The administrative centre of Finnmark, Vadsø was the site of large-scale immigration from Finland; in the mid-19th century the town’s population was 50% Kven, as the Fins were known. A monument at the north end of Tollbugata commemorates this cultural heritage. Vadsø is also renowned as a site for polar exploration, with several expeditions having started or ended here. Like other Finnmark towns, it was badly mauled, by both Russian bombers and retreating Nazi troops, in WWII.
In the cemetery on Vadsø island, across a short bridge from the mainland, rest the remains of several Pomors, Russian traders and fisherfolk from the White Sea area, who prospered here in the 17th century. There are also traces of several protected prehistoric turf huts. If visiting in early summer, watch for the rare Steller’s eider, a duck that nests here.
The tourist office (78 94 04 44; www.varanger.com; 10am-6pm Mon-Fri, 10am-4pm Sat & Sun mid-Jun–mid-Aug, 9am-3pm Mon-Fri rest-of-year) is at Kierkegate 15.
Last updated: Feb 17, 2009
Bags feeling light?
Coffee table looking bare?
Get your guidebooks, travel goods, even individual chapters, right here.
(3 star Hotel)
From US$33.61 per night