries this far north. Free.
- The Sami museum in Varangerbotn in Norway
- Norway and the Arctic Ocean, take photographs of the fisher villages and towns
- Rastigaisa (Sami: Rásttigáisá): East-Finnmark’s highest fell (1065 m.a.sl.) can be seen from the top of the treeless fells in Nuorgam
The vast majority of tourists in Nuorgam are Norwegians coming here to buy cheap booze from the Alko store.
The rest are mostly fishing enthusiasts as Teno is the most important wild salmon river in the Europe. To protect the river and its stock fishing in Teno is strictly regulated; you need to buy a licence and all your fishing equipment must be disinfected (see fishing in Finland). The arctic char is common in many lakes around and during the winter it is the main catch for ice fishing.
South from Nuorgam there is vast backcountry, the Kaldoaivi Wilderness Area. This makes Nuorgam an awesome place for hiking. The 70 km long, marked hiking trail from lake Pulmanki to Sevettijärvi village in Inari is recommended only for experienced trekkers. Near the lake Ylä-Pulmanki, deep within the wilderness area, there is a wreck of a German Junkers-52 airplane shot down by Russians in 1944. The wreck is relatively well preserved due to successful emergency landing and its extremely remote location, it lies over 20 km off the nearest marked trail.
The Arctic Ocean is just 35 km away. Small town Varangerbotn has a large Sami museum.
- 1 K-Market Rajamarket, Nuorgamintie 4298, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. M–F 10:00–20:00, Sa 10:00–16:00, Su 11:00–16:00. A large grocery store with Alko. Fishing gear and licences. Fishing guide service. Fuel.
- 2 K-Market Auralan Säästö, Nuorgamintie 4379a, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. M–Th 10:00–18:00, F 10:00–20:00, Sa 10:00–16:00, Su 11:00–16:00. A smaller grocery store. Mail service.
Eat and drink
- 1 Scanburger Nuorgam, Nuorgamintie 4298. M–F 10:00–18:00, Sa–Su 10:00–16:00. The northernmost fast food in EU.
- 2 Café-Restaurant Suvanto, Nuorgamintie. mid-June to mid-August: M–Sa 09:00–20:00, Su 12:00–19:00, otherwise by request. The northernmost restaurant in EU.
- 3 Pub Staalonpesä, Nuorgamintie 4281. The northernmost pub in EU closed in 2016 and is now (2019) in renovation. Opens again some day, hopefully.
- 1 Nuorgam Holiday Resort (Nuorgamin lomakeskus), Nuorgamintie 4401, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. early-June to late-September. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. Accommodation in apartments and cottages, camping facilities for caravans and tents. Restaurant. Souvenir shop. A separate wilderness cabin on the highlands. Rooms €100–220, cottages €60–90/person. Caravans and tents €30 (incl. electricity & shower) +€5/adult or €3/child. Wilderness cabin €120/night.
- 2 Nivajoki Camping, Alakönkääntie 28 (10 km from the village), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Cottages and caravan near the famous Alaköngäs rapids. Fishing boats with guide for rent. Ice fishing trips in winter. Cottages €75–150/night, caravans €22+€3(adult)/€2(child).
- 70 North, Pulmankijärventie 664, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Accommodation in cottages either by the River Teno or in the wilderness area. Hillagammi cottage in particular has got some international attention. SUV, ATV, and snowmobile rental. Summer and winter activities. Cottages €110–185/night..
You may take a drive along the Teno River (i.e. the border to Norway); the drive between Nuorgam and Karigasniemi has been chosen as the most beautiful road in Finland. The road passes by the famous Alaköngäs rapids, where it is possible to observe the fishermen toiling.