“Here I stand at the North Cape, the outermost point of Finnmark. I could even say that this is the end of the entire world,” wrote Francesco Negri, the 17th-century traveller who first made it to Norway’s Northern Cape, the northernmost point of mainland Europe.
Jutting out into the Arctic Ocean, it long remained a romantic but remote winter destination, reached only by a daily, snowplough-led convoy. This year, however, there’s a new way to arrive: a snowmobile trip.
Run by experts Destinasjon 71° Nord, it embarks from Honningsvåg, a picturesque village set on the mouth of a fjord. On the evening journey, travellers fuel up with a three-course meal before donning the snuggest polar gear and setting off across the Finnmark plateau, a silent, eerily beautiful expanse of fjords and plains – illuminated, with any luck, by the northern lights.
At around midnight, adventurers arrive at the glowing globe that marks the Cape, and toast their success with champagne in the visitor centre, where there are also films and exhibits to see, before heading to bed. The journey back after breakfast the next day is just as unforgettable, speeding over undulating, fjord-pleated scenery bathed in unearthly Arctic light.
MAKE IT HAPPEN
Destinasjon 71° Nord’s guided ‘Midnight Expedition’ includes dinner, midnight snacks, breakfast and one night’s stay in simple rooms; a five-hour daytime version, without these, is from £215. Quote ‘Lonely Planet Traveller’ when booking either tour for a 15% discount on the price.
Norwegian and SAS fly to Alta from various UK airports, via Oslo, with flights on to Honnigsvåg via Wideroe. It’s also a three-hour drive from Alta, via a scenic, sea-skirting road.