Now, when a couple of weeks has passed, I can write an evaluation of the trip. There was a lot of good things (driving, scenery, new experiences), but it was also quite difficult at times (long days, a lot of driving, rains, and cold), so I still feel quite conflicted. The trip was definitely worth it, but I won’t be embarking on anything similar until next year. At this moment I can’t even think of ferries without shuddering. 🙂
All in all we drove 4 319 km and we were on the road for 13 days.
A few random facts about the trip:
- We have booked hotels for all nights in advance and in my opinion it was worth it, but it depends on how adventurous you are. Because sometimes we arrived to the destination very late, it was wonderful to know that we have a place to stay and we didn’t have to waste time on looking for accommodation. In addition to this Lofoten was quite full everywhere, so unless you like sleeping outside, the reservation is nearly mandatory. In small towns there were signs that there was a room available and these places are obviously not visible in Booking.com and such.
- You should pack all your clothes into e.g. resealable plastic bags, because you never know what’s going to happen. I had several instances of saddle bags being wet and once a lotion bottle broke, so it was nice to have all the clothes in sealed bags, which kept them dry and clean.
- I’d recommend to have comfortable shoes like sneakers with you. Even though Converse shoes were mostly fine, I would’ve preferred to wear something else e.g. till Svartisen.
- In northern Norway there are no laundromats. Either take enough clothes for the entire trip or be prepared to wash them by hand. When doing laundry in the sink, remember that it takes quite a long time to dry especially if the air is already damp.
- A hat is a must for some activities even in July.
- It is recommended to have more than one long-sleeved shirt even if it’s July. 🙂
- There is no need for non-casual clothing. Most people were wearing sport clothing and even in restaurants the people were dressed very casually, so no need to stress that you look like a random hiker. I often wore leggings and a long sweater and in most places was just wearing biking gear and didn’t get any weird looks.
- You should definitely have a second pair of driving gloves. A pair for warm days and a pair of waterproof and warm ones.
- It doesn’t matter if it says waterproof on your riding shoes, they will be wet if it rains hard enough. Consider getting a rainsuit.
- Neck protection has proved very useful on this trip.
- Nobody asked for any documentation anywhere during the trip, but bring them in a small resealable plastic bag.
- We had to carry our helmets with us, which was very uncomfortable. Maybe a lock would’ve been nice, so we could lock it to the bike? Some people just left their helmets on the bikes, so I guess it’s quite safe in the north, but we didn’t try our luck.
- Sun screen is useful and you should use it. It is possible to burn your nose even in the north.
A little on the topic of money:
- I went on the trip with the attitude “How expensive can it be anyway?”. Really. Fucking. Expensive. I think if you double the Finnish prices then you get approximately to the Norwegian level. I thought that the hotels were expensive, but we spent more money on food. Of course you have some less expensive options, but it’s not like there’s a McDonald’s at every corner in the north of Norway. The food costs quite a lot even in shops, but it’s of course cheaper than eating in a restaurant.
- I spent on gas 320€ during the entire trip. Boyfriend has a heavier bike, so he spent more. He didn’t track the amounts, but every time we got gas, his bill was a few euros more.
- We spent on all the hotels 1 488€, which is a lot, but as I said earlier it was worth it in a lot of places. There are of course options of having a tent or renting cabins, but it would’ve demanded more time to research everything and we started planning the trip kind of late, so we ended up booking hotels. All the options on the booking sites were rather expensive, so budget for accommodation.
- I estimate that we spent on food approx. 1 400€ during the two weeks. This is also quite a lot and for us it was partially a choice because we like to eat out. You can of course spend much less by researching the restaurants and planning the meals.
- We spent on ferries 337€. This is for two people on two bikes. The biggest amount (130€) was spent on Wasalines, which took us from Umeå to Vaasa.
- On activities and entrance fees we spent approx. 420€. The biggest cost was for Whale Safari, which cost 224€ for two people.