The North Cape Encounter: An 8-Day Road Trip through the Land of the Sami

By on Dec 02, 2013
The North Cape Encounter: An 8-Day Road Trip through the Land of the Sami
Image Source: - Claudia Regina

For one of the most unique self-drive tours, traverse through the highly interesting Lapland and top off your Norway vacation with a North Cape encounter you won’t forget.

North Cape, also known as North Sami, encompasses the most northernmost part of Europe. The northern Norway destination is also best known for being the point of intersection of four different bodies of water: the Norwegian Sea, the Atlantic Ocean, the Barents Sea, and the Arctic Ocean. Also dubbed as the Land of the Midnight Sun, it gives spectacular views of the midnight sun between the 14th of May and the 31st of July.

If you’re interested in visiting North Cape, it is better to take a Scandinavian road trip rather than just fly there. One of the best routes leading to the Cape is one that will take you right across Lapland from Rovaniemi, passing through Karasjok along the way. You can then continue on from North Cape by exploring other notable cities in the area. Here’s a suggested itinerary for the perfect North Cape encounter.


The gateway to Lapland, Rovaniemi is a strategic starting point for this self-drive tour. This capital city is best known for the Santa Claus Village, where there’s always the possibility to meet St. Nick himself. It is also the site where the mighty rivers Ounasjoki and Kemijoki intersect.

From Rovaniemi, drive northwards through a route with plenty of arctic beauty to boast of. Before you officially leave the city, you will cross into the Arctic Circle and come across the Lake Inari, a sacred site for the Sami people of Lapland. The lake has more than 3000 different islets.

Passing through, you will then cross the border and enter Norway, where you will be welcomed by Karasjok.


Karasjok is considered as the capital of the Sami people. While there, visit the Sapmi cultural center to learn more about the Lapland culture. After a short stop, continue driving northwards along the North Cape Road; you will be driving alongside the longest fjord in Finnmark called Porsangerfjord. By traversing an interesting underwater tunnel, you will then find yourself in Mageroya and, finally, in North Cape.

North Cape

While in North Cape, make your first stop be to the North Cape Plateau, where you can enjoy panoramic views of the Arctic Ocean. North Cape, together with Mageroya Island, has plenty of sights and activities to offer. There are quiet fishing villages, the best places for relaxing under the midnight sun, and there are many hiking trails as well. There are lots of nature reserves to explore, and you can even join a Bird Safari for a close encounter with Norway’s birds.

Since North Cape is your main destination, you can stay for long here, but if you want to see as much of the country as possible, extend your vacation and continue driving to Hammerfest. This is a long 5-hour trip, but you will mostly be traversing coastal roads. The scenery is beautiful and worth seeing, especially when you reach the Finnmarksvidda plateau going to Alta. From here, you can make a detour to Enontekio, where you will also see the Fell Lapland Nature Centre, the ancient worship site Jyppravaara Hill, and the Ounasjarvi Lake. Here you can officially end your Lapland road trip and North Cape encounter by turning back to Rovaniemi.

Route Facts:

Country (where the road trip is): Finland & Norway
Starting Point/City: Rovaniemi
End Point/City: North Cape or Enontekio
Estimate of Drive Time to cover route: 7 to 8 days

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