Vadso Mini Guide
What can you Tell me About Vadso?
Vadso is almost as remote as it’s possible to get in the north of Norway in the bleak and inhospitable region of Finnmark. Vadso gained town status in the 19th century but has existed as a fishing community since the 1500s. It grew rapidly with the influx of Swedes following famine in Sweden. During the war it was occupied by German troops and used as a staging post for attacks into Russia. Consequently, it was bombed in return but fortunately the town’s old quarter with its beautiful wooden houses managed to avoid damage. The landscape around the town is bleak and typical of the Arctic tundra but still, on sunny summer days when the temperature rises into the high 60s, it’s a great place to explore on a bike.
How do I get to Vadso?
The town has its own small airport with flights to Tromso
. From each of these it’s possible to get flights to and from Oslo which is the international entry point for travellers wishing to visit Vadso. Once at the airport, you can take the infrequent local bus into the town or use the local taxi service. It’s possible to hire a car at the airport for exploring the local area.
What is There to See and Do in Vadso?
Most people come to Vadso to revel in the clean Arctic air or enjoy a bracing swim off one of the stunning white sandy beaches around the town. Out of Vadso, numerous small roads and tracks make ideal cycle routes for viewing the mountains around the town. In Vadso itself, you have the small historic centre with its quaint wooden houses. A rather peculiar sight, but often visited, is the airship mast designed and built by Umberto Nobile for the flight of Ronald Amundsen over the North Pole. Later it became the last mooring point for many such trips by other Arctic explorers. Today, despite its dilapidated state, it’s possible to climb it for stunning views over the town and its island.
What Should I Buy for Souvenirs in Vadso?
Surprisingly there’s a reasonable souvenir trade with crafts made by the Sami people including footwear, baskets, jewellery and carved work made from locally found raw materials. All of these make good traditional mementos and help the Sami in their struggle for survival.
What Should I eat in Vadso?
As an important fishing community, Vadso’s chief foodstuffs are fish and king crabs. There’s a variety of ways in which the fish is served with smoking and salting being the main way of preserving it for the winter. During spring and summer the fish is served boiled or baked with potatoes and pickled greens. If you don’t like fish or crab then there’s always the reindeer meat!
What do People do for Entertainment in Vadso?
Entertainment is very low key in Vadso with most people entertaining in their own homes or in the little cafes that dot the town. Alcohol is expensive but the locals often get supplies of vodka and schnapps from over the border in Russia.