Kirkenes is the capital of the municipality of Sør-Varanger. The municipality is located as far north-east as possible in Norway, close to the Varanger fjord. The region was a major World War 2 site and one can still see the remnants of the destruction that the war caused even today. However, today the city promises a perfect Arctic adventure and boasts good infrastructure and a plethora of experiences like mountain, fjord, forests, lakes, midnight sun or northern lights.
The best way to experience this winter wonderland is to indulge in some of the best things to do in Kirkenes, which includes a tour of the fascinating places like Kirkenes Snow Hotel, The Borderland Museum, Treriksroysa and The Frontier Museum. The town also offers a number of outdoor activities and adventure sports which are a major attraction of the area, including activities like Overnight Snowmobile Tour, a tour of the Gabba Reindeer Safari Park and the Pasvik Nature Reserve, Crab Excursion and Husky Tours. Other top things to do when in Kirkenes include a tour of the Andersgrotta Bomb Shelter, Galleri Artika, attending the local summer festival called Kirkenes Days and catching a glimpse of the Northern Lights, an experience so surreal and unforgettable that it would remain in your memories forever. All the attractions of Kirkenes are what that make this town different from other places, making Kirkenes one of the top travel destinations in the world.
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What to Do in Kirkenes
Enjoy 11 best Kirkenes attractions and points of interest to choose from!
Kirkenes snow hotel: if you are looking for the ultimate snow experience, the Kirkenes snow hotel is much recommended on your trip to Kirkenes. Undoubtedly the small town faces snowfall for more than half a year but the snow hotel is definitely something one wouldn't think of. The beauty of this hotel is that it melts away and is rebuilt by a Chinese set of workers every year. The hotel has snow sculptures and its walls are intricately decorated and designed with snow alone. Although you have the table chair bed and bar made up of snow as well, the snow hotel is pretty cozy and assures to keep you warm below -5 degree c. The snow surface is covered with reindeer fur while the bath water as well as drinking water is served warm. The Kirkenes snow hotel also offers northern lights wake up calls and provides with several activities like snowmobile safaris and dog sledges. Once you get to Kirkenes, this is an experience one has to witness. Make the snow hotel is a vivid and pleasant memory on your trip to Kirkenes.
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Forstevannslia, N-9900 Kirkenes, Norway
10:00 am - 06:00 pm
The Borderland Museum also known as Grenselandmuseet is closely located with the Savio museum. The museum depicts the history of Sor Varanger Community and tells about their past and present conditions. Moreover, the borderland museum houses exhibitions on WWII in "The Borderland", Sami culture, mining at AS Sydvaranger, the art of Kaare Espolin Johnsson and several exhibitions on the nature, culture and history of Sor-Varanger. Posters, souvenirs’, art from Kaare Espolin Johnson's han and handicrafts can be purchased at the museum. The museum focuses on Norwegian, Finnish and Russian immigration. It also gives out information about the political and cultural colonization of local inhabitant second world war and how the mining company was established. If history gets you curious and inquisitive, the Borderland Museum is a much recommended attraction for you.
Indulge in an activity that screams fun, the overnight snowmobile tour. The tour has several places to start from. However, the famous snow hotel of Kirkenes is the most preferred starting point. The tour starts with lunch at the snow hotel where you get introduced to your tour guide. Further you will be given instructions about the do s and don’t s on the tour. Finally as your tour starts you move along the fjord through the woods towards the popular Pasvik valley. You keep riding for about 85 kilometers till and have your first stop at Gjoken where you spend the night. Sauna and snow swimming are optional activities on the tour. The overnight snowmobile tour is quite an adventurous experience and it must be given a try on a visit to Kirkenes.
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Akersveien 24 C, Kirkenes 0177, Norway
12:01 am - 12:00 am
Gabba Reindeer Safari Park is a Reindeer park with reindeers as their chief attraction. It serves as an ideal place to watch wildlife and huskies. The park has an area where reindeers’ reside. If the climate is too warm you may not find the huskies around. The sled dogs are extremely friendly and you could spend the longest time playing with them. As the park adjoins the snow hotel visitors to the park can also visit the Kirkenes snow hotel. The park also has a well priced restaurant that serves delectable local food. Gabba Reindeer Safari Park is an experience you should endeavor on your visit to Kirkenes.
The city of Kirkenes is very famous for its crab excursion tours. During the tour you learn how to fish for crabs while late you are served a delicious meal of fresh crab meat. The city hosts a lot of tours for crab excursions and few of them may include; The Barents Safari tour, The Barents boat safari tour, the King crab Excursion tour and more. The tours come with options of getting to the fishing venue on a snowmobile or a boat. Kirkenes is rich with king sized fleshy crabs that would definitely make a delightful meal. The crab meat is succulent fresh and a little sweet to taste. If you are a cat when it comes to fish, the crab excursion is a much recommended tour for you.
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Gabba Reindeer and Husky Park, Kirkenes 9915, Norway
09:30 am - 04:30 pm
Husky tours are an ideal way to learn more about dogs and sledding. In the husky tour, you have about ten husky dogs giving you a sledge ride around the area. On the way you get a glimpse of the beautiful mountains, ocean and open plateaus. The magical northern lights and the star studded sky is part of this blissful view. Kirkenes has more than one husky tour. Husky Tours at Sollia Gjestegard, BIRK, Kirkenes Snow hotel Husky Trips are a few tours you can choose from. The husky tour includes two people on the sled, you being one and the driver the other. It is also inclusive of a tour guide that will give you insights on your way to the forest. The husky tour is sure to enhance your trip to the snow clad region in Norway.
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9925 Svanvik, Norway
12:01 am - 12:00 am
On a trip to the Pasvik Nature Reserve you would get a close glimpse of ducks, swans, geese and a few waders by the River Pasvik. In the nature reserve you can enjoy the sight of elf, moose, Reindeer, horses, bears, deer, etc. The park has a forest road which leads to Treriksroysa, the point where three borders meet. A visit to the reserve during autumn months offers a better atmosphere with magnificent colors brought by the climate. The nature reserve is an ideal spot to explore wildlife and also spend some time fishing or relaxing by the river. If you love wildlife or are looking for a pleasant and relaxing outing, the Pasvik Nature Reserve is a much recommended visit.
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Road 885 (Pasvikdalen) , Kirkenes , Norway
Treriksroysa (meaning three country cairn) is that strategic junction where the borders of Sweden, Norway and Finland meet. With the geographical features this place possesses it is referred to as a tripoint in Norway. The Treriksroysa can be easily recognized by a yellow dome-shaped stone made of concrete which stands in Lake Goldajarvi 1,604 feet above sea level. It was said it be the world’s smallest island and can be accessed by boat as well. An ideal place to take a pleasant stroll around the mountainous region. What’s more fascinating is the three time zones. The experience on the whole is sure to be exceptionally different. Moreover, Treriksroysa holds a lot of importance geographically which indeed makes it an interesting place to visit.
Andersgrotta Bomb Shelter is a place that screens short films that gives the viewers an idea of how life was back in time when the civilians took refuge in Kirkenes. Andersgrotta screens films everyday during the summers, i.e. from May to September and is otherwise open only for a group of 10 persons or more. The bomb shelter is a good dig in the history of Kirkenes and is very informative when it comes to the history of the Second World War. The bomb shelter is a must visit especially for those who love learning more about history.
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Wiullsgate 1, Kirkenes, Norway
10:00 am - 04:00 pm
Galleri ArtikA is an art gallery that displays magnificent and innovative art work. The gallery hosts art exhibitions and has lovely other artistic stuff in colored glass. The display of paintings is indeed remarkable. Art lovers should pay a visit to this place.
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Forstevannslia, N-9900 Kirkenes, Norway
10:00 am - 06:00 pm
The Frontier Museum located in Kirkenes is quite close to the Borderland museum and the Savio museum. Located in the main building of the Sor-Varanger Museum, the frontier museum hosts exhibitions that relate to nature, culture and history pertaining to the frontier regions between Norway, Russia and Finland. The frontier museum also gives out information about many other museum departments around the town. The museum is quite an interesting and informative attraction and is a must visit for history lovers especially.