A short tour of Scandinavia.

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During June of 1999 I made a short tour of parts of Scandinavia in my Murvi campervan. The route included Denmark, Norway, Finland and Sweden. One of the main objectives was to visit Nordkapp the most northerly (almost) point in Europe. See Map.

The tour included visits to four large cities (Copenhagen, Oslo, Helsinki and Stockholm), several islands, lots of fjords and thousands of kilometres of rather dull road. Below are some of the highlights (and lowlights) of the trip and some general observations on traveling in Scandinavia in a campervan.

Campsites.

All four countries I visited had lots of campsites, nearly all of a high standard and mostly charging about £10 ($15US) per night. A UK camping carnet (from the Caravan Club) was accepted in all counties other than Sweden where a "Temporary Camping Card" had to be purchased (thus avoiding having to leave your passport with campsite reception).

The Island of Ærø.

Aero

Well off the beaten track Ærø is an idyllic island with small fishing villages and rolling hills. An ideal place to tour by bicycle. You can cycle right round the island (on a well marked cycle route) in a day.

The ferries to and from the island are often full and it is important to book by phone (62 58 17 17) rather than queue.

Copenhagen.

Copenhagen was my favorite large city on this trip. With a population of 1.4 million Copenhagen is the largest and liveliest city in Scandinavia. The "free state" of Christiania (within Copenhagen) is particularly recommended for a relaxing afternoon. Photography is alas prohibited in the "local market" where goods are attractively and prominently displayed.

For more conventional entertainment the area round Nyhavn is well supplied with restaurants, bars and (if you are that way inclined) tattoo parlors. This is a good place to watch the world go by.

Tattoo parlor off Nyhavn

Nyhavn. Copenhagen 1999

Nyhavn. Copenhagen 1999
Erotic (not) Museum. Copenhagen 1999

For evening entertainment Mojo Løngangstræde 21 is highly recommended for live blues (at least on the night we were there).

Mojo Club. Copenhagen 1999

The Louisiana Museum of Modern Art.

About 40km north of Copenhagen is the spectacular Louisiana Museum of Modern Art Situated on the North Zealand coast in a spacious, old park with a fine view across the Sound to Sweden. It houses an impressive collection of modern art by international artists such as Arp, Francis Bacon, Calder, Dubuffet, Max Ernst, Sam Francis, Giacometti, Kiefer, Henry Moore, Picasso, Rauschenberg and Warhol.

The Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. The Louisiana Museum of Modern Art.
The Louisiana Museum of Modern Art.
The Louisiana Museum of Modern Art.

Flåm

The tiny village of Flåm at the head of the Aurlands-fjord in Norway is highly recommended. The train ride between Flåm and Myrdal should not be missed.

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The walk down from Myrdal to Flåm takes about six hours and in the right weather conditions is very spectacular. Even in June the area around Myrdal was still covered in snow and the first kilometer is fairly steep, but the remainder of the walk is a gently down hill stroll.

There were however some very strange locals!

Flåm also has one of the best camp sites (and hostels) in Norway.

An axe murderer at Flam?

Nordkapp

Nordkapp

Although Nordkapp was the primary objective of the trip, in truth it was hardly worth the effort! Nordkapp is Europe's most northerly point with steep cliffs and a barren plateau with a certain stark beauty, however it is spoilt by a gigantic underground tourist centre with a £15 ($25US) entrance fee!

Near the tourist centre is a desolate parking area (without water) used as a camp site by a many of the campervans that visit Nordkapp. Far better is "the worlds most northerly camp" site a few kilometers inland.

What little sense of achievement there was in driving to Nordkapp was spoilt by the arrival of about a hundred 1950/60s bubble cars!

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