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Autumn in Finnmark

Text by Joseph Bantolo, Kirkenes, Norway

Images by Joseph Bantolo and Wendy Hansen, from Hammerfest

Start of autumn with rainbow over the hills by Joseph Bantolo

Nature expresses itself through the beautiful colours of photography that can only be realized in autumn. The silhouette and colourful expressions of scenic views are indescribable, leaving a unique and unforgettable feeling of pride and gratitude for the beautiful divine creations.

Autumn afternoon over the lake by Joseph Bantolo

Finnmark is Norway's northernmost and easternmost county, established in 1576 with an area of 48,618 square km. It was merged with neighboiring county Tromsø in January 2020, but the regional parliament decided that to demerge in January 2024.

Small reddening downy birch trees as the setting sun throws its rays over the trees by Joseph Bantolo

It is largest by area and least populated county in Norway with 75,540 inhabitants. It is part of the Barents region where east and west meet. Vardø is the easternmost town or municipality, located farther east than the cities of Saint Petersburg and Istanbul.

Leafless nature at its best in Hammerfest, Finnmark. Photo by Wendy Hansen

Finnmark is divided into East and the West. Kinnaroden on the Nordkinn Peninsula in Lebesby Municipality is the northernmost point of mainland Europe. Hammerfest is the northernmost city in Norway and the world, with over 5,000 inhabitants, but North Cape (Nordkapp), further north in the town of Hønnigsvåg is also claimed as the northernmost town in Norway.

Sør- Varanger is the only Norwegian municipality that shares border land with Russia, located to the region’s southeast and bordering the northernmost city of Finland.

Finnmark has a rich cultural heritage. The Sami people are the original inhabitants of the region.

They live in small settlements scattered around the county, and live by fishing and reindeer herding. After the Samis. the Finnish, Swedish, Russian, and other people from different countries migrated to Finnmark. This makes Finnmark nowadays a melting pot of cultures and races.

Mid-autumn colourful birch trees of Kirkenes. Photo by Joseph Bantolo

AUTUMN IN FINNMARK, has a different and unique feature and experiences than other regions and counties of Norway. Finnmark has a total coastline of 6,844 kilometers, and the climate varies from other areas with colder temperatures, even in the summer and autumn seasons. Autumn is sometimes the shortest season in the northern part of Norway. Finnmark has more valleys and fjords with low mountains and hills that many mountain hikers and enthusiasts climb and visit yearly. The highest point is in Loppa municipality on the western part of Finnmark, but the central and eastern region is generally less mountainous than the part of the west. There are more valleys where vegetation is lower than the tree line covered with small Downy birch trees. Finnmark’s nature varies from barren coastal areas facing the Barents Sea.

The edible gold of the Arctic, Cloudberries valuable gold commodity in Finnmark, rich in vitamins and minerals and good for the health. Photo by Joseph Bantolo.

The Alta area and the Tana valleys are the lushest parts of Finnmark, and in the east is the lowland area in the Pasvik valley in Sør-Varanger, where the pine and Siberian spruce forest is considered part of the Russian taiga vegetation. Late summer and early autumn are the most enjoyable times of the season for everyone. Many activities include salmon fishing, bird hunting, moose hunting, mountain hiking, mountain climbing, berries, and wild mushroom picking. This is the time of the year when daylight become shorter, and the midnight sun period is ending.

Golden leaves wave over magical auroras on an autumn evening. Photo by Norleta Sarol Loe

Late autumn is also a sky show for the famous aurora borealis or the northern lights. This is the season when this natural phenomenon appears in the night skies. Many tourists from different countries visit Finnmark to experience and witness this magical light show. Welcome to Norway and please enjoy my photos!

Editor’s note:

Joseph Bantolo photographs the Aurora Borealis. This hobby became his passion for life as part of his advocacy to connect people around the globe. For tips and information on how to come and visit the Arctic regions of the Nordic countries, connect with Joseph at or follow this group

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