Norway
Finnmark

Here you’ll find travel reports about Finnmark. Discover travel destinations in Norway of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

124 travelers at this place:

  • Day366

    1 Year Away Today!!

    June 27, 2017 in Norway

    What a year! At times it seems so long ago that we posted our house keys back through our letterbox and left our bricks and mortar home behind for a life on the road. At other times we can remember the whirlwind of activity, goodbyes, excitement and nerves like it was yesterday.

    Since leaving, we've travelled to the most southerly point on Sicily and have nearly reached the most northerly point on the European continent that we can drive to.

    Here are some of the stats from the year:

    📅 365 days away
    🛣 27,585 kms (17,240 miles) driven
    🌍 19 countries travelled to
    🚩✔ 9 countries explored and on to our 10th
    🙋 5 visits from family and friends

    😴 242 stopovers in total
    ⛺ 40 campsites for 96 nights
    🚙 💶 34 paying stellplatz for 52 nights
    🚙 91 free stellplatz for 124 nights
    🌲 76 fly camp spots for 90 nights
    👪 1 stopover on family's drive for 2 nights

    ⌚ Longest Stay: 10 days in Vienna, Austria at Christmas🎄
    📆 158 stops were for 1 night only

    Finances:
    Because we've never lived long term in a van before we've been keeping notes on all that we've spent and totting it up each month. Having been away nearly a year we looked back and found that on average our monthly outgoings have been about £1,500. Some outgoings have increased such as money spent on diesel and food (without always having access to a budget supermarket, market stalls and not being able to buy in bulk). Money we would have spent on some things such as council tax and water rates etc has instead been spent on campsite fees. However we no longer pay out for a TV and broadband package, a second car, new clothes that we will rarely use etc. The small space within the van is easy to keep warm and by generally moving south in winter we've limited the need for extra heating. Overall, we've been spending about the same as we were when living in a house, but have had more fun with the things we've spent it on living in the van.

    Family and friends:
    Over the year, some relationships with family and friends have improved because we've had time and been relaxed enough to call and talk. Some people have visited and we've really enjoyed spent quality time with them. However, being away has put a strain on other relationships. Roaming charges meant we restricted ourselves to one or two days each week where we called or messaged people and not seeing people face to face and having shared experiences to talk about has been difficult. One of the things that has most made us question leaving home for so long has been watching our newly arrived grandaughter grow up and have her 1st birthday without being there to share it, although we are very grateful to Will jnr and Lynsday for keeping us up to date with news, photos and videos!

    Favourite country:
    One of the things we love about travelling is finding out about our preconceptions and getting to replace them with views based on our experiences. We've tried to spend at least a month in each of the countries we've explored (except for the micro states: Liechtenstein, San Marino and The Vatican). By doing this we hoped to immerse ourselves in the landcape, language and culture and although we feel we've gained a good impression of what each place is like, we've always left knowing there is more to explore, learn and see. Each country has held wonderful surprises to discover. Countries like Slovenia, that we knew almost nothing about, have been some of the most rewarding. Each country has been very different and has challenged the others for 'top spot' with its own charms. For a long time Germany was Will's favourite because of the brilliant facilities it provided for vans, its beer and rivers. Vicky found it exciting to be able to use her language skills in Italy and we both loved the food and coastline here. Seasons have changed what we've experienced and what we've been able to access but no matter where we have been, we've experienced friendliness and kindness from local people that has often blown us away. As well as the smaller countries, we've explored Germany, Austria, Croatia, Italy, Slovenia, Sweden and are now in Norway. We are afraid it is impossible to say which our favourite country is, because each is so diverse and has its advantages and disadvantages for our way of living, what we like to do and even the mood we are in at the time! We have liked each country so much that we've left it with the hope of returning someday!

    All in all:
    There have been some hard times when one, the other or both of us have been pretty low. The realities of two large adults living in a metal box with a very hairy and incontinent 14 year old dog with no place to call our own and limited facilities can be tough. Living in such close confines can grate on your nerves and the effect our bad moods have on each other is intensified. We aren't on a holiday the way we used to be when we came away for the summer and we can't expect every day to be like a holiday. This is our life and there are still many of the responsibilities we had back home. Food shopping and washing up still needs to be done, repairs need to be made and paid for and we have to nearly always be thinking about the next place we can get water, empty the toilet and park. However, in many ways life is simpler and more flexible, with more options than in a house. There may be fewer luxuries but there are fewer bills and we can choose to leave places we don't like and stay longer in places we do. We find that when we can maintain a positive frame of mind and put unpleasant things down to 'part of the experience', we get along better with what we are doing. Along with the lows there have been many, many highs; so much of it has been new and we've met wonderful people, got close to nature, visited amazing cities, experienced such diverse environments and seen some truly fantastic sights. This life isn't for many people and we realise the fact we've been able to choose it, is a privilage and makes a big difference to our outlook. Overall, we are in love with the freedom and are very much looking forward to the next 4 years as well as coming back to the UK to see the people we miss.

    Thank you for reading this far and for keeping up to date with where we are and what we are doing. We've said before that this incredible journey wouldn't be quite so incredible without the support of our friends and family!

    Vicky, Will & Poppy
    27.06.2017
    Read more

  • Day367

    Reindeer Bay restplace

    June 28, 2017 in Norway

    We'd looked at the weather forecast and found it was due to be sunny on Friday and Saturday. In light of this we changed our plans and began making our way up the East Coast of the Posanger peninsula to Nordkapp, from where we knew we'd be able to see the midnight sun if it was out.

    The road was good but the landscape was harsh. Zebra striped hills surrounded us, the bright white snow that persisted in sheltered undulations, contrasting against the dark stretches of bogland where the plants, so recently released from their icy blanket, hadn't yet taken on the colour of Spring. Thin Silver Birch tree trunks added to the two-tone effect, their leaves only just in bud, not daring to believe winter was over. The crowns of many had been snapped off and their variegated silver and black trunks stood earily as testaments to how difficult it is for plants to survive out here. Ever since leaving Sicily in mid March, we've been travelling northwards. Sometimes Spring has advanced on us and sometimes we've advanced on Spring. Today, as we travelled through a bare winter landscape at the end of June, we could definitely say we'd outrun Spring!

    We eventually reached a valley where leaves once again added a feeling of colour and life to the land. Here, small, immaculately painted wooden hill cabins stood, some with snowmobiles parked outside. Apparently many Norwegians relish a 'back to nature' approach to holidays, where they gather fresh water from lakes and streams and dig holes in the ground to use as toilets. We wonder whether these cabins are used as part of this?

    After dropping down from the highlands, we hit the coastline, and oh what a coastline it was! The snowy hills were now backdrops to the large bays. More elaborate wooden cabins of various colours, red, blue, grey, white, cream and yellow, dotted the shoreline. White fishing boats, splashed with bright streaks of paint or adorned with fluorescent buoys looked tempting in the sunshine. These 'postcard scenes' were augmented by the surreal sight of reindeer herds sunning themselves with their calves at frequent intervals on the slopes or trotting along the side of the road.

    We pulled up with other vans in a beautiful restplace at the head of a bay, beside a small river that channeled mountain meltwater into the sea. Over the road there was a shop run by a woman who was one of the indigenous Scandinavian people; the Sami. She sold traditional Sami products that she had made herself. There were carved and painted wooden items, reindeer antlers and skins and these were used to make various tools, clothes and bags with the sinew from reindeer tendons sewing them together.

    When Poppy got out of the van the scent of reindeer drove her crazy and she began ambling off in the hope of finding some! Later that evening she stayed safely indoors when we spotted a herd of about two dozen descending from the mountain to drink in the bay! They were wary but we managed to get within 15 metres of them. Later still, Will spotted 3 crossing the river just 10 meters from the van and after we'd both gone to bed, we were woken by the clanking of bells. Upon looking outside, the herd we'd seen earlier were all around the van, grazing happily on their way over the river! It was magical to be able to watch them so close and undisturbed. Definitely worth being woken up for!

    N.B. the overnight stop had no name so we nicknamed it Reindeer Bay restplace because we'll never forget our experience there.
    Read more

  • Day365

    As we drove towards Finland, the land around us looked more and more like Arctic Tundra, a unique habitat where only a few plants and animals can survive. Vicky remembers learning about in school. Much of it was boggy, with mosses, lichens and short spindly Silver Birches. Even when the snows are melted, permafrost under the topsoil prevents water from draining and roots from growing deeper than about 25cm, making for very difficult growing conditions. The soils in this particular area were sandy and there were even some banks that looked like dunes.

    We entered Finland as we crossed a river. We soon started to see lots of enclosures and in one with some teepee type structures nearby, there was a herd of about 30 reindeer! We weren't intending to stay in Finland, but had cut through the narrow finger extending East-West between Sweden and Norway. We weren't the only ones doing this and local entrepreneurs had tried to lure in the passing trade by setting up several tourist businesses, such as reindeer petting, somewhere called 'Husky Cape' and souvenir shops.

    After about 100km we passed into Norway, the 19th country of our tour and the 10th we plan to do in-depth! Surprisingly quickly the landscape began to change, hills became higher, the roads undulated increasingly and wide, torrential rivers cut deep courses into the tree clad valleys.

    Laybys were larger, picnic sites were signed in advance and several were well off the road, reached via a hard mud track that ran through a corridor of trees. It in was one of these that we made our home for the night, above the swollen and raging Alta-Kautokeino River. The track opened up to a car park with a picnic bench, grass and plenty of interesting smells for Poppy. We spent a peaceful the night with three other vans and the constant ssshhh sound of the flowing water.
    Read more

  • Day368

    70°10'21" Nordkapp! + videos

    June 29, 2017 in Norway

    Today we hugged the coastline, rounding bend after bend into the heart of beautiful bays and around headlands to reveal the next vista of coves and spits. The sun was stronger than it had been in ages and it made big difference. Highly saturated colours of painted houses popped against vibrant green grass and the rich blue of the sea. Vicky was even lucky enough to see a Harbour Porpoise's dorsal fin disappearing under the rippled glossy surface. To our left were stacks of smooth shale sheets forming high cliffs. Some had fallen and lay cracked in piles by the roadside. We later learned that areas of shale such as this were used as burial grounds of the indigenous Sami people.

    Nordkapp, the most northerly point of the European continent you can drive to, is on the island of Magerøya and reached by a bridge and series of tunnels, the most impressive of which is the 6.875km long Nordkapp tunnel which reaches a depth of 212m below sea level!

    The closer we came to Nordkapp (The North Cape) the more barren the landscape became, until nothing but the scrubbiest low lying hardy plants, many of which were lichens and mosses, could survive amongst the dirt and rocks. Only scraps of grass grew here and there. Nordkapp is a tourist mecca of Norway and motorhomes were the most frequent vehicles on the road (Will made sure his Maths degree didn't go to waste by taking a statistical survey!). Well wrapped up groups of bikers overtook us and we overtook some keen cyclists who were also making the pilgrimage.

    The two of us were charged 540 NOK for entry and 100 NOK for an additional night's stay on site, bringing the total to an eye watering 58 quid. Will pounced on a free North facing parking spot and as it was raining, we went for a wander around the visitor centre. The food (including whale) in the cafe and drinks in the bar were a bit on the pricey side for us so we had a mooch around the extensive souvenir shop that sold a wide range of Nordkapp nicknacks, clothing lines and Sami crafts. The complex extended 3 storeys underground where there was a small cinema showing a 15 minute 120° film about life on the island through the seasons. This was a real hit with us, so much so that we returned the next day to watch it again!

    The afternoon was spent in a state of 'will we won't we?' anticipation as the time to midnight ticked away and the sun played hide and seek behind the clouds. From 10pm coaches began to arrive and it looked as if the view of the midnight sun was going to be a good one. Despite the brightness of the day there was a real chill in the air and the wind blew bitterly cold, so as midnight approached we wrapped up warm and headed out with the hoards of other tourists on to the cliff top where the famous 'Globe' monument stood perched 307m above the wide expanse of the Barents Sea. We had a countdown and there it was, the midnight sun shining brightly over the sea at midnight! It was brighter and higher than we'd expected. Many of the photos and films are taken at a time of year further away from the solstice, when the sun dips lower and the light takes on that attractive amber glow. Two accordion players had set themselves up at the base of The Globe and a few couples danced a jig to the music. People were drinking champagne in the Aurora Borealis Bar, looking out on the monument, the midnight sun and those revelling under its rays. Will galantly offered to dance with Vicky on the ad hoc dance floor but she was too self conscious. He didn't however offer to buy her a glass of bubbly at the bar, even though this would also have received a refusal. Solar midnight came soon afterwards at 12:20am. It was very strange to think that this was the closest the sun would get to setting and that it was now rising on its course accross the sky once again! Returning to the van we had a cuppa and a few of Will's homemade muesli biscuits to wind down before raising the blackout blinds to try and get some shut eye.

    The following day we each put on two coats to guard against the wind chill and went for a walk over the rough terrain, discovering the tiniest flowers we ever saw huddling in clumps among the moss. As we peaked tentatively over cliff edges we noted the lack of seabirds. Cliffs such as these in the UK would be home to thriving colonies raising their young this time of year but we could see no such nests in existence and could hear only the occasional squawk of a lone gull. There were however, flyovers from tourist planes come to see the North Cape from the air, while cruise ships, large and small sailed past from time to time far below.

    The midnight sun was once again visible on our second night at Nordkapp. The atmosphere was less jovial tonight and there were far fewer people gathered outside to see it... they were all huddled in the Aurora Borealis Bar because the cold and wind made it uncomfortable to be out! After solar midnight we soon returned to the van ourselves and watched clouds that were forming as the cold sea air rose where it hit the cliff and wafted accross its flat top where we were parked.

    Videos:
    We made 2 videos while we were at Nordkapp, both are on VnW Travels' YouTube channel.

    -To see us at the Globe monument near midnight click here: https://youtu.be/EEoJ7MnaqkY

    -To see a time lapse of the midnight sun filmed from the van dashboard click here: https://youtu.be/Slbq_rYaIuI
    Read more

  • Day374

    Alta and Langfjordnotn

    July 5, 2017 in Norway

    Driving towards Alta we approached on the same road as we had previously; the one that wound through gorges alongside raging rivers and waterfalls. The rain had been falling heavily and water was running through cracks in the rocks. Suddenly, only 10 meters in front of us, a boulder approximately 40cm in diameter plunged straight down from above and hit the verge before rolling into the road, requiring us to swerve violently round it. A few seconds later and there would have been no way to avoid a collision! It was a near miss that got our hearts racing - phew!

    At Alta, we returned to the LPG station. We don't normally fill up until we are less than half full, but given how far apart the stations are up here, we thought a top up wouldn't hurt. As we pulled up, we saw, like the last time, a hand written sign on the pump. This one told us the pump was out of order. Oh well, at least we weren't desperate for gas this time.

    Yesterday we'd looked online for a vet in Alta. Luckily when we called, they said they could fit us in at 2pm today, so we parked close by and took Poppy in. About 6 weeks ago we'd noticed she had a lump. We'd monitored it but it had grown by about 50%, had changed in appearance and was beginning to bother her. We had to wait a while for the vet to finish seeing to a cat but she was very good when we did see her, taking a sample and examining it while we waited. She found some suspicious cells and gave us the news we expected; that Poppy may well have cancer and given that she'd reached the ripe okd age of 14, the kindest thing to do would be to put her down if the lump grew or if it began bothering her more. In a way it was a relief to have our fears confirmed and to have more certainty about how things would progress. It was however, still a blow that left us feeling very sad. Poppy joined us 8 months after we started living together and is very much a part of our past and present lives.

    From Alta we followed the coast road anticlockwise, travelling alongside the sea in Altafjord and Langfjord; some amazing glaciated valleys whose scale was massive. Huge and highly sculpted snowy hills, some disappearing into cloud, rose out of the water. The fjords contained floating salmon farms as well as a host of fishing boats.

    We stopped at a layby at the head of Langfjord with a view of a dramatic U-shaped valley high up ahead of us. A few other vans came and parked up for a while, including two who had driven together all the way from China! We overheard them telling a German traveller (in English) that they'd journeyed 31,000 kms through Russia, the Baltic states, Poland, Germany Denmark and Sweden!

    Being in sight of such an obviously glaciated valley got Will thinking and before long he had scoured Maps.Me and found a present day glacier not far away. But you'll need to wait until tomorrow's post to hear all about that!
    Read more

  • Day371

    Wild camp SW of Vardø

    July 2, 2017 in Norway

    We'd decided to make the trek to Vardø, Norway's Easternmost town. From teeth chattering chilly, the weather turned with a warm wind that brought a 24°C t-shirt day! Over the treeless rough ground we frequently saw reindeer, sheep and plenty of rocks that from a distance could have been either of the former.

    It was another long day travelling but we found a lovely area of rough ground a decent way off the quiet main road and looking out over the Barents Sea. Pretty much a soon a we arrived, Will donned his swim shorts and made his way down the bank, over the snow, (yes, snow!) to the rocky shore. Vicky watched from the warmth of the land while he made his way excruciatingly slowly through the uneaven shallows and plunged into the water, emerging 2 seconds later and making his way rather more quickly back to the van!

    We spent the evening looking out over the bay and it was only after a while that we realised the landmass we could see over the other side was Russia! We can't visit Russia because we have no Visas but it was still cool to look over and see it!

    Closer to the van, we got to watch a pair of well camouflaged Golden Plovers feeding in the scrub. We'd never knowingly seen them before, but their feathers really did look a greeny gold in the evening light.
    Read more

  • Day366

    Alta and Alta Fjord restplace

    June 27, 2017 in Norway

    Whilst life on the road gives us a lot of freedom, we are tied closely to the need for basic facilities. We'd had the heating on a lot and used up one of our two gas bottles. The distances between LPG stations in northern Norway are vast, so instead of rushing round our planned 1000km tour of the NE coast, keeping the van temperature on the chilly side with the constant worry that we'd run out of our means of cooking, refrigerating and heating, we decided to drive just more than 100km out of our way to the nearest LPG filling point in the large town of Alta at the head of a deep bay, on Norway's northern coast.

    On the way, we were wowed by the increasingly beautiful scenery. We passed fjords and stunning watercourses that changed from wide lakes, to raging rivers, to white waterfalls that squeezed between narrow rock fissures and back again to the open space of lakes. Up and down we climbed, although never on very steep inclines. Twice we saw reindeer at the side of the road and one of these times we actually needed to stop as they crossed in front of us!

    Arriving at the LPG station in Alta, we found a hand written sign saying in English that their tank was empty. They had no gas! Possible alternative plans of action began to whizz through our brains in a panic, but we decided the best thing to do was to talk to the garage. An employee with excellent English told us to our great relief that the tanker was due the following morning- phew! She explained that the delivery drove the length of Norway over the course of a month so as soon as the delivery arrived, they would have to call and order another.

    Driving out of town we found a brilliant restplace overlooking Alta Fjord. A steep rocky hill rose to our right and dropped down to the sea on our left. Behind us, the head of the fjord was formed by a shallow shore line where small painted wooden huts stood and boats big enough for two either bobbed at their moorings or had been dragged up the beach and overturned. Snowy mountains rose steeply behind the opposite shore and ahead of us a mound of rock afforded views of the fjord's expanse as it opened up to wider sections of sea.

    Today was the first anniversary of when we left our bricks and mortar house behind and set off on this amazing adventure. We celebrated with a meal of reindeer bourguignon and a bottle of bubbly that we took up onto the high rocks in front of the van and shared looking out over the fjord as the sun lit the trees and snow on the hills opposite, thinking how happy we were to be living this way.

    The following morning we filled up from the newly stocked LPG station and topped the tank up with diesel. We were aware the tread on the front tryes was getting low and when Will measured them they were just legal. Knowing the huge distances there were to cover in Norway (and the huge fines for driving offences) we asked whether there was anywhere we could get a new pair. At the tyre garage less than 500m away we were given a quote for 3,911 Norwegian Krone (£350) and told they could do fit us in if we came back in an hour! It was a very efficient process and although the bank balance was down, we came away happy with two new tyres that were ready for the next 40,000km!
    Read more

  • Day370

    Stabbursnes Nature Reserve

    July 1, 2017 in Norway

    The E69 is the only road leading to and from Nordkapp so after leaving our spot at the top of Europe we returned down the peninsula on this same road. There had been no van services provided so we stopped off at Reindeer Bay to empty the toilet in the compost loo and fill up with water from the clean fast flowing river.

    The sunlight bathed scenery was just as stunning and we even spotted an eagle, probably a Golden Eagle soaring high over the road using its broad wings to circle slow and wide before disappearing over the towering cliff face. We once again encountered reindeer on the road and passed another Sami souvenir shop and dwelling, this time in a lavvo (similar to a teepee).

    Home for the night was at the edge of a Nature Reserve focused around a river delta, its mudflats and salt meadows. Birds that we'd never heard of such as a Ruff and a White Fronted Goose used the area as a stop over and for breeding, alongside more familiar species such as Herring Gulls, Terns and Pied Wagtails. The evening was calm and the snowy hills opposite cast reflections in the shallows.
    Read more

  • Day373

    Silisjávri Lake, South of Alta

    July 4, 2017 in Norway

    There are many amazing things that we love about Norway; its wilderness, water and wonderful wild camping spots. However, it covers such a large area, and the only roads are sometimes so indirect, that even though we are here for 2 months, if we want to travel the whole country, we are needing to cover an average of 100- 150km every day. This means a lot of time spent sitting in the cab looking at the (admittedly beautiful) road ahead and not as much time for getting out and exploring on foot, bike or canoe.

    Today was one of those big driving days. From the North East, we travelled inland, South West then North towards Alta where we planned to rejoin the coast road. Menacing grey skies brought a dark backdrop to sunlit landscape before the clouds broke and the sunlight was replaced with flashes of thunder and huge raindrops that streamed away to join the already swollen brooks, rivers and waterfalls. There was a distinct lack of reindeer today compared to previous days. Whether they knew of the oncoming storm and had taken refuge in the forests or there were fewer in this part of Norway we don't know.

    We pulled up overlooking the beautiful Silisjávri lake, a relatively shallow body of water bordered by small Silver Birches. It tipped it down for most of the time we were there but at least this kept the mozzies away!
    Read more

  • Day8

    Das Nordkap

    June 22 in Norway

    Und wie hat es uns gefallen? Teuer, neblig, kalt, ok, gut, unspektakulär, gute aber komplett überteuerte Sandwiches. Das sind die unzensierten Kommentare von uns.

    Wir hatten auch noch eine Aufgabe von liebenswerten Hamburger Sponsoren zu erfüllen. Sie haben uns einen kleinen Thymian-Topf mitgegeben, mit der Bitte, die Pflanze am Nordkap einzupflanzen. Die Mission haben wir erfüllt, wie ihr auf dem Bild sehen könnt. Liebe Sponsoren, ums gießen müsst ihr euch aber selber kümmern!

    Und jetzt machen wir uns ganz schnell auf den Weg nach Süden, Richtung Sonne und Wärme.🏖
    Read more

You might also know this place by the following names:

Finnmark Fylke, Finnmark, Finnmárku

Join us:

FindPenguins for iOS FindPenguins for Android

Sign up now