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Tourist Destinations of the World: North Cape, Norway

Updated on October 1, 2014

North Cape, Norway

The famous North Cape globe
The famous North Cape globe | Source

Introduction

North Cape is located on the island of Mageroya in northern Norway. It is often wrongly referred to as the northernmost point of the European mainland. In all actuality, the nearby point of Knivskjellodden is approximately 100 miles further toward the north. This destination plays host to over 250,000 tourists each summer. Due to the extremely cold Norwegian winter, very few travelers visit during any other time of the year.

The North Cape's recorded history began with its naming in 1553 by Richard Chancellor, an English explorer. For ions, the area has been inhabited by Norway's indigenous people, the Sami. Due to the Cape's rugged nature, manmade development is almost rendered impossible. Despite this, the cape and it surrounding waters of the Arctic Ocean were strategic areas during the Second World War. The scope of this article will mention more concerning North Cape's history later. The cape's tourism industry did not fully materialize until after 1956 when the area's first modern entrance road, the North Cape Tunnel was constructed during that year.

While the North Cape is world renowned for its naturally picturesque views, the manmade monument known as the "Children of the World" was created by seven kids hailing from all around the world.

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What to Expect, See, and Do When Visiting the North Cape

Perhaps the first thing to be aware of when planning a trip to the North Cape is that guests are required to purchase tickets. Both visitors and their vehicles are charged access fees. Standard cars must pay 145 Norwegian Kroners ($25) each way. There is no further charge for vehicles towing a trailer of any variety. In addition to this charge, each adult is charged 47 Kroners ($8.10) while each child is charged 24 Kroners ($4.13). Furthermore, travelling all the way to the cape's cliff also calls for an entrance fee. Adults are charged 235 Kroners ($40.52); children cost 80 Kroners ($13.80). The cape, along with its gift and souvenir shops is open year round to the public.

Despite the costs involved in visiting the North Cape, the vast majority of visitors to the area claim that the beautiful views alone are worth the prices of admission. The area represents perhaps the best place in the world to view the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) during the winter months. Moreover, the North Cape is often referred to as the "Land of the Midnight Sun" as the sun is still visible throughout the summer evenings. During the summer, the cape does not experience a sunset. Naturally, the sun is not as bright as the day gets later; this creates beautiful and interesting views. While the North Cape is world renowned for its naturally picturesque views, the manmade monument known as the "Children of the World" was created by seven kids hailing from all around the world.

Each child created a different motive in clay in 1989; in that year these nearly man-size reliefs were cast in bronze. The first child created "an African man"; the second did a self portrait. The third kid made a mythological beast; the fourth child created a relief known as a "lady with bow in rain and sunshine". The fifth kid modeled a dove which represents peace; the sixth child created an image of Jesus Christ. Finally, the seventh child's aim was to create an image of a cat. However, he ended up with a bearded man in a hat. Each of these circular bronze castings framed in granite are displayed one behind the other, forming a semi circle. While this project was ongoing it was covered extensively via daily broadcasts on Norwegian national television. This monument, constructed by children from all places and walks of life does a fine job in representing the cape's claim to fame of being the end of the Earth's civilization. Visitors to the cape often exclaim that this monument forms a harmonious entity that is fun to gaze upon.

Perhaps the cape's most noticeable monument is the globe constructed of steel in 1978. This globe has come to be the official symbol of the North Cape. Placed on the massive cliff towering about 950 feet over the Arctic Ocean, the globe represents the last frontier before the Arctic Ocean. During the evening hours, the globe is beautifully illuminated.

The tourist center known as North Cape Hall contains a myriad of facilities available to all visitors. There is a gigantic wide screen that plays a detailed film discussing the four seasons as they are at the cape. More, there are many exhibits concerning the cape's history in regard to tourism. Interestingly, the cape is home to St. Johannes Kapell, the world's northernmost chapel. This church is a very popular destination for couples with wedding plans; hundreds of weddings occur here annually. The gift and souvenir shops offer a wide array of exciting keepsakes and artifacts. For those travelers who work up a big appetite, the Kompasset restaurant offers quality food for a fair price coupled with a marvelous view of the Arctic Ocean. This restaurant can seat up to 250 patrons, making it ideal for conferences, banquets, and other such gatherings. The nearby Grotten Bar is built into the North Cape's cliff. This bar seats 350 people. Also nearby is a small coffee shop that offers breakfast including delicious homemade waffles. Visiting the North Cape is best enjoyed by those who are somewhat physically fit due to the amount of walking through rough terrain that is required to seeing the best views possible. For those travelers who are bicycling enthusiasts, the EuroVelo bicycle route begins at the cape and extends all the way to Sagres, Portugal. While the exotic North Cape has always had a small population, it does have its share of history and significant events that have occurred there.

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Monuments and Other Attractions

Each child created a different motive in clay in 1989; in that year these nearly man-size reliefs were cast in bronze. The first child created "an African man"; the second did a self portrait. The third kid made a mythological beast; the fourth child created a relief known as a "lady with bow in rain and sunshine". The fifth kid modeled a dove which represents peace; the sixth child created an image of Jesus Christ. Finally, the seventh child's aim was to create an image of a cat. However, he ended up with a bearded man in a hat. Each of these circular bronze castings framed in granite are displayed one behind the other, forming a semi circle. While this project was ongoing it was covered extensively via daily broadcasts on Norwegian national television. This monument, constructed by children from all places and walks of life does a fine job in representing the cape's claim to fame of being the end of the Earth's civilization. Visitors to the cape often exclaim that this monument forms a harmonious entity that is fun to gaze upon.

Perhaps the cape's most noticeable monument is the globe constructed of steel in 1978. This globe has come to be the official symbol of the North Cape. Placed on the massive cliff towering about 950 feet over the Arctic Ocean, the globe represents the last frontier before the Arctic Ocean. During the evening hours, the globe is beautifully illuminated.

The tourist center known as North Cape Hall contains a myriad of facilities available to all visitors. There is a gigantic wide screen that plays a detailed film discussing the four seasons as they are at the cape. More, there are many exhibits concerning the cape's history in regard to tourism. Interestingly, the cape is home to St. Johannes Kapell, the world's northernmost chapel. This church is a very popular destination for couples with wedding plans; hundreds of weddings occur here annually. The gift and souvenir shops offer a wide array of exciting keepsakes and artifacts. For those travelers who work up a big appetite, the Kompasset restaurant offers quality food for a fair price coupled with a marvelous view of the Arctic Ocean. This restaurant can seat up to 250 patrons, making it ideal for conferences, banquets, and other such gatherings. The nearby Grotten Bar is built into the North Cape's cliff. This bar seats 350 people. Also nearby is a small coffee shop that offers breakfast including delicious homemade waffles. Visiting the North Cape is best enjoyed by those who are somewhat physically fit due to the amount of walking through rough terrain that is required to seeing the best views possible. For those travelers who are bicycling enthusiasts, the EuroVelo bicycle route begins at the cape and extends all the way to Sagres, Portugal. While the exotic North Cape has always had a small population, it does have its share of history and significant events that have occurred there.

Children of the World Monument

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Memorial plaque
Memorial plaque | Source

A Brief History of Norway's North Cape

Much of the North Cape's early history has its roots in nautical accomplishments. It was once used as a port by Vikings during the 11th century as it served as a launching point for some of their famous travels. Tourists began showing up in the middle portion of the 17th century via boat. The first recorded tourist was a priest by the name of Francesco Negri who came from Ravenna, Italy. He recorded all of his experiences; these recollections are on display in the museum/gift shop. It was during this time when the native people, the Sami began forming a tourism industry, an industry that is currently booming. However, all visitors had to reach the cape by way of boat until 1956 when the first road was constructed. During the Second World War the allied powers used the area and its surrounding waters extensively for shipping goods and troops to the Soviet Union. The waters off the cape were ideal for doing this as they were not heavily travelled nor monitored. On 26 December 1943, the German navy attempted to stop this flow of men and goods to Russia. This attempt was woefully unsuccessful. The German Navy, while using just a single battleship, the Schamhorst was soundly defeated. The Schamhorst was sunk; its commander and most on board were killed. Those German sailors who did not meet their demise on this day were captured and held as prisoners for the remainder of the war which dragged on for another year and a half. This battle became known as the Battle of the North Cape. It was an important victory for the allied powers as it solidified the shipping arrangements to the Soviet Union which allowed them to eventually turn the tide of the German invasion into Russia. The Norwegian government elected to erect a small plaque as a monument to this battle. There is also a monument commemorating this battle in Portsmouth, England.

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Conclusion

Norway's North Cape is the perfect place to visit for anyone who enjoys the great outdoors in its unbridled state. While it may be best seen by those who are physically fit, the entry road allows for easy access to the top of the cliff that peers out over the Arctic Ocean. The views from the cape are astonishingly beautiful and well worth the costs involved in getting there. The North Cape is considered to be directly on the edge of the world's human civilizations. As such, there is no place on Earth quite like it. There are a few hotels available in the area. While their prices, much like the cape's entry fees are expensive, they are quite luxurious and worth every Kroner. The North Cape comes highly recommended for travelers who enjoy exotic destinations.

Have you ever been to North Cape, Norway?

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    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      You have made this place so sttractive. It is on my list now.

    • ChenB profile image
      Author

      ChenB 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Hello Tipi, thanks for reading my lens. Yes, I love the North Cape area; there's no place quite like it in the world.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Beautiful place, and one that I would love to experience. Thank you for this article, I can tell you love North Cape.

    • ChenB profile image
      Author

      ChenB 5 years ago

      @sukkran trichy: Hello Sukkran, thank you for reading my lens. I'm glad you enjoyed it. North Cape, Norway really is a unique place.

    • sukkran trichy profile image

      sukkran trichy 5 years ago from Trichy/Tamil Nadu

      thanks for a virtual tour on north cape. pics and vids are great.