After our packrafting trip in Finnish Lapland we drove with our car up North to Norway towards the Arctic Sea. This was the first time for me in Norway and I really enjoyed the scenery. Coming from Central Europe, I found Southern Finland - where I live since 10 years - already quite remote. Northern Norway however felt really far away.

Hiking and Packrafting in Norway

The border between Finland and Norway is nothing special. There was a custom office but no passport control. I jumped out of the car as I always wanted to walk over the Finnish - Norwegian border.

Näätämon tulli border finland norway neiden to kirkenes

Next to the street was also a border stone. Similar ones can also be found in the nature where there are no streets.

Border Stone Finland Norway

After the border we stopped at a Skoltefossen waterfall at the Näätämo river where we took a few pictures.

Skoltefossen waterfall Neiden Näätämo in Norway

We stopped at Neiden Kroa where we had a sandwich and tea. A sandwich with meat and coffee was about 10 EUR and a cheese sandwich with tea was about 6 EUR which was also quite reasonable priced Even so the cheese sandwich was nothing special.

Neiden Kroa Norway

Neiden Church

Our next stop was Neiden where we visited a wooden church which has been built in 1902 and offers space to 155 people.

Neiden Church Norway

The interior of the church was quite simple but with fine details.

Neiden Church Norway in Norway

The altar of the church. The chandelier was made in Helsinki. Probably an indication that Finnish culture had a strong influence in this area.

Hiking and Packrafting in Norway

Fjord and Øvre Pasvik National Park

On the way to Kirkenes we stopped and climbed up a rock where we enjoyed a breathtaking view over the Fjord and the Øvre Pasvik National Park.

Climbing Fjord and the Øvre Pasvik National Park Norway

We found out that this area was one of the sever bombed areas in Norway during the Second World War in 1944 when it was liberated by the Soviet Army. This area has a variety of nature such as arctic coasts, vast mountain plateaus, pinewoods and river valleys.

Øvre Pasvik National Park Norway Neidenfjord

Kirkenes

After a few kilometers we arrived in Kirkenäs which is only a few kilometers away from the Russian border. Sime street signs are in Russian snd Norwegian. The city developped economically during the last century when a mining company started to operate here.

Kirkenes City Center Norway

In Kirkenes we had Greek Salad for 145 Krona in the Centrum Kafe. Next to the cafe was the tourist office. We asked the what we could do here and he answered that there are a few Russian statues and a museum about the Second Worldwar and the Sami culture but otherwise there is nothing much to see in town.

This was probably the most funniest tourist office I have ever visited. On the other hand it’s a great customer service if you have a tourist office even so there are hardly any tourist attractions. We decided to have a cup of tea and continued our trip with the car on the E6 to Bugøynes - a one hour drive northwest of Kirkenes.

Driving on the E6 from Kirkenes to Bugøynes

On the way to Bugøynes we saw a few reindeers walking around next to the road. We stopped a few times on the road along the Arctic Sea. Such a strong wind.

Bugøynes wind hiking in Norway

On one sand beach nearby Bugøynes we found the leg of a king crab on the beach.

King Crabs Bugøynes Arctic Sea Beach Lundhags Jaure Light High

Bugøynes

Once we reached Bugøynes we visited the local cemetery as it was home of the Boreal Jacobs Ladder (Polemonium boreale) which can only be found here in Scandinavia.

Boreal Jacobs Ladder Polemonium Boreale Bugøynes

Many gravestones had Finnish names on it.

Bugøynes cemetery Norway

The village also offered an ice sauna directly at the beach which costs around 25 EUR per person. The Sauna had a Finnish name and there were quite a few people in the village who were able to speak Finnish.

Bugøynes Beach Norway

We liked that Bugøynes had houses in different colors and some houses were also decorated nicely.

Bugøynes fishing house sea Norway

Then we went to the local grovery store where we bought our breakfast for the next day as we were planning to camp nearby the shore of the Arctic Sea. We also asked if there is any restaurant in the village and heared that there was a restaurant a few meters up the road which is called Bistro.

Caj and Katja decided to order a King Crab and I had a oven potatoe with salad. For desert we decided to have pancake which we had to prepare ourselves. The restaurant had a big aquarium with king crabs in it and there was also free wifi which we used to check our mails.

After we had dinner we went to the local tourist office and had a chat with the person working in it. There was also a festival in town during this weekend and we decided to visit the Bugøynes festival where we listened to live music.

Camping at the Arctic Sea

After our short visit at the Bugøynes festival we drove the street back with our car to the direction where we came from and pitched our tents on a place which looked less windy.

Hiking and Packrafting in Norway

There was also a group of Russians who were here for fishing. I explored the area a bit while Caj prepared some tea. I walked about 1 km along along the cliffs partly on a trail called “Folkesti”.

Folkesti Bugøynes Norway

Even on the top of the rocks I could find evidence of sea life. Probably a bird has brought it here.

Sea Life Norway

Then I reach the top of the rock which was an excellent good spot to take a picture from Bugøynes and the the Norwegian shore.

Bugøynes Norway Sea Coast Cliffs

Again, very strong wind was blowing against my face from the Arctic Sea.

Hiking and Packrafting in Norway

Once back in our camp, Caj was waiting with hot tea and we decided to have a walk along the sand beach afterwards.

Bugøynes Cliffs Beach in Norway

At 10 pm it was time to get into the tent as we were planning to get up at 8 am as rain was predicted at 9am.

Nesseby Church

The next morning we woke up at 7am. When I looked out of my Marmot Force UL 2P tent there was still no sign of sun. Again, I did not feel cold in my Western Mountaineering Versalite sleeping bag during the night.

Bugøynes Tent Camping Norway

I put on my Lundhags Jaure Light High shoes and started to pack my gear.

Lundhags Jaure Light High Norway

We had a quick breakfast at our camp and a cup of tea on a gas station in Vuonnabahta/Varrangerbotn. There is also the Varjjat Sami museum which we however did not visit as we have just been to the Siida museum in Inari a few days ago - another Sami museum. I also liked the fishing boats along the coast.

Fishing Boat Northern Norway

On our way to Vadsø we visited the Nesseby church which has been built in 1858 and is one of the few churches which has not been burnt down in this region by the Germans in 1944.

Nesseby church Norway

At the church there were also prehistoric graves and a sacrificial stone from earlier Sami religious exercises. There were also fish drying racks nearby the church.

Graves Cemetery Nesseby Church

Vadsø

Around 11 am we arrived in Vadsø. It was raining and we decided to drive to the ‘island’ part of the city to have a short walk.

Vadsø City Norway

The area seemed to be a popular place for bird watchers too. We had lunch in a restaurant called Opticom which seemed to be the only place open for lunch. The Tourist Office was just next to it and asked about the museum and a possible cabin for the night as it was going to rain till the next day. Panorama camping seemed to be a good option.

Varanger Museum

After lunch we visited the Tuomainen Farm (originally called Vinikka Farm) or Kvenfarm, which was built by Johan Petter Vinikka - an Finnish immigrant - in 1851. At this time many Finns immigrated into this area. “Finn” in the word Finnmark means actually “Sami” in Norwegian languge as Finns were called “Kvens”. We also visited the Esbensen estate which is oart of the museum. The entrance fee to the Tuomainen Farm was about 5 EUR.

Varanger Museum Tuomainen Farm Norway

Climbing a Fjell and watching Reindeers

After our visit to the Tuomainen museum we decided to walk up a nearby Fjell 121 m above the sea level which seemed to be the highest point around Vadsø with a great view over the Varanger Fjord and the city.

Hiking and Packrafting in Norway

Suddenly, we saw a big reindeer herd in front of us. A few of them had huge antlers on their head. Once they noticed us they changed their direction and walked away. There were also many berries (also blueberries on the Fjell) and we could see the Vadsø airport.

Berries Vadsø Norway

Tea and Camping

Once we were back in the city we had a cup of tea and decided to look for a camping place where we could rent a cabin. Panorama camping located 5 km after Vatsø was closed so we decided to drive back towards Nesseby to find another camping place.

We decided to take it easy as the weather was not that good and stayed at Vestre Jakobselv Camping where we rented a cabin for around 60 eur and one hour Sauna for about 10 EUR. There was also a small restaurant in the village called “Lille Chili” where we had dinner.

Packrafting in the Arctic See

The next morning we woke up at 8.30am, had breakfast in our cabin, packed our gear and drove to the shore of the Arctic Sea (Varanger Fjord).

Packrafting in the Arctic See in Norway Varrenger Fjord

The weather was much better than than the last 2 days and we could even see the sun and the blue sky between the clouds. This was the first time for us to packraft in the Arctic Sea and the water was freezing cold.

Packrafting in the Arctic See in Norway Varrenger Fjord

There were many small mussels on the rocks.

Mussels Varanger Fjord in Norway

And we really enjoyed the day at the Varanger Fjord.

Packrafting Varanger Fjord in Norway

Some essential gear for Packrafting - a packraft, a paddle, a life jacket (Astral Designs V-Eight) and something to protect your iPhone (Thule X5).

Hiking and Packrafting in Norway

After days of rain and cold weather it was nice to sit at the shore and enjoy the nordic summer sun.

Vatsø Nesseby Shore beach summer sun in Norway

At the nearby fisher hut there were again fish drying racks and a fisher net. People here really life from the sea.

Fisher Net Vatsø Varanger Fjord in Norway

Klubben trail

After packrafting in the Arctic Sea we continued with our car to the rest stop called Murggiidgahparas or “the Club Nose” where we had a 1.8 km hike up to the Klubbfjellet 400 m above the sea level. Traces of Sami sacrifices and ancient Sami graves have been found on this mountain under the scree in the past. The view over the Fjord was just awesome.

Klubben trail Sami cemetery in Norway

Caj tried to be artistic on the top of the mountain.

Klubben trail Sami Cemetery in Norway

While I sat down and enjoyed the scenery.

Lundhags Jaure Light High Vatsø in Norway

Tana bridge and Utsjoki

On the way back to Finland we crossed the Tana bridge in Norway which is the most popular salmon fishing river in Finland and a fishing permit is needed to fish there.

Tana bridge in Norway

We were driving along the road which goes next to the Tana river to Utsjoki. The landscape was awesome - the long valley with the Tana river in front of us and the Fjells next to us. The trees were already taller than at the sea and there were much more of them. There were hardly any houses along the road to Utsjoki. When we reached the Norwegian-Finnish border I decided to jump out of the car and walk over the Sami bridge.

Sami bridge Utsjoki

The Tana river was flowing under me and in the middle of the bridge was a sign showing the border between Norway and Finland.

Sami bridge Utsjoki Tana border

After I crossed the Sami bridge we had a break and a tea in Annukan Grilli just nex to the road. 4 Germans were sitting next to us eating Burgers and french fries.

Inari

On the way to Inari we saw plenty of reindeers. They are usually not running away as long as you sit in the car.

Reindeer Inari Finland

Once we arrived in Inari we went to the local K-Market to buy some food for the evening. Then we went up to Tuulisjärvi where we walked partly along the lake.

Tuulisjärvi Inari Finland

As it was already 22.30 we returned to the place where we left our car and pitched our tents. As the sunset was so beautiful I went up to the hill with the radio antenna to get a few more pictures over the Inari lake.

Sunset Inari lake Tuulisjärvi Finland

I went sleeping around 12 pm and woke up the next morning around 8am. We packed our gear and Caj drove me to the airport in Inari where my Finnair flight to Helsinki via Kittilä was waiting for me.

Hiking and Packrafting in Finland

I had a great week and I am looking forward to visit Finnish Lapland and Norway again. Here is also a short video about our trip.

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