North Cape or Knivskjellodden?

Did you think Nordkapp was the northernmost point in Norway? Join us to the lesser-known Knivskjellodden, beating the well known plateau by more than a kilometre.

Humans have always aimed for the geographic extremities, whether we have strived to reach the South Pole or the top of Mount Everest. Impressive journeys to some, tempting to others. Slowly we have turned these adventures into easier and more accessible destinations. A country’s westernmost point, highest point, the southern tip of a continent or, for example, bicycling from one end to the other, like many strive to become End to Enders in Britain.

For us, it was natural to aim for the northernmost point in Norway (and thus Europe) when we recently visited the county of Finnmark.
Every Norwegian knows the Nordkapp plateau, just as it seems to be on the tourists bucket list for our country. Most people count this cliff as Norway’s northernmost point. No wonder, it has always been marketed this way.
Motor homes, passenger cars, buses, motorcycles and bicycles all race to the top of Norway and Europe. Parts of the E69 can be quite busy.

When you’re finally there and you stand by the monument looking out over the ocean, you see a modest peninsula to the left. About 1500 meters further north (I say ’about’, because the numbers I find quote something between 1400–1600 meters) lies Knivskjellodden. North Cape is located at 71.10.21 degrees north. Knivskjellodden is at 71.11.08.

When you’re finally there and you stand by the monument looking out over the ocean, you see a modest peninsula to the left

So why is this? Well, North Cape is well established as the northern tip of Norway. Not to mention, it is much more dramatic and impressive, with its 300m tall plateau falling straight down into the ocean, as opposed to a peninsula close to the water, gently sloping down to the waves.

For a while there was not much to see. Luckily, the visibility improved as we approached the peninsula.

The 2000 year monument – 71.11.08 degrees north!

North Cape is a major tourist centre with a large parking space, the famous monument, a post office, exhibitions and a souvenir shop. The peninsula, on the other hand, is a couple of hours hike on foot. You park by the main road, approximately seven kilometres south of the North Cape plateau and head north towards the sea. The hike is suitable for most people. Apart from a steep hill into the Knivskjell bay, the path is fairly flat and easy to walk. You are surrounded by wild and beautiful scenery and maybe you’ll meet reindeers. It’s really lovely to be able to hike in the mountains and at the same time smell the sea!

You are surrounded by wild and beautiful scenery

The track is approximately eight kilometres long and well marked with a red ’T’ on stone piles. Even though this is a fairly easy hike, you should still dress well. Good hiking boots and clothes for any weather. We were here in mid August and happy to have worn our woollen layers. Not that the temperatures were low, but when the wind and rain whip in sideways, it’s easy to get cold. Believe us, there is a lot of weather here!

NOTE: Both of these places are actually on an island. An underwater tunnel takes you to Magerøya, where North Cape and Knivskellodden are located. Because there are always those who want to make a point of what should be considered what, let’s hasten to add that the northernmost point on the Norwegian mainland is Kinnarodden. This is located on a peninsula further east of Magerøya. It is a longer hike, no souvenirs, but still impressive nature.

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