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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Me and my family spent the second half of July travelling in Scandinavia. We visited the Finnish islands and lakes, the very North of Europe - Nordkapp, the Atlantic coast of Norway including the amazing Lofoten archipelago. I'll try and share some of the beautiful sights in this thread.

The route of our trip. The photos in this post have been taken in the red part of the route.



We reached Finland by driving across the Baltics and taking a Viking Line ferry from Tallinn to Helsinki.

A few shots from Tallinn. Given the amount of threads with the same views, I won't add any captions :)

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And now some Helsinki. Again, touristy shots...

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The first more interesting waypoint in our trip - Archipelago sea - a huge collection of islands stretching from the city of Turku pretty much to the Swedish coast. (Wikipedia: EN)

We spent the night in a camping next to the city of Naantali. It is famous not only by the proximity to the archipelago, but also a Moomin troll theme park.

The port of Naantali could be seen straight from the rocks in the camping.

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The same rocks provide a breathtaking sunset:

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Even though many of the islands are connected by bridges, the islands further out to the sea can only be reached using the ferries. We liked the fact that many short ferries were free (in contrast to Norway, where we had to pay to cross even the shortest distance).

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Unfortunately, in order to reach the island of Storlandet, the crossing is almost 20 km. The ferry for 4 people and a car cost 60€ (The 80km ferry trip from Tallinn to Helsinki cost 55€). On the other hand, the price is counter-weighed by the views. Even though the mainland is some 20 km away, you can't see the open sea everywhere - there are thousands of islands 360 degrees around.

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We pass a similar ferry on the same route.

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Upon entering the Nauvo harbour we are met by loads of yachts.

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We found it quite interesting that Swedish language dominates the island of Storlandet (and, we suspected, all the other islands further to the West). Whereas the places in the mainland Finland, those with a Finnish majority, mostly had bi-lingual signs, the western part of archipelago seems to ignore the bi-linguality and Finnish is hard to come-by.

In the afternoon we turn Northeast-wise. We stop in a camping near Jämsäkoski on the shore of lake Kankarisvesi.

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Cabins like this was the main accomodation during the entire trip.

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The following day we visited Kuopio, which is surrounded by the huge lake Kallavesi.

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The Kuopio harbour was swarming with tourist ships. It made me really sad to know that even though Lithuania has a few lakeside cities with a potential similar to Kuopio's, these opportunities are almost never used...

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The following day saw the most intense part of the trip. We decide to reach Nordkapp, which is some 1300 km away.

On our way we take a detour and cross lake Oulujärvi, one of the biggest lakes in Finland (887 km²).

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A wide-angle shot of a peninsula of lake Pirttijärvi.

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As we come closer to the polar circle, the "Caution: Wild animals" sign starts becoming more and more meaningful. At one point we have to stop completely. The road is dominated by a herd of around 50 reindeer, who have no intention to let us pass through. We have to wait for some oncoming traffic (which is quite a rare sight on that road), which finally causes the animals to move off the road.

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The lakesides of Northern Finland look quite different to the sights in the South.

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We're in Norway. Evening sky above Kárášjohka.

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We spend the night in Porsangermoen. We failed to reach Nordkapp, however, after travelling more than 1100 km we only have some 200 km left.

In these latitudes the sun is above the horizon during the whole June and July. Unfortunately, that night was cloudy, however, it still didn't look like night:

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I'm glad you like it :)

@Christian: Norwegian part of the trip was undoubtedly the most impressive. I honestly think Lofoten must be one of the most beautiful places in Europe if not the whole World (then again, I've never been outside Europe, admittedly)

@ketilab: Well, all 4 members of our family drive, so we swapped the driver quite a lot, meaning that tiredness wasn't a problem. As for boredom, the 1100 km day was quite boring as well as crossing Sweden, however, the rest of the trip involved driving down the roads such as Norwegian RV17, which must be one of the most scenic roads in Europe. We made rather frequent stops so I can can definitely say I preferred driving there rather than taking a plane (Tromsø isn't the cheapest place to fly to anyway :D).
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Part II. Northern Norway - Finnmark and Troms.

Red shows this part of the trip again:




We wake up in the morning and continue our trip towards Nordkapp. There are many traditional Sami camps like this on the roadside:

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The road to Nordkapp follows the coast of Porsanger fjord.

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We find some more "friends" with spectacular antlers on our way.

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Our main destination - Nordkapp. It is often regarded the northermost point of europe, however, the Svalbard islands are much further North. In addition to that, it's not even the northernmost point of mainland Europe as it is located in island Magerøya. Nevertheless, it is the northernmost location of Europe that can be reached by road.

Nordkapp on Wikipedia: EN.

We reach Magerøya by a 6875 metre long tunnel. Because the tunnel is built under the Magerøya strait, it reaches the depth of 212 metres below sea level. In fact, the tunnel has around 3 km of descent and 3 km of accent and less than 1 km of it is level. It feels quite "special" driving and knowing you have the Arctic ocean above you :)

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After exiting the tunnel we continue driving on the road for another 30 km before reaching Nordkapp itself. Most of the road is at the altitude of around 300 m and everything is covered in clouds. Unfortunately, the view is similar in the Nordkapp car park.

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The Nordkapp complex contains a souvenir shop, several cafes, restaurants and bars, a cinema, a post office and several other facilities. One of the most famous features - a big metal globe. Without any clouds, the view should be spectacular, however, we weren't so lucky...

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A few years ago Nordkapp was visited by the King of Thailand, who gave the facility a Thai mini-museum as a gift.

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A tunnel in the rock goes to the "King's balcony":

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St. Johannes chapel with a spectacular interior. As I suspect, the music playing there had elements of both Christian and local Sami cultures. A very interesting fusion of traditions.

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To sum up Nordkapp, we were very let down by the weather. The fact that the entrance cost 200 NOK (~€25) for each person didn't help. :) By the way, the fact that there is an admission fee is never advertised in any of the brochures. After travelling so far to get there I doubt that any people decide to save and skip the visit. Quite clever on the part of Magerøyans. :D


On our way back someone tried to threaten us by stamping the tarmac :D

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Our route back diverted West-wise and we were driving along a mountain river:

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For the night we found a camping on the coast of a fjord.

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Nearly midnight. Unfortunately, the Sun is hidden behind those mountains :(

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In the morning we continue driving South-wise along the coast.

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
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A bridge to Gratangen.

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Same bridge from the other side of the fjord.

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A sculpture called "Seven magic points":

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This is where we enter the Nordland county. This was one of the most impressive parts of the trip, so I will leave it for later as a dessert :D For now, some more photos from the end of our trip. :)

We saw many older cars in Norway. Most of them were rather nice looking 20-odd year family cars (I suspect it has something to do with high vehicle taxes in Norway), however, examples like this could also been seen. 1920's Ford Model A in a street in Steinkjer.

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The coast of some Swedish lake.

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The rest of the shots are from the Stockholm harbour. (By the way, I just realised the S&B meet-up was in Stockholm just a couple of days before :))

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Nice pictures! I would like to visit that part of our country once more. I've only been there twice, once in Tromsø, and once on an island outside Harstad.

It sucks that they demand so much money from visitors at North Cape. It's things like that that upsets me when I'm travelling, it can ruin the experience. And I bet most visitors remember this and tell their friends back home -> bad advertizing.
 

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The fact that the entrance cost 200 NOK (~€25) for each person didn't help By the way, the fact that there is an admission fee is never advertised in any of the brochures. After travelling so far to get there I doubt that any people decide to save and skip the visit. Quite clever on the part of Magerøyans
That's robbery! :eek:hno: But I agree if you end up there, you probably end up paying! Great pictures!
 

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Ah, beautiful photos again! And yes, driving longer distances in Sweden really sucks compared to Norway even though their roads are heaven to drive on. Not that Sweden "sucks", but there is just nothing too see really, exept some places here and there.

Sucks to pay that much to visit Nordkapp, but thats not the only place in Norway you have to pay extremly much too see a places visited by other tourists. You can easilly find just as beautiful and stunning places without paying anything.
 
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