We recently returned from a (fantastic) month-long trip to Norway, during which we travelled the length of Norway and spent every single night wild camping or parking in designated parking areas, normally for free.
One of the books we took with us was All The Aires Benelux and Scandinavia (published by Vicarious Books). We had high hopes that this book would prove very useful, based on our experience of using All The Aires France and All The Aires Spain and Portgual.
However, All The Aires Benelux and Scandinavia proved very disappointing.
We only used this guide in Norway, so these comments apply primarily to the Norway section of the book.
There were a number of problems with the Norwegian section of this book, which I’ve summarised below.
This book is so incomplete as to be irrelevant.
Motorhome service points are plentiful throughout Norway and are almost always clearly signposted and often free. Only a small minority are listed in this book. In most cases, going off your route to find one of the service points listed in this book is a waste of time – you will come across plenty along your way. Just plan ahead a little and don’t cut it too fine.
Similarly, with overnight parking – overnight motorhome parking is largely unrestricted in Norway and in most cases the sites listed in this book are no better or worse than all the other ones that aren’t listed, especially if you are looking for free sites. One exception was the motorhome parking in Ålesund, which was fantastic (and expensive). However, this is clearly signposted as you drive into Ålesund, again rendering the book unnecessary.
Out Of Date
The current edition (as of June 2011) of All The Aires Benelux and Scandinavia was published in 2009. Naturally, the research was done before this date and many of the Scandinavian locations were never visited – simply ‘contacted’, in some cases as long ago as 2007.
On the occasions we did try to find a location listed in the Norway section of this guide, we usually found that it had changed, become more expensive or disappeared. The directions were not always as good as usual, either.
Although it is only natural that facilities and costs will change with time, the fact that many of the Scandinavian locations in this book have not been visited and inspected really lowers the quality of the information compared to other Vicarious guides we have used.
However, trying to use this book in Norway led us to conclude that Vicarious has been trying to cash in on the (deserved) success of its earlier guides. The Norway section of this book (and I suspect, those for Finland and Sweden) are poorly researched, incomplete and often out of date.
According to Vicarious, all of the locations featured in the Benelux section of the book were inspected before it was published – so this section of the book may be of more use. However, for use in Norway and probably the rest of Scandinavia, I would not recommend this book.