The distance to the Russian and Finnish borders is 190 km and 75 km respectively.
Vadsø’s infrastructure is good. The distance to the airport is 5 km and there are daily non-stop flights to places such as Tromsø. The town is the penultimate stop on the Coastal Express.
Sheltered from the North Wind
The imposing highland of Varangerhalvøya to the north of the town, or behind it, as it were, shelters Vadsø from the north wind. Added to the fact that the Gulf Stream swirls into our waters, the mountains contribute to a stable climate rather reminiscent of that of the interior. In the distant south-southeast you can see Russia.
Heart of the Kven Community
Not only is Vadsø the county capital. It is also the heart of the Finnish (Kven) community in Norway due to considerable influx of Finns during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. A glance at the local telephone directory will for instance disclose that the majority of names are Finnish.
Footsteps in the North
Vadsø Island is one of the attractions of “Footsteps in the North”, which demonstrates that there were considerable Norwegian settlements here in the sixteenth century. Contemporary Vadsø, across the bay, can be reached on foot when the tide is low, which is just what the original settlers did in the seventeenth century, when the core of the town we know today was being formed. The eldest certifiable traces of settlement go back 9000 years in time.
Plenty of Recreational Opportunities
For those who opt for recreation in the town’s natural surroundings there are plenty of alternatives. Those who are drawn to the sea might stroll around the eastern tip of Vadsø Island where adjustments have been made to facilitate recreation and the understanding of the region’s history and culture.
Next to the Russian churchyard and the rudimentary remains of what once were medieval foundations, the airship mast erected by Alfred Nobile in 1926 was used to moor the airships, “Norway” in 1926 and “Italy” in 1928, before they set off on pioneering North Pole expeditions.
A Caring Attitude
The friendly and casual town atmosphere echoes a caring attitude that rubs off on you. The appellation “culture town” has been coined for Vadsø. This because culture leaves its mark here, with several noteworthy festivals, the most prominent of which is probably the Varanger Festival, which takes place in August every year. This is North Norway’s biggest jazz festival.
The relatively clement climate makes Vardø the frontier between west and west. In the “people’s park” we have an assortment of plants and trees that are typical for our parts, in addition to more exotic additions.
The extraordinary thing about Vadsø, in a Finnmark context, is that the town was not burnt down during World War 2. So there are a number of museums here that evoke the atmosphere of pre-war life in Vadsø. Special attention has been devoted to the Finnish (Kven) contributions and to the history of trade. Many places in the wilds you virtually run into un-signposted and ancient remains of habitation.
The church, called the Arctic Ocean Church, is the fourth in the row of such churches and was build in 1958.
A Spectacular Bird Cliff
To the east, 13 km away, we find a gem of an island called Ekkerøy, which has a most spectacular bird cliff regularly visited by bird-watchers from all over the world. Besides, Finnmark’s most lovely beach is on Ekkerøy, as are well-preserved war memorials, a museum and a charming, fully licensed restaurant down on the wharf.
The Kamchatka Crab
A rather singular attraction is the exotic gigantic crab, the “Kamchatka crab”, that can weigh 14 kg and span 2 meters and which is caught by local fishermen. It tastes as well as its appearance is unusual. In fact, nowhere else in the world does this crab grow as large as in the ocean just off Vadsø.
The town has raised personages such as the noted politician Erling Nordvik, the football star Sigurd Rushfeldt, the bishop Gunnar Stålseth and to some extent the artist Kåre Espolin Johnsen.
Vadsø Tourist Office is located in Kirkegata 15 in the middle of the town centre.
Tel +47 7894 0444