The Nordic Lights / Aurora Borealis at Nordkapp
that's a very special natural phenomenon that you can watch mainly in wintertime and you need to have a perfect combination of various situations:
1) the sky has to be without clouds
2) the sky needs to be dark, so you are able to see the reflections
3) you need certain activities of the sun, that are sometimes stronger and sometimes weaker
The way that I understood this is that these activities of the sun will happen all year long, but in summertime you cannot see them because of the bright sky.
Hurtigruten has several theme-cruises especially for
watching the Nordic Lights / Aurora Borealis
An artificial bird-rock
that is another attraction for the tourists inside the Nordkapp-Hallen, just in case that the weather is not good enough to enjoy this very special place at the edge of Europe.
You will hardly ever be able to get as close to a birdrock in reality without beeing attacked by the birds, so this is a good chance for most tourists to get an idea what is going on on such a rock.
In 1873 the king of Sweden and Norway, Oscar II travelled to the Nordkapp and inside of the Northkapp-Hallen you will see some scenes of this travel shown by small puppets of the king and other noble travellers, while hiking through the landscape to the Nordkapp.
There was no street and not even a good path to this very end of the european continent, so they had a tent set up at the Northcape, so the king could sip some champagne there.
The Northcape-globe was built in 1978 at Europe´s northernmost rock with the position at 71 10`21” latitude and 21 47`40” longitude. Nobody cares a lot nowadays that this is not really the right place of the northernmost spot in Europe, that you will find just a few km from here, but at a place where you cant go by car and where you will also not find any place to get a drink or buy a postcard...
The northernmost spot is the one in my last 2 photos, that I took from the Nordkapp.
Nordkapphallen / the North Cape Hall is a large building that offers shelter in nasty weather and a great view from lots of places, restaurants and observationhalls, there is the postoffice, a selfservice restaurant, souvenirshops and even some museums, a church, a thai temple etc.
Nordkapphallen is open all year long, but the opening-times vary a bit during the wintertime.
King Oscar II, king of Sweden and Norway
traveled to the Northcape in 1873 and that was the start of the Northcape-tourism, when lots of travellers from all parts of the world were intending to go there as well.
The king was travelling with a large retinue and they set up a tent there where the king could drink champage. This obelisk in my photo was built there in 1873 in order to memorize the visit of King Oscar II.
Many more celerities followed, among them King Chulalongkorn from Siam (Thailand), who visited the Nordkapp in 1907
The Nordkapp is a great place
to enjoy the Midnight-Sun!
Most tourists prefer to come to the northcape / Nordkap during the summertime, in order to see the so-called "Midnight-Sun" ! In the Arctic summertime the sun is shining almost all day long and for about 2 months you will even see the sunlight to never totally disappear and that is the time of the Midnight-Sun. The time of the Midnightsun varies of course and the further north you get the more days that time will last. Get on a large hill or directely to the Northcape and watch the sun going down between 11.00pm and midnight and you will see that before touching the ocean the sun will start raising again.
You will NEVER see the real midnightsun at midnight, when getting there
by a Hurtigrutenship, because the Northbound ship is docked in Honnigsvag:
for 3,5 hours from 11.45am till 03.15pm
and Southbound you will get there in the early morning
Off to the right of the Nordkapphallen is a series of sculptures designed by children from around the world. They came here and dreamed of peace, and created these sculptures dedicated to Peace on Earth. It all makes you want to light up a lava lamp and break into a chorus of "One Tin Soldier."
You know, if we could get Israelis and Palestinians up here, maybe they would be so moved by this monument that they'd stop fighting each other. In fact, if we could get Red Sox and Yankees fans here... well, I suppose I should face reality and understand that SOME things are just impossible.
DISCLAIMER: I don't own a lava lamp. Nor do I sing "One Tin Soldier" out loud (though I think I do have a copy of "Billy Jack" on VHS around here somewhere...)
Also in the Nordkapphallen is a display describing the perilous convoys to Murmansk to keep the Soviets re-supplied during World War II. Allied ships had to navigate natural hazards (such as the North Cape) as well as German submarines. The exhibit is worth taking a few minutes to read.
Just before the King's Balcony is a bar! OK, so it's probably not actually the world's northernmost bar; I'm sure they have pubs on Svalbard. Work with me... ;) Anyway, this bar has a special North Cape beer on tap, which, if you purchase, you're allowed to keep the glass it comes in. They also were offering all sorts of mixed drinks with names like "arctic coctail," etc. Sadly,we did not stop to enjoy any beverages. We had to get back to the ship before it sailed without us. It would have been a rather lengthy hitchhike to Oslo.
I've already mentioned about the visit of the King of Sweden-Norway. But did you know the King of Thailand once visited here as well? There's a small museum in honor of that visit. It's really quite interesting -- and somewhat remarkable when you consider that Thailand is a tropical country!
Inside the Nordkapphallen is St Johannes Chapel, the northernmost ecumenical chapel in the world. Set in arctic blue and gold, it is a fascinating sight to see. You can even arrange weddings here if you like, but you might want to keep the wedding party intimate -- the chapel only seats about 12.
In 1878, a playboy-adventurer named Oscar took a well-publicized trek to the North Cape. Oh, and by the way, he was King of Sweden-Norway at the time, so it's King Oscar to you. Anyway, King Oscar had a monument erected in honor of his visit. It's located just in front of the Nordkapphallen.
This interesting monument is fun to photograph. I was told it marks the end of the North Cape Road. It certainly marks the end of Europe. It's about 100 meters from the Globe, and a lot easier to get near for photographs. It's also a nice place to hang around and enjoy the views while you're waiting for the Globe crowds to thin.
At the North Cape is the sprawling Nordkapphallen. Inside the large circular building is a series of museums and displays, a restaurant, a bar, a souvenir shop, and even a post office (where you can get the Nordkapp postmark on your postcards).
Entry fee is NOK 190 for adults, NOK 55 for children, NOK 380 for families, and NOK 105 for students and (Norwegian) military personnel. Entry is included if you're taking the bus excursion from the Coastal Steamer.