Photo: Fredrik Fløgstad / Statens vegvesen

Norwegian Scenic Route Varanger: Hiking Trails and Viewpoints

Visit Norway’s most easterly points on a drive along Norwegian Scenic Route Varanger. The 160 kilometer long route traces the coastline on its journey from Varangerbotn to Hamningberg. Inland lies the Varangerhalvøya National Park, while the Barents Sea closes in from the other side. The scenic route leads past white sandy beaches, old fishing villages, and a shifting landscape of mountains and plains.

Get a feel for local life with short hikes along the coast or hike into the national park for remote natural wonders. The route is a paradise for birdwatchers with an incredible array of seabirds passing through and nesting in the area. Visit the islands of Ekkerøya or Hornøya or trek inland along the Komagdalen Bird Trail.

For a road trip through Norway’s raw and remote landscape combine this route with Norwegian Scenic Route Havøysund. It’s about a four and half hour drive between the two end points. From near the beginning of the Havøysund route you can also take a detour to the North Cape and Knivskjelodden, Norway’s most northerly points that are easily reachable from the mainland.

Road Closures

The section of road between Smelror, just north of Vardø, and Hamningberg is closed during winter, normally from November to May.

Check the current status and see closure dates from recent years.

Public Transport

The Hurtigruten ferry stops daily at Vardø and Vadsø and other popular destinations along the northern coast, including Kirkenes, Havøysund, and Honningsvåg. Check the port-to-port options for shorter journeys.

A bus runs two to three times daily (except Saturdays) between Kirkenes and Vardø, stopping in Varangerbotn and Vadsø. Check departure times on Entur.

Tips

  • There are endless opportunities for camping along the route, whether by the roadside or further inland. Just remember to be protected against the cold.

Download this guide, including all hiking trails and maps, in the Outtt app.

Varangerbotn to Hamningberg

Aldontoppen

Varanger

Hiking Trail
Easy
3.7 km · 1 – 1.5 hr

Aldontoppen

Get your first good look at the Varanger coastline with a quick hike up to Aldontoppen. The trail is suitable for the whole family, and the picnic bench at the top makes it a great destination for lunch or a snack before continuing along the route.

Read more about Aldontoppen

Storfjellet

Varanger

Hiking Trail
Medium
2.8 km · 1 – 1.5 hr

Storfjellet

A little further along the coast you’ll reach the tiny village of Mortensnes. Stop by the cultural heritage site for a dose of local history before trekking up the local mountain, Storfjellet.

Read more about Storfjellet

Vadsø Kjærlighetsstien

Varanger

Hiking Trail
Easy
5.1 km · 1 – 1.5 hr

Vadsø Kjærlighetsstien

During a stop in Vadsø take a stroll along “the love path”. The path is easily accessed from the town center and leads along the coast with plenty of local flora to see.

Read more about Vadsø Kjærlighetsstien

Nattfjelldalen

Varanger

Hiking Trail
Demanding
18.4 km · 5 – 7 hr

Nattfjelldalen

For a longer and more demanding hike, head to the Nattfjelldalen Valley inside the Varangerhalvøya National Park. The trail leads across the top of the valley and to a tall waterfall at the valley’s end.

Read more about Nattfjelldalen

Ekkerøya

Varanger

Hiking Trail
Easy
6.1 km · 1 – 2.5 hr

Ekkerøya

Once a distinct island, Ekkerøya is now actually connected to the mainland. The small island is easy to explore, with trails leading around the edge through a nature reserve. The bird cliffs hold tens of thousands of birds from over 50 different species.

Read more about Ekkerøya

Komagdalen Bird Trail

Varanger

Hiking Trail
Medium
10.3 km · 2 – 3 hr

Komagdalen Bird Trail

A short detour from the scenic route leads to the starting point of the Komagdalen Bird Trail. A must for birdwatchers, the trail leads along the Komagelva River with signs highlighting the different species you can spot along the way.

Read more about Komagdalen Bird Trail

Vardø Lighthouse

Varanger

Hiking Trail
Medium
5.9 km · 1.5 – 2.5 hr

Vardø Lighthouse

Take the tunnel over to Vardø to visit Norway’s easternmost town. The northern part of the island is uninhabited and an easy stroll from the edge of town. Along the way you can visit the art piece “Drakkar” and explore ruins from World War II.

Read more about Vardø Lighthouse

Hornøya Island

Varanger

Viewpoint
Easy
 

Hornøya Island

Another must for birdwatchers–and anyone fond of wildlife–is a trip to Hornøya Island from Vardø. Upwards of 80,000 birds live on the island including puffins and guillemots. Boats run daily in the summertime and a marked trail on the island makes it easy to explore. For a longer stay, consider booking a night in the the lighthouse keeper’s cottage.

Read more about Hornøya Island

Syltevika

Varanger

Hiking Trail
Demanding
13 km · 4 – 5 hr

Syltevika

5 kilometers before reaching Hamningberg is the turn-off towards Syltevikmoan. The road is in poor condition and not suitable for all vehicles, but those who make the journey will be rewarded. At the end of the road a trail continues past a large lake to the small bays of Indre and Ytre Syltevika.

Read more about Syltevika

Hardbaken

Varanger

Hiking Trail
Medium
1.3 km · 1 – 1.5 hr

Hardbaken

At the far end of Norwegian Scenic Route Varanger is the abandoned fishing village of Hamningberg. While there are no longer any permanent residents, some of the old houses are used as summer cottages. Take the steady climb up Hardbaken for views of the village and the coast, and to explore bunkers from the war.

Read more about Hardbaken

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