Scotland to Istanbul.....via Arctic Circle

Apr 30, 2012
Hi all,
I'm a new member - so apologies if this thread has been started before.
After 4 years in Australia I'm heading back home to Scotland and with a bit of luck and fair wind, my wife and I will be fortunate enough to head on a 6 or 7 month "grand tour" of europe next year. The plan is to travel through the UK then Calais, Copenhagen, Bergen, Tromso, Helsinki, Talinn, Warsaw, Istanbul, Trieste, Andorra and back to UK. Stopping at too many stops in between to mention - but you get the drift.
We've been caravanning in Europe before, but mostly France/ Germany/ Switzerland and maximum of 3 weeks.
My question is really one of practicalities. Has anyone experience of a trip of similar duration and / or geographic range? What would you recommend to take/ prepare over and above a "regular" two week vacation? One of my main concerns is gas availability, so am considering refillable LPG (with the proper 80% fill indicator etc). Tromso in late April, heading from there to Helsinki - anyone done it? is it OK to negotiate the road (E8) at that time of year with a caravan?
Basically - any tips!
Nov 12, 2007
Hi there!
As retired wrinklies (1 Scot and 1 Norwegian), we have done a fair bit of travelling in the last 5 years, but nothing longer than 4 months. We have been several times to the North of Norway (OH's homeland), and I reckon you need to check out the weather in April. It may be lovely, but there could also be a lot of snow still on the ground, and it will be cold.
You may need snow tyres on your car, best check with the tourist board or NAF. You could also join the forum of the Norwegian Caravan Club and post your questions there.
The roads vary, are you going up the coast route, or inland? The roads over the mountains can be closed if weather is bad. Campsites in Norway are variable, and many will not be open in April. Could you start out a little later? Mid May would be much better.
For gas, refillable will be ideal, (we recently fitted a Gaslow system) but do check out the refilling options. You also need to have a temporary back-up supply, such as a Camping Gaz 907, but even that is not universally exchangable. As a last resort you can always buy a local cylinder, either way, you should use mainly propane.
Other things to take are spares for the car and van (take back-ups for everything you can for the van), tools, basic foodstuffs you cannot survive without, and plenty of money, or access to same, especially for Norway. Best credit card is Halifax Clarity or similar, you can get cash with that too, and set up everything to pay bills automatically. Take at least 2 different credit cards, and 2 debit cards.
You will need insurance to cover you, and recovery of van and car. CC Red Pennant is good but expensive, you should research the alternatives. You will also need to find an insurer that covers your car for that long a period abroad. More than 3 months is uncommon, more than 6 months is only covered by a very few companies. You will also need house insurance to cover that long a period if you are leaving a property unoccupied.
Otherwise.....MOT or car tax expiry dates? Caravan insurance renewal ok? EHIC will be needed. Mobile phone....maybe a global SIM. Internet access is really best left to using site Wi-Fi, Libraries and McDonalds in some countries. Any medicines you take regularly? You may need to stockpile supplies. Take a good first aid kit and plenty of paracetamol, cold remedies, dicky tum treatments. Get your teeth serviced before you leave!
We haven't ventured beyond Italy, Austria and Germany in the south and east, but otherwise have ventured to France, Switzerland, Holland, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Norway. We are in Austria at present, so on limited internet access, but if you have more questions I will be around at some point.
If you come to Andorra in November, you may need snow tyres/chains there too.


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