What are we doing here?
Honestly, if the Norwegian Public Roads Administration (what a dreary name) would not have put one of the 18 national tourist roads up here, we probably would not have gone there. But as these roads are usually worth a detour, we tried this one as well.
Was it worth the time? Definitely. We like the solitude in that part of the country, the rough coast, the bendy roads alongside it, the ancient rock formation and the occasional design highlights in form of resting places, bridges and bird watching places, see below some pictures.
But we admit, it is probably not for everyone and not for first time visitors to Norway.
However, when you flip through the pictures you probably understand how much we enjoyed this trip.
And there is something in addition that the pictures do not tell and that probably sounds like a terrible common place but nevertheless: time does go slower here. People appear to have always time for a chat and because there are far fewer tourists here than at the more famous location further north, we experienced genuinely interest in where we are coming from, what we are doing here and if we enjoyed ourselves.
Well, actually we did, a lot. You should try it as well, even as a first time Norway traveller.
The Arctic View
Do you know the feeling when you nearly have given up finding a nice place for dinner after a long day and were already checking out the local kebab take-aways - and then spotting a place that turned out to be the best of the entire holiday?
That happened to us in Havøysund and of course we can only blame ourselves for not doing a proper research earlier on. But, then we would not have had such a pleasant surprise!
This place is literally at the end of 70 km dead end street: One step further and you drop into the Arctic Sea. One side of the restaurant is just windows, and the tables are right next to them, so the entire time you can marvel at the view - including the midnight sun if you are lucky. We were not but we enjoyed the dramatic sky equally while having the best food of our trip up here, delicious reindeer.
We complimented the owners to the idea, the design and, of course, the food, but also wondered how they can survive up here.
It is not like they would see a lot of walk-in customers we assumed. But Reidun and Aslak, the owner, said it is going just fine. They got some coverage from travel magazines, so that helped, and also the reputation of the kitchen made some people driving to the North Cape having a detour here. It is their second year and they are optimistic for the future.
We certainly hope so and wish them all the best!
Going with the ferry even further out
What do you do when you are at the end of the world? You go further and try to find the edge where you fall of the flat earth, obviously.
At least it felt like that when we took the ferry to the islands of Rolvsøya and Ingøya, west of Havøysund. There is nothing to do really, so we stayed on the ferry and observed how goods and even cars were lifted with a crane from the boat to the quay, saw quite some people coming and going, apparently commuting.
You cannot help wondering how it must feel to live here the whole year round, so far away from any city life but also what you might need urgently, such as emergency services, medicine etc.
And while this is now all pretty well organised and even out here everything is kind of in reach, you know that this is not the case since very long.
The people that lived here just 50 years ago were indeed self-sufficient and tough. It has been the survival of the fittest in a way we are luckily nowadays totally unfamiliar with.
Distance from Alta
200 km / 3 hrs by car from Alta, a bit less from Lakselv, too far from Kirkenes, 3 hrs from the North Cape
Enjoying a dinner at Artic View while watching the midnight sun not go down
Landscape along side the national tourist route
Round trip with the ordinary ferry starting and ending at Havøysund
Overnight stay we can recommend
Well, unfortunately, we cannot recommend a good hotel. Ours was not very good and the others we saw were not better...
Maybe not a trip for first time visitors to Norway. But those, who enjoy solitude and like to get a glimpse how living in remote places back in the days might have felt, it might be right anyhow
Click on the map for opening the right clipping in google maps in a new window