Waiting near the Nordkapp tunnel – July 3, 2016
Today’s Miles: 16
Total Miles: 220.5
There are three places that claim to be Europe’s northernmost point: Kinnarodden, Knivskjelodden, and Nordkapp. This is odd, since, by definition, there should only be one northernmost point. I decided to go to all three just to be sure.
Nordkapp has the best marketing campaign by far, is the most popular by far, and is the easiest to get to by far. There is a road right to it, a gift shop, a restsurant, a statue. It has everything a northernmost point needs except for one: it isn’t the northernmost point.
It is close. I will grant it that. But when you stand on Nordkapp and look out, you see Knivskjelodden right there, jutting northward into the ocean, clearly the northern point of the two.
Knivskjelodden’s problem? Having to walk six miles from a road to reach it. It is easier to just take a bus to Nordkapp, pay your entrance fee, buy a T-shirt proclaiming it the northernmost point, and head home. Nordkapp is, more than anything, the northernmost road, I’ll give it that.
So the debate over the northernmost point really falls between Knivskjelodden and Kinnarodden and if you believe an island should be considered part of Europe or not. Knivskjelodden is a touch farther north, but is only connected to the mainland by a 7 km tunnel that dives under the sea. Kinnarodden still clings to the mainland at Hopseidet, connecting it by rock all the way to Spain. If you start including islands, then you could go all the way to Svalbard and its polar bears sitting far north in the Arctic. But maybe islands that are close count since they are part of the continent’s plate tectonics.
For me, it all got too confusing so I decided to walk from all three. First from Kinnarodden, then the other two, connecting my footsteps near Lakselv and continuing south from there.
Having visited all three, I say Kinnarodden is my favorite. It combines the high cliffs of Nordkapp with the remote isolation of Knivskjelodden. There are no signs, no statues, no gift shops, no hundred other tourists waiting to take their picture. There is only you, alone at the end of Europe.
Knivskjelodden is a close second. The land tapers off, whittles down until it slips under the water. It’s not the isolated place of Kinnarodden, which gets less than a visitor or two a day, but it’s still quiet as a small handful of people come and go.
Finally, Nordkapp has a great view, but you’ll share it with at least a hundred other people and you’ll know in your heart that it’s not quite the northernmost point which will eat at you if you’re a perfectionist like me.