Road trip through Scandinavia
Replies: 6 - Last Post: Mar 5, 2013 3:55 AM Last Post By: espenespen
Jan 21, 2013 12:54 PM
Road trip through ScandinaviaDear fellow travellers,
Firstly, a very Happy New Year to you all!
I am desperately looking for some advice as I just don't know where to start with this trip I am attempting to plan and after hours of scouring the Internet I am none the wiser.
My friend and I (male and female) are wanting to fly to Helsinki this November, hire a car and drive up to Lapland (and potentially beyond). We aim to take 6 days to do this and then return to Stockholm via Norwegian Fjords, again taking another 6 days or so.
The most northern place I've read about to see Northern lights is Kilpisjarvi. So the provisional route I've pencilled in is as follows:
Helsinki - Oulu - Oulanka National Park - Kilpisjarvi - Narvik - Bodo - Mo i Rana and then I draw a blank.
So, what I'm really looking for is someone who perhaps knows this route or someone who knows a better route? Or if this route is even possible?
We drove from London to Mongolia on the Mongol Rally so when it comes to driving in extreme conditions we are fairly experienced. But if anyone has any tips or advice of sourcing a car that would be great. I've checked the usual suspects of Europcar and Avis but the prices are fairly extortionate. I was wondering if perhaps there are any local places that you can hire a 4x4?
If anyone has any tips, advice or past experiences that they can provide it would be hugely appreciated.
Jan 22, 2013 1:33 AM
1Rental prices as a whole in Scandinavia are expensive, local rentals won't allow return in other countries. To be honest though this is not a trip I would do in November not so much due to extreme conditions although they could be quite bad, but due to the hours of daylight you will not see much and the further north you get the less daylight hours you will have.
It might be cheaper buying a second hand 4x4 in the UK than renting, certainly worth looking into.
Jan 22, 2013 3:49 AM
2Wonder why you fly+rent (remember you will have to pay a lot returning in a another country than Finland). Why not take your own (rally)car - night ferry to Denmar - drive to Stockholm (one long day but you LOVE to drive?)- night ferry to Stockholm and you have used 2 nights+1 day instead of the one day for flying + one nignt before starting from Helsinki.
And at the return: last night + fly home day xx or last night - drive to Ejbjerg on day xx and night ferry to UK- you are back one night later - has saved a lot of money.
Wonder why you select this dark and wet time of the year. I understand that you do not really care about seeing anything (with so few days put into the project) but still.
Should also say that the roads are in no way "challenging" - you will have fine roads except for snow/ice if this will happen. So make sure to have studded tires and ABS/ESP equipped car (much more important than 4WD- which is overkill IMHO).
Jan 22, 2013 2:40 PM
3Bjoern and Richiavo, thank you very much for your replies - greatly appreciated.
The main reason behind choosing November was based on Northern lights - 2013 is the last year in their 11 year cycle to see them during Solar Optimum, hence I chose November. However, I fully take on board the advice regarding daylight hours. Would you suggest an alternative month that might be more appropriate? I realise that hedging bets on seeing Northern lights in 2 weeks is fairly optimistic but the experts say that October - November and March - April is the best time to see them, and as my birthday is in November I thought I would try combine the two!
I am looking to combine the trip with seeing as much of Scandinavia as well so perhaps November would not be ideal. Do you have any recommendations on when would be a good time of year to combine the two?
With regards to hiring car, I had planned to ferry across from Stockholm - Helsinki to drop off the car in the same place as pickup in order to keep costs lower. With this in mind would you have any recommendations on local car rentals that might allow this?
I would be open to considering other modes of transport through Scandinavia. The only reason I wanted to drive is that I love the freedom that self-driving gives you, should anything happen you always a form of accommodation with you at all times!
Many thanks again for your replies and I look forward to hearing from you.
Jan 22, 2013 11:59 PM
Jan 23, 2013 12:45 AM
You can't see the northern lights if there are clouds in the way, and if there are clouds in the way it hardly matters if the activity is a bit higher. The activity is fairly reliably higher by about 30% around the equinoxes as opposed to around the solstices, but that isn't necessarily such a big difference when cloudiness is factored in. Autumn is a very cloudy time. The Spring equinox clearly offers better prospects because it is a less cloudy time of year, and scenically advantageous too, because there will be much more snow lying.
Overall, a road-trip during a soggy wet dark time of year is unlikely to be the most enjoyable.
Mar 5, 2013 3:55 AM
6If you're already in Kilpisjarvi, I would consider going to Tromsø instead of Narvik.
And why not check out Lofoten islands while you're driving south to Bodø?
A much more spectacular and scenic route than Narvik - Bodø... which is quite boring.
At the southern tip of Lofoten, you can take the ferry from Moskenes to Bodø. :)
(4 star Hotel)
From US$391.11 per night
(4 star Hotel)
From US$245.65 per night
(3 star Hotel)
From US$204.62 per night