Norway’s northernmost and easternmost county-Finnmark is home to the rugged island of Mageroy, where visitors come to the northern most point in Europe. The landmark North Cape plateau, whose sheer cliffs rise up dramatically over the Barents Sea, is the top spot for marking the geographic milestone since true north -in nearby knivksjellodden -is inaccessible to vehicles. Closest to mainland, Honningsvag is the biggest of the island’s fishing communities and the starting point for all explorations.
A Sami man with his reindeer
The village church in Honningsvag is the only pre-WWII structure on Mogeroya to survive the occupation, while a small museum in town documents local history and the life inside the Arctic Circle. But the main attractions are natural: the breathtaking scenery of fjords and forests, the abundant wildlife, including colonies of sea birds, and the summertime phenomenon of sunlit nights.
A beautiful view of the harbour and our cruise ship in Honningsvag
Fishing has long been the way of life here, and cod (and cod tongue), halibut, monkfish and particularly in summer, pollock are amongst the varieties served here. The aptly named king crab is the most popular selfish option. Whale and reindeer are other regional specialties. Honningsvag has only a few restaurants, out of which I strongly recommend the King Crab House for scrumptious King Crabs and shrimps!
The NordKapphallen features both a cafe and a restaurant, but they are only open to those who pay the admission fees to the visitor centre.
Kirkeporten Rock Skarsvag
A natural rock formation shaped like an arch, through which you can see the north cape. One can take a beautiful hike up to the rock. I did, and enjoyed some breathtaking views. It is said the Sami people considered this to be a sacred sight, where they use to leave offerings for the sea witch. The winds usually blow really hard here but as the Norwegians say, “There is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing,” so make sure you cover yourself nicely for the hike.
Stock fish in Komoyvaer Fishing Village
On my way back to Honnongsvag, I visited a picturesque little fishing village. The town lies in Kamoyfjorden on the east side of Mageroya, around 10 km north-west of Honningsvag. The village is sheltered from the open sea by the islands of Lille Kamoya and Store Kamoya. There are 64 inhabitants of the village, including the Sami, and their main source of income is fish and reindeers. Stockfish is supplied to different parts of the world and there is not even a single wild reindeer here, the sami own it all. The village also has a gallery called East of the Sun housing beautiful work by artist, Eva Schmutterer, originally from Nuremberg, she fell in love with Mageroya as soon as she moved here and ever since she has been reproducing the natural beauty that surrounds her, through art.
Kirkeporten and the Cape Horn
Saoking in the view of the North Cape from Kirkeporten