Driving to Nordkapp (Norway)
So, how far north in mainland Europe can you drive? Nordkapp in the Norwegian Finmark region which, at 71°10′21″N, is promoted to be the most northern point you can reach on the European Mainland, but actually the most northern point is Knivskjellodden which stretches a further 1.4km north, but to reach that it is a long hike on foot.
The drive is about 1,825km, and anyone doing this should be advised that those miles are not 'Aussie Miles' (i.e. straight) but wonderful, windy, around fjords, etc type of driving. Well worth it!
Like most iconic destinations, it is as much about the journey and driving to Nordkapp is certainly one of the most majestic drives in Europe.
Starting out from Umeå, the biggest city in Norrland, the drive takes you along majestic rivers and lakes to the west before heading north along the Inlandsvägen (The Inland Road) to Jokkmokk.
Located just above the Arctic Circle in Lapland, Jokkmokk is a place steeped in Sami culture and while very popular in winter, especially early February when the winter markets are on, it is also a place that delights in Summer.
Famous for its winter markets, Jokkmokk (Lule Sámi: Jåhkåmåhkke or Dálvvadis; Northern Sámi: Dálvvadis), is a place that should be high on any travellers list of places to see in Northern Sweden.
Nearby, well 100kms actually, is Kvikkjokk which is a magnificent drive through remote wilderness along the along Randijaure. Truly awesome landscapes. Autumn is especially beautiful as the deciduous trees put on a colour show of oranges and reds.
The next leg of the journey is to Abisko National Park in Lapland, west of Kiruna.
About Abisko National Park
A land of majestic beauty and remoteness, Sweden's Lapland has many iconic destinations. One very special place that should be on anyone's list is Abisko whose national park is a mecca for summer and winter travellers seeking nature's experiences.
Abisko National Park, located nearly 200 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle in Scandinavia's Lapland which covers Norway, Sweden, and Finland.
This majestic park attracts nature lovers and hikers in summer while in winter its small ski resort attracts those interested in snow sports.
Located to the east of Torne träsk, one of Sweden's largest lakes, its mountains rise majestically to the west of the lake.
The iconic 'U' Shaped Lapporten (Lapland Gate), is located to the west of the park and like many often photographed majestic natural wonders, can only be properly appreciated in real-life.
The next destination is Riksgränsen (Sweden) just before the Norwegian border high in the mountains, then descends the mountain range towards Narvik in Norway before heading north past the Fjordland to Alta.
The remote and beautiful landscape of the region unfolds on the drive along the Stokkedalsveien between to Skiadi then across to Russenes on the shores of the Porsangerfjorden.
The trip north along the Porsangerfjorden is along a specular coastal road to the north of the peninsular and then it is underwater crossing to the island of Mahkaravju via the 6.9km Nordkapptunnelen (North Cape Tunnel).
Once on the island, it is a short drive to the main town of Honningsvåg and a further 30+kms to Nordkapp.
In 1553 an expedition of three ships sailed from England in search of the Northeastern Passage. Two of the ships never returned home. The third ship with Richard Chancellor as commander passed a mighty mountain plateau and gave it the name Nordkapp.
Over a century later the Italian priest Francesco Negri arrived at the same cliff. He is considered the first tourist to Nordkapp, and describes it as the end of the known world. It took another two hundred years before tourism to Nordkapp established.
In 1873 the union king Oscar climbed the steep cliff of Nordkapp. This visit sparked great interest around the world, and just two years later the first group of travelers on a cruise arrived.
The journey to the far north was a great achievement and was celebrated with a glass of Champagne - a tradition still kept alive at Nordkapp.