Polarsirkelen-the Arctic Circle Posted by on Feb 8, 2011 in Uncategorized

My best friend and I stopped here on our road trip from his family’s hometown in southern Troms Fylke (county) all the way down to where we lived in Oslo.  It was an absolutely incredible road trip.  I have posted pictures on Facebook of the trip, so you can see more pictures there.  The coolest part of the trip was the fact that we felt like we went through all 4 seasons in the course of 48 hours.  It was certainly the dead of winter when we took off from Rossfjordstraumen, but when we crossed Polarsirkelen at 66°3342,5″, it felt like we had suddenly entered the tundra.

Polarsirkelen lies on Saltfjellet (literally “Salt Mountain) and when you drive right over sirkelen, it is fairly flat and at least that day, extremely snowy and windy.  This just so happened to be at a point when both my friend and I had to go to the bathroom.  For some unknown reason the Museum was closed and we had to relieve ourselves outside.  Where better than on Polarsirkelen?!  It was pretty funny.  Every time I look at these pictures, that is what I am reminded of and laugh about.

Polarsirkelen covers territory in norther Norway, Sweden, Finland, Russia, and Alaska.  About 25,000 people live in Mo i Rana, is the Norwegian town closest to Polarsirkelen.  I don’t mean to bash Mo i Rana, but I must say that when we drove through it on a Saturday and stopped to sleep in a hotel, there was nobody around.  For real it seemed like an abandoned town.  We ate at a restaurant with no other diners, peeked in an empty bowling alley, got kinda sketched out and ultimately just fell asleep in our hotel room.  We were happy to venture further south.

Some of the popular activities people indulge in around and north of Polarsirkelen include glacier walking, diving, island hopping, fishing, dog sledging, kayaking, and rafting, not to mention a variety of festivals:)  It’s hard to explain, but there is definitely something very unique and special about northern Norway.  Maybe it’s because I am from MN and so the cold and snowy climate is normal to me or maybe it’s because I lived in Tromsø briefly last year, but there is a charm that is, like I said, difficult to explain, but if you have ever visited,  you probably know what I mean.


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About the Author: kari

I attended St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN, where I majored in Norwegian and History. During college, I spent almost a year living in Oslo, Norway, where I attended the University of Oslo and completed an internship at the United States Embassy. I have worked for Concordia Language Villages as a pre-K Norwegian teacher and have taught an adult Norwegian language class. Right now, I keep up by writing this Norwegian blog for Transparent Language. Please read and share your thoughts! I will be continuing this blog from my future residence in the Norwegian arctic!


  1. Laura:

    Hello from a fellow Minnesotan. I know what you mean about the charm! I’m enjoying your posts about Norway.

  2. Ed Corbett:

    Up until yesterday, I was able to sort through your past posts by subjects like
    Grammar or Vocabulary. But that feature
    seems to be suddenly lost. How do we get
    that back?

  3. AnaHa:

    Hi Kari
    I have read your travel description in Norway. I have crossed the Arctic Circle twice in December’09 and ’10, and Northern Norway has ever since been the place where my heart is and where I hope to live one day, if possible in Honningsvag, 20 km from the Northcape. Have you moved to the Tundra yet?
    Best wishes

    • kari:

      @AnaHa I lived in Tromso for 3 months this summer, but am back in MN now:)