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Slettnes Lighthouse 71°05’33”N

Slettnes Lighthouse 71°05’33”N
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As far as Europe is concerned, you really can’t get much further north! This is truly the land of the Midnight Sun in summer and Northern Lights in winter.

Slettness Lighthouse is continental Europe’s northernmost lighthouse. It is situated a few kilometers north of the village of Gamvik on the Nordkyn peninsula in Finnmark. From the tower, there are fantastic views of sea, plain, and mountains. The area is rich in cultural heritage, with findings dating from the Stone Age. Nordkyn peninsula juts out between two fjords, Tanafjord to the east and Laksefjord to the west. The other main towns on the peninsula are Mehamn, Gamvik, and Kjøllefjord.

Slettnes Lighthouse was built in 1905. The lighthouse keepers and their families lived in the lighthouse from 1905 until 1973. Later, only the employees who were on watch lived there. Slettnes was one of the last lighthouses in Norway to be fully automated. This occurred in 2005.  The cast iron lighthouse is 128 feet (39 meters) tall, stands 26 feet (8 meters) above sea level, has 9 stone steps outside  and 139 steps inside. Slettnes is the fifth tallest lighthouse in Norway.

The building and a 12 square-kilometer area surrounding it was made a nature reserve by the Directorate for Cultural Heritage in 1998. Hiking trails have been set up to guide visitors through this area of unique nature and culture. This nature reserve is famous among bird-watchers and other wildlife enthusiasts. The natural surroundings in the area are rich and varied, with excellent fishing in rivers and lakes and variety of cultural activities.

Area History

  • Slettnes was first settled in the Stone Age. In addition to remains of settlements dating back as far as 8000 B.C, ancient Sami burial sites have been discovered in the area.
  • Gunnhild Kongsmor, queen of Norway 931 –  933 and wife of Eric Haraldsson (nicknamed Bloodaxe), is thought to have hailed from Slettnes.
  • The village Steinvåg was until the Second World War the key settlement in the Slettnes area. From the 18th century through the First World War, the Norwegian-Russian Pomor trade was of great significance in Steinvåg. Remains of “Russerbua” (“The Russian Hut”) dating back to 1830 bear witness of the once important trade which ended with the Russian Revolution. In the same area, a mysterious stone labyrinth can be found.
  • During World War II the Germans used the lighthouse as an observatory position. Navy officers controlled the function of the light in the lighthouse. The lighthouse was only lighted when German convoys passed by. In Autumn 1944, when the Germans retreated, the lighthouse was blown up and all the houses in the region were burnt down by the German force.

Stettnes Nature Reserve

Looking out over Slettnes Nature Reserve for the first time is a memorable event for anyone. North of Gamvik, the landscape opens into a vast coastal plain. Windswept and exposed like few other places in Norway, this is mainland Norway’s northernmost nature reserve. In winter it appears lifeless beneath the magical Northern Lights. In spring and autumn it is the stage for fantastic performances as several rare bird species appear in greater numbers than anywhere else on earth. In summertime this place is home to teeming life in the thicket and water.

At Slettnes the road north comes to an end. This is where Europe drops into the sea.The area borders the Barents Sea, which has among the world’s richest fish stocks. June and July offer the best close encounters with the nesting birds.  Summer is the high season for rich colours and hearing the song of indigenous Arctic bird species. There are two marked trails in the reserve, one cultural heritage trail and one nature trail. The nature trail features information boards about some of the bird species that nest here. It takes 60 to 90 minutes to walk either trail. You can walk on your own or join one of the biologist’s guided walks. Everyone is welcome to share the experience with them.

Gamvik

Gamvik is located within the sub-arctic region and thus has no summer season in meteorological terms. It has a tundra landscape. Through the ages, the village has been a natural gathering place for Norwegian, Sami, and Russian culture, though the name Gamvik was not mentioned in writing until 1518 A.D. Fisheries and agriculture have always been the cornerstone industries, and in 1912 there were as many as twelve fish processing factories in Gamvik. The remains of a German coastal fortress from the Second World War can be found north of the village. When the Germans vacated the area, Gamvik was subjected to the scorched earth tactic, and burnt three times in the fall of 1944.

Getting There

  • Regional route 888 connects Gamvik, Mehamn, and Lebesby to the European route E6 at the base of the peninsula, and thence to Kirkenes in the east and Alta in the west.
  • The Hurtigruten coastal ship stops in Mehamn and Kjøllefjord twice a day.
  • Mehamn is also connected by air via Mehamn Airport, with services by Widerøe.

Slettnes Lighthouse

Guided tours leave from the lighthouse café every hour in the main season, mid-June to mid-August.
Slettnes Lighthouse on Facebook Lots of great photos on this page.
Stellnes-fyr blogspot.

Lighthouse Accommodations

  • Rooms in the old lighthouse officer’s house may be rented for a single night or for longer periods.
  • The standard is simple, but an historical atmosphere and the views of the roaring ocean and the endless sky, make a stay a truly memorable experience.
  • Main season: June-August. Outside of main season: groups only.
  • For bookings and enquiries, email: gamvik@kystmuseene.no 
  • Prices, including self-serve breakfast. Doubles: NOK 1095 per day. Low season doubles: NOK 875 per day

Contact

  • Slettnes Lighthouse, Strandvein 78
9775 Gamvik, Norway
  • Slettnes Wildlife and Cultural Heritage Site. Tel: +47 78 49 61 18
  • The Gamvik Museum runs the café and guide services at Slettnes. Open in the summer from June 11 to August 12, 11AM to 6 PM daily.
    Email: gamvik@kystmuseene.no In the summertime, Gamvik museum offers excursions and visits to the lighthouse and you will find a little café in the former house of the lighthouse keeper.
    Gamvik Museum on Facebook Lots of photos on this page.
  • Gamvik Gjestehus (Guesthouse) offers accommodation and breakfast for a reasonable price, including shower/toilet in 15 rooms Breakfast is included in room price.
    The Café also serves dinner.
    Strandveien 78, Gamvik, Norway
    Booking: Tel.: +47 90 47 78 78
    For bicycle rental, fishing trips, sea safari, contact: Jan Reidar Johansen
    Tel.: +47 99 51 23 27
    Email:  janreidar@gamvik.org
  • Frank’s Massage Sol & Spa
    Tel: +47 99 01 86 39
    Outdoor hot tubs and Saunas With only a woollen hat on your head and a drink in your hand, you can relax in the warm, soothing water. A dip in the Barents Sea from Norway’s northernmost mainland is only a few steps away. You will find the sauna, showers and changing room right inside the door of your rorbu (fishermen’s cottage).
  • Various Accommodations in the area  Visit Norkyn’s website.
Great video with images of Slettnes Lighthouse. Norwegian language, but the images and videography are well worth a viewing even if you don’t know Norsk.

Wonderful Google Street View of Slettnes Lightshouse


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Just where in Norway is Slettnes Lighthouse? How far north is it?

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And where is Slettness Lighthouse exactly?

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Great video of the lighthouse and the area.

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