One of the highlights of a cruise to Norway, North Cape is situated at the northernmost point of mainland Europe, on the northern coast of the island of Magerøya in Northern Norway. North Cape was first discovered in 1553 by explorers in search of the Northeast Passage. Only one of the three British ships that journeyed here survived and christened it North Cape or Nordkapp as referred to by the locals. It wasn’t until the arrival of King Oscar in 1873, however, that the cape become a real tourist attraction, as his visit sparked the curiosity of people the world over. The cape’s mountainous cliff rises 307m above the Arctic Ocean and has a large plateau on the top, where visitors who journey here can (weather permitting) get a glimpse of the natural phenomena, the northern lights, and the midnight sun, along with enjoying the coastline’s breathtaking scenery and rich wildlife.
Why cruise North Cape
Cruising to North Cape is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, offering passengers the chance to see two of the world’s most amazing natural phenomena, the northern lights and the midnight sun, depending on when they sail. Norwegian cruise line Hurtigruten features North Cape on its Norway itineraries, including an ‘Arctic Winter and Northern Lights’ itinerary in the winter and a ‘Fjords and Midnight Sun’ itinerary in the summer. Cruises sail into Honningsvåg, where buses pick up cruise passengers to take them up the mountain cliff. Cruise lines Hapag-Lloyd, Saga Cruises, Fred Olsen & P&O Cruises also sail to North Cape on their Northern Norway itineraries.
What to see and do in North Cape
The mountain cliff on North Cape is a great place to catch a glimpse of the northern lights in the winter and midnight sun in the summer, when the sun doesn’t between May and July. The plateau at the top of the cliff also offers the perfect photo opportunities, with breathtaking scenery. Enjoy the view at the top of Europe above the Arctic Ocean, where there is no dry land between you and the North Pole with the exception of the Svalbard archipelago.
North Cape Hall
At the plateau there is a contemporary visitor centre, Nordkapphallen (North Cape Hall), which houses a museum where you can learn about the early expeditions to North Cape and watch a panoramic film about the four seasons at the cape. There’s also a restaurant with spectacular views of the Arctic Ocean, along with a coffee shop and Aurora Borealis bar.
One of Norway’s largest bird cliffs is home to various species, which you can see up close at the Steppan Nature Reserve, featuring thousands of puffins, gannets and cormorants.
Need to know when travelling to North Cape
Getting around in North Cape
Cruise ships will dock or anchor off shore at the port of Honningsvåg for North Cape. Once in town, you can easily get around on foot, but there are also taxis, buses and trains available. North Cape is a bus ride away and It’s best to check with your cruise operator about organised shore excursions to the cape.
When to go to North Cape
The best times to visit North Cape is between May and July for the midnight sun, when it experiences up to 24 hours of sunlight, and during the winter months, when visitors may catch a glimpse of the elusive northern lights.
North Cape uses the Norwegian krone.
If you hold a British Citizen passport, you don't need a visa to enter Norway unless you're planning to stay longer than three months.
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