The steep cliff of North Cape is as far north as you can get on mainland Europe and it is the goal of many to have visited ‘the end of the world’ once in their life. When you stand on the plateau on North Cape you are only 2000 kilometres from the North Pole.
Where is North Cape?
The North Cape is located in Finnmark county in Northern Norway where the midnight sun is visible from mid-May until end of July. We all hope for midnight sun lighting up the famous globe on the North Cape plateau, but no one can control weather and it is not uncommon for the plateau to be covered in a blanket of fog…like it was when we visited.
Fog on the North Cape plateau
Even without the midnight sun I still find it a spectacular spot to visit. This is a wild, barren land – not a single tree has been able to grow in this harsh landscape. You truly feel like you are at the world’s end.
North Cape is located on the island Magerøya, ‘the barren island’, whose name probably originated due to its lack of vegetation.
What you need to see when you visit the North Cape
When you have travelled this far north the North Cape plateau is not the only thing worth visiting – you need to experience the nature and people of Magerøya. Maybe you’ll also meet Rudolf who grazes on the island all summer.
Reindeer grazing during summer
Hiking to the Church Doorway to see the North Cape Horn
A little way down the cliff on the North Cape plateau stands the rock formation known as the “North Cape Horn”. You cannot see this from the plateau, but you get an excellent view if you hike to another rock formation known as the Church Doorway (Kirkeporten).
Fishing village Skarsvåg
The hike starts from the small fishing village Skarsvåg and is 2.5 kilometres. You will find a sign on your left hand side driving into Skarsvåg.
Through the rock arch you see ‘the Horn’ and the North Cape plateau. If you hike at night you can see the midnight sun through the arch in summer.
The Church Doorway – can you see me?
The North Cape Horn
Visit the bird mekka Gjesværstappan
The fishing village Gjesvær is a starting point for tours to the large colony of sea birds in the nature reserve Gjerværstappan. The nature reserve consists of a group of steep islands where about 1 million puffins live and breed during the summer.
Fishing village Gjesvær with Gjerværstappan in the background
You’ll likely see one of these at Gjesværstappan. This cormorant, however, is photographed a bit further east at Hornøya.
Unfortunately there was a massive breakdown of tour boats the day we visited so we weren’t able to make the tour, but we were lucky to see a few puffins in the local harbour.
If you like fishing many locals also offer fishing tours from Gjesvær
Stop by the charming fishing village Kamøyvær
By now you probably have an idea that fishing is an important industry on this island. There are many fishing villages on Magerøya, but in my opinion Kamøyvær is the fairest of them all.
View of Kamøyvær from a nearby hill
Kamøyvær fishing village
In addition to an unknown number of reindeer…around 70 people call this charming location home.
One of the local reindeer is forging from the gardens in the village
Visit the North Cape plateau … again
And before you leave Magerøya you can do as many other visitors – after being disappointed by fog the evening before you can go back up to the North Cape plateau again the next day to see if you have better luck. You entrance ticket is valid for 24 hours so it will not cost you anything extra.
The globe on North Cape
Looking towards Knivskjellodden
From the plateau you can look west all the way to Knivskjellodden, which is actually 1 kilometre father north which means North Cape isn’t the northernmost point, but don’t tell anyone!