The northernmost town in Norway, Hammerfest lies along a seemingly deserted stretch of coast in the Finnmark region. It was largely destroyed by Nazi forces during World War II, with much of the town rebuilt in the following years. Hammerfest’s picturesque setting along an ice-free harbour provides an ideal base for exploring the wild surrounds of Seiland National Park.
Things to do in Hammerfest
Learn about the events that took place in 1944 and 1945 at the Museum of Reconstruction, which details the forced evacuation of Hammerfest’s residents. One of the town’s most striking post-war buildings is the Hammerfest Church, a white concrete masterpiece designed by the Oslo-based architect Hans Magnus in 1961. Admire the mosaic wall behind the main altar and the wood panelling that’s reminiscent of a boat, as well as the wood carvings depicting now-destroyed Hammerfest churches.
Hammerfest’s mascot is the polar bear, with this somewhat fearsome creature celebrated at the Royal and Ancient Polar Bear Society. Early Arctic hunting equipment, historic documents and stuffed animals decorate the one-room museum, together with old photographs illustrating what Hammerfest looked like in the pre-war years.
Hammerfest lies on the doorstep of Seiland National Park, which encompasses two of the northernmost glaciers in Scandinavia. It occupies one of the largest islands in Finnmark, together with parts of Nordefjorden, Flaskefjorden and Sørefjorden. Climb to the 1,078-metre-high peak of Seilandstuva or cast a fishing line in the surrounding waters filled with cod, halibut and coalfish.
Getting around Hammerfest
Hammerfest Airport is a five-minute drive from the town centre and has flights to destinations across Norway while daily buses and catamarans connect to Alta. The Hurtigruten cruise ship stops in Hammerfest, connecting north to Nordkapp and south to Bergen.