Sognefjord
Travel

To Scandinavia by Car

Travel to Scandinavia.

  1. Preparations
  2. The road and the boarder
  3. The dog
  4. Camping sites
  5. Culture and life
  6. Summary

Before the trip, it’s worthwhile to calculate everything exactly: expenses for food, housing, transportation, etc. You need to build a route and find places for overnight stays, calculate the time between the points and the time that will be spent on sightseeing. It is definitely worth considering options for changing the route. Ferry crossings – in our case, we bought ferry tickets before crossing the first border, because there may not be any free places for arrival on the ferry.

In our family, it turned out that Nadia is involved in travel plans, but I am engaged in implementation. Nadia already pretty tired of endless calculations and maps, gets in the car, and here everything is ready. She does not need to take care of the road, fuel, money – just check the time and enjoy nature in the passenger window of the car – relax! Anyway, it’s impossible to completely relax. There are new worries begin: cooking and overnight.

Frying fisckakers
We are frying fiskakers 🙂 these are fish burgers!

But this is another aspect of the problem, so, in general, it turns out you still get rest. Norway is really a very beautiful country and in this reality it is very easy to relax 🙂

Maps. On this trip, we used Google maps, as they are most detailed in Europe. In the maps you can log in and make your own “Maps”.

screenshot of google maps with user's maps. снимок экрана с картами гугл на котором изображены пользовательские карты
google maps with route of a trip from Russia to Norway. Карты гугл с маршрутом путешествия из России в Норвегию.

Points can be divided into layers and you can set the names for those layers. These maps will be visible on the mobile device with Google maps installed when logging in to the same account. But the Internet is needed – without the Internet, maps do not load and do not remain in working condition. For example, you connected -> loaded maps -> disconnected – it won’t work.

prepaid mobile set
PrePaid SIM card set

Looking ahead, I’ll say that there is a way out in Scandinavia: in Finland you can buy a prepaid SIM card for 25 euros in R-Kiosk with unlimited internet for a month.

This is really unlimited Internet limited only by the protocol capability, and the 4G network is everywhere! You can distribute it from your device (Personal Hotspot feature on the iPhone). Once in the mountains (Snow Road), the connection disappeared for a while, but during the descent it reappeared and never disappeared again… But wait, there were failures on the ferries from Turku to Stockholm and from Stockholm to Helsinki, but it was at night and the internet was not critical as on a road to an unknown place! Also there is decent Wi-Fi on board on ferry. So it does not count.

Stockholm to Turku Ferry
Stockholm to Turku Ferry

It works in Finland and the Baltic countries. 6 euros in the account for calls at 0,066 euros per minute. All in all, this is a great fast internet solution in Scandinavia for a whole month! When buying, you provide only your signature and money.

Inside the Stockholm to Turku Ferry
On a Ferry

We actively used information from the Vinsky forum in planning the route: https://forum.awd.ru/

The information on this forum is fairly accurate and detailed.

  1. The Road and the Border

We chose Torfyanovka for crossing the border according to different reviews. But more, because our path lay in Turku and this is the nearest border crossing point in this direction. The dog was also with us. When registering a dog, an approximate route of movement of the animal should be indicated, including the place of border crossing – i.e. here it’s not possible to change the route. But it turned out that this is a very good border crossing point – both there and back we did not stand in lines and the check did not take much time. The dog passed the test without any problems either: on our border they told us exactly which documents to show to the Finland customs, and which should not be taken at all, even so that they wouldn’t see it. In the end, everything went smoothly, the main thing is to tell the truth 🙂

A Mountain Road
A Mountain Road

As for the rules of the road, there are no problems either – they just need to be followed. When leaving the checkpoint there is a sign indicating the speed limit in cities and outside them. Further along the movement, the signs are often enough, so it is difficult to make a mistake. Drivers in Scandinavia are polite, and it’s worth instilling in yourself – you are no longer in Russia (I don’t know why I wrote this, traffic rules must be observed everywhere and always).

Roads in Scandinavia are good: the asphalt is flat, markings are everywhere. Many freeways with speeds of up to 120 km/h. Pure pleasure.

In Norway, in the mountains, the roads are very narrow. Sometimes two cars cannot part, but everywhere there are pockets in which you can wait for the oncoming car to pass or in which they will wait for your passage. We also did not experience problems with such roads. The main thing is to be polite and give in to everyone.

Drunken Bridge on the Atlantic Road
“Drunken Bridge” on the Atlantic Road.

We drove along three major tourist mountain roads: Snow Road, Eagle Road and Troll Staircase. These roads are a narrow serpentine with sharp turns. The first thing to consider when traveling to Norway is the braking system of the car – it must be in good condition and its resource should not be close to the end. A week after the trip, I took my car for maintenance. The typical period for a diesel engine is 10,000 km, of which 5,500 km we traveled before that in Scandinavia. They told me that the front pads from the last maintenance were erased by 1.5 mm and 4 mm remained. By the way, the car is 4 years old, i.e. I spent 11 mm – 5.5 mm = 5.5 mm of friction material for 90,000 km, and 1.5 mm in one trip. So the friction material consumption of the front brake pads was an average of 0.61 mm between each maintenance and 1,5 mm (almost three times more) for the period with a trip to the mountains. This is the safety of your family, so do not ignore it.

Once on the big descent I had to stop to let the brakes cool down. Do not pour water on them to cool – a cast-iron disk or drum can become deformed or even crack from this. You just need to stand for 20-30 minutes. Also, I believe that you should not put pressure on the brakes during the descent constantly. It seems to me that such a technique will lead to overheating of the brakes. I turned on a lower gear (incidentally, there were warning singes before a big descent) and rolled until the speed reaches the limit. Then, quite intensively, but briefly braked, dropping about 15-20 km/h, and released the brakes. And so the whole descent moved. Of course, if circumstances allow it. Sometimes there was traffic – but that time the speed was not great, the brakes did not overheat. Brake fluid must be changed according to the regulations, then there will be no chance, that it will boil and the brakes will fail completely. This may not be the obvious cause of brake failure, but it is highly probable.

Why do I describe brakes in such detail – when you find yourself on a mountain road in Norway – you will understand 🙂

The Troll Road
The Troll Road

In Finland, Sweden and Norway you must always drive with low beams on, even in the daytime. Replacing it with fog-lights is not permitted. It is worth having a spare lamp so that there are no problems with the police if the lamp suddenly burns out. Finding a quick replacement in place, it seems to me, can be a problem. I did not get into such a situation, but my eyes did not catch the lamps either. I think you can find something at gas stations. Anyway, it will be more expensive – the prices there are very high.

Speaking of fuel. Many people talk about duty-free 10 liters of fuel in a canister … well, I don’t know. If you are going to go to Norway, then getting in with cans is one torment. You won’t save a lot on that. And the fuel prices are impressive. In Finland, it is close to 1.5 euros per liter of diesel fuel, in Norway and Sweden around 15 kroons, a little more than 1.5 euros. Gasoline is everywhere a little more expensive than diesel fuel. We thought that we spent a little more than 30 000 rubles on diesel fuel. The average cost of refueling was 4387 rubles. There are many gas stations, so I waited for half a tank to be consumed, and started looking for a gas station. So this is the cost for about half a tank of diesel fuel (it is 40 liters – 80 liters full tank). In other words, messing around with 10 liters of fuel to save is completely pointless.

DateGas Station NameThe cost of refuelling in rubles
07/17/2018Teboil4321,46
07/18/2018Qstar3629,44
07/20/2018Circle K4503,39
07/23/2018Yx4004,95
07/25/2018Yx5267,33
07/28/2018Yx5382,72
07/25/2018Circle K3601,08
 Amount30710,37
  1. The dog.

You need to prepare your dog for the trip in advance.

The dog must be microchipped. Moreover, it must be chipped BEFORE the last rabies vaccination. It is definitely worth clarifying what kind of rabies vaccine acceptable at the border. We had Rabisin. All this is indicated in the passport. Veterinary clinics usually do everything right. For a maximum of five days before crossing the border, your dog needs to take a pill against helminths. We did this at the state veterinary clinic, and immediately issued a papers to obtain a certificate. With this certificate, the dog passport and a certificate for a chip, we went to our RosSelkhozNadzor (Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance) to issue another certificate and other documents for the dog. Basically, with documents from veterinary clinic you can go to the border and arrange everything there, but this way the border passage slows down. Therefore, we issued the certificate in advance, since we can reach the Finnish border in two days at most (you have five days all together).

It turns out that preparing a dog for a trip is more difficult than preparing a person!

fjord and a dog
Jack over the fjord.

Another point is ticks. We noticed that many people spoke about tick treatment before going to Scandinavia, and that this should be indicated in the accompanying documents. But we didn’t do this and they normally let us through. Although the fact that we did not take care of protection against ticks in advance greatly spoiled the journey. Scandinavia is full of ticks! It’s just a lot of them. They sucked on the dog twice during the trip. We also took them off ourselves from the dog, but they did not stick to any of us. Which was good!

  1. Camping Sites

There are fewer campsites in Finland and Sweden than in Norway. But there you can book a place for a tent in advance. In Norway, the picture is changing radically – there are many campsites and you cannot reserve a tent in advance. But it is not necessary. Indeed, we have never had a problem with camping in Norway. Only at the farthest point of our trip at Lyso Camping did: we barely find a place to pitch a tent. But still, we chose between free sites. And the problem was only in our antisocial dog, we needed to find a place so that Jack was as far away from people as possible 🙂

dog and tent on grass
This is our antisocial dog.

I’ll tell you about bedding. Our tent is big – two rooms for 3 people each + vestibule. You can see it on the picture. Two large air mattresses in tent size. We bought the cheapest mattress cover in IKEA – so it seemed to us more convenient. We slept in bags. We bought not the most expensive. For that weather with a comfort temperature of +10 Celsius. It was sometimes chill, but we had blankets! You put it on top and sleep soundly. We also took pillows – it’s more convenient. The car is big – everything got in there. At the border, they looked at us askance, though they didn’t ask to get everything out 🙂

tent and car on grass
First Camping in Norway.

The dog was accepted at all campsites without any problems. But if you need to go somewhere, then difficulties arise – one stays with the dog, and the rest visit the museums and shops. You cannot leave a dog alone in the car. As well as children. Police can give you a ticket for that.

fjord

Camping is a clearing or several glades, where tents and campers are located. Campers or, as locals call them bobbers, are cars in which you can live. They are connected to electricity, water, and sometimes sewage (most have a removable container, we often noticed people wandering with this container in the direction of sanitary buildings in the mornings). Not far from the reception are sanitary buildings located: kitchen, toilets, showers. The cost of camping includes toilet, kitchen and water. Water in all taps is potable, unless prohibited separately. At one campsite, we encountered a “problem”: the filter system broke down in the city and a special faucet had to be used for drinking water, but everyone was warned about this when checking in, and there were signs everywhere. There was no such thing anywhere else. The city prepares water and there are no problems with drinking water. In other words, there are no expenses for drinking water – only containers are needed. We carried two five-liter bottles with us. That was enough for a day.

panorama with waterfall
Waterfall

Electricity and shower are a separate item of expenses. Moreover, cold water in the shower is also free, but hot water for 10 crowns for 5-6 minutes. How to use the shower: go into the booth, get ready (place detergents, undress, turn on the water), then stick your hand out of the booth and put 10 crowns in a special device – hot water turns on. Then everything is as usual. In the end, it’s worth cleaning up after yourself – there’s a tool for this – a rubber squeegee for water. The main thing is that after you go everything remains in the same form as before you.

  1. Culture and Life

Europe is Europe. People are mostly polite, friendly, and very helpful. But life is expensive there. Eating at restaurants was very expensive, and the restaurants themselves had to be looked for in the neighbourhood with campsites. We ate what we cooked ourselves. We took various types of cereals and pasta with us. We cooked on a portable gas stove or in the camping kitchen. You can buy something in stores, but you just need to know what you are buying. Once Nadia brought what she thought was milk, but it turned out to be yogurt! Everyone speaks English and it helps a lot in communication.

breakfast
Breakfast

For everyday life you need utensils, a table, chairs, detergents, soap, towels and everything that you see fit. In the kitchen, Nadia noticed that Europeans brought dishes to the tap for washing in a basin. We didn’t think about it right away, but now we decided that the basin for the next trips should be bought! It’s comfortable. Size – to fit all the dishes.

Mostly our trip went with some standard: sightseeing in the morning, then the road to the camping, lunch on the way and dinner in the evening. And if possible, before the end of the day we managed to look around on the spot, maybe even managed to drive or go somewhere close. But by the end of the day there is little strength. Basically, in the evening we went swimming in the lakes, the rivers, and the sea.

You can fish in the sea without a license, but in freshwater reservoirs you need a license. We were fishing in the sea. Well, not really, just casting. We didn’t catch anything. Except the starfish 🙁

kids looking at starfish
Starfish.

Although we still tried sea food. Aalesund has a large aquarium. It is very interesting there. You can see a large number of representatives of the local fauna. After labor exploration of the Norwegian Sea, you can buy a representative right there in a fried form! Delicious! 🙂

And there was such a case. At the farthest point of our journey, on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, we spent two days. It offered fishing from an adventure organizer – dajuma adventures. There were different options to choose from. The most expensive was a trip for 6-8 hours with an instructor in the open sea on a boat and with a practically guaranteed catch. Unfortunately, I alone was among those who wanted and the trip did not take place. I did not want to lose the opportunity to go fishing in the sea and I rented a kayak with a sea fishing rod. Again, unfortunately, I did not find the fish. In general, as we later became convinced, catching fish in Norway is not so easy. Salmon and cod go deep and cannot be caught from the shore. From the shore you can catch only mackerel, and then, if you’re lucky. And the most important thing in any fishing – you need to know the place.

Kayak with fishing rod at Lyso, Norway
Kayak

After my unsuccessful voyage, already in the evening, the organizer met Nadia at the campsite and asked about my progress (when I returned, I did not catch him and left the kayak and all things on the pier). She said that nothing happened. The organizer escaped, asking her to wait a couple of minutes on the spot. After some time, he returned with a package in which lay 4 frozen lobsters and a huge piece of sea pike meat (we still did not understand what it was). It was very nice. The organizer himself was very worried that fishing in the sea did not work due to the fact that it was unprofitable for him to swim with one fisherman. It was visible. I tell you, the people there are very responsive. We ate it the next day. It was delicious!

Pan with lobsters
Pan with lobsters

6. Summary

The results are simple – we are preparing the next trip. We like the north more than the south – this is without a doubt. Therefore, again to the north.

Flowers on the sidelines in the mountains
Flowers on the sidelines in the mountains
Flowers on the sidelines in the mountains
Flowers on the sidelines in the mountains
Blueberry
Blueberry. 
In the mountains.
Family with dog in Helsinki
Helsinki.
people with Drunken Bridge on background
Not far from Lyso. 
On the background there is “Drunken Bridge”
Glacier and dog
Glacier
Geirangerfjord
Geirangerfjord
Sognefjord
Going down the mountain. 
Sognefjord.

And a lot of interesting things:

mountains
mountains and car
view from a car to a foggy road
car and fjord
Пяный мост. Северная дорога. Drunken Bridge. Northern road.
“Drunken Bridge” – Norway Northern Road.
пьяный мост. Норвения. Drunken Bridge. Norway
Different angel. “Drunken Bridge” – Norway Northern Road.
Атлантический океан. Северная дорога. Норвегия. Atlantic Ocean. Northern road. Norway.
Atlantic Ocean.
Горы. Лисо. Норвегия. Mountains. Lyso. Norway.
Mountains that you can see from the Northern Road.