Northern Norway: Day 3: Ivalo-Nordkapp-Gjesvaer

On the third day the sun was shining, but it turned to be quite cold. We left early so we were optimistic about the weather warming up closer to 30 degrees like it was the day before, but we were proven wrong. Luckily I was able to add more layers to the coat and change the gloves to warmer ones, but I sure wished that I’d be able to add some more layers to the pants as well.

Once again we decided to have breakfast elsewhere. Firstly I would not want to ask the lady at the desk for anything, but it turned out that we left so early that the reception and the cafe were closed and we just left the keys at the mail box. So we drove to Inari where we found Hotel Kultahovi and managed to have breakfast there. The hotel’s breakfast room was very nice and the view was towards the rapids, which were really beautiful. The breakfast price was 16€ for two and the selection was good.

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Rapids in Inari

After the breakfast we continued towards North Cape (Nordkapp). In kilometers the distance wasn’t too much, but because part of the trip was on Norway’s winding roads, we wanted to reserve enough time for the trip.

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Route of the Day: Ivalo-Nordkapp

This is what the road looked like in the most part of the Finnish Lapland:

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Road to the north

There were really very few people on the road. We met some other bikers on the road, but otherwise the road was pretty straight and empty until we reached Norway’s border. At some point we realized that we left the documents for my bike at home, so we just had to cross our fingers that nobody would ask for them. With a bit of worry we reached the Finland-Norway border, which wasn’t really a border at all. There was a bridge where on one side it read Welcome to the EU and on the other side it read Norge. 🙂 There was a speed limit of 30km/h and a traffic light, so in theory there could have been some sort of check, but at the time of our crossing there wasn’t anyone anywhere.

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At the Finnish border
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At the Norwegian border

Surprisingly the scenery changed almost instantly, because the houses were all built in a different style and quite quickly after crossing the border we started seeing some mountains.

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Norwegian scenery
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Scenery along the way

Another change that happened almost immediately after crossing the border was that there were suddenly much more stopping spots along the road. Also while in Finland they were in the dullest possible points of the road, in Norway it was understood that people want to enjoy a nice view and maybe take some pictures. The only negative thing about them was that about half of them didn’t have asphalt, but instead they had pebble or sand finish, which was not so great for the motorbike.

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Scenery along the way

As I look at the photos, it looks like it was sunny and warm, but in the reality this was one damn cold day. My fingers were freezing despite the warmer gloves and when we finally reached Nordkapp, I would’ve paid good money for a woollen hat. I have of course forgotten to pack it (Nobody needs a hat in July! Yep… proven wrong.) The jewel in the crown of all this coldness was the Nordkapp tunnel. It kind of sneaked up on you and when we noticed that there is 6 875 m tunnel in front of us, there was nothing we could do that just to keep driving and hope for the best in all the darkness and coldness. The tunnel itself was a very memorable experience as until halfway it just goes downward at the 9% and after that upwards at what I’m guessing the same degree. The deepest part of the tunnel is 212 m below sea level. The first half of the tunnel we just rode using dynamic braking without even touching the acceleration handle. The lighting in the tunnel wasn’t great, it was super cold (my guess is +5-7 degrees Celsius) and on top of that it was very damp and there were drops from the tunnel roof falling on my helmet. I understand that the North Cape tunnel had a toll until the end of 2012, but last year they managed to cover the building costs of the tunnel and you no longer have to pay the till. Before that you needed to pay the toll of 145 NOK (approx. 18€) per car and additional 47 NOK (approx. 6€) for every adult and 24 NOK (approx. 3€) for every child in the car. And all this for one way only! You would’ve needed to pay the same amount if you wanted to get back.

While being in Norway I noticed that there were doors at the mouths of the tunnels, but I didn’t understand why. It turns out that the doors are open during the summer, but closed during the winter in order not to let in snow and ice and to keep water in the tunnel from freezing. The doors open automatically when a vehicle approaches them.

What can I say about North Cape/Nordkapp? My main impression that it is one of the worst tourist traps I’ve ever been to. There basically weren’t anybody else except from bikers and motor home owners as it seems to be some kind of rite of passage for both groups. That’s why we were there. 🙂 To get an entrance ticket to Nordkapp for two adults on bikes it costs 320 NOK, so approx. 40€. This was the cheaper option for the ticket that is valid for 12 hours, but you can only get access to see the globe statue and the surrounding rocks, to visit the gist shop, and to park on the Nordkapp territory. The more expensive ticket is valid for 48 hours during which you can leave and enter the Nordkapp area as much as you like, to see some Norkapp movie, historical exhibition and some other things. The price for the ticket in this case is 245 NOK (approx. 30€) per adult.. More information can be found here.

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Nordkapp

We didn’t have any intentions to return to Nordkapp within 48 hours, and despite leaving early we arrived in Nordkapp rather late (around 6 p.m.). We took some pictures and checked the view. Well, actually we went inside to warm up first and had some food as we didn’t get anything to eat since breakfast. The cafeteria was not-so-surprisingly quite crappy as almost all the food places which have a steady stream of tourists tend to be.

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Nordkapp
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Nordkapp
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Nordkapp: view of the sea
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Nordkapp

Nordkapp has some overnight grounds for motor homes, but nothing resembling real accommodation. This is why we had a reservation in a small fishing village of Gjesvær, which is located approx. 40 km away from Nordkapp. The idea was to head there after Nordkapp, but boyfriend’s tank light has been on for quite some time and he thought that there would be a gas station in Nordkapp. Nope, there was not. We tried to google whether Gjesvær has a gas station, but we didn’t find any results. We couldn’t risk driving to Gjesvær and then being stuck there without gas, so we had no choice but to return to Honningsvåg, which was the last place we’ve seen a gas station. So instead of driving 40km to our accommodation, we drove 40km back south for gas and then 35km back north to Gjesvær. Luckily that’s what we did because there were no gas stations in Gjesvær. If there was, then it was really well hidden.

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Finally in Gjesvaer

In Gjesvær we have booked an apartment from Nygård Apartments. We got to the apartment and there were instructions on the door that we need to pick up keys from a restaurant, which is located approx. 500m away. Back on the bikes then. At the location we paid for the accommodation, received the keys and made sure that the restaurant will be open for one more hour, so we’d get time to come back here for dinner. The price for accommodation was 1200 NOK (approx. 150€) per night, but not that there are a lot of choice if you want to stay in Gjesvær. Our apartment was in this building with parking space in front of the house.

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Nygård Apartments

The entrance was from the other side of the house and there was a mailbox where we were supposed to drop the keys when we left, so there was no need to drive back to the restaurant in the morning.

Despite the shabby exterior, the apartment inside was pure gold. There was a lot of space, everything looked recently renovated and the place was really clean. There was both a fireplace and an air conditioning system in the living room.

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Living room

In the bedroom there were two beds with really soft mattresses and blankets. The windows had excellent blackout curtains, which blocked all the sun.

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Bedroom

Kitchen had all the necessary equipment except food. Because this was an apartment for rent, the breakfast is not a part of the deal and we should have bought it in a store. Now, I have difficulties telling whether there is a shop in Gjesvær. At least we didn’t see any, so maybe it’s in Honningsvåg. But there were a couple of restaurants where we could luckily get food because despite it being very sunny it was 9 p.m. when we arrived to Gjesvær.

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Kitchen

There was a good shower in the bathroom and I spend half an hour in it trying to warm up after a long and cold day.

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Bathroom

After quickly dropping off our stuff and changing clothes, we headed to the restaurant to have something to eat before it closes. We were the only customers and the lady, who rents the apartment also works as a server in this restaurant. She said that they normally close at 8 p.m. if there aren’t any customers, but otherwise the restaurant kitchen is open until 10 p.m.

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Restaurant “Terassen”

We ordered a seafood plate and this is what we got in front of us:

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Restaurant “Terassen”: Sea Food Plate

The food was pretty good despite everything being cold while I expected the food the be hot. In addition to renting apartments and having a restaurant the couple also arranges bird safaris i.e. boat rides where you could spot different birds. We were finishing dinner when the woman came and said that if we wanted, the captain was ready to have a bird safari even when the clock was almost 10 p.m. We weren’t that interested in birds and honestly all I could think of was a hot shower and a bed, so all we did was a short walk on the Gjesvær main street. The restaurant was mostly ok, except the lady serving us told me off about swiping a couple of crumbles from the table to the floor, so not the best service. 🙂

I managed to take a few pictures while walking back to our apartment.

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Gjesvaer main street
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Gjesvaer
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Gjesvaer

At the end of the day we drove 481 km during the third day because of the incident with gas.

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Route Nordkapp-Gjesvaer

 

4 thoughts on “Northern Norway: Day 3: Ivalo-Nordkapp-Gjesvaer

  1. hello, me and my dad are going to take the same trip next month. i really wanted to go by motorbike but we can’t find any rentals for that. did you rent the motorbikes or? and if you did, where?

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    1. Hi, we actually drove from Finland on our motorbikes, so unfortunately I cannot help you with any concrete advice. I understand that there’s a couple of rental agencies in Oslo, but I doubt there’s anything in the north. At least we never spotted any on the way.

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