North Cape, Norway

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The North Cape was named by the Englishman Steven Borough, captain of the Edward Bonaventure, which sailed past in 1553 in search of the Northeast Passage. North Cape is a cape on the northern coast of the island of Mageroya in Northern Norway.

 

The European route E69 highway has its northern terminus at North Cape, since it is a popular tourist attraction. The cape includes a 307-metre (1,007 ft) high cliff with a large flat plateau on top where visitors can stand and watch the midnight sun or the views of the Barents Sea to the north.

 

The steep cliff of North Cape is often (mistakenly) referred to as the northernmost point of Europe, located at  WikiMiniAtlas71°10′21″N 25°47′40″E / 71.17250°N 25.79444°E / 71.17250; 25.79444, about 2,102.3 kilometres (1,306.3 mi) from the North Pole.

 

The North Cape was named by the English explorer Richard Chancellor in 1553 when he rounded the cape looking for a Northeast Passage to East Asia and Pacific America.

 

Just beyond North Cape’s coast is where the Norwegian Sea in the Atlantic Ocean meets the Barents Sea of the Arctic Ocean. The warming currents from the North Atlantic Drift prevent Nordkapp’s surrounding water from icing over while also regulating the winter cold on land (the winters are still freezing but it must be a comfort to know it could be colder).

 

Every year, North Cape has a ‘midnight sun’ in summer (when the Sun remains visible in the sky for 24 hours each day) and a ‘polar night’ in winter (when the Sun doesn’t rise over the horizon and darkness lasts all day).

 

North Cape only experiences these periods of constant sunlight or dark for several weeks at the heights of summer and winter, whereas, by contrast, the North and South Poles only have one sunrise and sunset every year with six-month days and nights.

 

Even though North Cape is open all year, the most popular time to visit is late June when the midnight sun peaks. Honningsvag is the last town before Nordkapp. This is where thousands of tourists take the bus through the Nordkapp underwater tunnel and over the barren hills to see the edge of the world.

North Cape

North Cape, Norway at the northernmost point of Europe

In summer you can see reindeer grazing on the moss and sea birds flying overhead. You can make a stop off at Gjesvær, a little fishing village that has a tour boat out to the largest sea bird colony in Norway.

 

In 1941 the Nazis occupied all of Norway, primarily for three reasons: to control the port (Narvik) that exported northern Swedish iron ore, to gain access to Norway’s heavy water production facility, and to prevent the British from using it as a base to invade Germany.

 

During the war, allied ships dodged German patrol boats and submarines to carry supplies to Russia via the route around Nordkapp. Upon leaving in the mid 1944 the Nazi’s scorched earth policy resulted in complete destruction of virtually every building in northern Norway. It wasn’t until 1969 that reconstruction was finished.

 

In 1999 the longest undersea tunnel (almost 7 km) in the world was completed, connecting Mageroya to the mainland.