North Cape

The globe at Nordkapp Norwegian Lapland by Marco Cannizzaro ShutterstockThe globe at Nordkapp © Marco Cannizzaro, Shutterstock

Travel through Norway’s barren, frozen and unforgiving landscape to Europe’s most northerly point.

The Sami call Norway’s northernmost island Mahkaravju or ‘steep, barren coast’, which has been Norwegianised into today’s Magerøya and is home to around 3,500 people, three-quarters of whom live in Honningsvag. As the E69 threads its way north towards the cape (it only opened in 1956), the island certainly lives up to its name as vistas of bare, windswept rock and tundra unfold at every turn. This Arctic landscape is Norwegian Lapland at its most elemental: a high treeless plateau edged by distant frost-shattered peaks and a coast that has been gnawed into countless craggy inlets by the unforgiving might of the Arctic Ocean. Seeking shelter from the ferocious storms, which sweep in from the sea with merciless regularity, the island’s few settlements huddle at the head of fjords that slice deep into the heart of the land.

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