Travelling to the North Cape is such a great experience. The landscape that becomes more and more sterile and rugged, the number of reindeer that continues to multiply along the road, but especially the emptiness around you ensures a unique experience. It’s impossible not to get overwhelmed by this extraordinary landscape.
From Alta, where we arrive the previous day after a long car ride, we drive to the northernmost point of Europe. Within three and a half hours we reach a stormy North Cape. During our trip to Alta the landscape already became significantly barren, but this drive proves that it can get even more rugged and sterile. The route first takes us through the inlands, a very desolate landscape. A single shed, cottage or church pops up every now and then. We see large hills, kilometres in the distance, which are often still covered with a layer of snow. Snowmobiles along the way are no exception. In this wilderness the winter hasn’t t said her last word yet. Just when you think you really ended up in no man’s land, all of a sudden a small hamlet will appear. Along the coastal route that leads us further up North nothing changes much and yet there is so much to see and admire. This rugged environment turns more and more into a moon landscape. The emptiness, the silence and the space in which we are immersed more and more over the last few days keeps on growing. This piece of Norway is all ruggedness and pure nature.
Every now and then we pass a few cosy huts and cottages, sporadic something looking like a village. The coastal route takes us along a winding road, a rocky area where reindeer are the boss. Reindeer are almost a plague here. Everywhere you look they are quietly grazing in the barren meadows, but I can’t get enough of them. All the little ones frolicking along the road are so cute, but the reindeer also don’t hesitate to stay in front of your car or cross the road. At one point a reindeer wanted to cross the road, but it had to climb over the guardrail. While the reindeer jumps over the guardrail, we quietly drive further. The funny thing is that the reindeer got stuck on the guardrail, hanging there for a few seconds, before changing its mind. This was such a funny moment, we couldn’t stop laughing. Unfortunately the Gopro wasn’t t filming.
The last part of the route leads through several long tunnels to eventually reach Mageroya, the island where the North Cape is located. It occurs to me that we see cyclists all along our drive to the North but we also see hikers along the way. Some people make a day trip, but others have already been facing a long challenge. This also means that they must hike or cycle through the long dark cold tunnels. Tunnels that sometimes reach 7 km and disappear up to 200 metres under the sea. I really respect these people because cycling or hiking in this cold chilly darkness seems no fun to me. Sometimes there are special hiking/cycling trails along the rocky coast, so the tunnel can be avoided, but sometimes there is just no other alternative.
After the last tunnel we soon see Honningsvag, the northernmost village. It even has a small airport. We set course for the higher mountains between Honningsvag and the North Cape. The sun seems to have lost the fight against the clouds. The more we approach the northernmost point, the less we see. A thick fog hangs over the mountains and only a few kilometers before the North Cape the fog disappears. At the North Cape the wind is blowing very hard with occasional drizzle. Where is the sun that was still shining earlier today? With these harsh weather conditions, we can forget about the hike to Knivskjelodden, the real North Cape. After paying the entrance fee we drive on the large parking lot. It’s not cheap, but the ticket does provide one day access to the Cape. The parking lot is already filled with cars and buses, but it’s not that busy. When reaching the North Cape, I can’t help to think “what’s the fuss all about?” It’s no more than a large rocky platform located at three hundred meters above sea level, a large building that is used mainly for commercial purposes and the famous globe, the symbol of the North Cape. It was more about the journey and this symbolic trip to the North Cape was well worth all the trouble. Yet it feels special to be at the northernmost point of Europe. While I’m standing in front of the globe, I’m staring at kilometers of emptiness. Fifty shades of blue, because you can’ t really tell where the sea ends and where the clouds start. Filming is not possible because of the storm, but we can make some pictures. After many attempts I even manage to do a yoga pose and I can’t resist to make a jump photo. It’s so freaking cold here that after this short photo session we decide to go inside. We walk around, have a look at all the expensive souvenirs at the shop and write a few postcards. When we feel like going outside again we visit the Cape very briefly. Unfortunately, the wind is still blowing hard, so we decide to drive to a nearby hamlet. The weather conditions are a lot more favorable there, so we can make a beautiful short hike to a rock arch and we even meet some reindeer. More about this later.
The trip to the North Cape has literally and figuratively blown us away. It’s hard to describe in words how beautiful this place but also the journey to the North Cape is. Indescribable beautiful and rugged. Before we booked our trip, we didn’t know if we should travel to the North Cape. Now I can say that we didn’t regret it. If the sun shines, you can admire the midnight sun in the summer months. The clouds and rain unfortunately didn’t give us the chance to see it on the North Cape, but luckily we saw the midnight sun earlier during our roadtrip.
Have you ever been to the North Cape or would you like to go there?