Ekkerøy and Steilnes bird hides

Ekkerøy and Steilnes bird hides

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Part of the Norwegian Scenic Routes, these hides allow rare arctic birdlife watching from a safe distance while providing shelter from the elements. Located in the area of Varanger, one of the 100 best destinations in the world to observe arctic birds.

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Rare arctic birdwatching

Varanger also offers its own route in the Norwegian Scenic Route programme running along the Barents Sea. Here, several bird-watching hides have been built to provide shelter from the elements while admiring the landscape and teeming bird life.

Modernising traditional shelters

Varanger-based Biotope is the world’s first and only architectural office with special expertise on birds and birdwatching. They make modern hides and shelters that carefully balance the need for visibility to attract and concentrate human activities, the practical requirements of the birders and sensitivity to the needs of the birds.

Close to the bird mountain on Ekkerøy is a wind shelter and bird hide strategically located on an important wintering area for arctic diving ducks. On the southwestern point of Vardøya, the Steilnes shelter has a view of the extremely bird-rich Bussesundet. It consists of two rooms, with a view to the south and west so visitors can choose where to sit depending on the wind direction. Both shelters are made of local Pasvik pine with minimum construction to create an open and inviting space for visitors to connect with nature in comfort.

Key facts

  • Location

    Vardø, Varanger, Finnmark, North of Norway

  • GPS points

    70.72798203808036, 29.31775619859005

  • Protection framework

  • Estimated number of visitors

  • High season

  • Low season

  • Project owner

    Norwegian Scenic Routes and Norwegian Environment Agency

  • Architect


  • Year(s) built

  • Materials

    Local pine, glass

  • Grants