We’ve had quite a few questions from people planning to do a similar trip so we thought we’d put together a post on what worked for us and some things we wish we’d known before we went. The points might be a bit random but we’re writing them down as we think of them and please note that this is what worked for us – it may not suit others.
We took the tunnel from Dover to Calais and drove from there through France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and finally into Denmark where we took the ferry from Hirtshals to Kristiansand. This was roughly 911 miles plus a ferry costing £255.
In hindsight we would have looked more into the ferry from the Netherlands to Norway which we initially dismissed due to cost but we may have saved money and time once we took into account the extra driving through Germany and Denmark.
Ferries and tolls
We had a BroBizz tag which enabled us to use ferries and pay tolls automatically with a discount and we linked our Halifax Clarity credit card to the account so there were no additional charges in the UK. However, if we’d done more research, it would have been beneficial to also have had the AutoPASS tag which would have halved the price of our Lofoten ferry, for which we paid £180. One thing to note is that both tags are delivered to your home address so need to be ordered ahead of travel and there is a cost to them – BroBizz was about £25 for a vehicle over 3.5t.
Coming home, after driving across the Oresund Bridge, we decided to take the ferry from Rodby in Denmark to Puttgarden in Germany. Although the BroBizz box gave us discount on the Oresund Bridge (still paid £108.41) we did notice a combined ticket available through the ferry company for the bridge and the ferry which may have worked out cheaper.
For most ferries you simply arrive at the terminal and drive straight on. All charging is by number plate recognition and if you don’t have a tag then you are invoiced via mail.
In total we paid £545.76 for ferry crossings (excluding Eurotunnel) and £248.96 for tolls and small local ferries.
Driving in Norway
Firstly don’t underestimate the size of the country and be prepared to be flexible on planning a route. The most direct route from Kristiansand in the south to Nordkapp is almost 1,500 miles and actually takes you through Sweden – we drove approximately 5,000 miles in Norway and Sweden, plus a quick dip into Finland over 10 weeks. Weather is also a factor to take into account as we were still finding snow restrictions in June. We had wanted to drive Trollstigen but the road was still closed for repairs (there are lots of roadworks once the snow has melted).
Roads are mostly single carriageway, including the main north-south E6, but we encountered few hold-ups other than for roadworks and were even able to overnight in roadside rest areas as at night traffic is minimal. Off the main routes, the roads did feel narrow but people seem to drive slower and be patient so we had no issues.
As a side point, alcohol limits for driving are lower in Scandinavia than in the UK and we were stopped and breathalysed one morning having been pulled over as part of a routine road check. The police were friendly and we were waved straight on after a negative result.
One of the best regions we’ve visited for motorhomes. Norway has lots of free parking in beautiful places and easy to find sanitation points for emptying tanks and cassettes and taking on clean water. We only paid once to take on water and that was about £1.70.
We had to look a bit harder in Sweden for service points but found water in petrol stations and chemical toilet disposal places in a lot of motorway rest areas. Again lots of free parking and often with BBQ pits with wood provided and dry toilets.
Throw the spectacular scenery in with the above and you can see why these countries are popular motorhome destinations. There are LOTS of vans on the road and the numbers were increasing daily as we headed into summer.
We used the app Park4Nights throughout the trip.
Definitely most expensive in Norway and the price fluctuated regularly. The most we paid in Norway was £2.31 a litre but we also paid under £2.
Easily available in Norway, less so in Sweden and not at all in Finland. We only needed the dish adapter for our Gaslow system
Food and drink
Lots of supermarkets and prices on the whole are more expensive than the UK but not massively so. In Norway and Sweden, most alcohol is sold though government stores – Vinmonopolet in Norway and and Systembolaget in Sweden, although you can buy some beers in the supermarkets.
Eating out is very expensive so we didn’t do it!
Denmark, Norway and Sweden still retain their own currencies but cash is rarely needed. Cards are taken pretty much everywhere and in a couple of places we saw signs specifically saying that cash wasn’t accepted.
We use the Halifax Clarity Card and have Monzo Bank accounts so pay no conversion charges on the UK side of any transaction and whenever offered the choice of paying in GBP or local currency on a card managing ALWAYS take the currency option.
Plenty of opportunities for bird watching and whale/dolphin spotting without doing an organised trip and once north of Trondheim we regularly found reindeer munching the vegetation on the side of the road but the real point of listing wildlife is the bloody mosquitoes! If travelling in late spring and summer, invest in a mosquito head net if you want to be able to sit outside of an evening and consider buying a Thermocell anti-mosquito device as they are cheaper in the UK.
If anyone has any further questions then please ask!