NAME Steve McKay, Springwood, NSW
THE TRIP Iceland and Norway
Flew Finnair to Helsinki for a few days with a day trip by ferry to Tallinn, Estonia. Reykjavik was the next stop where we stayed two nights in an Airbnb before renting a small four-wheel-drive for 12 days. We took a tent, sleeping bags, mats and cooking/eating basics with us so we stopped at camping grounds. This kept the cost down considerably and allowed us to travel at our own pace. A Wi-Fi device supplied with the vehicle was also useful. Renting a four-wheel-drive enabled us to get off the 1300-kilometre Ring Road and onto less travelled paths. Driving the Westfjords with mostly unsealed, narrow roads was tricky but the relative remoteness also meant fewer tourists and lots of sheep. There is so much to see and do – how many scenic waterfalls, sweeping fjords and hikes can you handle when daylight seems perpetual? We then flew to Stockholm, stayed Airbnb a few days and rented another car for 25 days. We drove north, crossing from Sweden into Norway near Mo I Rana, continuing north to Tromso. Then we headed south along the coast through Vesteralen, Lofoten, Kystriksvein (coastal road), Trondheim, Trollstigen route, Geirangerfjord, Flam, Bergen, the surprising south coast, the Heddal Stave church, Oslo and back to Arlanda airport. Norway has oodles of tunnels and tolls.
In Iceland the entire trip was a highlight but to pick a few: the puffins at Latrabjarg, the Westfjords, the many stunning towns, Thingvellir (home of democracy and the tectonic rift) and the iceberg lagoon Jokulsarlon. Norway's Lofoten islands and the magnificent, but very busy, fjords were unforgettable. The freedom of a vehicle and camping.
The overwhelming crowds in Bergen when multiple cruise ships are in dock.
Make sure that you have a day or two of accommodation booked in cities where you fly to and a good plan of how to get there from the airport.
WHERE TO NEXT Patagonia region, Chile and Argentina.
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