Notes for Motorhomes, Caravans, Campers.
Introduction These notes are a personal and much edited account of our various trips to Scandinavian countries based on our log book notes at the time . No guarantee is given or implied as to their accuracy. They are given in good faith for the aid &/or interest of fellow "camping" folk both "novices" and experienced.
We are a couple in early 70s . Mary and Ken. K needs crutches to walk more than a few metres and is registered Disabled and has the Blue Badge ( note any remarks re parking)
We tented for fourteen years, towed caravans for nearly 20 and bought our first motorvan in Jan 1996 (A/S " Amethyst") and swapped it in June 1997 for our current A/S " Duetto"( Ford Transit chassis 2.5 TD) in which we made the various trips to Scandinavia though our 1st trip to (DK)&(NL+D) was in the "Amethyst"
We very much favour municipal sites or smaller privately owned sites rather than the holiday camp type. We almost never use commercial sites in UK as we are members of CC and CCC.
We have camped "wild or free" (to use the jargon) several times but on balance feel better on recognised sites.
Prior to 1996 we have "camped"(this a generic term for tents, caravans & campervans !!) about 2 years in total in France and camped in D, L, A, E, P,B, I & AND
ALL trips to Scandinavia (and Holland ) have been since 1996 in the campervans.(Times visited : Nx2 NLx3 DKx4 Sx3 FINx1 Dx4 PLx1 ) NB ALL TRIPS WERE MADE OFF PEAK SEASON ie.June July & our first trip to DK in 1996 was in April/May . Mid Summer Day weekend in (S) gets a bit busy here and there.
Insurance. For about the last 7-8 years we bought "Carefree" Multi Trip Insurance from the Camping and Caravanning Club. From experience Red Pennant Insurance from the Caravan Club is just as efficient when needed. The Camping Card International is pretty well essential…. provided by "Carefree" or "Red Pennant"… and can save buying the much advertised Scandinavian C. Card
Ferries All booked and paid for through "Carefree" except our 2002 trip (which see)
Tourist Information For all Scandinavian trips I wrote to the respective Tourist offices in London giving fairly specific details of proposed routes . To get the up to date books on campsites writing before about April gets you last years info (or none!) though there is not much change year to year except prices.These books, together with the Caravan Club book "Caravan Europe Vol 2" are VERY useful as is the tourist info though we still call in at the local TICs and collect the excellent local MAPS which can save lots of hassle getting round town and finding places of interest. Having now had a computer for just over 2 years and have had Internet access for nearly a year have found the local caravan clubs in N S NL & FIN useful as is Via Michelin for maps.
Other Souces of Info. Internet. www.motorhome-list.org.uk plus many more sources using suitable words into various search engines.for France www.guidesusse.com. Also the book from FFCC giving all French sites.(Purchase details from CC &/or CCC… but cheaper in France at good book shops)
For our first trip to (N) & (S) we wrote to the MMM Magazine for the appropriate info from their "travel consultants" which we found useful.
Money. We tend to take a fair bit of cash as I object to paying the cash premium of about 3.25% + interest for using local ATMs!!!! Also we have separate Visa card accounts, Mastercard and different Debit cards. We carry only one card with us(each) the rest hidden about the ‘van. Very useful as had wallet stolen in Amsterdam but other cards kept us going. Liverpool Victoria Visa seems to give the most favourable (i.e less of a rip off) exchange rates. We pay by card as often as possible and one or other of our cards is nearly always accepted.
NB We did have some refusals of Visa cards during 2002 trip in Sweden when buying diesel.
As far as I am concerned the quicker we use the euro the better. We could have a long free holiday if I could reclaim all the exchange transaction costs we have paid over the years ie the lesser Tourist Rate and then Commision!!!
Gas & Electric We are careful with gas though we have never run out .Mary cooks quite a lot and we eat well, as much as practical using stores bought in local shops. We nearly always use the electricity on site. We have 2 Calor 3.9kg propane bottles & as most will know, they can only be found in UK( have heard of refilling in the odd place in (E) ) We also have a 907 C’Gaz but have only needed to renew it once after a long winter stay in southern France.
I carry a10 metre cable and a 15 metre cable with "EEC 17 Blue" plugs and sockets together with two 2 pin 2earth strips" continental plugs" on 9inch cable to EEC 17 plugs. One is wired the l /N as in UK and one is wired the opposite way.Incidentaly cables and plugs coil easily into a "2gallon" plastic bucket. This arrangement has worked on well over 450 sites all over Europe since 1976 except once or twice in Denmark where we were loaned an adapter plug/socket and once somewhere else but can’t remember where. Often arises the situation of "no earth" (reversed polarity ,if it worries you, is taken care of with one or other of the 9 inch leads) but nearly always on inspection or on enquiry one finds the power stands well provided with safety circuit breakers.. I offer no comment it’s up to you. We do always check with the Tester 3 lamp Plug!!
Food and Drink We eat well and try to use local shops and produce by choice and because of space and weight considerations one can only take a limited amount. Emergency and standby supplies of corned beef, bakedbeans and our favourite cereals are always taken as is tea and a small jar of instant coffee Breakfast cereals are always more expensive in Scandinavia and in mainland Europe we have found though they are widely available nowadays.
There are rules and regs re what one can import in the food and drink department .In Norway (N) Sweden (S) Finland (SF or FIN) one can only buy low alcohol beer in supermarkets and shops. Norway is VERY expensive for spirits and expensive for wine and can only be bought at the State liquor stores (Vinmonopolet)(N) and System Bologet in (S) Alcol (FIN) but did not buy any drink in (FIN) as we stocked up from ( S) We have found (S) to be almost the same price as UK for wine and sherry (which are our favourites). Without further comment I can only say that we have never been searched in Scandinavia (even during Foot & Mouth time) and that boxes of wine are convenient to stow. Come to think of it the only place we have been searched is UK!
The trips detailed below are copied from our abbreviated Log. Passage from Newcastle to Gothenburg return Esbjerg to Harwich. But see 2002 Trip!!
1998 Scandinavia Trip
Comments only on those sites identified by date. (the others rated acceptable to good , easy to find, etc)To the best of my memory all sites were listed in one or other or all book or brochure sources listed above. Total distance Alnwick to Alnwick includes tripping about from the site to shops ,site seeing etc. TOTAL MILES 5166 Nights in Van 40
06/06 Site at "Fina" petrol Station 08/06,(Very pleasant) 10/06, 17/06, 18/06,Very Pleasant 13/6 Can sleep on dock, toilet, water & shower available 21/06 Unusual privately owned friendly C/L type site Stayed 3 nights ..see log. 27/06, 01/07( large and busy but OK and handy for interesting town ,went again in2001) 03/07 Amal, my favourite, alongside lake and nice town. 16/06 Scruffy. Would miss it out next trip. 24/06 A bit scruffy and dusty but excellent views if you pick your pitch.08/07 Was near centre , a temp.seasonal site on dockside for MOTORHOMES ONLY. Write to (DK) TIC in London or find TIC Copenhagen on Inet. NB. Have heard that it is no longer there but it was very handy.11/07 Very handy for Esbjerg with friendly and interesting owner. A very good site.
1998 Trip Comments. An excellent trip in every respect. The BEST DECISION was to ignore the North Cape and go to the Lofotens and Westerallen.from south to north and the trip across the Troll Route and the Blue Route to Sweden were most interesting. The weather was excellent , about 3 wet days out of 40. The original target for this trip was to cross the Arctic Circle and to see the area round the Royal Marine exercise area at Bardufoss. This we did!!
2001 SCANDINAVIA TRIP
4/6 On Ship("Princess of Scandinavia") S 5/6 Lilleby Havsbad N 6/6 Frederiksten 7/6 Oslo (Ekeberg Camping)
8/6 Hisøy (Camping Nidelv) 9/6 Evje (Odden Camping) 10/6 Edland (Velemoen Camping) 11/6 Kvanndal (Kvanndal C’g)
12/6 Haukeland (Bratland Camping) 13/6 Dragsvik (Vegeneset Camping) 14/6 Meland –near Stryn (Strynsvatn C)
15/6 Adalsnes (Mjelva Camping) 16/6 Lysø _ Averøya Island
(Lysø Camping) 17/6 Tingvol (Tingvol Camping) 18- 19/6 Oppdal (Haslettlokka Camping ) 20/6 Røros (Hanaset Camping) 21/6 S Mora 22-23/6 Leksand 24/6 Uppsala (Fyrishov Stugby & Camping) 25-26/6 Ängby –near Stockholm 27-28/6 Trosa 29-30/6 Mörbylånga –on Öland Island (Mobylanga Camping) 1/7Kivik (Kivik Familly Camping) 2/7 Ystad (Sandskogens Camping) DK 3/7 Rødvig 4/7 Vordingborg
5/7 Faldsled (Faldsled Strand camping) 6/7 Jels (Jels Sø C’ng)
7/7 AT SEA"Dana Anglia" GB 8/7 Leeds (A&M’s) 9/7 HOME
2001 Trip Comments
In our trips in 2001 & 2002 our sprightly friends Jim & Elma( in late 60s) came with us. They sleep in a small tent and they do all the fetching & carrying!!!(and washing up)
The object of the 2001 trip for us to see more of southern (N) & (S) and for J& E to make their first visit. Also for me to find a hospital in Bergen I spent a week in in1949!! And for J & E to meet friends at Oppdal.
05/06 About 30 mins from ship if you navigate accurately!! A good site. (see03/06/ 02)
07/06 A large and impersonal site. I couldn’t walk to the bus for Oslo..it was a rainy day so I didn.t miss much. For the fit ..a suitable place for visiting Oslo.
The road from15/6 to 16/6 very interesting.( The Atlantic Way) All sites (N) were "High Acceptable" to "Vgood." All towns pleasant, relatively easy to drive in and parking pretty easy even for those without a Disabled Badge.
(S) Went to Mora again and it was exceeding wet for a day !! 24/6 Uppsala well worth a visit.25.26/6 Not the finest site and busy. Chosen because even I could walk to the train station (just) and so visit the VERY interesting Stockholm. We use the Get on & Off open top busses in all European cities if available as they are in Stockholm ,Copenhagen Helsinki etc. 29-30/6 on Öland Island (Mobylanga Camping) A very good site. A very interesting island. We only had time to see the southern half. A must for flora and bird watcher fans. We like Denmark, easy driving , easy parking, our 3rd visit. The new bridges are to be used and ASFIK are the same price as the corresponding ferries. At the (DK) end of the Oresund Bridge is an interesting little town of Dragor. Plenty of room to park for the day. AFAIK wild camping is forbidden in (DK). Ribe also a splendid town to visit and there is a campsite which was very satisfactory in 1996. Also plenty of parking near centre if you get out of bed and get down to town!!
Another good and easy trip, Weather for the majority of the time was good to very good . Targets all met!! Miles Door to Door 3405 . Nights in Van 35
2002 TRIP to SCANDINAVIA,POLAND,GERMANY &HOLLAND
31/5 Cambridge (CCC) 1/6 To Harwich & (Dana Anglia at sea) 2/6 DK Frederikshaven (Nordstrand Camping) 3/6 S Trollhatten (Stenrosets Camping) 5/6 Finnerodja [nr] (Skagern Camping) 6/6 Arboga [nr] (Herrfallet Camping) 7/6 Mariefred (csite) 9/6 Aland Mariehamn (Grona Uddens Camping) 12/6 FIN Turku (Ruissalo Camping) 13/6 Helsinki [nr] (Rastila Camping) 15/6 Tampere (Harmala Camping) 16/6 Rauma (Camping Poroholma) 18/6 S Mariefred (c site) 19/6 Vadstena (Vatterviksbadetts Camping) 22/6 Eksjo (c site) 23/6 Hovmantorp(GokaskrattsCamping)
24/6 To Karlskrona &( Stena Baltica at sea)25/6 PL Zawary (Camping Tamorwa) 26/6 Bialy Bor (Kawiana camping) 27/6 Kolobrzeg (c.site) 28/6 Szczecin Dabie (Camping Marina) 29/6 D Loissin [nr] Griefswald) (cpltz loissin) 30/6 Zierow (Ostsee Camping) 1/7 Jade ( c.site) 2/7 NL
Bergumer Meer (B: Recreation Park) 3/7 Heiloo (c:site) 4/7 Hoek van Holland (c:site)
5/7 Leeds (A&M) 6/7 HOME (3551m 35n)
Comments 2002 Trip
We were rerouted from Newcastle to Harwich due to fire in "Princess of Scandinavia" and were given £71 and 10 pence for fuel but no overnight site fees!! A 370 mile road journey UK+DK to Gothenburg instead of 37. Same couple J & E came with us. Targets Aland , Finland and Poland.
I was advised by both( S) and( FIN) caravan Clubs to book ferries though now we’ve been not certain it was essential. Neither the CC or CCC could book all 7 sea passages . Gave all the first 6 to local Thomas Cook and sat drinking their coffee until all was confirmed on the spot I then paid with Credit Card. As it happened a mistake was made for the Karlskrona to Gdynia passage ,and on rectification turned out to be about £100 cheaper!!
On return I phoned the CCC "Carefree" from Holland and they booked us in from the Hook to Harwich at about £17 less than a Dutch Travel Agent quoted.
Got lots of advice on INET from secretary of (FIN) CC Got useful campsite book from Polish TIC. NOTE. You must have a GREEN CARD as in colour green!!! My Polish endorsement on white paper of my Insurance Certificate was NOT ACCEPTED in Gdynia. I had to park at the Control. WALK with crutches to an insurance office over two busy roads about 200m , pay 10 zlotys for a PINK piece of paper and as I staggered back was greeted with a shrug and "you can go now". If this chap had said "have a nice day" there would have been an International Incident!!!
Now the trip. There were no really bad sites this trip. If not mentioned by date the site was OK acceptable at the least.03/06 first site from boat about 1hr 20mins of easy driving on the Road 45. v good site and Trollhatten and locks of Gota Canal well worth a look at, .market on a Wednesday when we were there. 07/06 Mariefred. Most pleasant town with v pleasant campsite with helpful "owners", actually run on franchise from the town council. Stayed 2 nights and came back on our return from (FIN) Left site at 0502( we moved out side the barrier at 2100 to save lady warden getting up which she offered to do!) and arrived at Silja Ferry Quay in Stockholm at 0610 with no problem at all but it was a Sunday am. Took 1hr 13mins the Tuesday evening of our return.
Aland Islands were very pleasant and interesting and we all wished we had at least a week there. Campsite was virtually deserted, toilet block excellent though we pitched too far away for my ease so I drove there and abluted on our way out of camp.
(FIN) 12/06 Not the finest site, barely adequate but AFAIK the nearest to Dock at Turku . 13/06 Helsinki .Site is undergoing a much needed renovation . When completed should be a very good CITY site .VERY handy for the Metro.The full day we were in town it rained.!! But still an interesting visit. Site cost £16.75 for 4 adults 1 campervan 1 tent and electricity per night. Compare with CC sites in London and Edinburgh. The town of Rauma well worth a visit. We would have liked to explore Finland for a good while longer.
The return to Sweden went well. Excellent weather good enough sites and it was a wise decision to stay 3 nights at Vadstena for the Midsummer Festival. Visits to three glass factories between Hovmantorp and Karlskrona, together with interesting countryside, made an enjoyable last day. Strawberries were excellent in (S) and in abundance . Cheap by our prices I was told by the ladies who know.
(PL) Is different !! Shares in Polish retailers of car shock absorbers may well be a good investment! Frankly the sites were better than I expected and were adequate plus. 26/06 Good pitch and site but block somewhat dusty. En route through (PL) it was interesting, some interesting driving styles and varied road surfaces! Food plentiful,market produce cheap and good.
Journey through (D) was a bit rushed but pleasant enough though weather quite wet & windy at times. Sites about 27 Euro for us all and electric.01/07 Quite pleasant though a bit basic, was clean.
Journey through Holland was our third visit (J& Es 1st) Again easy driving good roads ,and, like most of mainland Europe, well signed and difficult to get lost. 02/07 This site at Burgumer Meer a bit disappointing . The one at Leeuwarden "de Kleine Weilen " where we stayed in 1996 was much more pleasant. 03/07 Ou r 2nd visit to this spotless site with very pleasant owners. 04/07 This site handy for ferry. Motorhome pitches a long way from the block!!
All targets met. Miles Door to Door 3551 Nights in Van 35
OUR THOUGHTS ON SCANDINAVIA DK, N, S , FIN, Aland & including NL
On the whole very easy to drive ,park and camp in . Some superb scenery especially in (N) and lots of interesting towns, villages and many other things of interest to see. Those that charge entry fees are generally somewhat cheaper than UK. Very clean and relaxing countries with helpful and generally polite and friendly citizens. Somewhat more reserved than the French..not often do they offer to say" good day "(bon jour or bon appetite)when passing your van) . When approached really do try hard to help. In general campsites are OK . Good or even Very Good,quite often noticeably cheaper than UK club sites, though some not as well run and looked after. Roads, in general much better surfaced and signed than UK (NOT (PL) !!) English is widely understood and spoken. (N) is somewhat more expensive than UK but not so much so as to frighten us off. The rest (S FIN DK NL) about the same as us except of course diesel, the savings on which are noticeable.
Our advice GO and SEE and ENJOY.
Hope you find this account of use and interest. Will try to answer any specific questions from those seriously planning to go visit.
Safe Journeys. Ken & Mary.
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