Narvik: the harbour town on the Ofotfjord

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Fjords, mountains, northern lights: Narvik has everything you would expect from a typical outdoor holiday in Norway. The breathtaking nature of the region in the north of Norway invites you to discover and explore. The city’s eventful history also makes Narvik a very special holiday destination. If you are interested in travelling to the city on the Ofotfjord, you can find out everything you need to know about travel, accommodation and sightseeing here.

Why should you go to Narvik?

Narvik: Holidays
Holidays in Narvik are all about outdoor fun against a fantastic natural backdrop.

Narvik is probably best known for its history: due to its strategically important location and significance for the infrastructure in the north of Norway, the city was the scene of the Battle of Narvik, which took place during the Second World War. Narvik is therefore a popular destination for those interested in history – traces and consequences of the war are still visible in the town and the surrounding area, for example on the route of the Ofoten railway.

But Narvik has much more to offer, especially for outdoor and winter fans. The impressive and unspoilt nature of the region with its mountains and fjords invites you to explore all kinds of things – whether on a hike, a bike tour, in a kayak, on a train or in winter on skis or a dog sled. The city also has a lot to offer culturally, as it is characterised by the Sami, the indigenous people of Northern Europe. And if you want to experience the Northern Lights, Narvik is the place to be – its location north of the Arctic Circle guarantees clear winter nights when you can watch the celestial spectacle.

Where is Narvik?

Narvik is located on the Ofotfjord in the province of Nordland, the second northernmost Norwegian province on the mainland. Surrounded by rugged nature and fjords, the distance to Norway’s larger cities in the south is quite long – as the crow flies it is almost exactly 1000 kilometres to Oslo; if you travel the distance by car, you even have to cover 1500 kilometres. The nearest major city in Norway is Tromsø, about 230 kilometres away by car.

As Narvik is located in one of the narrower parts of Norway, Sweden can be reached quickly: the Norwegian-Swedish border is just over 40 kilometres away by car. Kiruna, the northernmost Swedish city, is around 170 kilometres away by car. A very popular travel destination, the Lofoten Islands in the European North Sea, are around 250 kilometres away.

Weather in Narvik

Narvik is located in the north – so the temperatures are not too warm. Nevertheless, the city and its surrounding areas have a pleasant climate, as the Gulf Stream ensures that there are no freezing temperatures and the city’s harbour is ice-free all year round. In winter, temperatures drop to as low as -6° Celsius, with January being the coldest month. In summer, on the other hand, when the midnight sun is in the sky, temperatures can reach an average of 15° Celsius in July.

Activities and sights in Narvik

Narvik War Museum

As the name suggests, the Narvik War Museum is dedicated to the war and its consequences. The history of the city ensures that the majority of the exhibitions are dedicated to the Second World War, in particular the period from 1940 to 1945, when Norway was under German occupation. The Battle of Narvik is also a focal point of the museum, and there are also changing exhibitions on various themes. On display are many original remnants of the war, such as cannons. Models, maps, photos, films and audio documents are also on display. The museum is located in the city centre and is open daily from 10 am to 4 pm.

Hålogaland Bridge

Narvik: Bridge
The Hålgoland Bridge in Narvik is the second longest bridge in Norway.

The Hålogalandsbrua spans the Rombaksfjord, a branch of the Ofotfjord, and is part of European Route 6, which runs from southern Sweden to northern Norway. With a length of 1533 metres, it is the second longest bridge in Norway – in the regions above the Arctic Circle, it is the longest suspension bridge. On the bridge, you can not only marvel at the impressive architecture of the bridge itself, but also enjoy the wonderful view over Narvik and the fjord.

Ofoten railway

One of the most legendary railway lines in Scandinavia has its starting point in Narvik: the Ofoten Railway (Norwegian: Ofotbanen). Norway’s northernmost railway line runs through the picturesque Nordland region on the former iron ore line to the Swedish border in the small town of Riksgrensen. From a seat by the window, you can experience the rugged nature and breathtaking scenery of the north up close – and at the same time catch a glimpse of the traces of the Second World War. The journey to the Swedish border takes about an hour, from where you can either head for another destination in Sweden, take the train back, or hike back to Narvik along the historic workers’ road.

Outdoor activities

Surrounded by fjords and mountains, Narvik offers everything you need for an exciting outdoor holiday. The breathtaking nature of the region invites you to explore it in a variety of ways, whether on foot, by bike or on skis. In addition, there are the spectacular natural phenomena of the northern regions, such as the midnight sun, the northern lights or the polar night. In summer, hiking, mountaineering, mountain biking and fishing are particularly popular, but the waters of the fjord are also ideal for canoeing and kayaking. In winter, the Narvikfjellet ski area is one of the most beautiful ski areas in Norway. Stetind, Norway’s national mountain, is also located in the area, but is only recommended for experienced mountaineers. Other highlights include dog sledding tours, eagle and owl safaris.

Narvik: Outdoor Tours
The fjords and mountains around Narvik are ideal for a variety of outdoor tours.

Polar Park

The Polar Park Arctic Wildlife Centre is located about 70 kilometres north of Narvik, but is well worth the slightly longer drive – it is, after all, the northernmost animal park in the world! Here you can meet all the animals of the northern latitudes and polar regions, including bears, moose, reindeer, Arctic foxes and wolves. In the park’s large, spacious enclosures, the animals live in their natural habitat and remain active. The park offers various guided tours and feedings, and you can also book a very special highlight with the “Wolf Visit”: Together with animal keepers, you can enter the wolf enclosure and get to know the fascinating animals up close.

Accommodation in Narvik

Hotels in Narvik

As a popular tourist destination, Narvik offers several hotels for every price range. Hotels are often located in the centre of the city and offer a certain level of comfort, which can often work wonders, especially after a strenuous day outdoors.

Camping in Narvik

Camping in Norway is particularly popular as it is a type of holiday that can be very close to nature. Especially in Scandinavia with its impressive nature, a holiday in a tent or camper van is therefore a very good choice. Although there is no campsite in Narvik itself, there is one in Ballangen, about 25 kilometres away. If you can do without the services of a campsite, you should consider wild camping, which is a good alternative, especially in the summer months or during a road trip.

Travelling to Narvik

By car to Narvik

Travelling to Narvik
Narvik can be reached by car via the E6.

Narvik is now very well connected to the rest of Norway, Scandinavia and Europe. The city is located on European Route 6, the longest continuous road link in Scandinavia, which runs from Trelleborg in southernmost Sweden to Kirkenes in the far north-east of Norway. Alternatively, you can travel from Sweden via the E10.

Another alternative is to travel via the Norwegian Scenic Routes, where you can see more of the country’s special nature. This route takes a little longer, however, as there are also several ferry crossings.

By plane to Narvik

Harstad/Narvik Airport is located about 60 kilometres from the city centre. It is served by daily flights from Oslo, Trondheim and Tromsø, among others, and also offers flights to more regional airports in the region. Oslo in particular is very well connected to the major British airports, so travelling by plane is often uncomplicated and relaxed. There are regular bus connections from the airport to Narvik, alternatively you can hire a car from a car hire company.

By ship to Narvik

If you want to experience Norway and Northern Europe from the water, you can take a trip on a cruise ship. Here you can see and get to know a lot of Norway in a short time and often experience a high level of comfort and luxury. The port of Narvik is also a popular and frequent port of call for cruise ships travelling along the coast of the Norwegian Sea or the fjords.

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