Hammerfest is a port town (Norway's and the world's northernmost) with population around 7000. The North Atlantic Gulf Stream provides the port town with a ice-free waters the whole year-round.
- As municipality, Hammerfest encompasses parts of three large-sized Norwegian islands (Kvaloya, Soroya, Seiland) plus smaller islands (including Kamoya). The municipality has no road connection with mainland Norway, except Kvaloya island via Kvalsund Bridge (length 741 m / 2430 ft). The suspension bridge is located west of Kvalsund town and approx 25 km (16 ml) south of Hammerfest.
- Like most Norwegian towns, fishing is the most important industry. Tourism not too far behind as the short distance to North Cape (Nordkapp) makes it an attractive travel destination.
- Like Tromso, Hammerfest was a major location for starting or ending of Arctic expeditions in 19th century.
- In 1890, the town was among Europe's first to boast electric street lighting.
- The "Polar Bear Club" provides intriguing insights into Arctic traditions and history.
Hammerfest cruise terminal
Hammerfest is one of the ferry ports along the "Express Route" - Norway's Government subsidized "Norwegian Coastal Express". This is a regularly scheduled passenger and cargo shipping service in Norway. The "ferry and cruise" itinerary is between two turnaround ports - Bergen (southmost) and Kirkenes (northmost). It connects a total of 34 ports, which are Norwegian communities without any road or air access.
Since January 2021, Norway's coastal ferry service is operated by two companies - Hurtigruten (7 ships) and Havila Shipping (4 ships)..Norwegian Government's annual subsidy for the ferry service is around USD 100 million.
The list of all ports along the northboaund "Norwegian Coastal Express" itinerary includes Bergen (turnaround port), Alesund, Floro, Geiranger (Stranda), Maloy (Vagsoy), Molde, Torvik (Heroy, Leinoya Island), Kristiansund, Rorvik (Vikna), Trondheim, Bodo, Bronnoysund (Bronnoy), Nesna, Ornes (Meloy), Sandnessjoen (Alstahaug), Stamsund (Vestvagoy Island), Svolvaer (Vagan, Austvagoya Island), Trollfjorden (Hadsel), Finnsnes (Lenvik), Harstad (Hinnoya Island), Risoyhamn (Andoy Island), Skjervoy, Sortland (Langoya Island), Stokmarknes (Hadseloya Island), Tromso, Berlevag, Hammerfest, Honningsvag (Mageroya Island, Nordkapp / North Cape), Kjollefjord (Lebesby), Mehamn (Gamvik), Oksfjord (Loppa), Batsfjord, Vardo (Vardoya Island), Kirkenes (turnaround port).