Gamvik is located within the sub-arctic region and thus has no summer season in meteorological terms. It has a tundra landscape. In the center of town, archaeological findings dating from the Stone Age (5000-8000 B.C.) have been discovered.

Through the ages, the village has been a natural gathering place for Norwegian, Sami and Russian culture, though the name Gamvik was not mentioned in writing until 1518 A.D. From the 18th century to the First World War the Pomor trade was of great significance. Fisheries and agriculture have always remained the cornerstone industries, and in 1912 there were as many as 12 fish processing factories in Gamvik.

The remains of a German coastal fortress from the Second World War can be found north of the village. When the Germans vacated the area, Gamvik was subjected to the scorched earth tactic, and burnt three times in the fall of 1944. The highest recorded number of inhabitants in Gamvik was 650. The population decline in modern times is due to the decline in fisheries and agriculture.