There are not a lot of towns on the island where North Cape is located – the only settlement which is large enough to really earn the label of small town is the city of Honningsvåg – it is the main population center and the main place to get supply and where you can find a restaurant when you visit the area of North Cape. So most people who spend just a little bit of time around North Cape will probably head to this little town at least to resupply.
The town isn’t the most charming place. Part of the reason is the old town of Honningsvåg was burned down when the Germans retreated from the area in 1944 and applied the scorched earth strategy in northern Norway. So a wonder around the town is of limited interest – never the less we did walk a bit around the town when we visited.
The main area of interest is the harbor area – I guess a lot of the people actually visiting the village will get here when they go off the Hurtigruten ferry which docks here during its cruising north and south along the Norwegian coast.
One interesting little sight down at the harbor at the tourist information is a statue of a dog called Bamse (teddy bear). The dog came to Honningsvåg in 1937 with its owner and when the Germans were about to conquer all of Norway the dog escaped on a boat with its owner to reach UK. During the war pictures of the dog dress with a Norwegian sailor cap and collar were sent to Norwegian sailing on ships under allied command.
The dog became an important symbol for the Norwegian resistance during the war – and when the dog died in 1944 no less than 800 people went for the funeral in Montrose where the dog lived the last part of its life. The funeral was with full military honours. After the war Bamse received the PSDA gold medal which apparently is the British George Cross for animals. And he also received the Norwegian dog order.
The popularity of Bamse remained long after the war and a statue in bronze was erected of Bamse in Montrose Scotland and later in Honningsvåg where he used to live in Norway. I guess he might have been the most famous Norwegian dog.