Heading off to Scandinavia - Any tips

Discussion in 'Europe' started by DonVulpes, May 5, 2014.

  1. DonVulpes

    DonVulpes Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2013
    Oddometer:
    62
    Location:
    Fleckney, Leics, UK
    In mid-July, I shall be getting off the ferry at Esbjerg, Denmark and after hopping over the bridge between Denmark and Sweden, I'll be heading up to Nordkapp, via Oslo, Bergen, Molde, Tondheim and Mo I Rana.

    Once I get to Nordkapp, I return back to the UK via the tip of Finland, down the Swedish coast and Stockhom, then back through Copenhagen and Amsterdam to the Channel Tunnel.

    The whole trip should be around 5000 miles and I'm allowing myself something like four weeks, so I don't feel rushed.

    I'll be camping for 90% of the trip and have all the gear I need, from my trip last summer, so this request is more about what I need to be aware of ( the draconian speeding fines in Norway for instance :eek1 ).

    I can't think of anything obvious, apart from trying to find a cheap PAYG sim card for my iPhone. Seems you can't just pitch up and buy one, like you can in the UK. Is that right ?

    I'd appreciate any tips/tricks or 'must see' co-ords along my proposed route :D
    #1
  2. High Country Herb

    High Country Herb Adventure Connoiseur

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2011
    Oddometer:
    14,403
    Location:
    Western Sierras
    I tried to find the name of the bar/restaurant that I really liked in old town Stockholm, but couldn't find it. It has underground levels, narrow staircases, and excellent herring. Big selection of beer, too. Anyway, I would just say wandering through old town is well worth the time.

    In Oslo, I found a really good meat butcher that sells all sorts of wild game sausage. I think it was called Fenaknoken:
    http://www.fenaknoken.no/
    Try the black reindeer sausage, and maybe get something you for the road.

    I love Scandinavia.
    #2
  3. DonVulpes

    DonVulpes Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2013
    Oddometer:
    62
    Location:
    Fleckney, Leics, UK
    Thanks.

    Really looking forward to trying the local food and especially cooking up something while I'm camping.
    #3
  4. High Country Herb

    High Country Herb Adventure Connoiseur

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2011
    Oddometer:
    14,403
    Location:
    Western Sierras
    Oddly enough, the best pickled herring I found at a street vendor was in Amsterdam along the canals. I didn't care for all the sauces and spices the Danish used.

    In Helsinki, there is a big fish market down near the water. They are taking seafood straight from the sea and onto the plates.
    #4
  5. Oldbear

    Oldbear Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2011
    Oddometer:
    272
    Location:
    Fin Land
    Dress warm, it can get surprisingly chilly up north even in July. The only other thing that might come as a surprise are the mosquitoes: they can be a huge annoyance in July, especially up north.

    I'm not sure if I understood your SIM card question but you can buy prepaid SIM cards from just about any kiosk and shop and you can top up the card at the kiosks/shops or ATMs. You can either buy a new prepaid in each country or just use roaming, it's not that expensive anymore between the Scandinavian countries.

    Or get a TravelSim (or similar) for the trip: http://www.travelsim.com/cost-and-coverage/europe/

    Since you're set up for camping you're probably well aware of the liberal "freedom to roam" in the Nordic countries, you can camp just about anywhere (as long as you use common sense): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_to_roam#In_the_Nordic_countries
    #5
  6. RolyKBiker

    RolyKBiker Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2014
    Oddometer:
    167
    Location:
    Foggy London Town.
    If you're looking for a campsite in Denmark try Blommenlyst Camping just outside Odense. It's a small picturesque site with a charmingly eccentric owner.

    One to avoid is Bogstadt outside Oslo. It may be the biggest and have good transport connections but it is a dour busy place with a lot of "resident" guests.

    You probably know that the cost of living is high in Norway but we found that their roadside cafes were actually pretty good value.

    One of the prettiest sites we found in Norway was at Vang; right by a beautiful lake.
    #6
  7. DonVulpes

    DonVulpes Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2013
    Oddometer:
    62
    Location:
    Fleckney, Leics, UK
    Thank you for the replies :D

    High Country Herb: I'll be missing Helsinki this time, but it's on the list for my Russia/Baltics trip. Love fresh fish, so I'll definitely try that out.

    Old Bear: I wasn't going to take that much in the way of warm gear, but you're the second person to tell me it gets chilly, so the Keis waistcoat will be packed :) I'll have a couple of fleeces and a waterproof jacket for 'off bike' stuff too.
    You read the SIM question correctly and that link is perfect. Thank you. Saves me using my rip-off contract for non-UK data/phones.
    I am planning on wild camping, which I why I had to look for a new tent. My bright yellow Redverz just doesn't fit in with the whole 'stealth' ideal ;)

    RolyKBiker: Thanks for the camping suggestions. I'll be wild camping a fair bit, to keep costs down to ( AirBnB for the cities ), but living in the UK means the Norway prices don't seem too steep. I'll be sticking to supermarkets for camping food and then little roadside cafes or my own Jetboil stoves for brews and breaks :)
    #7
  8. High Country Herb

    High Country Herb Adventure Connoiseur

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2011
    Oddometer:
    14,403
    Location:
    Western Sierras
    When you get up to the Baltics, be sure to check out Estonia. Those were the friendliest people in the whole region, IMHO, which was not what I expected from a former Soviet controlled area. They love to talk about anything and everything over a big mug of spiced beer and wild game.
    #8
  9. pebble35

    pebble35 Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,871
    Location:
    Jersey, Channel Islands
    I'm doing a very similar trip to Nordkap about a month ahead of you !

    Is there any particular reason for the route you are looking at ? I am travelling up to the northern tip of Denmark and taking the Hirtshals/Kristiansand ferry and then hitting the fjords of south western Norway - an awful lot of the 'must do' roads and sights were in this area - even to the extent of people suggesting that the only real reason to go further north of Trondheim was to 'tick' the Arctic Circle and Nordkap off the 'been there, done that' location list.

    I'm not too fussed about a mobile sim - will use my UK one but switch data roaming off to avoid stupid roaming charges. If I find wifi great - if I don't, then it's not really a problem, people will just have to wait a little longer to see my photos !
    #9
  10. DonVulpes

    DonVulpes Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2013
    Oddometer:
    62
    Location:
    Fleckney, Leics, UK
    I'm going to visit the 'Big 3' of the former soviet Baltic states and assuming time allows, I'll be able to spend long enough there to really explore.

    The plan for that trip is Denmark, Sweden, ferry to Finland, then Russia, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania......from there it's either south on a long loop back to the UK, or if I've spent too long already, nip across Poland and Germany to get home :thumb
    #10
  11. DonVulpes

    DonVulpes Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2013
    Oddometer:
    62
    Location:
    Fleckney, Leics, UK
    I hope you're going to do a RR, so I can see how it went. :D

    Your reasoning is exactly mine. I was thinking about the ferry from Denmark to Norway, but the ride round to Oslo looks easy from Copenhagen and the bridges are worth the trip apparently ( if the crosswinds aren't too bad ).

    I want to travel round and enjoy the west coast of Norway and like you say, there are some stunning roads that need to be explored. After Trondheim, it is really just about getting to Nordkapp and then back via the McD in Finland. I want to go to Stockholm ( I like 'doing' major cities in the countries I visit too ), so the east coast road along the Gulf of Bothnia ( sounds like something from LoTR :D ) seems like a good ride too.

    I got hammered with my provider in the UK, when I was using Google Latitude on my last trip. This time I have Spot, but I also want to be able to check for hotels if the weather turns bad and I CBA to camp for the night. That and WhatsApp a load of pics to my daughter and family/friends.
    I'm doing a blog that I'll be updating nightly too and if I wild camp I doubt there'll be any free wi-fi :huh:D
    #11
  12. wimj

    wimj Wannabee adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2008
    Oddometer:
    143
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Cannot agree fully: the Lofoten Islands are not to be missed IMHO.
    #12
  13. DonVulpes

    DonVulpes Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2013
    Oddometer:
    62
    Location:
    Fleckney, Leics, UK
    If time allows, it certainly looks worth a look.
    #13
  14. pebble35

    pebble35 Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,871
    Location:
    Jersey, Channel Islands
    Point noted - a friend said the same thing and they are now on my route !
    #14
  15. pebble35

    pebble35 Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,871
    Location:
    Jersey, Channel Islands
    Fingers crossed for a ride report - not sure just how much I will be able to so 'on the road' but I will try and post some updates and photos when I can. Not sure where yet but I will let you have a link Don !
    #15
  16. Don T

    Don T Bike Addict

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2008
    Oddometer:
    721
    Location:
    Denmark-Europe.
    The last time I visited Nordkapp was in 2010.
    Here is a RR from the trip. It's in Danish but you can use google translate or just enjoy the pictures.

    As mentioned before it can get cold up north even in the summer. One day you can have 20 degrees and sun the next it can be below zero and snowing.

    Even as a UK citizen the prices in Norway will make you go :eek1

    The roads and scenery in Norway makes up for the weather and the prices.

    Lofoten has already been mentioned, and it is something special.

    Besides that I can recommend the following in Norway:

    Lyseboth - the road down to the fjord is fantastic.

    Lærdalstunnelen - the world's longest road tunnel (24.5km)

    N17 - old coast road. Maybe one of the most amazing roads in the world. It will take 2-3 days to cover the 600km.

    Trollstigen - enough said.

    Tromsø - a really nice city 400 km north of the polar circle with the world’s northernmost cathedral, brewery and botanic garden
    .

    Norway offers by far the most interesting riding and most spectacular scenery on your trip. I'll recommend that you spend most of your time on that part of the journey.

    Finland and Sweden is not nearly as interesting as Norway. Both countries is never ending stretches of forest, lakes and rivers. It's beautiful nature, but with little variation.

    The road along the east coast of Sweden is nothing special and I would recommend, that you take a more inland route south (eg Inlandsvägen)

    I'll be heading out to explore the southeastern part of Europe at the same time that you do your ride. Otherwise you would have been welcome to stop by my place on your way through Denmark: http://advrider.com/forums/showpost.php?p=20814734

    Bon Voyage.
    #16
  17. pebble35

    pebble35 Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,871
    Location:
    Jersey, Channel Islands
    I think most of those are on my itinary !
    #17
  18. DonVulpes

    DonVulpes Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2013
    Oddometer:
    62
    Location:
    Fleckney, Leics, UK
    Some great info there, thanks Don T
    #18
  19. scubabiker

    scubabiker Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 13, 2014
    Oddometer:
    134
    Location:
    Norway in a nutshell, AKA stord island
    first time posting to this forum...
    i live on an island on the west of norway called stord its between stavanger and bergen, give me a shout when you are coming through, i work on the only motorcycle shop on the island and my inlaws are very inviting (all bikers, my father in law owns a bmw gs). there is a local dish here called pinnekjott which is just amazing, its dried and salted rib of mutton steamed over birch sticks. im sure we could knock some up for some guests. biggest bit of advice about norway, bring lots of money, its very expensive here (a beer is between 7 and 12 pound)
    #19
  20. trondk

    trondk Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2010
    Oddometer:
    12
    Location:
    Jessheim, Norway
    #20