Skallelv, Vadsø, Varanger

The Skallelv trail

Skallelv is a Kven/Finnish village in Varanger, 30 km east of Vadsø. It is a close-knit farming community with two rows of houses running alongside the river. A pleasant, shallow valley extends north-west away from the village and into the countryside, scattered with bogs and pastures. You can explore the landscape on a waymarked hiking trail through the village and into the valley.

Skallelv’s uniqueness comes from its versatile, multi-purpose “Varanger” houses, that were geared to farming life, backing straight on to meadows. The rough grassland inland, towards the Varangerhalvøya National park was used in many ways, for making hay, cutting peat and harvesting berries and other plants. There was also good fishing in the rivers and sea.

The trail starts from the main road and passes through Skallelv village and along the Bærelv road where you’ll be walking on open land. The trail has 12 information panels and is about 6 km long, but, of course, you can also turn back whenever you want. The panels feature various aspects of cultural history, botany and Kven names for flowers, berries and plants.

The trail runs through a great area of hiking and is easily accessible to all. At the trailhead, you’ll find a wooden post with a box containing maps and information about the panels.

The trail was created by Vadsø Museum - Ruija Kven Museum (part of the Varanger Museum network) in partnership with the community of Skallelv and Botanists from Tromsø University Museum. You can buy an illustrated booklet containing maps and more details about each of the 12 panels from the museum. 

Start: Car parking off the E74 road, on the left just after the bridge when coming from Vadsø. The trail starts just across the road, through the village and along the river while the hiking trail to the valley starts 100 m east of the car park.

Distance: 6 km one-way

Conditions: Easy walking along a dirt track with optional detours to bogs and meadows.