North of Narvik

Havøysund, Finnmark

This post celebrates Europe’s most northerly reaches. I have just returned from a Scandinavian trip where I travelled between Stockholm, Sweden and Kirkenes close to the Russian and Finnish borders in Norway’s far north. Most of the travel, which was by means of train, bus and coastal Hurtigruten boat, was within the Arctic circle. My journey took in wonderful places like the magical Lofoten Islands and the so-called ‘Arctic Capital’, Tromsø, but most affecting were the small coastal communities that lay isolated yet self-contained and unperturbed along the coast of Finnmark in Norway’s most northerly region. I will say more of these in future posts but, for now, here is a selection of fairly random images from Arctic Norway.

Harstad, Vesterålen

Kjøllefjord, Finnmark

Honningsvåg, Finnmark

Reine, Moskenes, Lofoten

Å, Moskenes, LofotenStamsund, Vestvågøy, Lofoten

Close to Mehamn, 71°N

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About East of Elveden

Hidden places, secret histories and unsung geography from the east of England and beyond
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18 Responses to North of Narvik

  1. Nicely evocative images. I very much like that area east of North Cape. I once spent a spell exploring small communities along that coast like Kongsfjord, Batsfjord, Sandfjord and Vardo. in the latest issue of hidden europe magazine, I also wrote about a journey south from Kirkenes up the Pasvik Valley to Nyrud and beyond. An fascinatiing area where Lutheranism rubs shoulders with Orthodoxy. I look forward to further reports, Laurence.
    NG

    • Thanks, Nicky. I would loved to have travelled south of Kirkenes along the Pasvik Valley – it would look ravishing this time of year with the birch leaves turning golden. There was no time, I’m afraid. There is a daily bus south from Kirkenes along the valley to Nyrud but it does not come back until the next day – unfortunately, we had a flight to catch.

  2. Duncan Smith says:

    Marvellous photographs. Especially those seagulls. Thanks for sharing.

  3. dianajhale says:

    Very envious! I have always wanted to do the Hurtigruten voyage especially to see the Lofoten Islands. I didn’t manage to go to the North when I went to Norway. Look forward to further posts!

    • I had wanted to do this for years as well. The only bit of Norway we saw was Arctic, and marvellous it was too. I’d love to visit southern Norway sometime too – I had better start saving.

  4. paul says:

    Wonderful pictures. It is also one of my “travel ambitions”, and further fueled when I see things like this.

  5. Thanks, Paul. I am delighted that this has fueled your travel ambition. Scandinavia is a very new area for me, although I have long wanted to visit. Next time, I would maybe want to concentrate on just a small area – camping perhaps.

  6. Lucky you who have been to Reine and Å. I have only been in Lofoten for 2-3 hours, but I am going back. The most lovely picture of this collection was the one from the rainy window. Both the rain, the geranium flower and the cod liver oil-bottle is so typical norwegian.. ;)

  7. We stayed in Reine for two nights and just visited Å for the day – the wettest day of our entire trip in fact. Everywhere was closed but we did find shelter and sanctuary in the various buildings that make up the fishing museum. It is certainly a magical place, even if it is effectively an outdoor museum these days.

  8. Exquisite set of images, Laurence. Those grey skies and bleached landscapes speak deeply to me, though I’ve never travelled anywhere near the Arctic circle. For now I’m journeying through your eyes. Thanks…

  9. These images give me the best sense of Norway that I’ve ever seen and Scandinavia has always been on my Bucket list. How wonderful. I will look forward to future posts.

  10. Julian and Cindy, thank you both for your kind words. The Arctic Norwegian landscape and light is so gorgeous that, as a photographer, all you need to do is try and keep the horizon straight. It was my first time in Scandinavia too (apart froma brief Iceland trip a few years ago) and the Arctic has long held an appeal for me.

  11. Klausbernd says:

    It`s funny, I just found your blog by accident. Iàm living not far from you in Cley-next-the-Sea. I am a German author who loves the north as well and especially how you see it. Great pictures, indeed.
    Thanks a lot
    Klausbernd

  12. Thanks for posting, Klausbernd. Ah Cley – somewhere I know quite well, and still my favourite place on the north Norfolk coast even though I am no longer a very active birdwatcher. I love the feeling of being ‘on the edge’ (but not ‘on edge’) there. Your blog looks fascinating but unfortunately my German is very limited and Bing translator seems to just produce gibberish.

  13. dobraszczyk says:

    Lovely work here. I camped at Narvik 6 years ago and longed to take a boat to the Lofoten islands but had to get back for a conference in Stockholm. I still remember most clearly the almost everlasting sunset in mid-August, where time seemed to stand still.

  14. Never been but appetite suitably whetted. Big skies! Also currently reading John Burnside’s latest novel ‘A Summer of Drowning’ which is located up in the Arctic Circle so images also very evocative of that.

  15. Thanks both for your comments. Alas there are longer boats from Narvik to Lofoten now that the islands are fully connected by bridges and tunnels. Nevertheless, it is still a fantastically scenic 8-hour bus journey from Narvik all the way down south to Å.

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