Behind the steep rugged cliffs stretches the deep blue ocean. Above white-tailed sea eagles fly ride the currents - and at night the northern lights dance across the horizon: green, violet and blue, they reflect in the calm waters. If you are looking for unspoiled nature in Europe, you will find what you are looking for in the Norwegian Lofoten Islands. In the midst of this unparalleled landscape is Andreas Schmidt from Germering near Munich. He enjoys the peace that Scandinavia has to offer. "You can hear sounds that basically do not exist at home. In this silence I can think very well," explains the 36-year-old. That is why Andreas keeps taking the long road north. His faithful companion: a turquoise MB 100.
1988 - 1996
Year of construction
12/95 – one of the last
Vitoria / Spain
Based on model/ Successor model
W631, MB 100 D/ Mercedes-Benz Vito
OM616 – 2.4 Liter diesel
75 hp version
panel van / minibus / flatbed
Length/ Width/ Height
5.1 m/ 1.85 m/ 2.5 m
Wheelbase/ Gross vehicle weight
2,675 mm/ 2.81 t
Traveling in a van means nothing less than freedom for Andreas. Book a hotel? For him, not an option. "With the MB 100, I do not need a room with a sea view - I just park right on the beach." In 2007, he found his van in a newspaper advertisement - with optical defects, technically but intact. For Andreas the now lovingly restored mobile home is ideal for long road trips - also because of the unique feeling: "The MB 100 is comfortable, reliable and decelerated."
Get to know your vehicle: especially for van-newbies, I suggest making small trips with your mobile home.
Planning: the best adventures happen on the road and cannot be planned. That's why I like to spontaneously decide where to go.
Equipment: before departure, carry out a vehicle inspection! In addition, you should ensure a sufficient supply of gas, fresh water and food.
Clothes: do not forget weather-resistant clothes and hiking boots! Because even if Nordic weather is better than its reputation: you should be prepared for everything.
Luggage: in the secluded north, a first-aid kit is a must. For long walks, a GPS device can also be helpful.
Road safety: it is basically relaxed in Scandinavia - but reindeer will cross your path when you least expect it. So drive slowly, stay focused and be ready to brake. In Norway, there are also "section control" speed cameras - and the fines are very expensive.
Camping: for campsites, you need the Scandinavian "Camping Kort", which you can order online at home. Otherwise, wild camping is recommended - at best near a harbor, where you can often shower luxuriously for a small amount of money.
Prices: Scandinavia is considered to be particularly expensive - and it is true that prices from Denmark across Sweden to Norway are steadily increasing. However, you can save a lot of money by camping and also the domestic ferries are not as expensive as you would expect.
Food: domestic products – i.e. fish and reindeer are generally quite cheap. So discover the culinary delights of Scandinavia!
Even on his first trip through Scandinavia Andreas already knew: he would return, to do even bigger tours. For every day and every kilometer he falls further in love with the diversity of the north: the snow on the high plateau, the beaches of the coast, the foggy autumn mood on the fjord. "Even the darkness of Scandinavia can be something beautiful, indeed almost addictive," he enthuses. In the dark, the northern lights are the most beautiful natural spectacle in the world. These experiences also leave their mark in everyday life: "you notice how little you need to live. Because everything I need fits in my MB 100."
Whether you travel Denmark, Norway, Finland or Sweden: Scandinavia means freedom. It is also worthwhile to visit famous landmarks such as the steep cliff Preikestolen, the North Cape or the foggy Geirangerfjord - but I recommend the following route to van fans:
A. The starting point is Vevang. Here you take the Atlantic Road - one of the most spectacular roads in Europe. Because: it goes over the open sea.
B. After a stop-over in Trondheim, you continue along the coast. Interrupted by some ferry crossings the road "Kystriksveien" offers numerous sleeping places with spectacular views.
C. When you arrive in Bodo, you arrive by ferry on the beautiful Lofoten Islands. Not afraid of heights? Then hiking the Reinebringen mountain is a must.
D. Next to the Lofoten are the Vesterålen. Not only the northern lights, but whales are also nearby.
E. In transnational Lapland the roads often go straight on for hours, but the vastness of this landscape is breathtaking.
F. My absolute favorite place: the northernmost lighthouse in the world - Slettnes Fyr. Situated next to the sleepy village of Gamvik, you really feel like you are at the end of the world.
Photos: Andreas Schmidt