Motorhome Highlights in Norway

Motorhome Highlights in Norway

Motorhome highlights in Norway

After four months touring Scandinavia, here are our Motorhome highlights in Norway.

Simon Cowell may well have the X Factor nailed, although Norway seriously wins the Wow Factor. As the sixth largest country in Europe (although technically not in the EU) and the second longest coastline in the world, opportunity for wowing is pretty hot. In this third of our All Things Norway series, we focus our energy on sharing some of the wows we experienced on our seven week tour in 2019.  Come with us as we take you on a sensory journey that will have you reaching for the road-map.


Our Interactive Route Map

As we launch into what might be an overwhelming onslaught of oohs and ahhs, we thought we would initiate this blog with our Interactive Route Map. A massive map that shows every little nook and cranny we drove on, the off-the-beaten track routes we followed to avoid the masses and every single wild spot and campsite we stayed on during our seven weeks. Click below for a comprehensive and intimate peak into of every inch of our tour. 


I know it seems a bit crazy that in an art gallery as incredible as Norway that we only have 10 Wows. Although when, around every bend, you will have a sharp intake of breath and perhaps even have a leaky eye moment or two, then narrowing it down to 10 feels somehow appropriate. So here they are our best bits:

1. Abisko entry to Norway

After nearly five weeks in the sumptuous Sweden, climbing right up through its central spine, we entered into Norway from the Abisko National Park. After Sweden’s forested kingdom, Abisko gave us a gentle introduction to what we were about to experience. Imagine it being like the warm-up routine for a Michael Jackson concert. It’s a tough gig although someone has to do it right? 

After the plentiful border crossings we have navigated since we left England in March 2016, this is by far the most dramatic and stunning drive EVER. With glacial blue waters of the Torneträsk Lake to the magnificent mountains that interlace the valley like a group of giants lining up for a caber tossing competition. If you have the chance to enter Norway at this northern point, we highly  recommend it. 

By taking this route, you also get to experience Narvik’s World War 2 memorials. Just over the border crossing is one of Narvik’s 6 remembrance sites which, if you value enhancing your World War knowledge are worth visiting.  

Check out our gallery by clicking below.


2. Northern territory – Tromsø

Whilst we decided against going to Norway’s most northerly point at Nordkapp, a personal situation back in England graced us with the opportunity to explore the area around Tromsø. Troms is an area of mountain beauty and coastal brilliance as fjords weave their way up to Norway’s northern most city. This region is fabulous to explore both during the summer and winter. Summer with its Midnight Sun and the winter with its Northern Lights. Mountains still sprinkled with snow as the everlasting days slowly melts the white crystals. Fjords full of dolphins elegantly gliding in its waters and an outdoor playground that gives you a chance to hike, paraglide and cycle to your heart’s content. 

Tromsø is a wonderful city – and despite being compact and bijou, it’s perfect for learning about the world of Artic exploration over the centuries. 

Taking the back roads rather than the arterial E6, you wind your way around endless peninsula that hug the sides of mountains like a limpet. Places to wild camp, with Norway’s Freedom to Roam policy are  limitless, as you see quiet pull-ins for a peaceful night’s sleep. Views to take your breath away and miles of scenery that leaves you speechless. 

​Check out our gallery by clicking below.


3. Senja – Norway’s second largest island

Now this might sound like a secondary position although when you realise that Norway has 50,000 islands, being the second largest is not to be sneezed at. We knew nothing about Senja and had done absolutely no research. So our virginal eyes just drank in the rugged beauty that this jewel in Norway’s crown had to offer. 

Known as Norway in Miniature, Senja is a complete delight that will have you running out of adjectives. With one of Norway’s 18 Most Scenic Routes  threading itself on the western fringes of the island, this alone is good reason to visit. The Route 87 is a stunning way to take in the joys of Senja as you snake around its pathway, taking in Troll museums, staggeringly beautiful views and Viewing Platforms that leave you standing in awe. Our visit coincided with orchid season; I have never seen so many pink, purple and white blossoms lining the roads like daisies. They grow with the freedom gifted to them by this alpine-like air. Authentic fishing villages survive thanks to their community spirit as they cling to the summer’s abundance before the winter’s harsh conditions arrive. And the Ånderdalen National Park offers trekking in abundance as pathways over the mountain give you mountain goat status. Tramping through the snow-covered glaciers, you can loose yourself in an area that is as close to heaven as it is to the sea and you share it with no-one.

If you asked us to choose between the iconic Lofoten Islands and Senja, we would choose the latter with ease. Senja has all the beauty without the crowds and commerciality. Just natural beauty tucked away in a corner of Norway that is unexposed to tourists. And let’s hope it stays that way. For Senja inspirations just check out this gallery. If you’re not wow’d, then I have failed as a photographer. Check out the gallery below and let me know what you think. 


4. Andøya and Puffin Island

As we finally headed our way south, we decided to follow another one of Norway’s Most Scenic routes. Andøya is an odd island compared to it siblings. It has a ridge of mountains and then a plateau of flat land that, in comparison could almost be described, dare I say it as boring! Not a word you might expect to use in the same sentence as Norway, although there we go, I said it! Catching the ferry from Grylleford on Senja, we arrived at this slightly desolate island with doubts. The fishing industry at Andenes has an almost imperial feel to it with its factories waiting to welcome you. Stilted Fishermans’ huts define the town that is like the outback. I expected to see tumbleweed blowing down the deserted yet characterful colonial buildings. The Artic Terns, who have made this rich haven their home, nest in the waste ground opposite and you walk by at your peril. At least wear a hat  if you want to photograph these high pitched screechers. 

Although you come to Andøya for two reasons. One is to travel the 30 mile (51km) Scenic Route that takes you from the barren land of the north, around the mountains to the cloudberry landscape of the south. Passing by the Space Centre from where 1,2000 rockets have been launched for scientific purposes, your interested will be piqued to explore this northern facility that has been involved with NASA missions. 

The second reason is for a 158m tall island called Bleiksøya. This conical shaped isle has surfaced the water’s ceiling from deep beneath the sea on the edge of a sea abyss. This deep trench of water, so close to the land, gives rich pickings for fisherman, nature lovers and wildlife. Each working together to protect this region of abundance. As a result Andøya is THE place to come for Safari’s to get up close and personal to 80,000 puffins, sea eagles and a plethora of whales. For a mere 450NOK you can take a rib out with Sea Safari Andenes and get so close to these amazing birds and watch as the eagles swoop for their next meal. It is one of the most memorable moments of our Norway tour. 

Check out our Safari video footage.


5. Lofoten Isles

If researching this iconic destination doesn’t have you reaching for your route planning app, then nothing will. The marketing behind Norway’s quintessential archipelago is pitch perfect. Classic photos and dreamy descriptions will without doubt stir the excitement deep in your belly. And although I am pleased we explored the islands, our seven days was, generally speaking, an underwhelming experience. It is beautiful, with its traditional fishermens’ robus, islands connected by architecturally beautiful bridges that defy gravity and an inspiring palate of fjord colours. Although for us, with its relentless crowds (in July – what were we thinking,) and the commercial hue, coloured our experience. Too many people meant no parking for the iconic walks. Too many vehicles made narrow roads busy and difficult to navigate and an infrastructure, that for campers is solely lacking. We absolutely recommend visiting, although time it carefully to optimise your experience. For your FREE copy of our Lofoten Ebook, just click the image below.  


6. Engabreen Glacier – west coast

​We tend not to do too much planning when we go to a place as this just feeds our – or should I say my insatiable greed for experiencing every pin I have saved. So it wasn’t until the last moment  that we decided to take a fellow traveller’s recommendation and drive the Scenic Route Fv17 from Bodø south. Hugging the coast this road is beyond beautiful and armed with your Autopass Ferry Discount card taking the ferries that link the fingers of this rugged fjord designed coastline is an adventure all by itself. In fact so beautiful was it, that we had to turn off the road as we felt emotionally drained by the almost incessant beauty. I know, it’s a pretty good problem to have right? Although we were a bit wowed out at this point. Not before though we had visited Norway’s second largest glacier.  Did you know that Norway has around 1,600 glaciers? So second place, like Senja isn’t a bad position to hold. 

The Engabreen, an arm of Svartisen Glacier is pretty spectacular. In part because it is one of the most easily accessible glaciers in Norway and can be seen from the road. And because it is the lowest lying glacier on the European continent with its close proximity to sea-level. Parking up at the Holand Tourist Information office, a short cycle down hill brings you to a ferry that takes you across the Holandfjord to the low lying shores in front of Engabreen. A walk or cycle then gives you the option of looking lovingly at this frozen beauty from a distance, or parking up your bikes and hiking through the boulder debris. This puts you almost in spitting distance of the icy fingers that are ever inching towards to the sea. This is an incredible experience and highly recommended activity. The ferry is just 200NOK per person (£18 return) and an additional 80NOK (£8) for bicycles. 

Check out our gallery below


7. Atlantic Ocean Highway and Bud

I mentioned this route more out of necessity than for desire. We have always been great believers in presenting our travels as they are and not sugar coating our experiences. That does no-one any good. 

So here’s the thing! Myles had wanted to visit the Atlantic Ocean Highway since we decided to hit the road in 2016. So anticipation and expectations were high. Although we are sad to report that like a Tour de France cycle race it was over in a flash. Yet again, we found Norway’s marketing to have excelled itself and we were left seriously wanting. 

After paying the only Toll Booth fee in Norway just outside Kristiansund, we followed the Highway signs  like excited children. And we were soon there. The architectural brilliance of the bridge that writhes like a snake was there. Arching in all its magnificence. We stopped off at a couple of viewing points which allowed us to see the Highway from the northern side although it was not  the drive we anticipated. Just one bridge makes up this experience and we felt sorely let down by the 3 mile iconic drive. No thrill, no awestruck state that we were promised 

So our deflated souls floated further south into the nurturing arms of the gorgeous coastal fishing village of Bud. Now this was a wow. 20 minutes drive away we sought solace from this wonderful place that gave us authentic Norwegian life, WW2 memorials and an archipelago vibe. No disappointment here and without doubt the best bit of this underwhelming scenic highway ‘hot spot.’ Well done Bud, you get our vote. Perversely we are incredibly thankful to the Atlantic Highway, as had we not set our course for this point, we would have missed BUD.  

Check out our gallery below.


8. Trollstigen Pass and Geiranger fjord

After disappointment hung around us like a bad smell, we hoped that our sixth Scenic Highway route would restore our faith in Norwegian beauty. Surely the Trollstigen Pass would bring us back home to the thrill and love for travel that we have developed. And we are pleased to say that is it a big fat YES. We were surprisingly nervous about doing the trip – and not because of the road itself as after all we have driven Stelvio in our camper! Our nervousness was born out of our disappointment of the Lofoten Isles the Atlantic Ocean Highway. I am always reminded about the role disappointment has in our happiness and yet we had fallen foul of its destructive ways.

The Trollstigen was a joy. And not just because of its driving challenge. It is so much more than just a road – the whole Route 63 is a driving experience that stretches for 56 miles from Andalsnes to Langvatnet. The route takes you up through the Trollstigen switchbacks, across a ferry and then across to Geiranger, one of the most famous and longest fjord in Norway. The whole stretch is an incredible experience with plenty to see and do along the way.   

The Trollstigen was built in 1936 and has 11 switchbacks, carved up through a collection of mountain giants reaching heights of 1600m. With waterfalls and viewing points, this is just one part of the Trollstigen to Geiranger Scenic Route that will take you on a diverse driving experience over the course of 2 hours. Or, if like us you would prefer to savour both experiences with an overnight stay, then why not wild camp at a whole host of areas, sheltered by the shadows of the mountains.

The viewing platforms that overhang the valley are a must to breathe in the full perspective of this road as you see it snake up through the granite giants. Test your nerve as you look out with only fresh air beneath your feet. And then repeat the journey as you head towards Geiranger after the short ferry ride that transports you to part two of your road-trip.  A further 11 switchbacks that take you down to one of the most visited places in Norway – certainly by cruise liners. Your vehicle will complain – not in voice, although in smell. That tell-tale sign of overworked brakes will remind you that a steady pace and a cautious drive will reward you with the best experience. As you see the cruise ships in the harbour, you realise you have arrived at an iconic destination. Resisting a stop to admire the view is futile. Head for the Norsk Fjordsenter where you can climb down alongside the Storefossen and be enveloped in the thundering sound of the crashing waterfall as it makes its rendezvous with the fjord.  Salt meets snow-melt. A truly magnificent combination where Mother Nature’s forces collide in some gentle yet poignant battle. 

The views further up as you climb like a rollercoaster ride are just amazing. More snaking roads that constantly give you sneaky peaks over the fjord way below you. And the upside is that fewer tourists drive this section of the road, so your course is easier than the caravan of coaches on the northern side.  Your final destination will be at the junction with Route 15 at Langvatnet.  You will breathe a sigh, not out of relief that you made it; a sigh of complete satisfaction. A road that is a challenge for sure, although very, very doable. Having driven the Transfagarasan and Transalpin in Romania and Italy’s Stelvio Pass, we have to say that Norway’s Route 63 was much easier and far less challenging. So you have to put this on your Norway Road-trip list. And is definitely on our Wow List.


9. Gamle Strynefjellsvegen route 258 

I love looking a maps and searching out the off the beaten track routes. And after a restful night’s sleep and en route to rendezvous with friends, I navigated us on a back road that avoided the main road – as is my want. Little did I realised that this was yet another of Norway’s Most Scenic Routes – the Old Strynefjellsvegen.

Now this road comes with its own challenges as 75% is not tarmac, although we have driven worse major roads in Italy, if we’re honest. There is no driving fast on this road – not just because you can’t, more importantly because you won’t want to. For me this was THE most spectacular road we drove in Norway. It was like being in a completely different Universe. 

Trying to find the right words to describe this land is really tough. Again despite the weather, which was dull and overcast, this road was actually enhanced by the conditions. The grey mountains sombre in their majesty whilst the unbelievably ice-blue waters were set off against the shadows making this road all the more dramatic. It’s the same blue that we saw when we visited the Ice Hotel in Sweden. Almost from another world and a colour that seems almost impossible to create on an artist’s palette.

And then there was the rainbow. Oh wow this was just so magical. I was stunned into silence and that takes a lot. This road, in all its rawness and simplicity was beyond beautiful, for me. It had a ‘The world that time forgot’ feel to it and I half expected to see dinosaurs roaming the glaciers it was that primal. We saw no more than half a dozen vehicles on this road and I would definitely come back here to wild camp – as it was out of this world for sure. 

Check out our gallery below


10. Sognefjord Glacier – Jostedalsbreen National Park

Our final wow for this 2019 trip is the drive up to Sognefjord Glacier. The largest of all the ice maidens in Norway.

Although before we talk about that, let me tempt you with the approach road to Sognefjord, which is magnificent in itself. The 724 Route up through the Oldevatnet valley to Briksdalen, with iconic and moody mountain views will take your breath away. Although this no-through road is a little narrow, there are passing places as you navigate the plethora of coaches that bomb up and down this idyllic valley.

And as you hug the edge of the fjord, with its crystal clear waters, the sight ahead is captivating. The sharp lines of the mountain edges pierce the sky whilst it cradles the blue-white glacier which draws you towards it as if on autopilot. 

There’s both a campsite at Briksdalen and plenty of parking areas for day visitors. At 250NOK per night for a camper plus two people (which equates to around £26), you have unbridled access to this giant of all glaciers. There’s a fabulous walk for about 1.5 miles which whilst marginally uphill, can be mastered thanks to the tourist tram. If walking isn’t great for you or you have a disability, then for a mere 230NOK (£20) return or 115NOK one way (£11) the Troll’s Tram takes your weary bones closer to the glacier viewing point so that you too can enjoy its glacial glory. Otherwise the walk is a sensory delight. First up you have the Kleivafossen waterfall, which full of glacial melt thunders over the edge releasing 100 litres of water per second. Can you imagine the sound? It’s so loud you can not talk nor hear your heart beat. And whether it is a rainy day or sunny, it matters not a jot, as you will get wet as the spray from this thunderous beast unleashes its full power to the rocks below. It’s Norway’s version of Niagra Falls and you can stand right in front of it and get a free and pure shower. 

The glacier, some 10 minutes on, is not quite touchable, although certainly is spitting distance. And if you listen clearly, perhaps you can hear the sound as it creaks and groans with its miniscule movement. It’s a magnificent moment that somehow is difficult to capture in words alone and is a place that I could have stayed for hours just sat quietly in the heart of Mother Nature’s storybook and art gallery. This is most definitely a Norway WOW factor and must go on your list to visit.


Practical Tips for Norway Exploration

Before we leave you, I feel it is important to share our tips for making Norway a memorable experience, for all the right reasons. With its distance and expense many people are put off venturing to this northern land, although with the right strategy, it is more than doable. 

  1. As you plan for your trip, be clear what time you have available and what is achievable. If you only have a short time for your visit, then stick to the southern and central regions. The distances, both to get to and around Norway are vast and so being realistic is important.
  2. Access to Norway depends a great deal on the time you have. If you have an unlimited length of time, then accessing the northern regions is well worth the travel time, entering at Abisko. If time is limited then a ferry from Denmark makes Norway more accessible. For more information on routes to Norway check out our comprehensive All Things Travel blog here.
  3. Ferries are a major lifeline for Norway and avoiding them is futile. So you will need to consider an Autopass Ferry Discount Card. This will save you up to 50% on your ferries which is not to be sneezed at.
  4. Toll roads are everywhere and the system is quite complicated as each toll road is owned by a different company. There is only one Toll Booth, the rest are payable electronically. So you will need to register with EPC or Autopass who collect the toll fees. Registration is easy, although your notification for payment will take approximately 2 months to come through, so don’t be alarmed.
  5. Think carefully about the time of year you visit. Norway has a short summer season from June to September. Whilst it does offer you long days and the Midnight sun up above the Artic Circle, it is the major tourist season. From the beginning of July for six weeks, the local schools are on holiday so beware of the crowds at tourist hotspots.
  6. Any time from September to May the weather will be unpredictable – and we’re talking snow here. In 2019 the weather closed in early with snow in many areas mid September. So if you are travelling with your camper/RV or a car, it will need to have winter tyres, snow chains or snow socks.
  7. Norway’s summers are an interesting beast. Whilst it has been known to have heatwaves like in 2018, the weather patterns are generally not quite so hot and sunny. It can be cold, murky and inclement although if you get clear days, the scenery is absolutely magnificent. So come with the right mindset – this is not a beach-hot destination.
  8. Norway has a reputation for being expensive. Our experience was a pleasant surprise. Whilst certainly one of the most expensive countries we have been to, it wasn’t as bad as we expected. And there are ways around food expenses – check out our All things Shopping blog here where we share some tip shopping tips to keep your bills low.
  9. If travelling by camper and you want to bring some supplies with you (especially alcohol) be careful about Customs checks on the southern borders and ferry ports from Denmark. They are known to strip search incoming vans. So either ration your drinking to the EU Duty Free limits, take the Sweden route at Svinesundbrua or pay Norway’s extortionate prices. 


From its northern territories to the heart of the central glacier giants, Norway will tease you like a tantalising temptress and will leave you wanting more. And more we shall demand, on another spellbinding trip in the next five years. Until then, we leave you with the images and story that makes Norway such a unique European experience, filling you with an expectation of a sensory explosion should you make your way to this magnificent land.


Pin it for later…


Our two other blogs in the All Things Norway Series

Norway – All Things Shopping

Norway – All Things Shopping

Norway – It’s so expensive!

So many people tell us that they are worried about travelling to Norway because of the prices; of food, tolls, ferries, alcohol – the list goes on. And then there’s the journey to consider and the miles you need to travel to get there and getting around this vast country. In our All Things Norway blog trilogy, we hope to allay some of those fears and share how we managed to tour Norway for 7 weeks effortlessly, finding ways to manage our budget, shop savvy and not blow the bank! 

Our first in the series All Things Norway, we focused on the travel elements of getting to and moving around Norway with ease using their ferries, tolls and motorway network. In this second blog we provide you with a guide on all things shopping; offering practical advice on Stocking Up strategies, Top tips on How to shop Savvy and offer you a downloadable PDF document of all the food we bought whilst we were in Norway so you have a clear idea on our costs… and much much more. For simplicity, we have built a Table of Contents so you can skip around the blog at your leisure and all links are highlighted in red.  So let’s get into the nitty gritty. 


The first few things to say about your shopping experience in Norway is to be prepared for a cashless society.  In fact Scandinavia as a whole prefer payment by cards than cash. So we don’t recommend you bring much with you. Obviously it depends on the length of time you are here, although we had £100 worth of Norwegian Krone (NOK) and rarely had the need to dip into our stash.

The only time we required some loose change was for washing machines and a couple of Marina style Aires where you place your money in an honesty box. Otherwise we used our card everywhere, even for the smallest amount. 

We used a free to download app from to do our Norway Krone conversion, although we got used to doing the sums in our head once we had the formula. Obviously the rate may differ when you go, although we worked on the basis of moving the decimal place one point to the left and shaving a bit off.  Not very sophisticated although it gave us a good enough picture.

Shopping for Food

Of course, for most of us, thinking about this Norwegian beauty, food is high on the agenda, as reports come back about the extortionate cost of living.  And it is undoubtedly more costly, although not quite as bad as we thought. We were glad to have done some stocking up, although it wasn’t quite as necessary as we feared. Here’s our Shopping for Food experiences – with no holds barred. 

Stocking up before you arrive

Everyone does it. Everyone recommends you do it! We’ve read reports from others about how they carried huge amounts of tins and stock items to make sure they didn’t go hungry. And of course, without the benefit of hindsight  – we too did the same. 

Whilst back in UK for our MOT I felt like a woman possessed; writing lists of what to buy and what I could cook without having to go near a Norwegian supermarket. It must have looked as if I was planning an expedition to the North Pole. Every time I visited Tescos (other supermarkets are available) I would stock up on just a few more things. And if we’re honest our shopping frenzy began when we left Spain in March as we grabbed the all essential boxes of wine and bottles of Soberano. 

With a box, no wait – it was more like a crate of goodies in the garage, our cupboards bulging and the freezer rammed, and I really do mean rammed, we can honestly look back and giggle at our shopping exploits.  And perish the thought that we should touch that precious frozen treasure before we reached Norway. Bless him, Myles didn’t even have room for ice!  I even decided to master bread baking; coming prepared with yeast, bread flour and a great home-made recipe. What was I thinking! I even remember saying on the last packet of divine Cheesy Doodles from Sweden, ‘That’s it, no more snacks until we leave Norway.’  Our Norwegian philosophy was, we’ll dry out and loose weight because our eating and drinking habits would surely have to change!  

There seemed to be a never ending ‘just one last shop’ as we passed Intermarché in France, Lidl in Germany and even Rema 1000 in Kiruna, northern Sweden. I’m sure if someone was looking down us they must have thought us mad! Although in our defence – the prices man! Surely they were going to break us.

Well I am pleased to say that we neither lost weight nor dried out because it wasn’t anywhere near as costly as we thought it would be. Our End of the World stock piling was not necessary.  Norway can be mastered, enjoyed and survived without the need to buy up supermarket shelves of supplies. I say this out of experience and the examination of all the food we had left over. There’s at least five main meals I had planned for, that are, as we sit in Czechia, still lurking in my cupboards. And whilst we can use these items up another time as they’re not perishable, my Stocking Up Strategy was way off course!

So here are my Top 20 essentials to buy before you leave home either because they are hard to get or because they are expensive. Of course the caveat here is that these are food items that we used a lot in our cooking so they may not appeal to your tastes and of course it also depends how long you are visiting for. For recipes for cooking whilst on the road check out our free to download Camping Cuisine Cookbook.  Our larder items listed in here are the basis for my pre-Norway stock-piling!


Top 20 List of Pre-Norway Food Essentials

  1. Your favourite herbs – just because of the  translation. 
  2. Salad cream – difficult to find this.
  3. Wine, beer and Sprits.
  4. Meats if you are a meat lover – we brought lamb mince as this is notoriously hard to get throughout Europe. We also brought chicken livers for pâté and risotto, and chicken breasts as they are VERY expensive in Norway. Also we piled up on bacon and sausages.
  5. Pistachios (they’re hard to get in Norway).
  6. Honey and sugar – this they are a lot more expensive.
  7. Butter – definitely cheaper at home.
  8. Coffee and tea bags.
  9. Cartons of legumes & pulses (they are light and easy to store) and bulk out meals nicely.
  10. Tomato/Brown sauce and Mayonnaise.
  11. Dried sachets of coconut milk (easier to store)
  12. Tubes of pureed condiments such as ginger, lemongrass, chilli
  13. Tuna/pilchards/sardines – make great lunches.
  14. Emergency, long-life milk.
  15. Condiments such as Balsamic Vinegar, Olive Oil, Soy Sauce, Sweet Chilli Sauce and Hoi Sin.
  16. Tins of vegetables as emergencies because fresh veg are more expensive.
  17. Flour/Cornflour.
  18. Risotto rice/Basmati.
  19. English Mustard/Worcester sauce/Bovril/Marmite – definitely couldn’t find Bovril anywhere!
  20. Cheese. Hard cheese is particularly difficult to get, although you can buy grated packets.


The bottom line is though, don’t panic – you don’t need to bring as much as you think. Norway’s supermarkets are without doubt more expensive, although think Waitrose rather than Lidl prices. We were pleasantly surprised about how shopping in Norway did not break the bank and we had loads of supplies left over. So don’t weight down your van with unnecessaries. To give you more confidence, read on as I give you a summary of our shopping list sharing all the things we actually bought whilst we were there, so you can see for yourself.

Supermarkets in Norway

So after my obsessive stock piling behaviour, our first flirtation with Norway’s supermarkets was in a small village on Norway’s second largest island, Senja. We came out armed with 6 items £30 lighter, still in shock at the experience we’d just had. Blimey that was a sting in our pocket. So glad I stocked up! 

And yet, of course prices are always going to be more expensive in off-the-beaten-track places. It’s no different in UK or, come to think of it, the rest of Europe. So this was pretty much a one-off experience – thank goodness – until Myles bought beer. I’ll tell you about that cock up in a bit.  

Another Norway surprise was the range of items that you could buy from their supermarkets. Norway’s shops have an outstanding range of foods, unlike many of its European cousins. Chinese, Indian, Mexican – you name it, they had it. So this is why we recommend not bringing too much with you.  

Here’s a list of the shops we found most often and our experiences when shopping here. Bear in mind there is no Lidl or Aldi here.

Rema 1000 – is classed as a discount store, although we found it much more expensive in comparison to others. They have a Discount Scheme which you can apply for via an app. You then show a code from your phone when you shop there. The man on the kiosk did, however, scan a card for me so that the discount could apply. And after finding EuroSpar, we didn’t ever return to Rema. 

EuroSpar – Totally my favourite shop.  My favourite because it had plenty of discounts, every week and a brand called First Price – more on that in a moment. This was bar far our most cost-effective shopping experience. 

Kiwi – we had been told that this was the best and cheapest supermarket to visit, although testing the theory out, we have to say that it was no cheaper, in our opinion than Eurospar.

Joker – this is a small convenience store that you would visit if you were desperate for something and miles away from a big town. Which can often happen as you are travelling through Norway’s fjords. We didn’t go in one, so can’t comment on their prices.

BunnPris – this was a medium priced store as is Coop Prix.


Shopping Savvy

On a day to day basis Norway’s shops have everything you need. Whilst Norway is a Waitrose-type of shopping experience, there are deals to be had. I became really good at hunting out good prices and saving some serious pennies. These are my Top 10 Tips.


Top Top 10 Tips for being a Savvy Shopping

  1. EuroSpar is our top supermarket recommendation for all round value for money and super discounts. 
  1. Look out for the phrase TILBUD, which means offers. We found lots of offers on meat. So we were able to buy chicken mince and thighs for £2.99. Also vegetables were often on special deals. We bought cauliflower and broccoli for £1 during the entire length of our stay. 
  1. When you see meat discounts, bulk buy and freeze if you are able to. Although this does come with a warning. In Sweden mostly, although we also had the problem in Norway, chicken does seem to go off very quickly, even when frozen and well within date. So be mindful of this. 
  1. Always look for the FIRST PRICE brand. EuroSpar was excellent at stocking these although many of the Coop and Kiwi stores had them too.  First Price is the equivalent of Tescos Value and offer food at low prices and have loads of £1 deals. I managed to buy chocolate (which is also generally expensive) on a special deal of £1. 
  1. Fish was surprisingly good value, relatively speaking. I bought Mackerel fillets for £1 every time I shopped. I added mayonnaise or creme fraiche with horseradish for a really quick smoked mackerel pate.  Also a tub of prawns, if they are your thing, were no more expensive than the UK at £4.99, so they were a bit of a treat.
  1. Bread is expensive and white particularly difficult to buy for some reason. Although if you shop early, First Price did a whole, uncut white loaf for 80p. You then use the automated slicing machine and hey presto you have yourself some white bread. 
  1. Cornflakes are only £1 if you get the First Price brand. Milk isn’t overly expensive, so breakfasts are covered. Make sure you buy MELK – it comes in a pink carton – be careful you don’t end up with fermented yoghurt instead.  
  1. Vegetables and fruit are definitely more expensive, although when there’s a fruit or veg in season, they offer it at a special price. So I was regularly able to get a punnet of nectarines for £2.99, cauliflower and broccoli for £1. So that pleased the nutritionalist in me. Otherwise when vegetables were scarce, then I used my selection of tinned veg. Not as good of course although my philosophy is ‘Better than…’ Also after arriving in Norway, we were finally able to start eating our frozen supplies which made room to buy frozen peas. 
  1. If you, like me, need a herbal remedy or organic shop then, although not cheap, you can find Health Food Shops in the Shopping Malls in larger towns. 
  1. If you choose to shop in Rema 1000, then download their app for discounts when in store.

The Motoroamers’ Food Shopping Prices

We took the opportunity to record our shopping lists and expenses so you can see a real time summary of certain foods that we purchased during our 7 weeks and how much each item cost us. We have created this as a PDF document that you can download as your personal copy. Click the button below. 



Going Out

You can  safely assume that given the general cost of living in Norway that eating out brings the same price tag.  And it is true for us across Scandinavia as a whole, that whilst we may well have been able to shop savvy, going out for meals meant there was no avoiding the cost. And as a result we didn’t do it often. In fact during the whole four months we had four ‘out’ moments. A couple were just simple lunches, a round of beers in Tromsø and a very super Fish and Chip meal from Kristiansund for £24.

Otherwise we decided that to eat out, on what would be likely London prices, was beyond our budget. We enjoy cooking our own food, so going out didn’t really feel necessary. If you do enter into restaurants, check your prices before you go using an app like, avoid cities where prices are always inflated or simply keep it to a lunch. This way you avoid breaking the bank and getting stung with high prices. 


Norway’s Alcohol 

Let’s get down to the nuts and bolts. Norway’s booze is outrageously expensive. And whilst supermarkets will stock low percent beers – spirits and strong beers above 4.75% can only be purchased in separate Government run stores called Vinmonopolet.  You can buy these low percentage supermarket beers until 8pm on weekdays and 6pm on Saturday.

And let me tell you, we talk from experience. I made the mistake of letting Myles come in shopping with me, because he wanted some beers. To quote Julia Roberts from the film Pretty Woman “Big mistake. Big. Huge.”

Unlike me, who takes time to look at prices and buy good value, Myles was just focused on ‘I want beer!’ And he got it – for the princely sum of £60! Perhaps that doesn’t sound too bad – although when I then add that this was only for 16 cans of sub-standard strength larger, then you’ll understand my shock.  Needless to say, he never came shopping with me again! 

Alcohol is heavily taxed and is part of Norway’s attempt to curb a drinking culture and alcoholism, although according to locals, it’s not working. A contentious subject obviously. 

So if you like a drink, then you need to bring supplies with you.  Although as a word of caution, if you sail into Norway in your motorhome from Denmark, then we hear it on good authority that Customs are hot on searching.  It has been described to me as ‘strip-searching’ motorhomes, looking for excessive stores of booze that exceed the Duty Free allowance. So be warned.  

We entered in the north of the country where there were no border checks. Although I suspect with a large majority of visitors entering into Kristiansand, Bergen, Larvik and Stavanger, they concentrate their efforts here. 

Buying Diesel/LPG 

As we mentioned in the first of our All Things Norway series, there is a definite strategy when it comes to diesel buying. Interestingly we found the cost cheaper than in Sweden, which really surprised us.

Our Top Tips for Diesel buying are:

  • Shop on a Sunday when prices are much cheaper.
  • Buy when you see diesel cheap (anything below 14.00NOK), as within an hour it can rise in price.
  • Don’t be alarmed if you see a greater price on your credit card bill than your receipt. This is a holding amount taken by most stations in Scandinavia, which once the amount is no longer pending, a refund of the remaining amount is given to you. 
  • Most stations are self-service
  • LPG is not sold in garages. They are at separate units in industrial areas of large towns. Use to check locations.
  • Buy LPG before you need it as although there are frequent stations, the miles to travel to them are often deceptively long. 

Entrance Frees and Attractions 

So much of what makes Norway unique is the ‘outdoors’ and is therefore free. So going into museums, unless this is, of course your thing, isn’t totally necessary to your cultural experience. I recognise that I offer this statement as non-museum fans although we have been known to nip into the odd one along the way if it is value for money. 

Although one of the great things about Norway is that most of the car parks were free. So visiting the sights, for example on the Trollstiegen Pass and Geiranger were all free. Visiting the outdoor WW2 museum at Bud on the west coast, free. Driving the 18 Scenic roads, free bar one – The Atlantic Coastal Way has a toll fee payable.  

That said there are some activities that are worthy of your pennies, depending on what you love. For me I love wildlife so I did indulge in one Sea Safari, which was a real highlight for me. Here’s a list of other things we did. 

  • Sea Safaris to see Puffins, Whales and Sea Eagles is a popular trip from many spots around the northern coast particularly. We had a Rib trip for an evening of puffin watching on the island of Andoya. It is the biggest colony of puffins in the whole of Europe and it was worth every single penny of our 495NOK per person. It was a bucket list for me so up there in terms of value. For more information, you can click here.
  • Svartisen Glacier Hikes. Along the Scenic Route Fv17 is Norway’s second largest glacier, Svartisan. An arm of this magnificent glacier is Engabreen and of Norway’s 2,500 glaciers, is one of the most accessible. It can also be seen from the road and is one of the best examples of a glacier almost reaching the sea in northern Europe.  There are a couple of hiking options all of which requires a short ferry boat across Holandsfjorden. This cost us 200NOK per person return for the 15 minute journey. You can hire bicycles for 80NOK for 3 hours or take your own on the ferry for no additional cost. You can access the glacier from end of May to end of September.  
  • Hiking Norway’s largest glacier Jostedal  – You can hike up close to the glacier directly from the campsite, which costs 250NOK per night. Alternatively you can take the tourist train up the mountain, which costs 115NOK one way and 230NOK return per adult.

So as you can see by their absence, entrance fees do not need to be a major spending concern because so much of your Norwegian experience will be enjoying the outdoors and this is totally free to man and beast.


Campsites and Services 

With Norway’s Freedom to Roam policy camping in the most magnificent of places is just so easy. Waking to the sound of the fjord lapping against the shore and pods of dolphins gently gliding through the water. It’s quite a magical experience. 

Although not everyone likes wild camping, as they prefer the security and facilities that campsites offer. We didn’t use many campsites in our 7 weeks, in fact just three. Partly to do washing and meet up with some friends. Although in terms of costs, we travelled in July and August and given it was high season, we spent an average of 250NOK per night excluding electricity,  which we didn’t think was too bad. Our campsite in Tromsø was 400NOK including electricity, so a bit more like the prices of other UK and  European sites at this time of year, although we stayed out of necessity rather than choice.

We didn’t find that many campsites along our journey so I think some planning and plotting might be appropriate. Especially on the Lofoten Islands we found ‘sites’ really needed to be put in inverted commas. They tended to be parcels of land that some entrepreneur had decided to open up to campervans and tents and charge 250NOK for the privilege with portaloo facilities.  If you would like more information on the Lofoten Islands for free, click here. 


DIY Emergencies 

Whilst we hope it doesn’t happen, life on the road can mean technical issues. So rest assured if you have the need for anything for your vehicle, then help is at hand with BILTEMA. This is a fabulous DIY shop that sells everything that you can imagine. Everything household, vehicle and bicycle – you name it, they will have it! Oh except Bicycle Rack covers. Ours is still hanging on by a thread. 


Total Costs 

So to be complete, it feels important to share our total spend during our 7 weeks in Norway. So combining all our expenses here are our figures, based on an exchange rate of £1 = 11.34NOK.

Spending Price in £ Comments
 Food £620 This doesn’t include items from my ‘stock piling’, purchased during regular weekly shops. Gestimate an additional £200.
Diesel £518 This is based on covering approximately 3,000 miles from our entry at Abisko to our exit at Seläter.
LPG  £82  
Ferries £409 Based on 8 ferries taken, 6 of which were discounted by 50% with our Autopass Discount Card.
Tolls £88 We have yet to receive any bills from EPC, so this is based on my own notes
Campsites and laundry £140 5 nights at £26
Activities/Entertainment £94.00 Puffin Safari, car parks and entrance fees
Eating Out/Beers £35.00 Fish and Chips and Beers in Tromso

Total Spend      £1,984



So ladies and gents – there we have it. All things Shopping. We hope that this transparent review of the money we spent and, more importantly, how we managed to shop savvy will help you manage your trip to Norway

We were pleasantly surprised by Norway’s cost of living and whilst it was definitely one of the more expensive countries we’ve visited, in retrospect I think France, Switzerland and Italy are nipping at Norway’s heels. We wouldn’t hesitate returning knowing how manageable spending can be.

If this blog raises any unanswered questions on the spending front, then do get in touch. For example all things ferries, tolls and routes are presented in our All things Travel blog, which you can read here.  Our next blog in the series is focused on our highlights, our route map and things to see whilst travelling this extraordinary country.


Pin it to save for later

Other posts from the All Things Norway series