Vadsø is located on Varangerhalvøya peninsula, by Varangerfjord.
The administrative centre of Finnmark, Vadsø has a mixed Norwegian and Finnish
heritage thanks to large-scale immigration from Finland in the 19th century.
Vadsø is also renowned as a site for polar exploration, with several expeditions having started or ended here.
Like other Finnmark towns, it was badly mauled in WWII, by both Russian bombers and retreating Nazi troops.