This is a collaborative post.
Road trips are becoming an increasingly popular way to experience the world, as travellers eschew the logistical difficulties – and, more importantly, the stratospheric carbon cost – of air travel for the open road.
Whether loading up the car for a long drive, or kitting out a transit van as a tiny home, a road trip can be a uniquely rewarding way to experience a country or region. Here, we’ll be exploring the wonders of a Scandinavian road trip, from the rich cultures of the region’s capital cities to the astounding landscapes through which you drive.
Scandinavia is a region of Northern Europe that encompasses six distinct countries: Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, the Faroe Islands and Iceland. When talking about a road trip in Scandinavia, we are effectively talking about the former three countries – each of which have stunning landscapes and deep histories to explore.
Before You Travel
Before we get into the specifics of what a Scandi road trip might entail, we should first go over the important pre-trip planning you’d need to do. A cross-regional road trip like this is large in scope, and there are some essential things you need to think about before setting off – starting with the van itself.
In order to travel safely and legally, you’ll need to make sure your van is in ship shape with a routine service; you’ll also need to make sure your motorhome insurance is up to date, especially if you haven’t used your campervan in a while. With regard to the countries themselves, you’ll have to think about a number of things – from driving to spending.
With regard to driving, all three countries you’ll be visiting drive on the right side of the road – something you’ll have to adjust to quickly. There are also specific road laws in certain areas, that require you to carry studded tyres and warning lights for weather-related breakdowns. In terms of logistics, each country has its own currency, meaning your budget should account for three different currencies across your trip.
Denmark is the starting point for your ambitious road trip, being the land link between mainland Europe and the other two countries. The Jutland Peninsula is rich with character and history, but much of Denmark’s cultural identity can be found on the westerly islands of Funen and Zealand – through which you’ll drive to reach Sweden.
Sweden and Norway stretch up the Fennoscandian peninsula together, with Norway constituting the east coast and Sweden courting much of the landmass. Gothenburg and Stockholm are must-visit cities for their vibrant culture and sprawl, but the real magic is found in the green hills that give way to arctic tundra on the drive up the Gulf of Bothnia.
Your return trip begins at the tip of Norway, as you drive up to the northernmost reaches of Norway’s fjordland and spend a night in Tromsø. Here, you can see the peerless beauty of the Northern Lights, before you snake your way back down through the imposing landscapes of Norway’s shores to Trondheim, then on to capital Oslo.