Sunday, 8 May 2016

From North to South in 7 Days: Tromsø – Bergen by Motorhome

The flying distance from Tromsø to Bergen is 1206 km. The driving distance is more than 1800 km. No matter how daunting, but it was my dream to drive this route. And it was totally worth it! It was a unique experience with exceptional sceneries in places. 

Tromsø by night

This time we – me and my wife – completely skipped Oslo, however, we have been there already. We would love to visit it again, but – alas – other parts of the country awaited us! 

Initially we planned to rent a car, but when calculated costs of hostels/camps and meals, my wife suggested to rent a motorhome. Small motorhome for two was a great option, we always head a roof over heads, a kitchen, and nice beds. We dined out a couple of times, and usually we just bought some meat and vegetables – and cooked ourselves. Hot tea was always at hand. 

Motorhome Norway

I can say that motorhome is an optimal variant for Norway. Most of the roads there have stops for motorhomes with tables and even toilets. Almost every gas station offers fresh water. If it is of interest, we booked a motorhome from Tromsø to Bergen at Motorhome Norway. The roads (mainly E6, E39, E8) up to Bergen were in good condition. 

DAY 1 

We arrived in a small airport in Tromsø, collected our luggage and found our transfer to the rental's office. There we got our motorhome, received all instructions and started our journey

First, we drove to the town, parked and looked around. Tromsø is called Norway's gateway to the Arctic – and for a reason. We saw the port from which famous explorers have set forth to new discoveries. Popped in to a café to have a cup of coffee and some snack. Took the cable car to Fjellheisen, it raised us at the height of 420 meters above the sea level. The view was fantastic! We saw the Arctic Cathedral, but did not have time to get in. 

The Arctic Cathedral, Tromsø

We bought some food and set for a journey. Our next destination was Narvik. We took Grønnegata and Rv862 to reach E8, and via E8 got to our goal in around 4 hours. 

Here we found a nice camping, parked and prepared our first Norwegian dinner – my wife fried some vegetables, and I grilled some meat. Disposable grill is a very convenient thing when you travel! It was still possible to walk around, but we were so tired that went to bed early. 

DAY 2 

That we planned to get from Narvik to Mo I Rana. 

We took E10, and started. We passed surprisingly quite a lot of tunnels. Having travelled around Germany by train we were used to them, so, no claustrophobia. We took our first Bognes-Skaberget ferry as well. We ate in the afternoon at the open nature in a picturesque place nearby Fauske. Comparatively soon we arrived in Bodø

The Nordland Cathedral

The major attraction in Bodø is the famous Saltstraumen, one of the most powerful in the world. The whirlwind was really impressive. We saw the Nordland Cathedral as well. 

From Bodø we drove about 150 km to Polarsirkelsenteret – how could we miss the Arctic Circle Center?! The Centre is situated roughly 680 meters above sea level. We really liked its weird architecture. Moreover, the sun shone, and for the first time we were able to leave our coats in the motorhome and walk in T-shirts. It was possible to get certificates that we crossed the Arctic Circle, but we considered it a bit out of place. 

The Arctic Circle Center, Norway

We had a nice lunch under the sun (though the wind started to blow) and then drove directly to Mo i Rana where we parked for a night. During our nice dinner with a disposable grill, 

DAY 3 

Today we woke up early – we had to drive a lot, from Mo i Rana to Trondheim. Obviously, most of the day we spent on the highway, looking at the scenery through the windows, going the E6. The way from Mo i Rana was impressive with its towering mountains, stark glaciers, and rugged coastline. 

Mo i Rana, Norway

We drove, passed many tunnels again. It was so weird to realize that it was only our third day in Norway. We plunged into this new life determined by the road and the weather, full of new problems like where to eat, where to get fresh water, where to empty the loo. All our usual problems at work or with traffic jams, house committees seemed so trivial and far away. 

We dined on the coast of a beautiful lake. It was again sunny and windy. By the evening, we arrived in Trondheim and parked. 

DAY 4 

As planned, we spent the whole day in Trondheim. First, we visited Scandinavia's grandest cathedral, Nidaros Domkirke, dating from the 11th century. Visited the wooden building of the Royal Residence. Walked in an open-air Trøndelag Folk Museum. 

Trondheim, Norway

We dined out that day at a very nice Baklandet Skydsstation. The ambience was really cozy, it felt more like being invited to the Norwegian friends than sitting in a public catering. We tasted deer and local beer. My wife tried its flagship cocoa as a dessert. Everything was fine. To my opinion, the prices were a bit too high, but the evening was definitely worth it. 

DAY 5 

Our plan for that day: Trondheim – Kristansund – Bud – Ålesund

Driving on the Atlantic road has never been as pleasant. Blue sky, blinding sun, breathtaking landscapes, the ocean, and my wife screaming happily that she saw a whale! 

We drove in Kristansund and walked a bit, even popped in in a café to have some coffee and pastry. 

Kristansund, Norway

Our next stop was Bud and its picturesque fishing village. We dined, made some photos and continued our way to Ålesund. 

And finally, here it is. The town burned down in the beginning the 20th century and was rebuilt in an art nouveau style. Curiously enough, it is located on the archipelago, with buildings standing on several islands. 

Ålesund, Norway

We walked in the center, saw Dronning Sonjasplass and the County hall. Walked along the pedestrian street Kongensgt. Bought some fish steaks and cooked them for dinner. It was delicious! 

DAY 6 

Ålesund – Bergen We drove to Geiranger. 

Finally, we reached the country of fjords! Majestic Geirangerfjord flew slowly between high mountain ridges. We got to the famous viewpoint Dalsnibba. We could see the whole Geirangerfjord from there! However, there were already tour buses, and we had to wait in a queue. 

Dalsnibba, Geirangerfjorden

We passed through Styrn and Loen. Having the fjord on our right practically all the way was amazing! From Olden we went to the Nordfjord and then through Førde via Rv615 until Lavik where we crossed Sognefjord on a ferry and arrived in Oppedal. 

Geiranger, ferry, Norway

The weather finally spoiled, it was cloudy and rainy. Still, it did not prevent us from admiring the landscapes. Sognefjord was fantastic! Blue waters reflected steep ridges ad grey skies. It was magnificent! 

In just a couple of hours we arrived in Bergen. 

DAY 7 

We drank morning tea and drove to return our motorhome that became a real "home" for us for the last week. 

Bergen, Norway

Bergen is a world-famous town with rich history and peculiar charm. Our flight was in the afternoon, so we left our bags in the baggage locker, and we walked along Bryggen, admiring the curious wooden buildings. Popped in the fish market. Ate in a café – and went to the airport. 

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