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We are also planning a trip to the Nordkapp this summer, leaving from Malta on the 26 Jul and returning on 16 Aug. That gives us 23 days but we have to go up from almost the lowest part of Europe to the highest point and it's a long haul. We shall be two-up on a Triumph Tiger and will be staying in campsites most of the way.
From the very useful information found on this thread we plan to go up through Sweden via the E45, then come down the 'slow' way through Norway, mostly on the E6. That way we can make some good time initially so we'll have some extra days on the way back. The trip is estimated to be about 7000 miles, half of that unfortunately on motorways enroute to Scandinavia.
Like most people, we'll be trying not to spend a lot of money, which seems to be a challenge in Scandinavia. Setting up a tent is not expensive, judging from the camping websites I've seen, the cheaper cabins are reasonable and would be really nice to sleep in when it's raining. Obviously, I expect everybody will want to sleep in them when it's raining, so it may be a problem finding one. Should we try to phone campsites beforehand, say in the morning, and would they accept a booking like that over the phone?
Another question - what are the options where eating is concerned? I know that food is very expensive, but would the food in campsites be reasonably priced? If it's not, I think we'll mostly buy from supermarkets and prepare quick dinners and packed lunches. Three weeks like that won't kill us I suppose.
Looking forward for our biggest trip yet in 5 weeks time...
Dancall, I´m very interested in your trip since I´m heading for Nordkapp during the third or forth week of August, from Portugal, any details will be very usefull. Unfortunately it seems that i will make this trip by car.
Good luck Iain, let me know when you are back so we can have a chat about what's good/bad etc etc! My trip starts on 1 August...can't wait.
Duncall, from what I can gather there does not seem to be a big problem getting a place in a lodge. As for food...I believe supermarkets will be the cheaper option so why not get some cooking equipment and cook your own! that's one of the things I enjoy most about travelling, except if it's raining of course.
We will be taking the fast catamaran from Valletta to Catania, Sicily, early on the 26th July, arriving at about 9:00am. We should be crossing from Denmark to Sweden sometime on the 4th day after lots and lots of boring motorways. Our bike is a black Tiger 955i, and we’ll be two-up with Givi side-cases and an 80-litre drybag slung on the back. That will make us only slightly smaller than a heavy truck We usually cruise at about 80 mph om motorways which is perfectly comfortable on the Tiger - anything more is a strain for hours on end, especially on my wife at the back. Fuel consumption takes a nose-dive as well.
Once in Scandinavia we’ll be sticking to the main routes, as the distances are huge and I don’t think we should deviate a lot from the direct route to the Nordkapp. The E45 seems a fine route to take and if we make good time going up we can afford to spend a few extra days in the fjord region on our way back. Hopefully the weather will be reasonable, though we are well prepared with Goretex gear and plastic oversuits on top. We’re not much used to a lot of rain in Malta! ( 33 C 2 days ago)
I would like to place another question. Though I hope that I will not have any problems with the bike, and it’s never happened yet, it is good to have info on what to do in case of a breakdown, especially in Norway and Sweden. I imagine the distances involved are great, will it cost a fortune if the worst comes to the worst? What do you do in a case like this?
So I don’t think I will meet with you, Pedro, if you’re leaving on the 3rd week of August, but may cross paths with Paul. Looking forward to meet fellow travelers on the road …
First, what a fantastic place! There is only one criticism you can level at Norway, but we'll come to that in a second. Luckily we've had two weeks of literally unbroken sunshine. A few days spent meandering through the fjords, then the run up the E6 to the Nordkapp, midnight sun on the summer solstice, and back via the Lofotens. The scenery is stunning, turquoise fjords, snow capped mountains, endless forests, spectacular waterfalls, quaint fishing vilages, it just goes on and on. Everyone spoke English, was very helpfull and genuinely pleased to see us.
Now for the stats;
* We covered 5600km (3500mi) over 12 days, from Bergen to the Nordkapp and back.
* Speed limits are low, especially in the countryside. Our longest day clocked up 720km (450mi), but it was hard work. Work on covering 500km (300mi) a day and you'll have some time to stop and stare.
* Everything was expensive, period.
* We were staying in log cabins at campsites, and generally paid NOK 300 per night. They are plentiful, but you can phone in advance and book. We carried the Rough Guide and Lonely Planet, which had more than enough campsite suggestions. We didn't book any accomodation in advance.
* Fuel cost anywhere between NOK 8 and NOK 10 per litre of unleaded. Budget on NOK 9.25 and you won't go far wrong.
* Your fuel economy will improve drastically! I am used to getting 290km (180mi) to reserve on my Africa Twin. In Norway we were getting to 400km (250mi) on a regular basis. On one day we got over 480km (300mi) from one tank of fuel.
* Generally there are no tolls on roads, except in a few places. The subsea tunnel to the Nordkapp is one of them, expect to pay NOK 68 each way. (Then feel sorry for the campervans who pay NOK 480 each way!)
* Entry to the Nordkapphalen is NOK 185, and your ticket is nominally valid for 2 days, although if the weather is crap they'll let you back in up to 4 days later.
* There were only 2 days when we didn't take a ferry, although you could plan your route to avoid them. However the ferries run frequently and you don't book in advance. Costs varied between NOK 30 and NOK 50 for a 20 to 45 minute crossing.
* The ferry from the Lofotens to Bodo cost NOK 205 for bike and rider.
* Getting into Bergen on a weekday costs NOK 10 per bike.
* A loaf of bread in a supermarket will cost at least NOK 10, and usually closer to NOK 20.
* A 1.5 litre bottle of CocaCola, 7Up, Fanta, etc. costs about NOK 16.
* Beer cans and plastic bottles are recyclable. Take them back to the supermarket and get NOK 2.5 for the plastic and NOK 1 for the tins. Every little helps!
* A half litre of in a bar costs about NOK 50. The cheapest we paid was NOK 39, which was a student deal.
* Eating pizza in a restaurant will cost from NOK 75 upwards. You won't struggle to find a simple meal costing NOK 200 each. Your basic meal in McD*****lds costs NOK 65.
* Don't speed! Your bank manager will hate you forever. Using a hypothetical example, cough, if you're caught doing 91kph (56mph) in a 80kph (50mph) zone, then you've the choice of a NOK 1700 fine or 5 days in jail. The speed traps are purely for revenue generation, not safety. Unless you've got X-ray vision you will not spot them.
* Bike shops and mechanics generally don't work on the weekend. However they will come out for fee. We picked up a puncture rolling off of the boat on a Saturday. Someone came out, took the wheel away and replaced the tube for a cost of NOK 1000.
* There are plenty of tunnels, many of which are over 1km in length. The tunnels are very cold, and in some it is possible for fog to develop. Most tunnels are lit, so wearing sunglasses isn't too much of a problem.
* Generally road surfaces are fantastic. There's very little overbanding, no manhole covers, no cats eyes, and no potholes. However bends frequently tighten in radius, so take care when keeled over.
* Make sure your tyres and brake pads are in good condition. If you're going for more than a week, take spare brake pads. It's a land of hairpin bends and steep mountain passes.
Okay that's all I can remember at the moment. I'll be putting some photos on the website soon, along with some route and cost information. I'll post back here when that's done so people can check exact costs for ferries and cabins and things.
If you're going to Norway, I wish you the best of luck with the weather. If it's not already on your list of places to do, add it now! Even with the enormous cost of a trip, there is nothing else to fault about the place. Enjoy.
Nice one Iain! Some excellent tips.Pleased you had such a good time. Look forward to seeing your additional information and photos. One question springs imediately to mind though...why did your fuel consumption improve?
Also, what was the temps like in the far north? Will we need thermals and heated grips while riding?
* Fuel consumption improves because speeds are so low. If I remember correctly drag increases with speed squared, so sticking to the 50mph speed limit reduces wind resistance considerably. Whereas in the UK I'll sit on the motorway with the engine at 6'000rpm, I barely got above 4'000rpm the whole time we were in Norway.
* Temperatures were high for us. We spent many an evening inside the Artic Circle sat outside in shorts and t-shirt. And we're both soft southern jessies as well! Matt rode all the way up there in his summer gloves, and I never had occaision to switch on the heated grips.
* The exception to this was the Nordkapp itself. The weather station was reporting a temperature of roughly 5 degC, but the wind was blowing. With the windchill it was below zero. Of course the hallen is heated and warm, but it's a circus in there, complete with tour-bus clowns!
* Take your thermals and winter gloves. They don't take up much room in the panniers, but if the weather is shite you *will* need them.
Iain Glad to hear you enjoyed Norway, I am planning a similar trip or more to the point turning up and riding to the North Cape We (me, pan european and niki on her Hornet) leave Newcastle on the 26thJuly for Kristiansand and then the adventure begins (2 weeks). I hope to cross the border into Russia at some point, not for a prolonged stay, but maybee to get a little taster for another tour. Did you consider crossing the border/is there any advice from anyone else that has? Another post about the route you took would be interesting and any accomodation reccomendations would be appreciated
We did consider heading to the Russian border ... for about 5 seconds! It's a bloody long way up to the Nordkapp, and when you get north of Alta, the road splits; left to the Nordkapp, right to Russia. But it's still many hundreds of kilometers from there to the border, and the scenery that far north is nowhere near as interesting as in the fjords. In two weeks you're going to be putting in many many miles, and for us the extra just wasn't worth the bragging rights to say that we'd been to the border. Crossing was never an option either, as you'll need carnets, etc. to get across.
In brief the route was ferry to Bergen; mooching around the fjords (Geiranger, Trollstigveien, etc.); Trondheim to Tromso to Alta along E6; the Nordkapp; back down E6 to the Lofotens; ferry to Bodo; E6 to the fjords; more mooching; then home. Currently I'm working on a detailed route for my website, which'll include photos, costs, route, and maybe even some video. I will post here when it's done, which is likely to be later this week.
On the accomodation front, we used cabins at campsites almost exclusively. NOK 300 a night for two people is about as cheap as accomodation will get in Norway. We tried a hotel in Hammerfest, to be told that a single room was going to set us back about NOK 800. So we headed back to the campsite.
Just got back from Norway... take lots of money - damn it's expensive.
I did a round trip from Larvik west over Aurlandsdalen to Lom then back east over Lillehammer. Amazing scenery!! If you can ride the mountain pass from Aurlandsvangen to Lærdalsøyri, that one-day was pretty much the whole tours highlight. Count on camping and use Norway’s allemandsret (right of use on public land). It would be nice to join up with others, as it’s too expensive (was for me at least) to go out to bars and restaurants. Hope you enjoy, Norway is a beautiful country! much like Canada and New Zealand.
[This message has been edited by AFrear (edited 08 July 2003).]
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