Nordkapp, also called The North Cape, has historically had an entrance fee of around 250 – 300 NOK per adult who wanted to enter the characteristic viewing deck that is mainland Norway’s northernmost point.
A 30 year long political and legal battle has recently concluded (hopefully!), and the verdict is clear: It is not legal for Scandic (the company who operates Nordkapp) to demand an entrance fee for access to a place that is considered a natural attraction. This means that you are now allowed to enter and enjoy beautiful Nordkapp for free!
However, Scandic really wants to make money, and they still have entrance booths were you are urged to pay.
You can choose to enter Nordkapp (The North Cape) without paying at the entrance booth, but you will not be permitted to enter the visitor center without paying. But you are completely free to decline to pay the entrance if you only want to see the monument and other outdoor structures.
The “entrance fee” at Nordkapp is made to confuse tourists
When you approach the Nordkapp area, you are greeted by what looks exactly like a toll booth. This was originally used to collect the entrance fee when Nordkapp did have an entrance fee, but the booth is still standing as before.
These days, the toll booths collect the entrance fee for access to Nordkapphallen, a type of visitor center that offers exhibitions, a movie, and includes the history of Nordkapp.
The big thing to keep in mind is that the entrance fee collection booths are fully optional if you just want to visit the outdoor installation at Nordkapp, but this is not intuitively clear.
You are free to pass these without paying, but many tourists end up paying at these, thinking that they have to. The people collecting the entrance fee is not going to tell you that it’s optional unless you actually ask them!
This behavior has gotten the company behind Nordkapphallen a lot of heat from the local government, but they are still doing it. They might be forced to change their ways in the future, but this is what the reality is like in 2023 at least.
That said, paying the entrance fee to Nordkapphallen might be worth it, since it’s a pretty cool visitor center! I would personally not recommend skipping it, but if you’re visiting Norway on a budget, you might just want to enjoy Nordkapp’s outdoor areas.
The entrance fee to the visitor center is 320 NOK for adults and 90 NOK for children. So many families of 4 who’ve paid over 800 Norwegian kroner ($80 USD) to get access, only to find out that it’s actually free, are obviously feeling like they’ve been scammed or tricked.
The local government has been very angry with Scandic for this deceiving entrance fee (as you can read about in the Norwegian newspaper NRK’s article here), and has even filed police reports against Scandic because they feel that tourists are tricked into paying.
A brief history of the legal battle of The North Cape
While there’s been a lot of debate over whether or not it should be free to enter Nordkapp, the company who held the rights to the area were allowed to collect an entrance fee to the area until 2019.
There has been many smaller legal and political battles until then, but things really took off in 2019 after Norsk Friluftsliv (The Norwegian Association for Outdoor Organisations) officially filed a complaint against the company responsible for the area (Scandic).
Norsk Friluftsliv argued that it is illegal to collect entrance fees to a natural area that is part of the public domain. All areas that are designated as unfenced land (called utmark in Norwegian) is public domain in a way that it allows anyone to use the land, so preventing people from entering would be illegal.
This has to do with Norway’s freedom to roam laws, allowing all citizens to use unfenced land in any way they wish, including harvesting berries, going on hikes, pitching your tent for a few nights, or go ocean fishing without having to pay for it.
The region government (Statsforvaler) agreed with Norsk Friluftsliv, and demanded that Scandic should stop collecting an entrance fee to the plateau.
But the conflict didn’t stop with that!
Scandic still wanted to make money of public land, and as the right holders to the area, they began charging 200 to 300 NOK parking fees for any cars who wanted to park near the plateau.
However, that did not sit well with the local government either, and they demanded for Scandic to stop collecting parking fees in 2021, after choosing not to grant Scandic a license to collect parking fees in the area.
While this might seem like a quick and easy story, Scandic has fought the government in the courtroom a total of three times, but have also lost all three cases.
It now seems like Scandic will even be forced to make it more clear that the entrance fee booths are optional, and visiting Nordkapp is once again completely free for anyone.
It’s also important to keep in mind that the actual law is pretty complex, and there’s a reason why the legal battle has been going on for 30 years now. So there is a lot more nuisance to the case than we’ve managed to include in this brief overview.
Local governments can also choose to make certain areas exempt from the public domain, even if they are utmark, which they have done to Nordkapp in the past, but this exempt has long expired.
Nicklas is the owner and editor of The Norway Guide, and is responsible for most of the content on the website.
He lives in Skien, Norway with his wife and two children. Nicklas is specialized in Norwegian ecology (including Norway’s geology, wildlife and flora) from his degree in Ecology And Nature Management at University of South-Eastern Norway, but has a particular interest in tourism and content creation.
His biggest hobbies are fishkeeping, going on hikes with his dog, and rooting for the local football team.