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The very very best time to visit Norway, if you are to ride the arctic highway, is from early june to early july, but mid may to mid august will do. June is when you will experience the midnight sun at its greatest... but don't forget to buy some mosquito repellant if you are going that far North, and plenty of warm clothing. There is a superb mosquito repellant brand called Mygga Myggmelk (comes in a glass roll on bottle in a green cardboard packaging and can be bought at most Norwegian pharmasies and sporting goods stores). This is really a must... at the worst places at the worst times, we are talking millions of mosquitos. This repellant is superb, and mosquitos will not touch you. Don't cover your whole body, just roll on single stripes a few cms appart on exposed skin.
I strongly believe that Norway must be one of the greatest places on the planet to ride a motorcycle... and I am not just saying that out of patriotism! I can reccomend a book by John Douglas called Norway's Arctic Highway. But remember, distances in Norway are looooong! Windy roads going around bendy fjords, over and alongside high mountains, etc, takes time. Roads are in excellent condition and pose no problems for anyone (except for a few Danes who are affraid of heights), and main roads here are nothing more than backroads in other countries, with speeds hardly ever above 80 km/h. Also, this is an extremely expensive country where eating out in any restaurant is expensive, as is fuel and just about everything else. If you stay in a hotel, make sure not to pass up on the great breakfast buffets (included in the room fare), they will get you through dinner. Take time to use their sauna. Don't forget to bring warm clothing, and expect it to take much longer to cross this country than other European countries... there are no short cuts or large highways here (except for in and out of major towns and cities). Entering Norway from the south from Sweden, nature won't even begin to take your breath away until you get a few hours north/west of Oslo.
To put distances into perspective, this summer, sticking to the main roads, we drove a car from Oslo to the Italian boarder in 24 hours. We drove around the clock, taking turns sleeping and driving... and we vere going really fast.
If all you want to do is pass through every country, then 4 months will be plenty... but you will miss out. I would rather pick out the areas, roads, towns, cities, etc, that you would really want to see, and stick to the main highways inbetween.
My top 5 list:
1) Norway - amazing scenery and roads for true biker enthusasts. Great breakfast buffets.
2) Austrian Alps arriving from Germany and going to Italy, taking a little detour to stop in Highligen Blut where you will have a clear view of the tallest mountain in Europe Gross Glockner. (crossing the alps you can make it a short trip, going through the Brenner passage into Italy). You have never seen so many motorcycle riders in one place... Summer would be the right time, but more flexible than Northern Norway. Eat apple pie or pancakes and drink scnapps.
3) Tuscany Italy, Including Cinco Terra, Luca, Sienna and the Cianti Road. Here it is mostly about enjoying the towns, though the scenery inbetween is also beutiful. I don't know which I prefer the most, Italian or French cooking... they are both so awesome. Italian food being so ingeniously simple, yet tasty, while french being complex and utterly savioury... mmmmmmm!
4) The wine roads in France plus the french riviera.
5) Ireland - beautiful, but rainy and windy... awesome pub life.
Going to these places would just about put you in every corner in Western Europe. Germany is often only used as a transit country, but has much to offer. If just passing through, don't forget to spend atleast one night in an old town with the wood framed houses. There are some good wine routes that could be riden as an alternative to the Autobahn. It took me 8 hours to cross all of germany on the autobahn, though I drove really fast!
Then offcourse there are all the major cities: Berlin, Paris, Prahag, Budapest, St.Petersburgh, Moscow, Amsterdam, London, Copenhagen, Rome, and others. I know little of eastern Europe and can't provide you with much useful information. But lt it be said, travelling in Europe is easy. I would bring a GPS though.
If going to Copenhagen and plan to go to Norway from there (or the other way around), although much more expensive and a bit slower than riding through Sweeden, I would concider to take the ferry. The bike ride from Copenhagen to Oslo is long and boring. The overnight ferry voyage http://www.dfds.no/dsw/no is a full cruiseliner with just about everything on board. It will allow you to rest up, eat well, catch some sleep in the lugar, get drunk in one of the many bars or discoteques, purchase some duty free cigarettes and liquor (something which you definantly want to bring if you smoke or drink). But as I said, the ferry is a bit pricey when bringing a vehicle, something which you should take into concideration before embarking on Norway. Still, you would probably spend the night in some hotel anyways. There are often special low price tickets available as they make most of their money from Norwegians solely taking a round trip to hoard duty free goods and to get drunk onboard. Probably the greatest thing about this ferry, if the weather is nice, is that you get to see the entire Oslo fjord (not a true fjord like those in the geography books, but pretty spectacular non the less).
Location: A Brazilian couple living in Cambridge, UK
Beddhist and Weelie,
Thanks very much guys, We really appreciate your help…
I knew the GPS question was a bit stupid (hehe), but I really can’t find the one for motorbikes, I guess I’m searching in the wrong way!
About the Bike and the Licence…After the trip, We’re going back to Brazil, cause I have to finish my University (And start a boring life…hehe), so we will no longer be in UK, and I want to send the bike to Brazil (That will be well difficult, I know…)!But the licence…I’ll have to take the test here anyway, cause the Insurers are a really pain in the ***** and they also don’t wanna insure me cause I’m under 25 yrs!!!!
You said about Romania…We are definitely going there, and how about Bulgaria?Would you say it’s too dangerous????
And you got the point about “not rushing”…Cause we’re from Brazil, we always think that it will be VERY expensive to come here again, and do such a trip…But you’re absolutely right, because otherwise we end up passing a lot of countries, but not enjoying the places!!!
What a post about Norway, thanks a lot…
I’m very concerned about the cheap hotels there (B&B’s, hostels…) Can we get hold of them in the north?We’re not taking camping gear with us, and I don’t wanna pay £ 80.00 every night…hehe!I was looking at some websites yesterday, and it seems to be very difficult to find a hostel for less then £70.00…I was expecting to pay up to £45.00 for both of us (That’s what you pay here in UK for a honest B&B)!!!
Appart from the book that you recommended, do you know any guidebook that is good for Norway (Or Scandinavia in general…)?
How long do you reckon we should allow for Norway?A week?
The other question is about the ferry…Altough I don’t drink that much, and don’t smoke at all, the ferry from Copenhagen to Norway seems to be the ideal one…How far is Copenhagen to Oslo (On the road)?I heard something about a ferry from Germany to Denmark and Denmark to Norway, is it the same one?
Thanks again for the infos…Really appreciate that!!! We’re absolutely lost trying to plan the trip, and these informations came up to sort us out, at least in the Norway bit!!!
Oops! I didn't mean to put you on the spot. I don't have a GPS, but PanEuropean put a very nice looking write-up in here somewhere (the comms forum?). Use the search function. I suspect that with GPS you get what you pay for. If it doesn't work satisfatorily then it was too expensive, no matter how little you paid.
Location: A Brazilian couple living in Cambridge, UK
You havent done anything wrong...I asked for help, and that's exactly what you did...hehehe!!!!And I'd like to thank you very much again...
I met Michael (PanEuropean) here in Cambridge...I work in an Internet Cafe and he turned up riding a HUGE Bike, I was so impressed and kept asking him millions of questions...So, he's the one to blame, cause he put me into the HUBB!!!By that time I was just thinking about a trip, but it was Not going to happen, then I started searching this forum and found out that it could happen...
I swear I've read every post in the "European, Comm, Planning a route and Which Bike" forums, but I must be missing something...hehe!!!!
There is a ferry going from kiel to Oslo http://www.colorline.no/servlets/page?section=1000, it takes two nights I think, and is an even greater option, though you will miss Denmark. They have just gotten a brand new ship, a huge one. If you plan to go this route, try to allign your trip so that you get to travel on this boat.
As for hotels, evrything in Norway has high standards, even by european standards. You don't have to bring a tent, but remember that the many of the most inexpensive self catering cabins (the second cheapest after camping)do not provide linnen, so bring a sleeping bag or linnen.
Tenting in camp sites is a pain in the ass, litterally, as the ground is often really hard and uneven (not a lot of grass far north). Remember though that you can camp anywhere in Norway for free, even on private property. You must however bee atleast 150 meeters away from a house, worked garden or farmland, and not be of disturbance. Camping near a running brook in the wilderness is far more satisfying than in a camp sight, but do expect to have toturn off the main road to find a decent place... and a tent with a mosquito net is a must... and bring those eye covers that you get on the airplane... you can't distinguish night and day and sleep may get difficult.
I am not sure how expensive hotels get, but it will get expensive. I wouldn't worry too much about staying in the cheap places, it is not like you have to do this every night, and it is appart of the experience. You will meet travellers coming the other way, save some money, etc. No matter what you choose, it will be clean and safe! I just realised yesterday that I left one of my vintage scooters unlocked for a month, ready for someone to take it for a ride (I still advice people to lock their bike and hotelroom door, not every Norwegian is honest, but allmost).
As for accomodation, you will come by them wherever you go... no worries here.
As for time, you can do it in a week, but you will be in a hurry. Two weeks is more appropriate, and a must if you calculate the return trip. A 250 kilometer trip in Norway will take approximatley 3-5 hours, icluding stops for food and gas. You might want to climb a glacier or something or spend the night in major towns rather than just pass through. And remember,unless you turn east into Russia, there is nothing beyond northerm Norway besided icy cold water,you have to calculate time to get back. You can either go by Hurtigruten, a luxury cruiseliner http://www.hurtigruten.no/index.asp If you are on a budget, then this is definatley not an option. Your other options would either be to drive back through Sweden or Finland which is must faster as it is flatter (calculate 3 days). This stretch is looooooong and boring, with trees and more trees, and nothing to do or but drive.
And, don't even concider the North Western part of Russia, it is depressing as hell!
[This message has been edited by Wheelie (edited 01 December 2005).]
You mentioned Romania and Bulgaria. Romania - do it. Its a very different experience and well worth the trip. Bulgaria I found a real problem. No more dangerous, but police speed traps everywhere, absolutely useless road signs - usually no signs at all, and the cyrillic script makes it even worse. Language was much worse than Romania and its impossible to read so you can't even guess at it. If you've got GPS I guess it might be OK, but I would take Romania over Bulgaria every time. The roads are pretty much equally crap in both countries, so no surprises there !
Location: A Brazilian couple living in Cambridge, UK
Weelie, thanks again mate…
You’ve really been helping us a lot, especially on the details…It’s very nice to hear from a local all the tips about his country!
I’ve checked out the ferry web site, if you’re going on a bike is it the same as if you were going on a car?Because they just have the options: travelling with a car or without…Because in UK they have different prices when you’re on a bike.
About the accommodation the “cabins” seem to be very good…We don’t want to take the camping gear because it takes too much space on a bike…But we’re definitely taking the linens, even in Hostels we will need them!!!
You mentioned North west part of Russian, We were thinking about riding into Moscow and St Petesburg (from Estonia, Latvia or Lithuania) rather than take a bus/train…But now, not sure…should we stick with idea of riding into Russia?At the beginning I thought that would be too complicated, but after read some posts (and check the train/buses times…15 hours from Talin to Moscow…too much) I started thinking about have a ride!!!
On the way out of Norway, we’re probably going trhu Sweden and Finland, gotta visit some friends there…
Wheelspin, Thanks for the advice about Bulgaria…
I guess it might be the same hassle like in Ukraine…On Linda’s post she says that’s nothing really intresting there, and we should spend more time in Croatia, Slovenia, Romania…
We’re definitely staying in Hostels…Eventhough sometimes you find B&B’s cheaper then Hostels (for a couple)…
Thanks again for all the posts…Very helpful
If someone has more tips, Please post’em…Especially about the Eastern European part!
Its been a few years since I brought a motorcycle on the ferry, and I don't remember if prices are cheaper, but I guess they would be. Send them an e-mail or call.
Information about riding in Russia, I'm not your guy... Only been in the North-Western part of Russia during my army days, and it is not worth seeing, trust me. I'd guess that riding in russia would not pose too many problems... there is street crime, corruption and mafia, but its not like it is a warzone or anything. But once again, you should ask somebody else...
this summer I made the trip around the north europe> slovakia,poland,lietuva,latvia,estonia,russia/peterburg/,finland,norway,sweden,denmark,germany,czech
Slovakia as I told you in different topic is intersting, in poland we were in gdansk, castle marlbork and baltic sea, lietuva is veeery nice/Vilnius,Kanvas,watercastle Trakai/, Latvia/Riga/, estonia- Ontica waterfalls, Russia/Peterburg-very nice hotel Marskaja very nice and good hotel 50euro per night per person, cruiser avrora, smolnij...very nice and safe, only police sometimes stop you, but 300 rublej is enought=9euro, petrol 1l/0,4euro/, finlad is nice,1000 lakes, norway/veeery nice-you need see northcape entrance 70norway crowns, nice is Vardo, Batsfjord, sweden is ok, denmark also and in germany we were only in berlin...ferry from denmark to germany 280denmark crowns
we slept in camping in cottages and in tent, it is ok everywhere/but you must come until 21:00 and must be free/, price of cottage is 20-70 euro from poland to norway, if you want see some pictures are here, sorry only in slovak is text http://motoride.sk/?ID=863
I think varadero is good bike, for somebody heavy bus, but I like it very much, I did not have any problen with my bike, there is 36000km it is a new
we had only 3 weeks for this trip and it was 9300km... 8000km onroad/the rest on the unpaved roads
I recommned you at least 6 weeks for this trip, but I have problem with time and nowadays I prefer 3 times 2-3weeks holiday like one 2-3 months...
We had destination the northcape, but in each country is somethink to see for min. 5 days...but sometimes it is maximum, finland is very nice for example, but when you go 5 days throw this very nice roads, nice lakes, everythink is very nice but the same, it is boring...but maybe you have another opinion...
In russia is no problem, when you will to peterburg, there are good hotels, good petrol stations, good and everythink is cheaper than EU, I saw in russia in peterburg on each kilometer police, I think bad people or mafia are everywhere, I can say from my side It is safe the way to peterburg...in moscow I never been there...but this is the same like peterburg...russia has three parts...moscow, peterburg and others...
you must go there and you will be ok and it is very nice to see somethink new and after that you can tell your friend how you saw russion mafia
Originally posted by fcasado: Marekxxx,
Very nice pics!!!Thanks a lot!
I've got a few questions 4u:
- How did the Varadero cope with the trip?
- How many miles did you do in that trip?
- How long did it take?
We're planning a route very similar to what you did...
Is Russia really safe?Even if we went to Moscow on the Bike? (I know that sounds stupid, but everyone says that the Mafia is everywhere there)...
Wish I knew a little bit of Slovakian to read your Report, seems to be really intresting!
Location: A Brazilian couple living in Cambridge, UK
I didn't mean to put the Varadero down, in fact I'm sure it's a very good bike, and I just asked because We haven't bought the bike yet...
We're very keen on the GS, but you can get a 2003 Vara for the same price as a 1994 GS, so...
By the way, How is the fuel range on the Vara???
The other quetion abou the trip is, how much did budget per day for such a trip?
Thanks very much!!!
[This message has been edited by fcasado (edited 08 December 2005).]
If I were you I would definitely put Turkey in my list rather than Romania and Bulgaria.
Fantastic place,nice people,great food and fun.
You can easily take a ferry from Greece.
BTW it is a lot cheaper than Greece and all of the EU countries.
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