An urban surprise along a barren, mostly uninhabited coast, Hammerfest has summer atmosphere by the bucketful.

The world's northermost city

Hammerfest is compact, lively, humour-filled and colourful – in the midst of the most barren landscape on the Finnmark rthern Norway’s oldest city makes a great starting point for walking, hiking, sea fishing, exploring the fascinating sights, and trips and expeditions of all kinds.

A city where you least expect it

I have rounded the point at Melkøya by Hurtigruten vessel a few times, and been taken by surprise: unbelievably, there is a whole city here! After a hundred kilometres of deserted, naked Finnmark coast, Hammerfest suddenly bursts onto the retina like a Fata Morgana. One can barely wait to go ashore!


Hammerfest counts itself as the most northerly city in the w city status is, of course, an elastic concept, but Hammerfest is and remains a micro-metropolis in the Arctic. The city square and the busy main street are buzzing with life, whether the sea mist lies heavy over the city or Finnmark is panting in tropical heat. The variety of food and nightlife also surprises, from traditional Sami food served in a Sami turf hut at Mikkelgammen to the world’s most northerly Chinese restaurant. When the cruise ships and Hurtigruten are in port, the atmosphere can be positively carnival-like. Join in on a guided tour of Hammerfest, and learn more about how life is lived in this micro-metropolis at 70 degrees north.

Beautiful and fun-loving Hammerfest

Hammerfest is dominated by the densely-built, colourful architecture of the post-World War II reconstruction period, with an element of the extravagance of the Northern oil boom. Obligatory visits include Hammerfest Church built in 1961 with its flaming stained-glass windows. The little Catholic church is the world’s most northerly. Isbjørnklubben (The Royal and Ancient Polar Bear Society), with exhibitions from the Arctic Ocean, will issue you with a membership card showing you have been in the world’s most northern city. The city’s “own” mountain Salen, only a very easy walk away, offers fantastic views over Hammerfest towards Håja and Sørøya.

Thought-provoking and remarkable Hammerfest

Gjenreisingsmuseet (The Museum of Reconstruction) tells the story of how Finnmark was razed to the ground by the German occupying forces in retreat at the end of World War II, and how the county was rebuilt once more. The Meridian Column is a rather unusual landmark; the place the monument stands on was used to work out the size of the Earth, and the Column is now on the UNESCO World Heritage list. At Energihuset (The Energy House), strategically placed in what is quite literally Norway’s most energetic county, you can learn about hydro-electric power, wind power and wave power. A completely different form of energy is on show at Galleri Syvstjerna, where the artist Eva Arnesen exhibits her works.

Straight out into the countryside

The treeless and barren terrain of the Finnmark coast and mountain wilderness is remarkably accessible from Hammerfest. The easiest way to explore the coast is to take an express boat to the little fishing villages around Hammerfest, which takes a couple of hours. The tourism office can also suggest short, easy walking routes around Hammerfest, or the more active can join a guided mountain hike. Havøysund, an unknown jewel set in a rugged coastal landscape, can be reached by cycle, car or bus along the national tourist route.

To North Cape

Having come as far as this, one should also be sure to visit the most remote northerly outpost in Europe, the famous North Cape. From Hammerfest both guided tours and independent travel can be undertaken to North Cape.

Hammerfest turist is the local tourist board. We particularly recommend their hiking information.