Located in the northeast corner of Norway near the Russian and Finnish borders, the small Arctic town of Kirkenes is brimming with unique activities. From discovering Arctic wildlife to learning about the area’s storied war history, Kirkenes is worth a visit any time of year. Check out Viking’s February issue to read about the town. Here are five ideas to add to your bucket list.
- Sleep in a snow hotel.
One of the area’s main attractions is the Kirkenes Snowhotel. It’s open year-round and has several options for accommodations. Winter enthusiasts can stay in rooms made entirely of snow and ice. For a warmer and more luxurious option, The Gamme Northern Lights Cabins are inspired by traditional Sámi hunting and fishing huts. The new Snow Restaurant is the perfect place to enjoy Arctic cuisine in the secluded wilderness.
- Learn about Norway’s war history.
Kirkenes was a battleground during WWII. In the summer of 1941, it became the staging area for the German assault on the Soviet Union. The town was bombed more than 300 times. Learn more about the area’s wartime history at Borderland Museum.
- Take a king crab safari.
The Barents Sea is home to a large population of king crabs. Take a guided snowmobile tour to fish for king crabs with Barents Safari. The best part is tasting the fresh crab with a glass of wine at the end of the excursion.
- Birdwatch on Hornøya Island.
Popular summer activities in Kirkenes include hiking, boating and birdwatching. Hornøya Island is home to rare species of birds and some of Norway’s largest seabird colonies, including puffins, guillemots, sea eagles and more.
- Hunt the northern lights.
Thanks to its location north of the Arctic Circle, Kirkenes is one of the best spots in Norway to observe the northern lights. Your best chance to see them is from September to March. Want to add a little adventure to your hunt? Some tour operators in the area offer northern lights snowmobiling and dogsledding excursions.