Perfect summer in "the world’s northernmost town", Hammerfest Norway
Lonely Planet: Because of its strategic location and excellent harbour, Hammerfest has long been an important way station for shipping, fishing and Arctic hunting. In its heyday, ladies wore the finest Paris fashions and in 1890 Europe’s first electric street lighting was installed. Nowadays it proudly claims to be the world’s northernmost town (other Norwegian communities, while further north, are, Hammerfest vigorously argues, too small to qualify as towns!).
Neither man nor nature have been kind to the town: it was decimated in a gale in 1856, burned severely in 1890, then burned again by the Nazis in 1944. Its parish church has gone up in flames five times over the centuries. All the same God may at last be smiling on the town in a way that is having a huge impact. The world’s longest undersea pipeline runs for 143km from the huge Snøhvit natural gas fields in the Barents Sea to the small island of Melkøya out in the bay. With estimated reserves of 193 billion (yes, billion) cu metres, the pumps, which came on tap in 2007, are expected to pound for at least 25 years.