Varanger, Norway’s rugged Arctic outpost, is a sanctuary for nature that has welcomed and shaped its proud people for thousands of years
Here, in this furthest-flung corner of North Eastern Norway, you’re on top of the world!
Forces of nature abound. Close your eyes, breathe in the crisp, refreshing air and you are reminded of the ice sheets that retreated 10,000 years ago to reveal sea cliffs and fjords, moors, bogs and glacier-smoothed peaks. Bold, hardy birch trees moved in, rooting into meagre pockets of earth to provide forest cover, The Sami People’s stone age ancestors followed quickly, wasting no time in setting up home and forming a mystical relationship with the land and sea. And so the story of Varanger begins.
You might think the far north is plunged into darkness but this striking scenery is bathed in the celestial light. Come and see for yourself! The midnight sun gives way to the “colour season”, with dazzling displays of rich autumnal shades capped by breath-taking sunsets, whetting your appetite for the most marvellous spectacle of them all, the Northern Lights.
Arctic weather doesn’t mean barren, empty landscapes. Far from it! Varanger is a haven for birds, from North America and Siberia. Eye-catching Eider Ducks mingle with mighty and majestic Sea Eagles, while Caribou and Reindeer sniff out a nutritious treat of lichen beneath the snow.
Varanger is a cultural melting pot that transcends national boundaries. Enduring Sami customs blend with modernity, while popular traditions and festivals embody a determined, innovative spirit. People are special here.
We take sustainability seriously at Visit Varanger!
Varanger is set on becoming an exemplary sustainable destination. How often do you hear or see the term “sustainability” in the news? Like “climate change”, it’s a familiar word, but what does it really mean to you and to us, here in Varanger?
Sustainability, in a nutshell, is about meeting our needs right now without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own. For tourism, sustainability means finding that ‘sweet spot’, when the needs of nature, local communities and business can all be met without harming the environment.
In Varanger, we do this together with Innovation Norway, which promotes a “Sustainable Destination” brand for regions like ours that want to take sustainability seriously, not just for tomorrow, but for the long-term. This prestigious brand is based on getting people involved, responsible management and adding value, while keeping negative impacts to an absolute minimum.
In practice, this means all members of Visit Varanger have signed an agreement to abide by 10 sustainability rules set out below:
Conserving nature, culture and the environment
1. Cultural wealth
We respect, develop and showcase genuine cultural heritage, traditions and, as such, what makes local the people of Varanger so special.
2. The physical and cultural integrity of the landscape
This means improving the quality of Varanger’s landscapes in towns and in the countryside, so that what you see and feel is a true reflection of the forces of nature and culture, both ancient and modern.
Arctic weather doesn’t mean barren, empty landscapes and seas. Far from it! Varanger is actually a haven for wildlife, so we put the conservation of natural areas, wildlife and habitats first for your enjoyment and ours too!
4. Clean environment and resource efficiency
Varanger embodies purity, from the fresh Arctic air you breath to the crystal-clear waters and unspoilt countryside, even precious silence. We want to keep it that way, so we ask tourism companies and visitors to keep their use of scarce, non-renewable resources and waste to a bare minimum.
Strengthening social values
5. Local quality of life and social values
Tourism shouldn’t be about exploitation but rather helping to improve and sustain local quality of life. Sustainable tourism can boost social structures and expand services for visitors and local people alike.
6. Local control and engagement
Sustainable tourism works with local communities and businesses, giving them a say in how tourism is shaped, run and promoted in their local areas. They also have priceless nuggets of advice about what to see and do and when, so you won’t miss a trick!
7. Job quality for tourism employees
Tourism is a driver for jobs and the local economy, both face-to-face and behind the scenes. It should benefit people, providing decent pay and working conditions and not discriminate on the basis of gender, race and disability, etc.
8. Guest satisfaction, security and experience quality
Great experiences stick in the mind so whether you plan to hike across the hills to watch birds or fish for King Crab in the fjords, our aim is to provide safe, satisfying and meaningful experiences for all.
9. Economically viable and competitive travel destinations through local value creation
The choice of destinations is huge and competition fierce, but the people of Varanger are up to the challenge! They have entrepreneurial eyes and industrious minds to create new products and experiences with that all-important human touch. These are the seeds of long-term success.
10. Economically viable and competitive tourism companies
Varanger’s local businesses are hard-working and well-organised. They are part of local life but keep an eye on global trends to stay ahead of the competition by offering unique experiences, yet always offer great value for money.