Vadsø is the largest town in Varanger and along with Vardø, it is a good place to base yourself when visiting Varanger. In winter and early spring Vadsø harbour is one of the top places to see Steller´s Eider. From the Biotope-designed breakwater bird hide you get a fantastic view into the harbour and an opportunity for close encounters with seaducks. The harbour and the breakwater hide is only 3 minutes walk from the Scandic Hotel Vadsø. A great place to stay if you want to start your day with a great breakfast, then walk to the harbour for some arctic style birding.
When you cross the bridge from Vadsø you get to the island of Vadsøya, another excellent viewing spot for several bird species. During the summer, Vadsøya is a key place to observe waders along the shore such as Dunlin, Common Redshank, Little Stint and Temminck´s Stint. Passerines include Red-throated Pipit, Bluethroat and Lapland Bunting. The small pond found on the eastern part of the island is a magnet for wading birds, and several rarities have been recorded there too. The Vadsø Fjordhotell is based on Vadsøya and is a great place to stay for birders, with the Vadsø nature reserve in your backyard. The southeasterly point of the island can be a good seawatching point for seabirds and sea mammals including Minke, Fin and Humpback Whales, Orcas, Harbour Porpoises and White-beaked Dolphins plus Grey and Common Seals. However any point in Varanger with good views of the fjord is a potential cetacean site. Mountain Hare may be seen on Vadsøya at any time of the year.