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A few Days in Finnmark

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Lake Bluff, IL
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A few Days in Finnmark

We have a few days in early September and would like to see visit Finnmark. The Alta rock carvings are high on our list. Would also like to do a portion of the Hurtigruten southbound tour. I was thinking of spending a day in Alta to see the rock carvings and possilbly do one other activity. Then take the ferry to Hammerfest to pick up the Hurtigruten and cruise to Trondheim. Alternatively we could take the bus to Tromso and pick up the Hurtigruten there. I would like to see (get close to) a glacier, possibly try dog sledding and see something of Sami culture (that is not too touristy). Are there other not to be missed sights on land? Will the Hurtigruten portion be interesting? Will we get close to the Lofoten Islands. Finally, since we would be traveling the first week of September it looks like the summer activities offered by many guides are over and the winter activities have not started? Sorry for so many questions.

Oslo
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1. Re: A few Days in Finnmark

Between Tromsø and Trondheim the Hurtigruten travels among the Lofoten islands (and calls at Svolvær and other ports in Lofoten) as well as other islands along the coast:

…wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/6d/Trajet…

The major glaciers are in southern Norway and in Nordland county (south of Bodø). There are some glaciers in Finnmark and Troms county, but I don't know how accessible they are.

This branch of the great Svartisen glacier nearly reaches sea level (Engabreen near Glomfjord and Ørnes):

…wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/9c/Glacie…

Lake Bluff, IL
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2. Re: A few Days in Finnmark

Thank you for your reply. For Glaciers sounds like I should look in Nordland rather than Finnmark. Are there other scenic attractions not to be missed in Nordland?

Should I take a pass on the Hurtigruten voyage between Hammerfest and Tromso and just start in Tromso?

From the tour guide sites I looked at it seems like winter activities like Sept is too early for winter activities like dogsledding?

Can you recommend any particular Sami village visit?

Oslo
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3. Re: A few Days in Finnmark

Oh, yes, Sept is too early for winter activities, although in the interior there will already be days of frost.

Nordland and Troms counties generally has a more alpine and rugged landscape, the scale of the Finnmark landscape is larger although more modest in terms of mountains.

AS far as I know, the low branche of the Svartisen glacier is the most accessible glacier in Northern Norway, official info:

www.visitnordland.no/article.php?id=486&p=

Commercial operator:

http://www.nordlandturselskap.no/

Pahoa. HI
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4. Re: A few Days in Finnmark

Finnmark is a very beautiful part of Norway (my first wife was from Tana in Finnmark, so spent a lot of time up there!), but it is definitely not as impressive as the west coast of Norway (close to Bergen). September is a nice month. Cold nights and cool days that could be very pleasant if you're lucky. If you were to head even furher east and take Hurtigruten from (for instance) Vadsø, then it'll be passing by Nordkapp, the northernmost point. Not sure how close you get (I never took Hurtigruten - my parents did).

Norway
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5. Re: A few Days in Finnmark

Finnmark in early autumn is quite spectacular!

Stay with your original plan!

Visiting the rock carvings in Alta is wonderful thing, just by the fjord you walk on paths observing the amazing carvings.

The arctic climate of Finnmark is unique (for both Norway and the rest of the world), and the barren landscape gives a dramatic setting.

You pass quite close to glaciers both with the ferry from Alta to Hammerfest, and with the Hurtigruten. There are five glaciers in the Alta-Hammerfest-area - no reason to go further south for glaciers!

You should visit the sami village of Kautokeino, one of the two sami villages in Norway (the other is Karasjok). You can take a day trip by bus from Alta. The bus crosses the Finnmarksvidda, a magnificent mountain plateau, that covers most of inland Finnmark. Finnmarksvidda is the home of thousands of reindeers, herds of the samis.

If you have time, you should try to take a hike in the Alta-area.

Hammerfest is the world's northern most town, and although the town itself isn't that beautiful, it always inspires me that some people choose to live in such harsh conditions, september is nice, but when winter comes...

Remember that all of Finnmark was burnt by the nazis during WWII, so seeing old houses and idyllic streets isn't what you will meet, but a living society far far to the north, fishing and natural resources being their survival. Visit the Museum of Reconstruction and the Polar Bear society, both in Hammerfest, to learn more about the history of the north.

Hurtigruten is nice, and of course Lofoten is also beautiful with its many mountain peaks and fjords.

Oslo
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6. Re: A few Days in Finnmark

There certainly are spectacular glaciers in Finnmark! Øksjordjøkulen is the only glacier on the European mainland that calves directly into the sea.:

http://www.vulkaner.no/t/tour2005/jokel.html

There are several others too. When it comes to sami culture, the sami nomads are on the coast in the summer. The villages of Karasjok, Kautokeino and Tana are almost entirely sami, but apart from the language, no outer features distingusihes most sami from other scandinavians now adays: They work in the tax office and drive Toyotas.

I highly recommend Finnmark, though. The greatest season is the long spring-winter from Mars through May, but September should be ok too. You can hike in the interior, as the snow normally stays away until October.

The terrain is unusual in Finnmark: The mountains are along the coast, while the interior is lowland.

Indonesia
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7. Re: A few Days in Finnmark

I would like to visit Nordkapp on 19 May and would like to know the following:

1. will the road to Nordkapp already open?

2. What is the temperature like in mid May? Is there already a midnight sun?

3. The only cheap fare that I find is in Norwegian.com who fly to Alta. Shall I take a bus to Nordkapp? How long and how much for the bus?

4. Shall I stay in Nordkapp or Hammerfest? Since I will need to catch a flight in Alta at 12:15 on 20 May, will it better that I just visit Nordkapp on 19 May and back to Alta on the same day to stay overnight in Alta (but this way I will miss the midnight sun in Nordkapp?)

Really appreciate if anybody can help since I never been to Norway. Many thanks

Norway
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8. Re: A few Days in Finnmark

1. Yes, the road is normally open in May.

2. It is still cold in mid-May, probably around 3-4 degrees celsius, usually above zero :) Remember that if the weather is bad, the road may be closed. It is quite windy at Nordkapp, so the temperature often feels much colder.

Yes, the midnight sun is up (starts 2-3 days before your arrival)! Daylight all day! Hopefully the clouds will go away and you can see the midnight sun.

3. You can take a bus to Honningsvåg (the village located closest to Nordkapp). The bus ride takes 4 hours and cost a little over 400 Norwegian kroner (NOK) one way. It leaves 2.30 pm from Alta bus station, 2.55 pm from Alta airport. There is a bus in the early morning as well.

This bus is the only way to get from Alta to Honningsvåg that day (unless you rent a car).

From Honningsvåg it is 30 kilometres to Nordkapp. Hopefully there`s a bus you can catch in the evening to Nordkapp, but I haven't been able to find it out. You should check with the hotels in Honningsvåg.

4. You must stay the night in Honningsvåg (Hammerfest is hours away). There are several hotels and B&Bs in Honningsvåg, but they might be expensive.

The cheapest alternatives in Honningsvåg is probably Nordkapp Hostel (Vandrerhjem - in Nowegian) or North Cape guest house. Check out the accomodation page at www.nordkapp.no for more info. Don't choose the places that don't say Honningsvåg, cause for these other places you will need a car.

The next morning the bus to Alta leaves from Honningsvåg at 6.40 am, don't be late! It is your only option to get back to Alta in time for your flight. The bus ride takes once more 4 hours (10.40 am in Alta) and costs a little over 400 Norwegian kroner.

It is a very nice bus ride, and you get to see the fantastic landscape of Finnmark. Lots of snow and perhaps some reindeers.

Have a nice stay in Finnmark!

9. Re: A few Days in Finnmark

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