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Kirkenes: Where Norway Meets Russia - A Short Travel Guide

0 Views· 03/03/24
Aryel Narvasa
Aryel Narvasa
In Short / Travel

Is Kirkenes worth visiting? Yes it is. Absolutely. Whether in the endless daylight of the summer or the polar night with the frequent appearances of the aurora borealis.

Where is Kirkenes? A long way from anywhere (except perhaps Nikel in Russia)!


Kirkenes is located in the far northeastern part of Norway on the Bøkfjord, which is a branch of the much larger Varangerfjord. The town is just a few kilometres from the Russian border and about 400 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle. It is the last port on the Hurtigruten route, although many tourists simply stay on the boat for the southbound journey or go straight to the airport. Don’t! This remote town deserves at least a day of exploration.

There has always been a close relationship with Russia, especially after the liberation of the town by the Red Aarmy in World War II. The Monument to the Red Army is a must visit, and the War Mothers Monument is also very evocative. The terrible destruction caused by the German forces in WWII in the area is perhaps little known outside of Norway. The Borderlands Museum (Grenselandmuseet) is well worth visiting to learn more about the history of the border area. Housed in the same building is The Art Museum Savio which exhibits works of the famous Sami artist John Andreas Savio (1902-1938). His distinctive woodcuts beautifully portray the old ways of the Sami. In my opinion it is one of the best art collections in Scandinavia.

There is great dining to be had at the SALT restaurant and the Thon Hotel, as well as great coffee and cakes at the Amundsens Bakeri.

With further time in Kirkenes there are trips to the Pasvik Forest and Grense Jacobselv and the border itself. Trips to Murmansk are also possible. I’ll have to save that for next time.

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