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Fjord Country with small RV

Hi,

we are planning to travel Norway in July with a small rented RV (20ft., Fiat Ducato type size). It's our first visit to Norway. We will be using the ferry boat to Kristiansand and would like to go to the Fjords from there.

We don't want to spend all our time driving, so we plan to limit our visit to the Southern third of the country. I've been reading up on this but we are still undecided on many issues:

  • Which fjords shouldn't we miss?
  • Which fjords are the most touristy and crowded ones?
  • Any tipps for good day hiking, with nice views and photographic opportunities, not too strenuous?
  • Any good places for birdwatching or other wildlife?
  • Any advice on good sites for camping?
  • From what I have read so far, the "allemannsretten" seems to apply only to people on foot, right? So no one-night camping with an RV outside of official campgrounds?
  • Is driving a vehicle that size going to be an issue? I have driven larger RVs before, but that was on the wide U.S. roads!
  • Anything else we should know?

Lots of questions... thanks in advance!

Anna

Posted by
1117 posts

No one? Not even for one or two of the questions? :-(

I have been diligently studying my guide books but would value your travel experiences!

Posted by
279 posts

I spent a lot of time in Norway in the 90s. One of the comments that I heard was about German tourists. To the effect that the would rent an RV, tour the country, camp for free, and not spend any money. From this comment I have the impression that "allemannsretten" applies to RVs also.

Norwegian buses go everywhere so the size of your RV shouldn't be a problem. My experience driving in Norway was nothing unusual. But I didn't drive on the west coast.

Posted by
1117 posts

Oh, I did get a reply after all! Thanks!

Though... you do make us sound like we were some sort of freeloader, which certainly wasn't the point of my questions.

I want to be sure I understand the legal issues, for instance if we find that all campgrounds are completely booked in a certain place and need to spend the night somewhere. Which has happened to us in other countries before since we don't like to prebook every step of the way. Staying outside of campgrounds is NOT going to be our preferred way of spending the night.

About the German tourist cliché: There may be two sides to that. Norway has the reputation of being a very expensive country, like Switzerland. When I booked the ferry, the guy in the travel agency explicitly recommended we pack as much food as we can because food especially is supposed to be extremely expensive. Up to now, I have no way of knowing if this is true, not having been there before.

Needless to say, we are going to spend money in restaurants, but certainly not three times a day, or else we can't go at all.

Posted by
17 posts

Hi Anna.

I will recommend some of the National Tourist Roads (NTR). Those are very scenic.
http://www.nasjonaleturistveger.no/en/routes

From Kristiansand you should drive towards Stavanger on E39, but at some point maybe head over to the NTR Jæren. It's not the typical scenery that you maybe relate to Norway, but it's very scenic. http://www.nasjonaleturistveger.no/en/routes/j%C3%A6ren

In the Stavanger area there is plenty of places to stay for a day or two before you continue further north. Go ahead for the NTR Ryfylke. Maybe go for the climb to Prekestolen? It's a bit strenous, but do it in your own tempo, and you'll be fine.
http://www.nasjonaleturistveger.no/en/routes/ryfylke

Continue towards the NTR Hardanger, which is really a fantastic drive, and a must.
http://www.nasjonaleturistveger.no/en/routes

From Hardanger, I recommend you to at least drive to the Sognefjord and se the spectacular branch Aurlandsfjorden. Maybe a drive over Aurlandsfjellet?
http://www.nasjonaleturistveger.no/en/routes/aurlandsfjellet

It's not going to be an issue with the RV. Yes, some roads are very narrow at times, but just take it easy :)

Posted by
1117 posts

Wow, thank you! A whole itinerary! Sounds great!

I'll be sure to check out all those websites and take notes of your travel tips!

Posted by
279 posts

I did not intend to imply the "free loader" cliche. I thought that it might come up, but it was not my intent. And yes, Norway is very expensive, but well worth the exspense. I enjoyed all my time in Norway.

Posted by
704 posts

This poor American is primarily staying at AirBnBs with kitchens so that we can cook in. Otherwise, we might be eating a lot of hotdogs. We are looking forward greatly to our Scandinavian trip but must pinch pennies in order to do it. I wonder what they say about Americans! At least Germans have a decent president; what we Americans are saddled with...we hang our heads in shame.

Posted by
1117 posts

@Kay: We even have a chancellor AND a president, now isn't that something. ;-)

Joking aside: I know, it's tough, you feel a bit like a representative of your country wherever you go, no matter if you voted for those guys up there or not!

Not sure if this is any comfort to you: It has never been quite easy being that sort of representative of a country with the history we have. It has in fact gotten better, but it's not that long ago that we did not feel all that welcome in countries like the Netherlands.

Posted by
11294 posts

Almost 20 years ago, I met a Swedish woman visiting the US, and she said that while she and her family loved to go to Norway, they had to be very careful. They filled up the tank in Sweden and tried to do the whole trip without refilling, because gasoline was much more expensive in Norway. They brought a tent and camped, because accommodations in Norway were so expensive. They bought a cooler full of food, since food was so much more expensive in Norway.

At this point I interrupted her and asked, is Norway really that much more expensive than Sweden (a country known for its own high prices)? She said absolutely yes. I then asked, is it worth all this trouble? She said absolutely yes, Norway was so beautiful, and far more beautiful than Sweden.

So, there you have it - one Swedish woman's view. Since that conversation, I've now been to Stockholm, Oslo, and Bergen. I can confirm that while Sweden is not cheap, Norway is indeed notably more expensive. So, coming from Germany, you would indeed be wise to bring as much food as you can. Kay's comment about hot dogs is not a joke. Norway is indeed the only place I deliberately ate a hot dog for dinner - not for convenience or to save time as I might in some places, but just to save money!

Posted by
1117 posts

Thanks! So the Swedish are freeloaders too in Norway! (Just kidding.)

Anyway, the reputation of Norway being an expensive place to visit seems to be justified, and I will certainly heed the advice of filling that RV with food. I'm sure we will still do our share in boosting the Norwegian economy by adding and buying stuff as we go along. Not that the Norwegian economy is in dire need for us to do that, as compared to the Greek economy which we have done our share to boost in previous years.