Norwegian Lapland is known for its deep blue fjords, red-roofed villages, succulent seafood, and stunning winter wonderland!
Norwegian Lapland is better known as Finnmark, yet formerly known as Danish Lapland. All very confusing but it can be explained!
Located in the extreme northeastern part of Norway, Finnmark borders Troms county to the southwest, Finnish Lapland to the south, and the Russian Murmansk Oblast Lapland to the east. In the northeast lies the Norwegian Sea (Atlantic Ocean), and the Barents Sea (Arctic Ocean) lies to the north and northeast.
Norwegian Lapland, however, generally also includes Troms county, south of Finnmark, which makes this most populated and largest region within the greater Lapland.
Some of the most notable settlements in Norwegian Lapland are the towns of Bodø, Narvik, Harstad, Tromsø, Alta, Hammerfest, Kirkenes, and the most northern European settlement, Nordkapp.
While the Norwegian language dominates across the region, the Sami speakers are mainly found inland and in Nordland county, Troms county and mostly in the far northern Finnmark county which borders Finland.
The region is also home to the Kvens people (Norwegian Finns) and the Russians who mostly live in Kirkenes along the Russian border.
Why known as Danish Lapland? Because during the 16th century Norway was part of the multi-national state of Danmark–Norge.
Geographically, Finnmark is larger than the entire country of Denmark. Add to that the rest of Norwegian Lapland, and we are talking about a very large area.
What is a traveller to do with limited time and money when the area is so large, public transportation is limited, and the cost of travelling is among the highest in the world? You focus on a few places and spend your money and time wisely!
One of the most beautiful parts of Norwegian Lapland is the Lofoten Islands in the Nordland county. Popularly described as “Norway’s untamed islands”, Lofoten is famous for its spectacular nature attractions such as the Northern Lights in winter, the midnight sun in summer, and many quaint off the beaten track red-roofed villages.
Located far above the Arctic Circle, the turbulent waters of the Norwegian Sea bring in a constant flow of nutrition to the marine life, which in turn feeds the birds. Fishing is popular, particularly cod, which is legendary in the making of “stockfish”. Walk around the villages and notice the unsalted cod drying in the cold air on wooden racks. Cold-adapted bacteria matures the fish in a similar way to cheese making, and the fish is then used in many local dishes, or exported to Europe. The island is also home to large colonies of puffins and many other birds.
Northeast of Lofoten lies the picturesque town of Narvik, which is best reached on the Arctic Circle Train from the Swedish towns of Kiruna or Luleå. From Narvik, a 3.5-hour scenic trip by bus goes all the way to the beautiful town of Tromsø. In winter take the gondola to Storsteinen (421 m above sea level) for stunning views over the winter wonderland below you!
Narvik, an all-year-round travel destination, is popular for its beautiful mountain setting, coloured houses, and as springboard for adventures among the fjords, bus and rail journeys, and alpine skiing at nearby Narvikfjellet.