Finnmark is the northernmost region of Scandinavia. Located far above the Polar Circle, here you’ll find a bleak and pure landscape where nature is still in power. The perfect base for your Arctic adventures? Our two HI-hostels at Alta and Mehamn!
Alta (Sami: Áltá) is a fishing town surrounded by mountains, at the end of the magnificent Altafjord. There are many interesting sights in and around the centre, which make Alta a good base for exploring the surrounding wilderness.
The Alta Museum is a must-visit. Located in the Hjemmeluft Bay, at the edge of the town, it offers interesting exhibitions on local culture and history. The museum grounds are also home to the UNESCO-listed Stone Age Carvings of Alta. In the rocks around the bay, more than 6000 carvings have been found so far, the oldest dating from over 7000 years ago. It’s a unique experience to wander around the carved rocks next to the sea.
Just outside of town, the Sautso Canyon is the largest river canyon of Northern Europe. Besides the truly spectacular scenery, the river is also famous for its salmon.
Our HI Alta hostel is located on the grounds of the Folk High School. It is open all-year. The hostel lies in quiet natural surroundings, and is in walking distance of the fjord, the canyon and the centre of town.
Even further up north, on the rocky shores of the Barents Sea, the fishing village of Mehamn (Sami: Donjevuotna) is an even more awe-inspiring place where adventure lurks behind every corner. Located on the Nordkinn Peninsula, this is as close to the Arctic as you can get on mainland Norway.
The village itself is a rather sleepy place, famous for its whaling history, and for having the world’s largest collection of Santa Clauses (exhibited at the Christmas House). The reason to come here? Outdoor adventure!
Our HI Mehamn hostel lies on the seaside, and offers lots of activities for the guests. These include excursions to Nordkyn, the northernmost point of mainland Europe, guided tours to the Slettnes Lighthouse, and fishing excursions on sea and inland. And during winter, don’t miss the snow scooter and Northern Light excursions! The hostel has its own fish restaurant, and is open all-year.
Text: Robin Van de Walle // Photo top: Ørjan Bertelsen