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Nordkapp & Magerøya

Introducing Nordkapp & Magerøya

Nordkapp is the one attraction in northern Norway that everybody seems to visit, even if it is a tourist trap. Billing itself as the northernmost point in continental Europe, it sucks in visitors by the busload – some 200,000 every year.

Nearer to the North Pole than to Oslo, Nordkapp sits at latitude 71° 10' 21”N, where the sun never drops below the horizon from mid-May to the end of July. Long before other Europeans took an interest, it was a sacrificial site for the Sami, who believed it had special powers.

Richard Chancellor, the English explorer who drifted here in 1553 in search of the Northeast Passage, first gave it the name North Cape. Much later, after a highly publicised visit by King Oscar II in 1873, Nordkapp became a pilgrimage spot for Norwegians. It's also, bizarrely, one for Thais, thanks to a visit by King Chulalongkorn in 1907.

Now here's a secret: Nordkapp isn't continental Europe's northernmost point. That award belongs to Knivskjelodden, an 18km-round-trip hike away, less dramatic, inaccessible by vehicle – and to be treasured all the more for it. And Nordkapp technically inhabits an island – mainland Europe's northernmost point is away to the east, at Kinnarodden on the Nordkyn Peninsula.