Narvik

Narvik city centre with Storsteinfjellet ski lift and slopes in the background.

Narvik is a city in northern Norway. The town of Narvik has a population of about 14,000, while the entire municipality has a population of about 18,000. The city is located along the southern shore of the Ofot Fjord, and is the centre of the Ofoten district.

Understand

The modern city was founded in 1902. It grew up as an important ice-free port for Swedish iron ore exports. Before the port and the iron-ore railway was constructed there were only a few farms on the penninsula. During the first attempt to establish a port and railway the place was called Victoriahamn (Victoria port), after the visit by crown princess Victoria of the joint kingdom of Sweden and Norway. When the iron ore railway (known as Ofotbanen in Norway) was finally built 1898 to 1902 there was an intense activity in Narvik and particularly in the mountains. Thousands of navvies poured in and created a temporary city at Rombaksbotn. The railway construction from Narvik through the wild mountains until the plateau on the Swedish side was a notable engineering achievement. The railway was electrified as early as 1923. Control of the iron ore fields at Kiruna and the port of Narvik was a key motive for German attack in 1940 and the allied intervention.

During and after the German invasion of Norway, Narvik was the scene of fierce battles between allied (British, French and Polish supporting Norwegian army) and German forces, and the war museum commemorates the events of 1940. The Battle of Narvik was the first real engagement between allied and German troops after months of phony war. The Battle of Narvik was a key event in the early phases of the war. The town was totally destroyed in the process and the fjord was full of shipwrecks. Today, the city offers several outdoor activities; in particular, alpine skiing is possible in the mountains around Narvik.

Get in

By plane

There are two airports useful for tourists to Narvik.

By rail

Iron Ore Railway through the wild Narvik mountains near the border to Sweden

Narvik is the terminus of Malmbanan ("Iron Ore Railway", in Norway known as Ofotbanen) railway from northern Sweden. Mainly used for shipping enormous amounts of iron ore from mines in Lapland it also offers passenger services. A journey along Malmbanan gives spectacular views over large mountains of Narvik and the vast emptiness of Lapland. Swedish state railway company SJ has two daily services; one early morning and another at around 10 AM from Luleå (7 h) via Boden (6½ h), Gällivare (4½ h) and Kiruna (2:45 h). The morning service has sleeper carriages attached all the way from Stockholm, depatures from Stockholm are daily at 6 PM. Prices vary according to demand, booked early (bookings open 90 days before departure) tickets for the over-night trains can be as low as SEK 450 and SEK 195 for day trains.

Narvik lacks connections to the rest of the Norwegian rail network, which ends in Bodø, 150 km southwards. It's however possible to book connecting rail and bus tickets from southern Norway via NSB.

By bus

There are bus lines with Cominor from Fauske as well as many other nearby towns by bus. Many routes are very scenic. The bus station is located on the west side of the inner city, near the AMFI shopping center. In connection with the night train arrival and departure they also stop at the station on the other side of the city.

Get around

Narvik is a compact city which is easy to navigate. Tourist info office is on the main street, and the railway station is easy to find as well. www.destinationnarvik.no and its links will help you to find most of what you are looking for about Narvik.

If flying in from Oslo Gardemoen to Harstad/Narvik/Evenes airport west of Narvik, a one-hour bus transit is available right to the town centre.

Narvik has a local bus service with routes to neighborhoods outside the centre, including Ankenes, Framnes, and Beisfjord. Tickets for short journeys are NOK 31, NOK 16 for children (under 16) and seniors (67 years and over). Most lines run Monday to Saturday, while a few major routes (in particular Ankenes) have very limited service Sunday afternoons as well. Schedules are available online (in Norwegian); the paper schedule for the Ofoten region can also be downloaded.

See

Narvik is surrounded by snow-clad mountains, such as nearby Rombaken mountain, pictured here, which is great for both skiing and hiking

Do

Buy

There are shops and kiosks on the main street, plus there are two large shopping centres. One near the railway station and the other in the centre of the town.

Connect

The tourist office at the train station offers free wifi internet access if you have your own laptop computer.

Eat

Drink

Sleep

For a town of its size Narvik offers a large selection of hotel, both more high-end and cheaper alternatives.

Go next

Iron Ore Railway between Narvik and Kiruna, winter at Torneträsk lake, Sweden
Routes through Narvik

Kirkenes Bardufoss  N  S  Fauske Trondheim
Lofoten Svolvær  W  E  Abisko Luleå


This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Saturday, March 19, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.