A road trip through Norway with your own transport
If you own a car, you may not be inclined to spend money on a rental car in Norway. Many people find it crazy to pay for something they already have. However, you should know that Norway is not really located close to the rest of Europe (IF you are of course living in Europe…) and thus it’s not as easy to reach as, say, France to Belgium. To drive from the capital of Europe, Brussels to the Norwegian capital, Oslo, you have two options:
You drive to the north of Denmark where you take the ferry in, for example, Hirthals, which arrives on Norwegian soil four and a half hours later in Langesund. If you book in advance, you pay between 60 and 100 euros for this ferry ride. The total distance of this route is just under 1400 km and non-stop this would take about fifteen hours and fifteen minutes.
For those who suffer from the Titanic syndrome and prefer not to take the boat, there is also a route via Sweden. In Copenhagen you cross the Oresund bridge (The Bridge!) to Malmö (€51.3 euros for a return ticket). Then you drive from Sweden to Norway. The distance of this route is 1655 km and it takes about seventeen hours without stopping. The nice thing about this is that you can make several picturesque stops on the way, like in charming Gothenburg, for example.
Why would you choose for a road trip with your own car?
You don’t have the costs of a rental car and if you have enough time, it’s not a problem to be on the road for at least two days. If you plan to camp, you can fully load your car with camping gear and food. Especially the latter can be very expensive in Norway, so you might save money with it.
For the petrol you’ll pay between 175 and 200 euros per single trip, which can be cheaper than flying (depending on the number of passengers).
Or rent a car in Norway after all?
Nowadays, flights to Norway are no longer as expensive as they used to be and thanks to low-cost airlines such as Ryanair and Norwegian Airlines, you can quickly and cheaply travel to Norwegian soil. For a rental car in Norway during high season you pay an average of 200 to 300 euros per week. As you can read above, that is equal to the fuel costs for a single trip from Brussels. If you can get cheap flight tickets, it can therefore be cheaper to rent a car. The fact that you don’t lose any days with being on the road is also a nice bonus. This can be a decisive argument especially for travelers with limited holiday time.
I always look at price-comparing websites such as RentCars. They pretty much always give me the cheapest possible price for car hire, wherever I go.
For the rest I would like to give these tips:
- If you choose insurance (And I would advice to do so), book it online as well. On average, you pay between €5.50 and €11 extra per day, but if you still have to buy insurance on the spot you pay at least €20 to €25 extra per day that you hire your car…
- Read the rental conditions if you don’t want to be surprised. Normally everything is explained very clearly, but it doesn’t hurt to go through them anyway.
- When picking up your rental car, always check that there are no scratches or other damage to the car that is not noted in the rental contract.
- Winter or summer tires are required in Norway depending on the season. So be sure to ask!
Which rental car in Norway should I choose?
The Norwegian roads are great and most travelers will not cross the forests with their rental car. Because renting a car in Norway can be quite expensive, you can certainly choose the cheapest model. Also remember that the larger models consume more fuel, which will add another (big) cost to your road trip. If you go camping I wouldn’t choose the smallest model, but if you just want the freedom of a car then an economy car will certainly have enough space (for two travelers) and everything that you need.
If you plan to cover many kilometers during your road trip through Norway, it may be wise to compare the fuel consumption of the different types.
Which attractions are easier to reach with a rental car in Norway?
The short answer to this is: every attraction.
I’ll give you an example to explain this.
Everyone dreams of hiking the famous Trolltunga. From Bergen, it takes about three hours to reach this iconic rock with your car.
If you travel by public transport, you first have to take the bus from Bergen to Odda or Tyssedal. From here, only two direct buses leave each day. Once you have arrived in Odda, you have to take a shuttle bus to Skjeggedal (the starting point). Besides more time it will also cost you more money, because public transport in Norway is far from cheap.
You may have heard of the train ride from Oslo to Bergen, legendary because you cross the majestic Norwegian landscape. For a single journey you pay 90 euros, which is quite a lot (even though you are on the train for seven hours). A cheaper alternative is to take the night train, then you only pay 60 euros for a ticket. But then you obviously see nothing of the landscape…
At the end of the journey, a car journey through Norway will be easier and perhaps cheaper than using public transport.
Don’t just think of sights like Trolltunga, the fantastic glaciers or the imposing Preikestolen. Often complete areas can only be seen with a car. I immediately think about my trip to the Lofoten islands. Without a car I would never have been able to see this beautiful part of Norway so thoroughly!
And last but not least… Seeing the northern lights without a car is almost impossible. This unpredictable light show appears unexpectedly and you should be able to leave immediately. Moreover, it’s just super fun to drive around the Norwegian landscapes. Sometimes I sat in the car for four hours without ever getting bored. The landscapes are so diverse here that you’ll keep being surprised over and over again!
Summer and winter tires and snow chains
Whether you opt for car hire in Norway or whether you drive your own vehicle here, it’s important to know with which tires you should drive.
Vehicles up to 3500 kg’s must have a minimum tread depth of 3 mm during the winter season and 1.6 mm outside the winter season. If you use studded tires, every tire must have these spikes.
The use of studded tires or snow chains is prohibited from the second Monday after Easter Sunday to October 31st. In the Nordland, Troms and Finnmark areas, this period lasts from 1 May to 15 October. You can still use studded tires and snow chains outside of these dates when road conditions are still bad.
There are no restrictions on the use of normal winter tires.
Please keep in mind that summer tires are absolutely not suitable to drive here during winter. Summer tires are better suited on wet asphalt than winter tires.
Traffic rules Norway
- Our Norwegian friends also drive along the right side of the road and wear their belt at all times.
- Playing with your smartphone (or any other phone) behind the steering wheel is of course also prohibited.
- You should always drive with your headlights on.
The maximum promille alcohol is 0.02%.In addition to your (international) driving license and the necessary papers, there must always be a warning triangle and a fluo vest in the car.
Norway is one of the first countries to have introduced toll roads. For the use of many roads (mainly to the big cities) you have to pay. This can be cash or with your card. You also sometimes have to pay for the use of bridges, tunnels and ferries.
- Within the built-up area you can drive up to 50 km/h and outside it up to 80 km/h.
- On the highways the speed limit is 90 km/h or 100 km/h. So you can always look at the traffic signs.
Parking regulations in Norway
If you can park on the street, it’ll always be well marked. You should always look carefully at the color of the parking meter to know how long you can park here exactly.
If you see a yellow parking meter, you can only park for an hour. A gray once means two hours and a brown one indicates a parking time of up to three hours.
In addition, there are certainly enough parking garages in the big cities.
Checking if everyone is in compliance with these rules is done by the police and in some cities -like Oslo- by parking attendants. If you exceed your time, you are fined, and if you block the road you are towed away.
Renting a car in Norway online
Car hire in Norway shouldn’t necessarily be unaffordable, but then I advice you to fix your rental car well in advance. RentCars almost always finds me the cheapest price, but of course there are many other comparing websites which might give you a cheaper price.
Of course you can also book directly with well-known car rental companies such as Alamo, Avis, Budget or Sixt, but so far they are always more expensive than the other websites that I’ve listed.
The car rental companies in Norway expect that you are at least 21 and have been in possession of your driving license for at least one year. An international driving license is not necessary if you come from the EU, but if you’re living elsewhere you must have one.
What should you certainly not miss during your visit to Norway?
If you choose to visit Norway with a (rental) car, then I definitely recommend to visit the beautiful Lofoten Islands or Tromsø. If you travel to Norway with your own car, these beautiful places are unfortunately not an option. Unless you have seas of time, because from Bergen it takes at least 27 hours non-stop to reach this arctic city.
Fortunately, in the south and in the middle of the country there is a lot of beautiful nature waiting for you besides the Trolltunga.
The crystal clear blue waters of the Geirangerfjord are so enchanting that it’s no wonder that they are part of a UNESCO protected site. Twenty kilometers of wonderful natural beauty.
You can make the most beautiful walks in the surroundings of Stavanger, where the Lysefjord and the famous Preikestolen are located.
Besides famous cities such as Oslo and Bergen, Trondheim is definitely worth a visit as well. The colorful houses contribute to the fairytale atmosphere that you see and feel here.
Finally, in the Jotunheimen National Park you can find as many as 60 glaciers and 275 peaks higher than 2000 meters, all bathing in the shadow of the Galdhøpiggen, which is the highest point of the country with its 2469 meters.
Whether you choose to rent a car in Norway or whether you go there with your own car, there is a great adventure awaiting you.
The first option doesn’t cost that much, and if you also know that wild camping is legal, you can again save a lot of money. Ultimately, you spend as much or as little money as you want during your vacation.
Anyway, this is a fantastic country of which the nature, cities and friendly people will take your breath away more than once.
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Hi, I'm Sam Van den Haute. The last three years I've been traveling the world almost constantly. Heading out for an adventure and visiting the most beautiful places are what I love to do! Let me inspire you with great stories, beautiful pictures and handy tips from my adventures and travels. On my facebook page and instagram account you'll get to see the latest updates and photos to inspire you for your next vacation.