Kirkenes is a town in the Finnmark region of Norway, near the Russian border.



The region saw major battles in the second world war and this has left marks in the area. The town of Kirkenes was totally destroyed and the population was forced to relocate to Tromsø and further south, however, 3000 residents were hiding in the mines and appeared when the town was liberated by the Soviet army. Kirkenes was the first liberated area. Kirkenes is also known as a mining town, mining for iron ore has been taken up again. It has some 3500 inhabitants.

Fun facts

The mother of US actor René Zellweger was born and grew up in Kirkenes. Her parents met at the Hurtigruten ferry.

Tourist office

The municipal tourist information is at the public library downtown.

Get in

By car

Kirkenes is at the very end of the all-through-Norway highway E6. You can also enter by road from northern Finland (via Rovaniemi about 7 hours), and northwestern Russia (via Murmansk about 4 hours + border formalities). If you want to come from southern Norway or Germany by car, cutting through Sweden and Finland is actually much faster. The normal route would be over Rovaniemi, although from Sweden there is a shortcut over Pajala and Kittilä which is shorter but slower.

By bus

By sea

Kirkenes is the northern terminus port (Bergen being the southern) of the Hurtigruten , arguably the most beautiful sea voyage in the world, covering most of the Norwegian coast in 5-6 days.

By air

Due to its distance from the rest of the civilized world, most people choose to arrive and depart by plane, at Høybuktmoen airport (IATA: KKN) some 15 km outside town. Daily flights to Oslo, Tromsø and others by Norwegian, SAS and Wideroe. Also flights to Russia and Germany (summer only). Most flights have a bus to town waiting outside, 85 NOK, credit cards accepted. A taxi will set you back some NOK 300. On certain occasions it is considerably cheaper to fly into Ivalo in Finland, some 240 km away, mainly if you are a small group or a family and plan to rent a car anyway. Rental cars are not cheap in Northern Norway.

By train

Although there is a railroad here, it is for ore only. It used to be possible to connect to the Russian network in the border town of Nikel, but it seems you now need to go to Murmansk, for travelling as far as Moscow, Vladivostok, Ulan Bator and Beijing.

Get around

Local buses. Long distance buses leave outside the main shopping center in the middle of town. Some buses only take cash, however there is an ATM inside the shopping center.



Fishing, both salt and fresh water, including salmon. Hiking.


Russian visitors often buy clothes and home products, which tax-free are clearly cheaper than similar non-Russian products in nearby Murmansk or Nikel. Spareland is a popular shop for this. Information about taxfree (only for non-EU/Norwegian residents) refunds are available at


Try Ritz or Ofelas.





Go next

Further away

Routes through Kirkenes

' END  N  S  Tana Narvik
' END  N  S  Border crossing - RussiaMurmansk St. Petersburg

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