Tour name: Norway – Finland – Baltic States
Degree of difficulty: easy
Overall length: 7840 km
Total elevation: 17000 m ascent and 17000 m descent
Highest point: 1282 m
Sweden and Norway are beautiful countries to which it is worth travelling. Their varied and picturesque landscapes have something mystical about them and the untouched nature makes you wonder. Fjords and lakes that lie in rugged landscapes, magical valleys surrounded by peaks, wide tundra areas where snow can still be found on the highest points and remote small towns.
The countries of Central Europe are also a desirable destination with their vast areas of untouched nature. We want to explore these enchanting countries and capture as many impressions as possible. From the combination of the states that lie by the sea, we create a tour that takes us around the Baltic Sea in 3 weeks.
Our journey goes through 9 countries, which have a lot to offer in terms of landscape. It is so varied that you always want to make a stopover to capture what you see with your camera.
We start in Germany and drive straight towards Denmark. In Frederikshavn we take a night ferry that takes us to Goteborg.
Sweden we only pass through for a short time and drive into the Norwegian mountains with their sparse vegetation.
The states in the north of Europe are characterized by a varied nature. From green areas to wide areas of tundra, from steep coasts to fog-ridden mountains and national parks, everything can be seen. Just to be enchanted by this diversity is a journey worthwhile.
But it is not only the landscape that attracts us to Norway, but also other special characteristics.
Some of you may have heard about the natural phenomenon of the white nights.
If you are north of the Arctic Circle at the beginning of summer, it does not get dark during the day. Because of the inclined axis of the earth, the sun’s rays have a favorable position so that it does not get dark at night, but the nights remain light and therefore white. Our own sense of time shifts and we want to enjoy this phenomenon. It is wonderful to see the midnight sun while paddling in the mirror of the water and even in the middle of the night to stand outside and watch the mystical landscape. We enjoyed this especially near Fredvang on the Lofoten.
They are a feast for the eyes in the northern part of Norway. If you drive along the E10 you will reach the old fishing village Å i Lofoten. On the way you pass through small villages. Especially at Reine and Hamnøy you should make a short stop and take out your camera.
Another interesting place above the northern polar circle is the North Cape. Even though there are two points. On the one hand there is the touristic North Cape, which is known by the globe as its characteristic landmark. It is the most northern point of Europe on the island of Magerøya, which can be reached by road. If you want it a little more adventurous, you should make your way to the real North Cape. On the headland Knivskjellodden you can hike to the most northern point. From a parking lot for hikers it is about 9 km to this point over the wide tundra, stony areas and moorland. The hiking boots should be waterproof and there is no need to be afraid of reindeer, which are in their native regions. However, the North Cape can also be reached by another route, that is by sea. While I hike towards the North Cape and didn’t quite make it to the northernmost point, Christian paddles there with his sea kayak. He fights his way through the cross waves and the sea wind and sees seals and puffins as his reward.
From the North Cape, we again head south, this time via the western side. We travel to Finland, where the indigenous Sami people still live today.
They stand out with their traditional clothing, which has accompanied them for thousands of years: Leather shoes with raised tips, colorful shoe laces and the Kolt as a coat-like top. Equally important are colorful scarves and caps that keep warm in cold winter temperatures. In the areas of the Sami people you can also find products of their handicraft in many places. Very beautiful are their handmade wooden products, from jewellery to the drinking cup, the Kuksa, there is a lot to find.
And not to forget the reindeer in this context. The Sami have their own breeding stations and use them in an agricultural sense and for the preservation of their existences. In Inari there is even a reindeer farm, which we visit on our trip.
If you want to know more about the historical and cultural developments, we recommend to visit the Siida Sámi Museum in Inari or the winter market in Jokkmokk.
The north also inspires with its house style. Small villages invite you to look around and linger. The colors are particularly striking, because most of the block-style houses shine in red, gray, blue or ocher colors. By the way, such houses can be found in Sweden and Norway as well.
The red color is in a historical context. About 222 km northwest of Stockholm lies the city of Falun. Until the early 1990s copper was mined there. From its products, a pigment mixture was produced that is similar to the colors of the brick houses of wealthy Central Europeans. The Falun red is patented and is still characteristic today when new wooden houses are built. The special mixture of copper, iron oxide and other components protects the houses from weathering and fungal infestation. The color is therefore not only beautiful to look at, but is also very useful.
On the way back we take the ferry from Helsinki to Tallinn and drive through the Baltic States. It consists of the central European states Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
This area is characterized by its many forests. About one fifth of the country’s area is made up of flat and raised bogs. However, the soil quality is not so good, which is also a result of the clay deposits. This means that the areas are green and we perceive them as untouched nature. However, the soils are little or not usable for agriculture and both food and other goods have to be imported.
We crossed the Baltic States in one day. We felt that we were almost on roads surrounded by lighter and denser forests. One hardly encounters any highly frequented places. This gives the impression of being in original nature, in which man has not yet greatly disturbed.
From the car we look to the right and left and try to spot lynxes, foxes, moose, deer or even a bear among the trees and bushes. The forests are an excellent retreat and habitat for the animals.