This post is part of our Suomi100-project
Rovaniemi – Sevettijärvi – Vardo – Alta – Rovaniemi was the original plan.
Rovaniemi – Kilpisjärvi – Lyngen – Senja – Andøya – Abisko – Rovaniemi is what happened.
Due to the fact that our family is about to extend, we've sold the great symbol of our Outdoorism – the van. And just because logistics play a main role in our lifestyle, and maybe also because one of us has this physical limitation called baby belly, we upgraded temporarily our vehicle to a motor home for the midsummer celebration, and converted to caravanners. Upgrading from van life to motor home life was an excellent idea – After all, each of the daily essentials – food, bed and toilet – were included in same place. Handy, if you're pregnant.
One great privilege of living here above the Arctic Circle is that all three countries, Finland, Sweden and Norway, can be reached and crossed easily. I've heard foreigners talking about Scandinavia or the Nordic countries as one, culturally similar area with minimal differences, but from a local's perspective the truth is far from that. It seems that Swedish Lapland is some kind of hidden destination, but nevertheless its sparsely populated area is worth visiting. Finland's ancient, smooth-topped mountains dominate the landscape in Finnish Lapland, and are dramatically different from Norway's sharp-pointed and high mountains. Also, roads in Norway are, generally speaking, in better shape that in Finland, though the same rule applies in all three countries: the bigger the road, the better the shape, and the opposite. Avoid accessing narrow roads with a motor home. It might be difficult to get it turned around.
These borderless borders between these three countries are a one big achievement of modern man. You hardly recognise when you pass the border. However, if you're driving a rental car, keep the registration book and the rental documents with you. You can experience the isolated wilderness locations of Finland, Norway's sandy beaches and mountain life, and mountains and arctic life of Sweden in a few days. In summer time, fishing plays a big role in all of the countries, and many people come here fishing, but that's not our cup of tea.
Continental Europe's area above Arctic Circle is surprisingly compact for caravan life; there's lot to see and distances are at least reasonable. There are plenty of camping places from where to choose, but you can also try to find your own private spot. We always try to find an empty beach spot, or a place nearby water.
The motor home gave us flexibility we needed for being able to react to rapidly-changing weather forecasts. This summer has so far given us everything from +5 degrees of celsius to +20, rain, snow and everything between. During our one-week trip we managed to stay under the only sunny spot in Arctic Europe for most of the time; we faced some heavy rain only the last day, when we arrived from Norway's west coast to Åbisko in Swedish Lapland. I consider that as a success, as the classic real-life way of Midsummer celebration is normally under quite wintery conditions.
We visited all the three Nordic countries of Arctic Europe – Finland, Norway and Sweden – in one week. Distances felt shorter that I expected and we had time to enjoy the places also outdoors. The trip started from our base in Rovaniemi, from where we drove to Kilpisjärvi. The following day we continued driving to Lyngen in northern Norway, stayed one night and two days there, and escaped the rapidly approaching dark clouds to the island of Senja, and stayed the night by the same beach as last year. From Senja we took a ferry to the island of Andøya, that introduced us to the most beautiful coastline and drastic mountains. After a couple of days (and nights that felt like days) we made the last move and cruised to Sweden.
1800 kilometres later I'm ready to continue my Caravanarism. There were maybe two days when we didn't drive, and during the days of driving we drove approximately 300–500 kilometres. At least to me, it felt moderate.
What Did All This Cost?
Mobile home rent: 960€ (plus 200€ deposit)
Gas: app. 250€
Camping: 48€ (Includes two nights stay and shower coins)
Food: app. 200€
= 1642€, makes 821€ per person.
For two person's one-week trip not the cheapest one, but still a good idea. Because we're running late with the renting process, we needed to rent a motor home that was slightly too big for our needs. Smaller one would've been cheaper, and also saved us some euros from surprisingly expensive ferry trip that we took from Senja to Andøya, as the size of the car defines the price. We also could've eaten more cheaply, but I guess we're either bad with money or love good food too much.
Was is worth it?
We made the reservation for the motor home in April, and it was the last one we could find, even though there are several providers. So, if you'd like to visit this area and do it with a motor home or caravan, be prepared to make the reservation a few months in advance, if you want to arrive during some of the high seasons. Midsummer and the nightless nights is definitely a time worth experiencing.
Suom: Karavaanarius – suositellaan varsinkin raskausaikana.