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Sør-Varanger in Norway Sør-Varanger municipality coat of arms


3.967,7 km2

Sør-Varanger Local Directory

Accommodation, Businesses and more pictures from Sør-Varanger

Sør-Varanger municipality is situated in the Eastern area of Finnmark County and borders on Finland and Russia. Sør-Varanger muncipality has approximately 9.900 inhabitants and covers a area of 3.967,7 km2. The administrative centre of the municipality is the town of Kirkenes. Most of the area is low-lying forest of pine and birch, with barren sections facing the Barents Sea. Other settlements include Bugøynes, Neiden and little hamlets along the river of Pasvikelva. The local airport is called Høybuktmoen which is also a military camp. Garnisonen i Sør-Varanger (GSV) is based at Høybuktmoen. The flora of the area is a part of the Russian and Siberian taiga, including a few hundred spruce trees of the Russian variety. Bears also inhabit the upper valley, notably in the Øvre Pasvik National Park.


Kirkenes is a small, modern town with approximately 6.000 inhabitants and all the service you would expect to find in a municipal center. Trade and Industry is agriculture and forestry, mining w/ pellet production, service industries and ship repairs. A meeting place for three countries, Finland, Russia and Norway in an area rich in cultural and scenic experiences that cannot be matched anywhere else.

Kirkenes is the administration center of the municipality of Sør-Varanger, a municipality with approximately 10.000 inhabitants and were people from tree nations, Finns, Lapps and Norwegians have lived together for hundreds of years. The town was almost totally demolished during the Second World War, when the town was designated "Fortress Kirkenes".

Today Kirkenes is the center of the Barents Region, the region with the richest natural resources in Europe. Kirkenes has developed Norway's highest level of competence and knowledge in trading with Russia. Kirkenes is also the communication junction when travelling to North-West Russia, with 2 flights from Kirkenes Airport to Murmansk a week, buss departures to Russia every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, and links between the Norwegian and the Russian and the Finnish road-system.

Kirkenes has an modern harbour, which can receive ships up to 150.000 tons. Kirkenes offers a range of sights, activities and service to tourists, and is the last destination for the Coastal Steamer (Hurtigruten), one of the most famous tourist attractions in Norway.


The World´s Most Beautiful Voyage is a voyage like no other. Nothing can compare with it. Nothing about this journey will resemble anything you have ever experienced before. A ticket for the Coastal Steamer is a ticket to the theatre, an 11-day drama in which new acts constantly unfold all around you. See the pictures from the Coastal Steamer taken by one of our passengers.


Archaelogical discoveries show that people already lived in the valley 10.000 years ago. The depressions in the ground just by the path to the river are approximately 6.500 year old house sites. Similar settlements can be found in several places in the valley. On the Russian side of the river you can see an electric, barbed wire fence. Such fences were created all along the border of the former Soviet Union. On both side of the river you find watch-towers.


A unique flora and fauna. Part of the Siberian taiga forest. Out-of-the-ordinary pine forest.


Bugøynes is a fishing village situated along the Varangerfjorden which is a vast bay off the Barents Sea (a part of the Arctic Ocean), near the border with Russia. The village is situated some 500 km north of the Arctic Circle, with nearly 230 inhabitants. The village is populated by many Finnish-speaking residents, leading to the village being referred to as Lille-Finland or Little Finland. There are also a children´s nursery, a school, a library branch, a dentist, and Bugøynes Chapel.

The Pleym Pier is a restored piers dating back to the 19th century with a museum exhibition showing old coastal culture. Open on request. The Lassigården (Lassi House), is a culture house dating back to the 1850s, now used as museum and public library branch. Ranvika Bird Sanctuary is the largest bird sanctuary in Sør-Varanger is situated about 90 minutes walk from Bugøynes. The footpath to the sanctuary is well marked. The Norway King Crab is located at Bugøynes and Trollbukt, they are now fishing and farming the red king crab, which can weigh up to 10 kilograms. Bugøynes is a center in Norway for commercial fishing of this delicacy.


Underground tunnel in the mountain under Kirkenes town. One of the hiding places used by local civilians during World War II. A 9-minute long super-video on Kirkenes and World War II can be seen here.


At Kirkenes marketplace. In honour of women's efforts during the war. A symbol of anxiety and uncertainty plus the yearning for peace and hope for a better future.


It was here that civilians and partisans fought side by side, against the Germans during World War II. One of the cabins from that period has been restored. Marked trail to Partisan Gap.


The official border pass to Russia.


Exhibits depicting Sør-Varanger geography and cultural history.


We have the Midnight Sun in our region from 20th May - 20th July. During this period, the sun stays above the horizon, and it is light 24 hours a day. The sky must be clear and there must be unobstructed visibility northwards in order to see the Midnight Sun. A summer night on the fjord or in the mountains is an experience not to be missed, you can go fishing in the fjord, which contains splendid variation of fish, or you can take a walk in the wilderness surrounding.


Aurora Borealis is the Latin name for the Northern Lights – solar winds that meet the atmosphere in a zone around the magnetic North Pole. The Northern Lights are only visible when the sky is dark and clear, from August to April, and they are most intense from 10 pm to midnight. The region on the 700 northern latitude is a fantastic place for experiencing the beautiful and intense play of colours given off by the Northern Lights.


The dark time, or the long, dark Polar Night, lasts from 30th November - 12th January - there is only a twilight-dusk type of light (the blue light) for a few hours during the middle of the day. This does not mean that it becomes totally dark, however. The aurora borealis trails its multicoloured banner across the sky and the moon lights the scene just like the nightlight of Our Lord. The experience of the winter with the uniqueness of the light, the northern lights and snow is fantastic. Especially beautiful is the blue light southwards, just before it becomes dark.


Seafishing in Barentshavet for coalfish and zo cod is an overwheling experience for those who have never met the ocean before. Seafishermen who want larger fishes such as halibut have excellent conditions. If you are lucky you can even see seals or small whales.

Deep sea fishing enthusiasts can take a fishing trip out on the ocean. You can fish for salmon, cod and halibut. Be aware that there are a number of special rules in regards to fishing. Remember to purchase a fishing licence.


Golfclubs in Finnmark.