The pitch is in Henningsvær, a fishing village in Norway’s remote Lofoten Islands. This craggy archipelago in the Arctic Circle has wide bays and green pastures. Its seas are rich in fish and puffins; cormorants and eagles nest on its cliffs. Bright, boxy huts and houses are framed by cold northern waters, while bridges and tunnels connect islands. It is, in short, a bit of a stunner.
And its pitch is no exception. The bright green asphalt and white painted lines stand out against the bare rock and grass that surround it – part of Hellandsøya island was levelled to make space for the ground. As drone cameras became more common, more people got to see it – watching the game ebb and flow with island ridges and the Arctic Sea in the background is a compelling and surreal sight, the beautiful game served up on a salty, Scandinavian pedestal.
Corporations got in on the act, with UEFA and Pepsi shooting videos here, and its fame was sealed. But most of the time, rather cheeringly, this is just a place to kick a football. Local amateur club Henningsvær IL play here, and it’s used for youth training, while local cod dries on racks on the rock around the pitch.
The Lofoten Islands take commitment to reach – you’ll generally need at least a couple of flights and a transfer. Once you’re there, epic drives, hikes, birdwatching tours, phenomenal seafood and grand landscapes await – that’s once you’ve watched a local kickabout, of course.