All about the Winter Road Trip in Finland & Norway

Okay, this is Robby, and he is our house and vehicle for a mind-blowing road trip to Finland and Norway, which is so far one of our craziest trips ever (even crazier that cycling around Iceland, and it means something.) So here is everything you need to know if one day you’d like to reach the European most northern point.

Finland & Norway Winter Road Trip.

Itinerary

5300 km of happiness!

Period and Weather

6 – 22. February.

You may guess! Snow, snow and snow, sometimes wind.

The lowest temperature: -24C, the highest: +3C, the average: -14C. In Norway, due to the proximity to the sea, the temperatures are much softer, and didn’t get lower than -5.

Finland & Norway Winter Road Trip.

Driving

Against our expectations, driving through the winter landscapes with frozen roads was not that horrible, it’s enough to drive slowly, not to forget that the road signs don’t serve only for decoration and everything will be perfect. The snow is regularly removed from the roads all over these two countries, so it is not at all an obstacle.

Finland & Norway Winter Road Trip.Finnish and Norwegian drivers appeared to be patient and respectful enough not to let any sign of possible irritation. However, beware of the elks on the road! There are thousands of accidents involving animals per year, and I promise that killing an elk or being killed by an elk shouldn’t make part of your Finland experience.

independent people finland winter

What is amazing in Finnish roads is the fact that due to so many islands, the road can finish abruptly, you have to wait for a ferry, and then (for free) you get to another bank. The ferries (almost all) work 24 hours, and are considered really like a continuation of the road. Fantastic!

Finland & Norway Winter Road Trip.

How did Robby pass through this cold?

He didn’t really love it, but there was only one time when the engine refused to start. For this cases it’s obligatory to have starter cables, and not just any cables, but of good quality. I emphasize on this point because our cables got broken the second we tried to use them. Luckily, in Finland everything is provided, in the majority of the parking places you can find small installations with sockets – they are used to plug the heaters to keep the engine warm and avoid the situation like ours. We had no heater, but it was great to charge our cameras’ batteries instead lol.

Car Accommodation

That’s an interesting point, we had never any experience of sleeping in the car which is not a camping car, but a simple working van. We read so many scary blogs telling about the condensation, lack of air and so forth, so we were waiting for the first night in Robby with a great apprehension. Well, it was absolutely okay. Indeed, there was some condensation, but not so much that it could bother us, in the morning we simply passed a rag on the walls and errr ceiling of our “bedroom”. The more on North we went, the less problematic it was – the condensation was getting simply frozen! :D However, when the temperatures went up, the two-week condensation melted in a moment. Now, about the cold issue. If you have the right material, there will be no problems with the cold. The colder it was, the more clothes we put (or rather didn’t take off). Here is our bed components:

  • 1 air bed 2 reindeer skins
  • 2 isolating pads
  • 2 sleeping bags for extreme cold Marmot
  • 2 air pillows
  • 2 summer sleeping bags we used more like moral support rather than real help.
  • Feet warmers. God bless the person who invented these warmers! Otherwise getting the feet warm was strictly impossible.
Finland & Norway Winter Road Trip.

A little sad story about our air bed.

It didn’t survive the low temperatures and exploded. The end of the story. However, since we didn’t want to get any horrible disease after freezing our backs, we needed a solution. The solution was quite original, but unexpected. By the time of this accident, we were far beyond the polar circle, where the supermarkets didn’t really sell anything like air bed. During our inquiries, a guy asked us why we hadn’t bought the reindeer skins. If the reindeer feel fine in theirs skin up to 50 degrees below zero, there is no way we shouldn’t feel fine. He was damn right. Throw at us rotten tomatoes for animal violence but it was the only affordable solution in this situation.

Finland & Norway Winter Road Trip.

Clothes

There is no bad weather; there is only bad clothes. Yes, yes. Don’t forget that the more layers you have, the warmer it is, so think about thick t-shirts, sweaters, warm socks, gloves, ski-gloves, ski costumes, scarves etc. During the most horrible cold, we had three layers on the legs and at least five on the body. Descent shoes. Hand and feet heaters. Don’t forget to take all the clothes you put on yourself in the sleeping bag not to suffer to much in the morning.

Finland & Norway Winter Road Trip.

Don’t ask why I’m dressed like a giraffe, it’s my disguise to the surrounding wild-life.Finland & Norway Winter Road Trip.

Budget

Delicate subject, isn’t it? Scandinavian countries are among the most expensive ones in the world, so we have the answer why we preferred to sleep in our van rather than staying in hotels, hostels or whatever. We present you a total of the expenses for food and petrol:

Petrol per day Food per day per person.
Including Restaurants and cafés.
28€ 18€

Here we don’t mention the material and other equipment we bought being in Finland, as well as the cost of activities and museum entrances, which heavily hit the budget.

Food

Eating out was quite unpleasant due to the high prices, but you should know about some specificity of Finnish restaurants and cafés – lunas. Lunas is the time around midday when for a reasonable (in local standards) price you can eat in the buffet.

Finland & Norway Winter Road Trip.
Finland & Norway Winter Road Trip.

The supermarkets never disappoint, except for the fact that in Finland they are closed too early. So think of buying your stuff before 18.00 or even 17.00. In Norway it was a bit later.

Cooking in Robby was so funny, but I must say that we managed to have quite delicious meals! And I’m not talking about Chinese noodles.

Finland & Norway Winter Road Trip.

Finland & Norway Winter Road Trip.
Finland & Norway Winter Road Trip.

Thanks to cold, our water was constantly frozen. And not only water.

Thermos with hot tea is absolutely necessary, during the night it also must be in the sleeping bags, or else it will be as frozen as the water.

Finland & Norway Winter Road Trip.

Finland & Norway Winter Road Trip.

Hygiene

Hygiene? What’s that? In two weeks we took shower no more than three times. Once in a swimming pool, once at CouchSurfer’s and once a shower was offered to us kindly by several hotel guests who heard our desperate discussion on the subject. But you know, when you never take off your clothes, there is no chance to feel too uncomfortable! No problem with toilets at all, there are in every supermarket and gas station, however waking up in the middle of the night with a certain purpose is VERY painful. Just imagine getting out your sleeping bag when inside the van where it’s colder than in a freezer! For this cases we took an empty 10l plastic bottle, cut it and used it in the night. In the morning, we had the same bottle as above, just with a different liquid.

Check out: Where and How to Spot and Photograph the Northern Lights?

This is it. Everything we had to say about winter road trip in Finland and Norway is said, we hope you enjoyed it!

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Finland & Norway winter road trip.

2017-05-13T13:15:13+00:00 January 23rd, 2016|