Nordkapp: If You Go

July 18, 2022

We are by no means experts on Nordkapp. We’ve been there, and we were really lucky to have the weather we did when we arrived. Looking back on our ride up through Norway, I thought I would share some observations that might help if someone else happens to find this post and is planning a ride to the top of Europe.

So here’s my list:

  1. Don’t overestimate your daily mileage. The maximum speed limit on most of the roads in Norway is 80kph (90 occasionally), and speeding fines are steep. Every time the road enters a town or village, the speed limit drops to 50-60kph. This is very often. And there is no such thing as a straight road in Norway, at least not on the west side where all the fjords and scenery are. Plan on your overall average speed being around 35mph (60kph), including gas stops and short breaks. Don’t plan to do more than 250 miles a day; that’s 7 hours.
  2. Layers. The weather changes quickly in Norway. It can be 70F in the afternoon and upper 40s within minutes if a front blows through. Even at 60F, the wind and damp air along the coast and especially in the tunnels can be chilly. Plan on several layers of clothing and adjust to fit the temperature.
  3. Use the Norway weather site yr.no and refer to it often.
  4. Build at least one extra day into your trip and keep it for between Alta and Skaidi. If the weather looks bad on your planned arrival in Nordkapp, you can wait here a day before heading the last hundred miles or so north. A lot of people we spoke with said that when they arrived at Nordkapp, the clouds were so low and thick that they couldn’t even see the sea. But as I said, the weather changes quickly, and while no forecast is foolproof, especially at these latitudes, yr.no is about as good as it gets. On our trip up, we had rain most nights and early mornings, and sunny skies in the afternoons.
  5. Twenty four hour daylight. Plan accordingly in order to get some sleep. At 2am north of the Arctic Circle in July it looks like 3 or 4pm most places.
  6. If you have the time and are going all the way to Nordkapp, consider going north through Finland and come down through Norway. This has two advantages: it gets you to Nordkapp quicker, as the road through Finland is straighter and much shorter, and it saves the absolute stunning scenery for last.

Lastly, even if you aren’t a motorcyclist, these tips apply. And if you don’t have the time to make it all the way to Nordkapp, at least go from Bergen through Flåm to Geiranger and Trollstigen. Even on a cruise ship. It’s some of the world’s most stunning scenery.

I’m sure I’ll think of other things later and add to the list.