We didn’t know much about Norway, and we didn’t really have many expectations. We’ve known enough people doing similar trips to know it isn’t that tough, but still didn’t know many answers before we left.
So some of our thoughts:-
- Food and entertainment is very expensive. Think 2-3x UK prices in shops, e.g. bread £2 cheapest, generally £3-3.50. Beer out, £8 for 25cl. Food out, £25-30 for “standard” burger/pizza. Mars bar: £1.50. Most fruit/veg/meat 2-3x UK price. Take as much as you can!
- There are plenty of free service points for water, waste, toilet – we’ve never run out or needed to panic. Public loos in rest areas are, generally, very good.
- Campsites are frequent, but quality and position isn’t always great though facilities can be good.
- Free overnight stopping areas are either signed and frequent, or easy to find discreetly. That said, there appears to be MANY European motorhomes and some places are now overrun and signed “no overnight parking” and the like. So seems to be getting worse.
- Road tolls are generally just drive though and expect a bill when back in UK. They can appear randomly for no known reason, and you have no choice. Vary from £1.50 to £15 each and you can hit £10 in a short distance, then not see another for miles… We expect a £75 bill….
- Ferries are needed but easy. In most cases, just queue, drive on and pay. You pay for van (and driver) and extra for passenger. Seem to be around £15 a time for most crossings and probably 10x crossings. (+£100 for something like Lofoten ferry)
- Everyone is friendly enough and is fluent in English.
- Fuel isn’t too bad – varies between £1.35 and £1.50 when at time UK is around £1.30.
- Lots of speed cameras and average camera zones, so get good satnav with warnings. Most speed limits are 80kph which is fine and generally not slow.
- Roads are generally very good, and any smaller roads seem to be so seldom used it doesn’t matter. Driving (except cities) seems to be fairly chilled.
- We got pretty much 99% mobile and mobile data coverage roaming on our UK “three” network – even in most tunnels. (Unlike Sweden when we can only roam on the Swedish “three” network and not any others, and coverage is much more limited)
The scenery is SUPERB and there is a huge variety, with lots of “wows” of natural sites, of glaciers, fjords, mountains, and just general views. The roads and tunnels are masterpieces of engineering. Well worth a trip, and incredibly spectacular. The scenery is pretty much continuous, and varied, seldom boring.
The towns and cities though don’t match the natural environment for interest or wow factors, and generally we’ve not been overly impressed. Going out and activities are so highly priced it makes it hard to justify (e.g. kayaking was £75pp; beers £16 a pint; 1hr site seeing boat trip £35pp) etc – so it sort of makes us think we’d prefer to use that money for other things at another time. The countryside is great, but in France for example, you’d get easy access to walking or mountain bike trails – whereas we’ve not seen as much in Norway. Yes you can hike around, but generally the walks don’t add any wow factor to the rest of the environment – but of course are nice enough!
We’d totally recommend Norway to see and explore, and many must-see sights and natural beauty. But, beyond that, it didn’t hugely excite us…