wild camping road trip Scandinavia baltic countries

SCANDINAVIA & BALTIC COUNTRIES ROAD TRIP | useful information, planing tips and costs

Katja DEFENDER TRIPS, ESTONIA, FINLAND, LATVIA, LITHUANIA, NORWAY, POLAND, SWEDEN Leave a Comment

5 weeks. 8 countries. 8000 kilometres. 1 great car. And 2 happy people. A huge bag of new memories and loads of new adventures. Here is a new post about the places we went to and the countries we visited during this long road trip. And also about what we liked and not, about transport, food, the weather and last but not least about how much everything costs. Here it is.

This is roughly OUR ROUTE. We started in GERMANY, drove through DENMARK in a few days, caught the ferry over to NORWAY where we drove from south up to Lofoten islands in about 3 weeks. Countinuing through SWEDEN and FINLAND, we hopped on a ferry to ESTONIA in Helsinki. In the last week we drove back to Germany through LATVIA, LITHUANIA and POLAND.

Scandinavian Baltic road trip map

For a better understanding I divide this post into categories BY COUNTRIES. For each of the countries we visited, I included a MAP, OUR THOUGHTS, COSTS nad other USEFUL INFORMATION. At the very end of this post you can see the TOTAL COSTS OF THIS TRIP.

DENMARK


When: June 2019

Places: Romo island, Ribe, Esbjerg, Aarhus, NP Thy, Klitmoller, Lokken, Furreby, Rubjerk Knude , Rabjerg Mile, Skagen, Hirtshals

How: our LR Defender

Stayed in: wild camping, camp site

We only spent 4 DAYS in Denmark but it was enough for a first impression. We started our trip from Germany and made our first stop on ROMO ISLAND. From here we countinued towards north with stops in RIBE, ESBJERG, AARHUS, KLITMOLLER and LOKKEN, before reaching SKAGEN at the very top of the country. We took the ferry to NORWAY from HIRTSHALS on our last day.

We liked Denmark. The sunny weather might helped at that, but overall we really had a nice time here. Great sandy beaches, lots to see, friendly locals who all speak English and German. Everything is well organised and clean and you can really feel that Scandinavian vibe. There are mostly older German tourists over here, many come with motor homes. We didn´t find lots of remote and secluded places but nevermind. Denmark was a great country to start this long road trip. If you only have about a week or 10 days time, Denmark is a good choice for a shorter road trip.

Denmark Danska potopis potovanje road trip

TRANSPORT, FOOD, ACCOMMODATION AND PRICES IN DENMARK

There are NO ROAD TOLLS, you only need to pay for 2 bridges, but we were not passing through there this time. The ROADS are in perfect shape and driving is easy, we especially loved DRIVING ON SANDY BEACHES which is quite common and totally allowed over here. WILD CAMPING is not allowed but it is tolerated in some places. Definitely don´t risk getting caught by sleeping on a beach. Otherwise, CAMP SITES are good value and very nice. There are also CAMP SITES FOR MOTORHOMES and vans which cost between 10-15€ a night. They get full early though, so be quick. ENTRY FEES and PARKING COSTS are close to non-existing.

WE SPENT 75€ IN DENMARK (1 night in a camp site for 20€, lunck in Aarhus 30€, the rest went for parking and snacks) and 150€ FOR DIESEL (this includes German Denmark we still had lots of food and drinks on board and didn´t have to buy much. Since we visited Copenhagen last year we can say the prices in the capital are much higher than elsewhere in the country.

THERE IS A LONGER POST ABOUT OUR TIME IN DENMARK ON THE BLOG  ALREADY, YOU CAN READ IT HERE:
read about our time in DENMARK
NORWAY

When: June/July 2019

Places: Kristiansand, Sinnes, Lysebotn, Lysefjord, Florli, Preikestolen, Tau, Stavanger, Rennesoy, Fantoft, Bergen, Osteroy, Voss, Vik, Sognefjord, Balestrand, Briksdalbre, Jostedalsbreen NP, Hellesylt, Geirangerfjord, Liabygda, Trollstigen, Atlantic road, Fv17 road, Vega archipelago, Svartisen NP, Bodo, Lofoten, Andenes, Bjerkvik, Narvik

How: our LR Defender

Stayed in: wild camping, camp site

We spent about 3 WEEKS in Norway. Started in KRISTIANSAND where we came from Denmark ad continued to LYSEFJORD. Here, there are many hiking options around (PREIKESTOLEN, KJERAGBOLTEN, FLORLI). Onwards to STAVANGER and over the islands to BERGEN. Despite bad weather we visited SOGNEFJORD and GEIRANGERFJORD, we also didn´t miss the crazy serpentines on TROLLSTIGEN road. Over the fmaous ATLANTIC ROAD to VEGA ARCHIPELAGO, which surprised us in a positive way. We also got to see 2 glaciers, JOSTEDALSBREEN and SVARTISEN, before reaching BODO and spending the last week in Norway on LOFOTEN ISLANDS. We were heading to SWEDEN after that.

norway road trip map potopis potovanje norveska

Norway is crazy beautiful. It has everything. The sea, mountains, fjords, valleys, islands, waterfalls, lakes, gorgeous towns. It is really difficult to describe everything in a few lines. We enjoyed the great outdoors the most, even if we were not all that lucky with the weather the whole time. Norway is also a very big country, but due to the long summer days when the sun doesn´t even set above the Polar circle, you can see a lot even in if you are short on time. But be prepared for a lot of driving. It is impossible to see it all, so come prepared and know a bit what you want to see. The fjords, the Lofoten, Nordkapp or something else. Maybe a bit of everything? That´s what we did. A few hikes, some time relaxing on a beach, a bit of city sightseeing and so on. There are really lots of tourists in Norway. We did find some secluded places, but much less than in some other countries on this road trip. It was also the most expensive country we visited. Despite that, I would love to come again. I recommend it to everyone who loves being outside in the nature.

Norveska norway road trip potopis potovanje

TRANSPORT, FOOD, ACCOMMODATION AND PRICES IN NORWAY

ROADS are often CURVY, slippery and steep. So be careful and don´t cross the SPEED LIMITS. Travel time is much longer due to the speed limits though. There are loads of TUNNELS, BRIDGES and UNDERWATER TUNNELS as well. They are normally free of charge, but sometimes there are ROAD TOLLS. Therefore it is wise to register you car (if you come with your own car) at the EPCplc SYSTEM. In that way the charge will be automatically taken off your credit card. If you don´t register you will be getting a bill per post on your home address.

FOOD and ALCOHOL are not cheap at all. We usually spent between 30-40€ at the shop. We never bought bottled water. It is a paradise for seafood lovers, we often bought yummy SALMON, we liked the BREAD and the famous CINAMMON ROLLS as well. AVOCADO is ridiculously cheap, just 1€ a piece so we ate lots of that. WILD CAMPING is allowed as long as you stay away form the houses, don´t bother anyone and clean up behind you. We spent 2 nights in CAMP SITES, which were very good maintained and not expensive. Lots of them also have WOODEN COTTAGES you can rent. There are many nice roadside PARKING LOTS along the way too. FISHING IN THE SEA is allowed without a permit so we were catching lots of fish on our own. SHOPS are opened on SUNDAYS, but you are not allowed to buy alcohol then (also not in the evenings during the week). NORWAY IS NOT IN THE EU, they use NORWEGIAN CROWN.

IN NORWAY WE SPENT around 600€ FOR THE FERRIES, 450€ FOR DIESEL and 900€ FOR EVERYTHING ELSE. This includes 2 nights in a CAMPSITE (around 25€ a night), a WHALE WATCHING TRIP (200€ for 2 persons), one better lunch (90€) and dinner (140€). The remaining 400€ went for food, an occasional beer and coffee in bars, ENTRY FEES for museums, PARKING FEES in the cities (Bergen 7€ per hour, Preikestolen 20€ per day and so on). We also bought some little souvenirs. We were not throwing money out of the window, but we splureged on food and drinks here and there.

WHAT TO PACK? Everything from swim suits to winter jackets. The weather can change extremely quickly, we had everything from sunny 25C to almost snow. Hiking boots, flip flops, a scarf and a wind-stopper. Spray against mosquito and a sleeping mask, because there is no darkness in the summer months.

THERE ARE LONGER POSTS ABOUT OUR TIME IN NORWAY AS WELL AS LOFOTEN ISLANDS ON THE BLOG  ALREADY, YOU CAN READ THEM HERE:
read about our time in NORWAY read about our time in LOFOTEN

SWEDEN


When: July 2019

Kraji: Abisko national park, Kiruna, Lansjärv Arctic Circle

How: our LR Defender

Stayed in: wild camping

We didn´t see much of the country this time because we were basically just driving through on our way to Finland. ROAD E10 on which we arrived from Norway took us pass ABISKO NATIONAL PARK which looked fantastic, a less appealing industrial town KIRUNA across ARCTIC CIRCLE to ROAD E4 towards KEMI in Finland.

We only spent 1 NIGHT IN SWEDEN. Here, there were much less tourists (and more mosquito), ABISKO national park looked like a great place for HIKING, but unfortunately we skipped it this time. We found a big SHOP on the way and realised things here are cheaper than in Norway. Another thing we noticed is that there were not many GAS STATIONS in northern Sweden. Can´t wait to go again and see more of Sweden next time.

TRANSPORT, FOOD, ACCOMMODATION AND PRICES IN SWEDEN

WILD CAMPING is allowed as long as you stay away from the houses. There are NO ROAD TOLLS. Sweden is a part of EU, but it kept its own currency, the SWEDISH CROWN. Paying by CREDIT CARD is perfectly normal so we didn´t exchange money. I can hardly say much more about Sweden this time, since we only spent 2 DAYS here.

IN SWEDEN WE SPENT 80€ FOR DIESEL and 45€ FOR FOOD in a shop. Food was cheaper than in Norway, but diesel not necessarily.

FINLAND


When: July 2019

Places : Kemi, Oulu, Jyvaskyla, Paijanne national park, Lahti, Helsinki

How: our LR Defender

Stayed in: kampiranje na divje

The Swedish road E4, which changes the name to E8 in Finland and later on to E75 brought us through KEMI and OULU to our first CAMPING SPOT. The city of KEMI is well visited in the winter when you can enter the famous ICEBREAKER SHIP and OULU is known to be a great city to explore on bicycles. We were more interested in the nature once again and spent less time in the cities. We focused on those FORESTS and LAKES and stopped in different NATIONAL PARKS, PAIJANNE NP for example. We also visited JYVASKYLA, LAHTI and HELSINKI.

finland finska road trip potopis potovanje

It was my 3rd time in Finland and yes, some say it is a boring country. Endless lakes, mosquito and forests and nothing else. Well, we found great camping spots without mosquito. And yes, there is lots of water and forests everywhere but we were totally OK with that at the moment. It was a good balance towards busy and diverse Norway. Here, it was all about peace and quiet. Without a doubt the best country for wild camping on this road trip. If you are looking for remote places, forgotten roads that are not on the maps and ideal spots by the lakes this is the place to come to. We will surely be back.

finska potopis potovanje road trip finland

TRANSPORT, FOOD, ACCOMMODATION AND PRICES IN FINLAND

The ROADS re great. Flat and straight and there are NO ROAD TOLLS. DIESEL is cheaper than in Sweden, but surprisingly sill more expensive than in Norway. Finland has EURO and they accept CREDIT CARDS everywhere. WILD CAMPING is allowed and in our opinion one of the best countries to do that. There are lots of places with FREE WOOD, FIRE PLACES, PICNIC TABLES and even TOILETS which are absolutely free. For all who come with bicycles of on foot there are FREE COVERED SHELTERES in forests and by the lakes.

IN FINLAND WE SPENT 140€ FOR DIESEL, 140€ FOR THE FERRY TO ESTONIA and 300€ FOR EVERYTHING ELSE. This included a very expensive day in Helsinki – we had to celebrate our goodbye from Scandinavia so we had lunch, movies, ice cream, wine, museums and dinner. If we take this day out of the equation we spent relatively little. We cooked on our own, never slep in a camp site and almost never bought things in a shop.

ESTONIA


When: July 2019

Places: Tallinn, Lahemaa national park, otok Saaremaa, Pärnu

How: our LR Defender

Stayed in: kampiranje na divje

It only took us 2 HOURS on a ferry from HELSINKI TO TALLINN, where we spent 1 DAY. In the evening we drove for about an hour to LAHEMAA NATIONAL PARK where we spent the night. The next day we hiked around this amazing national park and drove to SAAREMAA ISLAND in the evning. Here, we spent a couple of days before moving on via PARNU to LATVIA.

Estonia road trip map

ESTONIA SURPRISED US IN A POSITIVE WAY. We didn´t know quite what to expect from it because none of us has ever been to Baltic countries before. We only assumed it will be cheaper, but that´s pretty much about everything we knew about the place. And yes, it was slightly cheaper than Scandinavia. We could still feel the Scandinavian feel to it, but it was starting to mix with Russian influences. We really liked Tallinn, probably even a bit more than Riga. And we have to say that Estonia is a great country for WILD CAMPING. We found some awesome spots and did so much OFFROAD DRIVING! Totally unexpected. As in Finland, we also found PLACES WITH FREE WOOD, BBQ PLACE, TOILETS and TABLES. We especially loved Saaremaa island for camping and driving. Loved it!

Estonia estonija road trip potopis potovanje

TRANSPORT, FOOD, ACCOMMODATION AND PRICES IN ESTONIA

IN ESTONIA WE SPENT 130€ FOR DIESEL and 160€ FOR EVERYTHING ELSE. In this 160€ is a return ferry ticket to Saaremaa (30€), lunch in Saaremaa (40€), beers in Tallinn (10€), big grocery shopping in a supermarket (50€) plus some little things. Estonia is cheaper than Scandinavia but still a lot more expensive than its southern neighbours.

LATVIA


When: July 2019

Places: Riga, Jurmala, narodni park Kemeri

How: our LR Defender

Stayed in: wild camping

Latvia is a relatively SMALL COUNTRY and you can see a lot of it even in a small amount of time. We only spent 1 NIGHT here. We arrived in RIGA early enough to explore most of the city, then we continued to the touristy areas of JURMALA at the Baltic coast and spent the ight at the PARKING of KEMERI NATIONAL PARK. The next day we walked around this beautiful park and drove off towards LITHUANIA.

Latvia Latvija road trip potopis potovanje

It is not easy to write about a place where you didn´t spend much time at. So I can only write about FIRST IMPRESSIONS. And they are positive. Maybe we didn´t like Riga s much as Tallinn, but there were other Highlights. And Riga has its magical spots as well. Overall an interesting country that definitely deserves more than just a 2 days visit.

Latvia Latvija road trip potopis potovanje2

TRANSPORT, FOOD, ACCOMMODATION AND PRICES IN LATVIA

There are NO ROAD TOLLS for cars, the ROADS are Ok but we could sense the difference to Estonia and Scandinavia. It is also much cheaper and less organised. We cooked on our own, we spent the night on a parking place that costs 2€ per day, but they kindly let us stay over night. We had no problems with communicating in English and people were friendly in general.

WE SPENT ONLY 30€ IN LATVIA. We still had gas from Estonia and the only things we spent money on was a nice lunch (20€) and parking in Riga (7€), the rest went for snacks and the mentioned overnight parking at Kemeri NP. Latvia was much cheaper than all the countries we visited in the last month.

LITHUANIA


When: July 2019

Places: Šiauliai, Kaunas, Marijampole, Kalvarija

How: our LR Defender

Stayed in: wild cmaping

In LITHUANIA we were a bit in a rush, I can´t really racall why – maybe it was just the feeling that we are really close to home now. First we made a stop in the town of ŠIAULIAI where we took a look at the famous HILL OF CROSSES. It was somewhere here that we decided to take the shortest way towards POLAND. We did make a stop in KAUNAS, the country´s 2nd largest city and passed MARIJAMPOLE and KALVARIJA later on, where we found some great offroad tracks between fields and lakes.

Lithuania map

To be honest it is a bit difficult to write much, because we only spent 2 days here. We skipped VILNIUS (because we feared it would be too much similar to Tallinn and Riga) and also not to KLAIPEDA and CURONIAN SPIT peninsula (because we heard it is extremely touristy during the summer). Not going to these places saved us lots of driving. After a really long way behind us, we were simply not in the mood to tick off things from a list if that required so much more driving.

Lithuania Litva road trip potopis potovanje

TRANSPORT, FOOD, ACCOMMODATION AND PRICES IN LITHUANIA

There are NO ROAD TOLLS in Lithuania, the ROADS were in the worst shape form all the visited countries though. We slept OUT IN THE WILD, in the south of the country there are lots of lakes where you can also swim in. But some of them are only accessible with a 4×4 vehicle.

IN LITHUANIA WE SPENT 60€ FOR DIESEL and 75€ FOR ALL THE REST. This includes a major buy in a local hardware shop where we stock on many things for the car, such as screws, motor oil and so on. It was just so much cheaper over here that we had to. LITHUANIA WAS THE CHEAPEST COUNTRY on this road trip. We only paid 1€ for diesel and the food in shops was very cheap as well.

POLAND


When: July 2019

Places: Gdansk, Leba, Slowinsky narodni park,

How: our LR Defender

Stayed in: wild camping

We were not sure which way to take across Poland until the very last moment. We could have gone through WARSHAW or along the Baltic coast. Due to the sunny weather, the coast won. Off we were towards GDANSK! From LITHUANIA we took the back roads through a really interesting Polish countryside. We were accompanied by lakes, hills and even ski places. We spent the night in the middle of nowhere and the whole next day in Gdansk .This city left us speechless with its beautiful ARCHITECTURE, museums, restaurants. Just a very cool vibe and we really liked it. From here we continued to LEBA and SLOWINSKI NATIONAL PARK where we admired the sand dunes. The coastal road took us through STETTIN down to BERLIN in Germany and back home.

Poland Poljska road trip potopis potovanje

We were fascinated by Poland. Lots of friends scared us about how bad the roads were and said many negative things about the locals. But we had none of that. Just positive experiences. We were mostly communicating on German because they seemed to know it better than English. Gdansk blew us away, seriously, such a wonderful city! I wished we had more time, it is definitely a great place to spend a whole weekend. We also liked the sand dunes in Slowinski national park, but you really ave to be there early in the morning before the crowds run in. To conclude, Poland is great. It is not expensive, it has a lot to offer, people are nice, roads are good. We wil be back to explore the south, I´m sure.

Poljska Poland road trip potopis potovanje

TRANSPORT, FOOD, ACCOMMODATION AND PRICES IN POLAND

Like I said the ROADS on which we drove were in good shape and there are NO ROAD TOLLS FOR CARS. We slept in the middle of nowhere once and went to a CAMP SITE once. We ate in RESTAURANTS both days because it was cheap and we were running out of food. Poland is in the EU but they use their own currency, the POLISH ZLOTY.

IN POLAND WE SPENT 80€ FOR DIESEL and 100€ FOR THE REST. This includes lunch in Gdansk (40€), camping in Leba (10€ a night), lunch in Leba (19€), entry fee to the national park (20€). The rest went for parking and snacks in Gdansk.


IN 5 WEEKS OF THIS ROAD TRIP THROUGH SCANDINAVIA AND BALTIC (we visited 8 countries altogether) and around 8000 KILOMETERS WE SPENT AROUND 3300€. If we put the costs in categories, it goes like this:

  • 800 € FEERIES

  • 1000 € DIESEL

  • 200 € WHALE WATCHING TRIP

  • 600 € RESTAURANTS (kosila in večerje)

  • 55 € CAMP SITES (3 nights)

  • 100 € ENTRY FEES for museums and national parks

  • 545 € FOOD, PARKING, BEER, COFFEE, SOUVENIRS etc

As I said, we were not saving money at every occasion, but we were also not spending too much. Of course we could have spent a lot less if we did not go to restaurants or had beers in bars. If we didn´t do any organised day trips or go to museums. If we didn´t buy salmon for dinner and would have cooked pasta more times. But we are not 20 year old students any more and we like to eat good and so on. Also, our car is using much more diesel than some other cars. I believe we could have done it for around 2000 € if we travelled differently. So, there are o excuses, the north is waiting. It is beautiful up there.

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