Honningsvåg, Scandinavia, church, crowd, cruise, ferry, Hurtigruten, overtourism, church, funeral, Norway
Honningsvåg Church (photo: Bohuslen/Wikimedia Commons)

Tourists invade funeral in small Norwegian town

The rising tide of cruise tourists flocking daily into the coastal town of Honningsvåg is starting to cause havoc.

A large crowd of tourists from a cruise ship ploughed into a church while a funeral was taking place, prompting uproar from the small town inhabitants.

The incident took place recently in the town of Honningsvåg, the crowds plodding around the graveyard, taking pictures and filming the mourners as they left the church.

“There were a lot of people and chaotic conditions,” Niels Westphal, the warden of the church, told the Norwegian broadcaster NRK.

“It’s unfortunate and a pity that when people leave the church they are photographed and filmed by tourists.”

The tourists had just left a ship carrying more than 6,000 people, more than double the town’s population, The Local reports.

Honningsvåg, close to the northern tip of Norway, has been seeing large numbers of visitors for years, as it is one of the last stops of Hurtigruten’s coastal ferry route.

Midday mobs
But the numbers are growing, and the nationalities not used to Norway’s customs and way of life are widening, with Westphal telling the online newspaper ifinnmark.no: “It’s starting to be a big problem.”

Between the ship’s arrival at 11:15 and its departure at 14:45, the town is swamped with sightseers. Up to 300,000 tourists visit the Nordkapp municipality every year.

The church – the only building in the town left standing after World War II – is a key attraction.

In 2014, there was similar media coverage of a family of Asian tourists who plodded through a garden in nearby Alta, taking snaps of their sons doing acrobatic tricks on a trampoline.

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