Plan your trip to Varanger
Most people visiting Varanger start their journey by flying to Kirkenes airport Høybuktmoen (via Norways main airport Gardermoen in Oslo). In Kirkenes you have a couple of different opportunities to continue your travels. Since Høybuktmoen is not the only airport in Varanger, you can fly further from Kirkenes to smaller airports like Vardø or Båtsfjord. For the flights to smaller airports, you are best advised to take the Wideroe airline, since it is cheaper than booking the same trip via SAS (collaborating companies). Flight company Norwegain also fly to Kirkenes but not further. When in Kirkenes, besides flying, there is also the opportunity for car rental across Varanger. Another possibility for travel around Varanger is to take the bus from Kirkenes airport. One of them takes you all the way to Vardø, stopping at several villages along the way. The other bus takes you from the airport down to Kirkenes city to the coastal express (Hurtigruten) harbour, where you can take the ferry across the Varangerfjord to Vardø (3.5hours). Most people rent a car in Kirkenes and drive to the Varangerfjord (1,5 hours to Varangerbotn). Many also choose to visit Pasvik in South Varanger for some taiga forest birding.
Where to stay
Across Varanger there are a wide variety of accommodation choices. For example you can choose to stay at a hotel with a great view of the Barents sea or spend a few nights in a small cabin in the Arctic tundra. Take a look at the map above for some of the many possibilities. Below are a couple of video blogs from accomodation companies we have worked with in Varanger. There are many more to choose from and we will keep updating with new video blogs soon. We hope these vlogs give you a sense of the places you can stay. More to come in this section soon!
Vardø Hotel offers the best accommodation for birders, nature photographers and cultural heritage and nature enthusiasts. It is located in the centre of the city a short distance from the harbour and the most accessible bird cliff in the Arctic.
Enjoy a stay close to the sea in the ancient fishing village Ekkerøy, at the Ekkerøy feriehus. It is a great place to spend a night (or several), since the house, cabins and apartments are close to the Ekkerøy bird cliff and its rich birdlife.
How to get there
What to do
Have a look at the different possibilities provided across Varanger and find out what you can do there. Various museums presenting the history of Varanger but also activities offered by different organisations or people are listed in the following. This too is by no means a complete list of what is on offer in Varanger, but rather a start and a short intro to some of the possibilities. More to come soon...
Várjjat Sámi Museum
At the base of the Varangerfjord in Varangerbotn you can find the Várjjat Sámi Museum. It's presenting the coastal Sámi history and culture but also the prehistory of Finnmark and Sámi handcraft. A very nice and informative exhibition is guiding you through the different eras of scandinavian history. Visit the homepage for further information.
Mortensnes Cultural Heritage Site
Mortensnes is a central place for Sámi history, since a lot of visible cultural remains like traces of settlements and religous practices can be found in the surrounding landscape there. The museum in Mortensnes is providing an exhibition about Sámi faith and mythology, including a small Café offering tea, coffee and waffles. Continue reading on their homepage to find out more.
Arctic Tourist is based in Syltefjord in the North of Varanger and a great place to experience true Arctic adventures. It is providing different activities, including birdwatching, visiting a floating photohide, crab safari and searafting. Arctic tourist is also offering sightseeing tours by boat, where you can see Syltefjord, Makkaur, Hamningberg, Varangerhalvøya and also a small part of the great Barents Sea. Go on and visit their homepage for more information.
If you are looking for great nature adventures and new experiences in the Northern Arctic region, you have found the right organisation. Wild Varanger is offering various exciting activities, such as diving with the Guillemots of Hornøya, fishing in the deep sea, White-tailed Eagle safari and sight seeing the area of Vardø. Have a look at their homepage to find out more!
Besides lovely accommodations, Ekkerøy Feriehus is also providing different activities in Arctic Norway. Their repertoire is offering not only birding in winter- and summertime in Varanger, but also photography, hiking and watching the northern lights. Read more about the opportunities presented by Ekkerøy Feriehus on their homepage - it‘s worth a look!
When taking a trip to Hamningberg, it's definately worth to make a stop at the Riisebruket Café. It's a nice Summer Cáfe opened since 2016, serving traditional scandinavian dishes. When it‘s opened during summer it is also offering accommodation for everyone, who is visiting Hamningberg.
Guided tours with Ben-Arne Sotkajærvi
Ben-Arne Sotkajærvi is native to Pasvik and undoubtly the best guide you can find for this region. As birder, hunter and nature photographer he offers guided tours through Pasvik. Find him on Twitter @MrPasvik