The rugged cliffs of Nordkapp, at 71°10’21” North, with the Globe Monument perched above, is an iconic travel destination receiving in the region of 200,000 visitors a year, and providing the start and finish point for a number of epic journeys across the continent.
However, its also known as one of the biggest tourist traps in Europe, an ultra-expensive day out in an already expensive country. It isn’t even the true northernmost point of Norway, which is either somewhere in the Svalbard archipealgo, Kinnarodden, north of Mehamn on the Nordkyn peninsula, or nearby Knivskjelodden, depending on the definition used.
So, is it really worth visiting?
Well, I have to admit a fascination with the Globe Monument. It’s one of the few public works of art that I’ve wanted to see in person, but the rest of the Nordkapp package is something I can really do without, especially for a 235NOK entry charge (approx. £26). I’ve worked in interpreting natural sites for visitors, and know some places desperately need visitor centres and information boards to explain the experience. But others just don’t.
Being there, in the place at that moment, looking at the view, feeling the cold wind off the Arctic Ocean whip across your face, watching the sun sink to the horizon, leaving the sky orange-rose-gold and turning clouds indigo, then seeing it rise again minutes later; that’s the reason to visit Nordkapp.
So, if you can do without the visitor centre and want to avoid the expensive toll, visit at midnight. Between May until August, light nights mean that you aren’t restricted by visibility, and can watch the sun set and rise. From around 14th May until 29th July, the sun doesn’t drop below the horizon. Wrap up well and pack a flask of something to keep you warm, and drive right in, as the toll booths aren’t manned overnight. There’s every chance that you’ll have the clifftop entirely to yourself.
A number of sources suggest making the 19km round trip hike to Knivskjelodden at 71°11´08˝ is a great alternative to visiting Nordkapp, especially if you’re an active person. It’s something that I had planned to do, however… on 13th May, despite the glorious weather, the trail was buried under nearly 2m of snow immediately beside the car park. Behind the information board at the trail head, snow was piled up where the car park had been cleared, and towered over me. Something to save for high summer visits.