THE PLACE, THE SEASONS, AND THE CLIMATE
Almost at the northernmost point in Europe, and right by the border of Russia, and Finnish Lapland, Kirkenes is a fascinating melting pot of these neighbor cultures, together with the ingredients from Norway and the indigenous Sami people.
Kirkenes and Sør-Varanger municipality is unique with its combination of tundra, mountains, dense pine forests and literally thousands of lakes.
The area is blessed with long, cold and stable winters, and short, but green and even lush summers.
Some key figures from Kirkenes municipality:
- Size 4000 km2 (400 km2 bigger than Mallorca)
- 10 000 people- 10 000 reindeer
- Ca 100 brown bears
- 3500 lakes (lots of fish - salmon, char, trout, pike, perch, grayling etc)
- Average temperature throughout the year: 1,3°
- Wildlife: Hare, red fox, moose, bear, wolverine, lynx and rich bird life.
Winter: November - April
The region is blessed with long, cold and stable winters, with lots of snow and lots of cold, in a world where there is lesser and lesser of both.
So we love the snow and the cold, and we think you will too when you have visited us!
From mid November there are two months of no sun, which is called the polar night. This period is far from being a state of only darkness, on the contrary its filled by magnificent polar light, from pink to orange skies in the day to the mesmerizing veils of northern lights in the afternoon and evenings.
In Kirkenes the winters are stable, and we have snow through the whole winter.
When the sun returns in the end of January, "Sun-winter" begins, and the locals wake up from winter hibernation, and start going out to their cabins, and on skiing, snowmobile and ice fishing trips. So should you!
Snow usually comes in the end of October, and Kirkenes is white from November to April. The temperature is in average -5°. (from 2° to -30°).
Polar night: From 20.11 - 20.01 the sun does not come up. December is the darkest month, quite dark most of the day, some light before noon.
Otherwise there are degrees of light, waning until mid December, increasing after. That polar night period is dark is not correct, it has a fascinating spectre of polar lights even though the sun is not on the sky.
From end of January day becomes longer and longer, and by the end of February we have what is called a normal central European day, with sun going down in the afternoon.
Whilst January and February are normally cold months, March is a bit milder, with quite a lot of sunlight and nice weather.
In April, spring is around the corner, and you will have quite nice temperatures, from 0 to 10°, and you can go skiing and snowmobiling and ice fishing as the locals do, The seasons vary a lot from year to year, sometimes spring comes in early April, sometimes its a full winter month.
Remember to bring sunglasses, especially if you are going skiing/hiking/snowmobiling, to protect your eyes from the snow and reflection from the snow!
The weather is mild and you can go skiing and snowmobiling in the bright arctic sun. Catch King crabs on our safari, either by snowmobile or boat, depending how far spring has come. The favorite thing for the locals in late winter is ice fishing for arctic char - be sure to try!
The Aurora Borealis can be seen until ca April 15th.
When the mountain snow is melting back into the fjord, a new world starts to unfold. Brooks starts trickling, trees slowly spring into green, flowers bloom and unique wild berries starts ripening. May is the month where nature works hardest to transform a completely frozen landscape into a green paradise. For us, May is the month when we wind down after a busy winter season, we do spring cleaning, and start preparing for summer.
Summer: June, July, August
The feeling of northern summer can only be experienced - when standing on top of a mountain breathing in the fresh air, and drinking the best and cleanest water in the world straight from a stream. Or traversing the Barents Sea in an open boat with the wind in your hair, a splash of salt water on your face, pulling king crabs up from the deep.
In June trees spring fully into green. Daytime temperature are around 10 - 15 °, and by the end of the month even 20°. July is the peak of summer, and bathing temperatures are not impossible. That`s the charm of the north, you can get everything from 30° to 5°. In August dusk settles, and in the end of the month fall comes, and with it the Aurora Borealis. The Northern Lights are possible to see from ca August 20th.
Sleep in minus 4° in Snowhotel 365 in the middle of summer - how cool is that? Stay close to nature in our wilderness luxury chalets, the Gamme cabins, with reindeer grazing the forest outside. Dine exclusively in our unique farmhouse restaurant, with an unrivaled view to the fjord.
Visit the Snowhotel 365, and get a visit to the dog farm and our reindeer included. It is actually quite possible to spend a whole day in our summer camp in the idyllic Sandnesdalen. In addition, you can drive a dog cart or go on a hike with huskies.
If you are more interested in sea adventures, we will give you the best Northern Norway has to offer, King Crab Safari with RIB boat, or you can join in deep sea fishing for cod and halibut.
Our unique Snowhotel restaurant is open and you can enjoy an unforgettable meal, with panoramic views of the fjord and mountains, whilst waiting for the midnight sun.
When it comes to seasons in Kirkenes, autumn is an oft forgotten and hidden pearl. It`s a swift and fascinating time of transformation, from the end of August, when the trees start turning yellow and dusk sets in, and the beautiful stark-colored September.
When the end of October approaches, the morning frost turns the ground white, and the naked trees start preparing for snow`s first embrace.
It`s a time of harvesting berries, mushrooms, fish and meat for winter. Its the time when the Northern Lights return. Its the time to say goodbye to the sun, and to start looking forward to winter.
In September temperature is usually between 5-10 degrees°, and October creeping gradually down toward 0°. As always in the north weather is diverse, there are crisp sunny days, there are autumn storms, and everything in between.
Autumn is a perfect period for Husky hikes in the mountains behind the Snowhotel camp, take in the fresh, cool air and explore nature. Secondly, its even more perfect for a Husky Wagon ride, as the temperature is cool enough for our huskies to run comfortably. King Crab Safari is still a winner, of course, and you can visit Andersgrotta and learn about Historic Kirkenes. Also, autumn is maybe the best period to hunt the Northern lights, either by our AuroraExpress bus or on your own. Also, relax and go hiking on our own along the fjord, or pick blueberries and lingonberries around your cabin.
In the end of October we make dog tracks with snow we have saved from last winter, and we start winter early with our Winter Early Bird program and package.