UK to Norway: Driving Across Europe

By , 1st January 2018 00:00

Most people thought I was mad when I announced that I was “interested” in the idea of driving to Norway in order to go to my cousin’s wedding in August 2018. After looking at flight costs and looking properly at the logistics of it, even Mum and Dad have accepted that it is quite feesable. If anything it makes it easier for them – because they will have transport when they land, and I can take luggage which means they can book cheaper flights on a handluggage only basis.

Therefore – nearly 5 months after I first toying with the idea – I can confirm that at the end of July 2018, I will set off from Cirencester for the Norweigan city of Kristiansand – driving the whole way.

The plan is that I will take the best part of a week to get there, and I hope tobe able to do the outbound journey in 6 days. On paper it is just under 1100 miles (according to Google Maps). Using the Dover-Calais crossing I will drive through France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark before taking the ferry from Hirtshals on the Northern tip of Denmark, straight in to Kristiansand.

On the way back the journey will be much longer. My sister will be travelling with me for a few days and after hopping back over in to Denmark on the ferry, we’ll spend a couple of nights in Denmark, then we’ll nip across to Sweden for a night using the Øresund Bridge (the setting for the Scandinavian crime drama “The Bridge“). From Sweden we’ll catch the ferry to Rostock in North East Germany. I’ll then drop her at Hamburg Airport and do the remaining bit of the journey on my own.

For me it’s just one big logistics exercise. How much driving can I reasonably expect to do in one day? Some days I will drive relatively short distances. Others I could expect a 5-6 hour drive. I will be leaving the UK at about the same time the schools break up. Dover is going to be packed. Kristiansand is busy in the Summer.

Then there’s the task of figuring out which route I will take – I’m planning to come off the motorway and cross each border using the local roads, stopping at whatever marks the border (usually some sort of café, restaurant, shop etc). Has the sat nav on my phone got all the necessary map data? Where are the traffic bottle necks going to be? (Hamburg springs to mind, as does the Antwerp Ring). I’ll be using the ferry on 5 separate occasions (Dover-Calais, Hirtshals-Kristiansand, Kristiansand-Hirtshals, Trelleborg-Rostock, Calais-Dover) so I will need to leave enough time for check-in and customs. All this comes before I even look at hotel bookings!

I’ve started this blog to document everything – from the planning over the next few months – to the journey itself.

Watch this space for updates…

FH.

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