Road trip Varanger in Norway 🇳🇴

Discover the 99 mile (160 kilometer) road trip Varanger in Norway! See the special landscape and the many animals that live there. Read all about the route, highlights along the way and which sights there are near the road trip route.
Road trip Varanger Norway

About the road trip Varanger

The road trip Varanger is located on the peninsula of the same name in Norway. The route is located in the far north of the country, which also makes it Norway’s most northerly scenic route.

The route runs along the coast and offers beautiful views of the unique Norwegian landscape and of the Barents Sea, part of the Arctic Ocean. Along the way you will pass birch forests, rugged cliffs, swamps and the sea. The route also includes Varangerhalvøya National Park, the 697 square mile (1,804 square kilometer) national park is the most northern national park in the country. In almost all national parks it is forbidden to drive with vehicles, which is why the routes are around the parks.

The route is 99 miles (160 kilometers) long and runs from Varangerbotn to Hamningberg. On maps, the route is referred to as the E75 and Fv341, which are the official names of the roads. On old maps, the Fylkesvei 341 will often still be referred to as 8100.

Officially one of the most beautiful routes in Norway

The road trip Varanger is officially one of the most beautiful road routes in Norway. The Norwegian government has designated 18 routes as National Scenic Routes, or the most beautiful in the country. These 18 routes give a good impression of the beautiful and varied nature that the country has. In addition, the National Scenic Routes have a good road surface and various facilities for tourists. Not only have architectural viewpoints been constructed, sanitary facilities have also been realized.

Part of the route closed in winter

Norway is known for the elongated and imposing landscape, but also for the large amount of snow that falls in the winter period. Due to the heavy snowfall, many roads are closed in the winter months, including many National Scenic Routes. The Varanger route is partially closed in winter, with most of it remaining open and kept passable.

From about November to May the Varanger is closed from Smelror and Hamningberg, this is also the road Fv341. The exact closing period depends on the weather. The route from Varangerbotn to Smelror, which is the E75, will remain open for road transport.

Discover the unique landscape and the birds

Norway is a country of extremes, the landscape is very diverse. The diversity is fully featured on the Varanger peninsula and along the breathtaking route. The route takes you along the Arctic Ocean, the rugged cliff landscape and forests. Nature is untouched here, so you can optimally discover the splendor of the area. The area is full of contrasts and brings you closer to nature and animal life. Varangerhalvøya National Park and the surrounding area are known for the unique bird species that can only be found here and also how close you can get to these birds. On the peninsula, among others, the bean goose, pygmy goose and smallest skua can be found. The area is therefore one of the 100 best places in the world for bird watching. Several bird hides have been built along the road trip Varanger, so that you can quietly enjoy the landscape and observe the birds. The Arctic fox also lives on the peninsula and can therefore be encountered.
Road trip Varanger in Norway

Route and highlights of the road trip Varanger

The road trip Varanger is Norway’s northernmost tourist route. It is located along the coast of the Varanger peninsula and is close to Varangerhalvøya National Park.

The peninsula is known for the very diverse landscape and the unique bird species that can be admired. The area itself is therefore one major attraction. Along the route there are several sights that are definitely worth a stop. The sights are in a row from Varangerbotn to Hamningberg. Please note that in the winter months the road is only passable from Varangerbotn to Smelror, the part between Smelror and Hamningberg is closed due to the heavy snowfall.

Bird huts along the route

The Varanger Peninsula is known for its unique bird species. Bird hides have been built at various locations along the route, where you can enjoy all the arctic bird species that live in the area in peace. These bird species include the beaned goose, pygmy goose and smallest skua. Bird watching huts are located in Vestre Jakobselv, on the Ekkerøya peninsula, near the town of Vardø and on the uninhabited island of Hornøya.

Resting place Gornitak

Resting place Gornitak is located near the start of the road trip Varanger, on the Varangerfjord. In Sami, the name of the building is Gorgŋetak, this name is also on the facade. The name means ‘ascend’.

The resting place is located near a mountain slope and offers beautiful views over the Varangerfjord and the Barents Sea. At the resting place are sanitary facilities, which are located in an old building that functioned as an ammunition storage during the Second World War. After restoration and construction of the resting place, toilets were made here. From about the beginning of October to mid-May, the sanitary facilities are closed due to the winter weather. The resting place can be visited.

The Church of Nesseby

Nesseby Village Church, also known as Nesseby Kirke, is located a short walk from the village. The E75 road runs through the village, making it easy to stop in Nesseby and visit the church. Park the car and walk towards the sea, where Nesseby Kirke stands on a peninsula.

Dating back to 1858, the church is one of the few structures that escaped the flames of the retreating German army at the end of World War II. The church is over 160 years old, but an altarpiece is even older. The baroque altarpiece of the church dates from about 1720 and is therefore over 300 years old.

Mount Domen

Domen Mountain is located along the scenic drive Varanger and a popular place to stop and hike. From the mountain there is a beautiful panoramic view of the Varangerfjord, the Arctic Ocean (of which the Barents Sea is part), the city of Vardø and of course the unique landscape of the Varanger peninsula.

On Mount Domen, according to ancient stories, witches are said to have had encounters with the devil, Satan. Witches played a major role on the peninsula, further along the route there is an impressive monument to the people who were convicted of witchcraft.

A public building consisting of three small parts has been built on top of the Domen mountain. The panoramic view can be enjoyed from behind the large windows. The building is also ideal for bird watching. On a sunny spring day, hundreds of thousands of Arctic birds can be seen around Vardø.

Memorial Steilneset

At the end of the road E75 is the town of Vardø, on the island of Vardøya. The island is off-limits to the Varanger peninsula by means of a tunnel. The part of the E75 is no longer part of the road trip Varanger, but the Steilneset monument is certainly worth deviating from the route for a while. It is one of the tourist attractions of the route. A visit to the city of Vardø is also worthwhile.

Along the coast is the architectural Steilneset monument, also called the Heksemonumentet. The monument was built in memory of the 91 people who were convicted of witchcraft and burned at the stake. The monument consists of a 100 meter long memorial hall with texts that tell the stories. There is also a burning chair in a building, as a reminder of what happened on Varanger in the past.

Abandoned fishing village Hamningberg

Norwegian fishing villages tell the story of the country and give a glimpse into everyday life. Scattered over the long, expanse of land are many fishing villages. Fishing village Hamningberg is one of the special villages of Norway. The fishing village is now abandoned and is located on a tip of the Varanger peninsula, from which there are beautiful views of the sea. The abandoned village shows traditional Finnmark history and is home to several pre-WWII houses and even some Russian buildings built between 1800 and 1900.

In the winter months, the village of Hamningberg is not accessible. Because the road is impassable due to the heavy snowfall, it is closed from Smelror. The other sights along the road trip Varanger are accessible all year round.
Varanger road trip and national park

Highlights near the road trip Varanger

Norway has too many sights to count. Not only buildings or tourist roads are worth seeing, it is mainly the untouched and breathtaking nature that steals the show. The Norwegian landscape is never the same, there is a great diversity in the country. Norway is far too big to be able to visit all of Norway during one holiday or round trip, but you can of course get the most out of the trip by preparing well. In the vicinity of the coastal route Varanger are several places of interest that are worth a visit.

National Park Varangerhalvøya

Many National Scenic Routes, officially the most beautiful roads in Norway, are located at national parks. The road trip Varanger is also located at a national park, namely at Varangerhalvøya. The park covers 697 square miles (1,804 square kilometers) of the more than 1,275 square miles (3,300 square kilometers) that make up the Varanger Peninsula. The untouched nature of Varanger has attracted tourists to the area for years because of its beauty and the many arctic birds. Varangerhalvøya Nasjonal Park was established in 2006. This protected the area and also put it on the map as a destination worth visiting. The Varanger route does not pass through the national park, but it does pass right by it. So it is easy to visit the nature reserve.

Kirkenes, Norway’s last city

If you are going to drive the route over the Varanger peninsula, it is also attractive to drive to the ‘end of Norway’. The Varanger route starts at Varangerbotn, but if you stay on the E6 you will drive to Kirkenes. Kirkenes is the terminus of the E6 highway and also the last town in Norway before the Russian border. The town of about 4000 inhabitants is mainly known as the eastern terminus of the Hurtigruten. The town of Kirkenes is about 3 miles (5 kilometers) from the border with Russia as the crow flies, by road it is about 31 miles (50 kilometers).

Northwest of Russia

The road trip Varanger the northernmost tourist route in Norway, you could say it is ’the last’ in the country. The route is, by Norwegian standards, close to the borders with Russia and Finland. The border crossing with Russia is located 79 miles (128 kilometers) from Varangerbotn, so you set foot on Russian territory. It is therefore possible to combine your trip through Norway with a piece of Russian nature. The border is not open, as with Sweden or Finland for example.

Northern Finland

If you are driving to the Varanger peninsula from the south, you will drive on the E6 highway. At Varangerbotn there is the exit to the E75 and the road trip Varanger begins. En route on the E6 you have been driving for miles along the border between Norway and Finland. You can cross the border at Utsjoki and visit Finland. You can also cross the border at Polmak and Neiden, but then you will use local roads. It is certainly worth crossing the border, because many large nature reserves are located in the north of Finland. Near the border at Varanger there are 4 national parks.

Scenic Route Havøysund

With a length of 41 miles (67 kilometers), the road trip Havøysund is relatively short, but in the north of Norway this route is certainly one of the must-see sights. Just like the road trip Varanger, Havøysund is also a so-called National Scenic Route, these are 18 routes that have been labeled the most beautiful in the country by the Norwegian government. The route runs from Kokelv to Havøysund and is easily accessible from the E6 highway.

Norwegian North Cape

If you’re driving Norway’s northernmost tourist route, chances are you really want to visit the northernmost tip of the country. Combine your tour through the north of Norway with a visit to the famous North Cape, Nordkapp in Norwegian. The Norwegian North Cape is located on the island of Magerøya and is located in the Barents Sea, from the mainland the island is accessible via a tunnel. The North Cape is considered the most northern tip of the European continent and is visited by many tourists every year.

However, it is officially not the most northern point. This is Cape Fligely on the Frans Jozefland archipelago, part of Russia, which is also still in Europe. The North Cape is also not the most northern point of the European mainland, but it is close to it. About 1640 yards (1.5 kilometers) away is Knivskjelodden, this headland on the same island is the northernmost point of mainland Europe. The headland is only accessible by foot, the walk is about 5 miles (9 kilometers) long.