As I’m writing this the time here is 3 a.m., but I don’t care. Today I’ve reached for the first time in my life the northernmost point of Europe, so I don’t care when I’m going to sleep, I’ll wake up later tomorrow. Tonight, tomorrow, the sun has been shining continuously, who keeps track of the time?
The northernmost point in Europe accessible by land is not North Cape (read below). In any case, to get there you have first to get to an island, which is connected to the mainland through an almost 7 km tunnel that goes over 200 metres below the sea. You can imagine how it feels doing it by bicycle. I had to stop at the bottom for a bit, although being in a tunnel with a bike makes you hate all the motorised vehicles for the awful sound they make. You don’t notice it from inside a vehicle, believe me.
Anyway, this day has been a combo of cycling – uphill and downhill in tunnels and open air – and hiking, ending with over 100 km by bike and about 10 km hiking. Not an easy day: finally headwind came in all its majesty and slowed down my speed of at least 10 km/h. Even because the road wasn’t one of the flattest one.
A reminder to all those who would like to go to North Cape by bike: once you reach Honnisvåg – the last village at 30 km from North Cape – you haven’t seen a real uphill yet. The last 30 km are the toll you have to pay in sweat to get to the top of Europe. It becomes clear that the road was built just to let tourist admire the northernmost place of Europe, as it cuts the island going over at least four mountains. That’s really the first time I’ve seen hairpin bends during my tour, and actually in all Scandinavia for that matter. Reaching North Cape is like cycling on the Alps. For only 30 km, but you’ll feel it.
Actually you’ll feel it just for a moment and then you must forget it, because just before North Cape you also have to hike another 10 km. The reason is given in the following picture:
See North Cape? Well, if you look at its left you will notice a dotted line leading to a place easy to remember, as it is called Knivskjelodden. Well, THAT is really the top of Europe, being 1,5 km farther north than North Cape. The reason why is not mentioned too much is because you cannot reach it by car, nor by bicycle, it’s a 10 km path full of stones. It reminded me of the Tatra Mountains in Slovakia, although those mountains are much higher and steeper.
Furthermore, reaching Knivskjelodden gives also the best view of the rock upon which North Cape is placed. So everybody wishing to reach the top of Europe, take some good hiking shoes with you. You might be rewarded by the midnight sun and you can leave your name in the book placed in the northernmost point. I know, you have to sweat a bit to get there, but it’s just 10 km. Which means another 10 km to get back, although in my case I took the tent with me. I’ll sleep here, on the real top, tomorrow I’ll visit the tourist top. Tonight instead I’ll sleep in a cozy gulf with the sound of a creek on the left, and the Arctic Sea on the right. Good night!
Day 06 – Tour de Finnmark 2016: Seljenes – Honningsvåg – Knivskjelodden
Cycling distance: 109 km
Cycling time: 7 h 44 m
Hiking distance: approx. 9 km
Hiking time: 1 h 45 m