Northern Sami: Várggát
Between 2005 and 2015, the population declined by 10.1%
Vardø is one of my favourite places to walk around in when on the Hurtigruten. For those travelling southbound only, it’s an excellent introduction to Northern Norway. Cold, windy, treeless, almost devoid of people, and built up around fishing, Vardø has a lot going for it considering it’s a tiny town. Vardø is Norway’s most easterly town, only 28km from Russia, and is also the only town in Western Europe that lies within the Arctic climate. Even if the weather is horrible (it normally is), don’t miss the opportunity to explore this important isolated town.
Vardø is the easternmost part of Norway and the Nordic countries, further east than Istanbul, Kiev, Cairo and St. Petersburg. The name comes from the Old Norse form Vargøy, meaning ‘wolf island’. Together with Hammerfest, Vardø is one of the oldest towns in Northern Norway since they became a town at the same time in 1789. Vardø is Finnmark’s oldest fishing village and was known as the Pomor capital when the city in the 19th century was a centre for trade with Russia. Vardø is the easternmost city in Western Europe.
The rich fisheries have created the basis of life for people, but Vardø is an evolving town. It is famous for its festivals, street art, and snowball fights. Birdwatching and fishing are also becoming more popular. It is the first port on the southbound sailing of Hurtigruten, and there is enough time to go exploring.