Scandinavia in one trip – from Poland to North Cape and back again

 Stats for our Scandinavia trip (incl. cost)

– 28 days on the road,
– 7 days within the Arctic Circle,
£3.000 + road bills still to come,
– 8 countries,
– 8 boats,
– 130 hours in the car,
almost 10,000km (getting lost, seeing something not on the main map etc.)
– 2 different time zones and 2 seasons
– 3 bags of food from Poland 🙂
What should you expect from this trip?
Expect the unexpected, there was even fog in some of the tunnels. This made life very difficult as by that point our lights had stopped working!
We started our trip on the 2nd of August, so in the middle of the European summer and the end of the Scandinavian one. However, it was warmer around the Arctic circle than in Denmark. This is despite the fact that while crossing the Arctic circle you could see a bit of snow in dark patches.
We could often see bridges, but our sat-nav was telling us to go by boat, usually a lot of people did the same. But, sometimes we were the only ones on the boat!

One of those random bridges


Expect rain..a lot of rain. You can wake up and find your tent in the middle of a swimming pool – yet swimming suits were useless.

Mosquitos! DEET didn’t do much to them.
Even after upgrading our sat-nav we still didn’t have some roads. The further north you go, the less good roads you have. After crossing the border from Norway to Finland we spent 30 km on an unpaved road. Try not to cry for your car!
We still have to pay for road bills which are sent to the address you have your car registered on. We have no idea how much it will be, basically every southern road in Norway is paid.

Again, the further north you go, the less people you will see, which means that there are less hotels/campings. Sometimes the cheapest place cost 90 euros and it was just a wooden hut. You can either deal with it or come back without reaching North Cape. We chose to deal with it and we didn’t regret it.


Some huts are bigger than others

Sometimes it’s easier to find Scandic (hotel chain) than a shop.
Try to get food when you can, the closest shop could be an hour away.
North Cape is a common destination. Once you’re there, you will be surprised by the amount of people there. Equally as surprising was the cost to park on site (540 NOK for 2 adults).
Is it worth going all the way up?   Yes! If you have money to do it, it’s an amazing trip.
Is it dificult?
Quite. It’s a long drive and we had a few days when we were bored of the car, road, everything. Once we reached the Arctic Circle we were too busy admiring nature and spotting reindeer.
To do it in the time that we did it in requires long days of constant driving. At one point we did 3 11-hour days back-to-back, which took it’s toll. This was not a relaxing adventure by any means.

It was definitely FUN, though. Which leads us to the next question…


The road can be a never ending story



Would we do that again?
Well, we are thinking about doing similar drive in winter in 4×4 in few years time 🙂
What are we planning on doing differently?
We are planning to take even more food with us for our winter trip to North Cape to try and keep the prices as low as possible. One of the things that made us worry this trip was the sheer amount of money it cost. People over-react when they talk about prices – Scandinavia is an exception, it was a lot more expensive than we though it would be.
Signing up to a hotel loyalty scheme so that we can stay in luxury every now and again!

Home-made pancakes for the way to Preikestolen

What would we do again?
Taking our car for a service before every big trip has kept us free of breakdowns – long may it stay that way. We saw quite a few people having problems and Scandinavia, once again, isn’t the cheapest place.
Trondheim and the fjords further up Norway feel a lot more like the Norway you expect – in comparison to the south.

Pack as much as possible when you’re in a cheap country. God knows how much this saved us. Most likely another £1,000.


The further north you go…

Are you planning a trip around Scandinavia? Have you already been? What did you think of the experience? Let us know in the comments below!



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Radif Rahman

Very informative post, photos are just stunning.

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