Because Norway is a large nation with some challenging terrain, traveling around is costly and time-consuming, especially in the north. Because of the challenging terrain in many areas of the nation, navigation is focused on landscape features such as valleys, lakes, fjords, and islands rather than cities. Norway is sparsely populated in comparison to continental Europe; tourists should not expect every name on a map to be serviced by regular public transportation or to provide commercial facilities such as taxis, cafés, and motels — it may not even be a town or settlement at all. Having your own car is the greatest way to explore the Norwegian nature and countryside. This way, you may stop anywhere you wish, enjoy the scenery, and explore minor roads.
Because of Norway’s rocky coastline, roads and railways are sluggish, thus domestic flights are extremely popular. SAS, Norwegian, and Widere are the three biggest operators.
Traveling by air is the most convenient way to go from town to town, particularly in northern Norway, where towns and cities are few and far between. Regrettably, it is also in these places that ticket costs may be the most costly. Planes connecting tiny airports are small, with numerous intermediate stops along the trip to board and unload passengers.
Flights in southern Norway are less expensive than in northern Norway, and despite superior roads and rail, flying is usually quicker than taking the train or bus. However, there are no air connections connecting the cities within 200 kilometers of Oslo; instead, use the train or bus.
If you want to visit the numerous smaller towns in Northern or Western Norway, Widere’s Explore Norway ticket is a good option (unlimited air travel for 14 days in summer for less than a full price return ticket).
All railroads in Norway are operated by the Norwegian State Railways (NSB). Norway’s rail network mostly links Oslo to other major cities; there are no rail lines running north to south in West Norway between Stavanger and Trondheim, and no rail lines running north to south in North Norway north of Bod. These major routes operate several times each day:
- Oslo–Kristiansand–Stavanger (runs inland from Drammen to Kristiansand, connections to Arendal)
- Oslo–Skien (serving coastal towns southwest of Oslo)
- Oslo–Bergen (across the mountains via Finse, connections to Flåm)
- Oslo–Trondheim (Dovrebanen, through Lillehammer, connections to Åndalsnes at Dombås)
- Trondheim–Bodø (through Trondheim airport, connections to Sweden)
Trains are usually clean and pleasant.
To travel cheaply by rail across Norway, get a Norwegian Rail Pass or the equivalent InterRail One Country Pass. If your plan is set and you don’t have too many locations, buying ‘Minipris’ tickets online may be less expensive. One-way tickets may be purchased for as low as NOK199 if purchased in advance. When purchasing tickets online, you have the option of having them delivered to the station or to the train; the latter means you just need to know your seat number; the train steward will have your ticket. Their website sometimes may not function properly for visitors from countries other than Norway. In such instance, you may contact their call center, but be sure to explain that you initially tried the website. Phone bookings usually carry a charge of NOK50 each rail ticket purchased. The NSB offers a phone app for purchasing tickets, however as of 2016, it requires a Norwegian mobile phone number.
Seat reservations are required for long-distance trains and night trains, although they may generally be made on short notice, e.g., at a railway station, since the trains are seldom completely filled. Trains are generally most busy during the start and conclusion of the weekend, i.e. Friday and Sunday evenings. Trains are typically extremely crowded just before and during big holidays such as Christmas/New Year’s and Easter. If you attempt to purchase for these days at a later date, you may discover that all of the inexpensive tickets have been sold out. Furthermore, the seat you book may be among the least desired, that is, facing backwards, without recline, and facing other passengers and sharing legroom.
Oslo-Bergen, Kristiansand-Bergen, Bergen-Trondheim-Bergen-Trondheim-Bergen-Trondheim-Bergen-Trondheim-Bergen A normal ticket entitles you to an average seat, a blanket, and earplugs. Sleeping chambers may be added for an additional fee of NOK750. If you order a sleeping compartment, you pay for the compartment rather than the bed: two persons, same price. This also implies that you will never be in the company of a stranger in your compartment.
For NOK90, you can upgrade any ordinary rail ticket to NSB Komfort, the equivalent of first class, which includes extra legroom, complimentary coffee and newspapers, and a power outlet. NSB Komfort coaches are usually the first or last coaches of a train, resulting in less through traffic and a calmer atmosphere.
The standard night train seats also feature a power outlet. In certain trains, there is even free Wi-Fi Internet access; just register (using any 8-digit number as the ‘phone number’).
Except for the route between Oslo and its airport, Norway does not have a high-speed rail infrastructure, unlike most of Continental Europe. Attempts to deploy high-speed trains are ongoing, but have so far failed. As a result, a trip between the two biggest cities, Bergen and Oslo, may take up to six and a half to seven and a half hours.
Many people travel everyday in eastern Norway, where cities are closer together, and as a result, many of these cities have more regular rail service, with hourly departures throughout the day. This comprises the cities of Stfold and Vestfold, as well as Gjvik, Hamar, and Lillehammer. Seating reservations are not offered on these trains in general, although it is still possible to upgrade to NSB Komfort.
If you go even closer to Oslo, there are local trains that run as often as every 30 minutes. Local trains do not have reserved seats, nor do they have a first class section. Local trains run between Bergen and Voss (and sometimes to Myrdal), Stavanger and Egersund, and in and around Trondheim.
Car ferries are an essential component of the road network in coastal and fjord areas. In theory, the road extends onto the boat, such that the Fodnes-Mannheller ferry, for example, is part of national route 5. Prices and times vary depending on the length of the crossing and the volume of traffic; contact 177 for additional information, or look for information pamphlets and schedules at adjacent campgrounds. Ferries often carry information about other ferries in the area and along the same route. During the day, boats run every half hour along the major routes. Reservations are generally unnecessary; just drive to the ferry wharf and wait in line until the boat arrives. Foot passengers are also transported on car ferries. Tourists seldom have to bother about schedules on major highways since departures are frequent. However, most boats do not operate after midnight, or just every other hour on major crossings. Car ferries are known as “ferje” or “ferge” in Norway. The term “bt” refers to vessels that exclusively transport foot passengers (boat). To prevent misunderstanding, tourists should only refer to vehicle ferries when using the word ferry.
Stretches with a number of ferries are ideal for biking since the ferries are inexpensive for bikers and provide a well-deserved rest with a beautiful view. Except for the shortest crossings (10 minutes), ferries usually feature cafeterias that provide coffee, cold drinks, sandwiches, and some hot meals. Due to the many deep fjords and islands, driving in West Norway and Northern Norway is almost always (with a few exceptions) by ferry. Despite the fact that vehicle ferries are extremely dependable and have extra capacity, visitors should allow plenty of time for sections that include boats. Ferries with particularly lengthy voyages (many hours) or those traversing wide expanses of water are more likely to be delayed or cancelled.
In areas with a lot of fjords and islands, especially along the whole coast from Stavanger to Troms, a large network of catamaran express passenger boats (“hurtigbt”) shuttle between towns and cities, and link islands that are normally only accessible with difficulty. It should be noted that there is no common network of boats linking every town along the fjords and coast; thus, a transfer by bus or vehicle to the closest port may be required. Also, keep in mind that they are not ferries. Train service and pricing are similar. Check ahead of time if you want to bring a bicycle. Passengers may also be found in the inner reaches of Oslofjord.
The Hurtigruten coastal steamers, which travel down the Norwegian coast from Bergen to Kirkenes in five and a half days, are especially popular with visitors. Cabins are costly and required for multi-day trips, although deck tickets are less expensive, and Inter Rail offers a 50% discount. Prices are totaled for all charged components such as people, gasoline charge (about 1/30 of a person), bike (approximately 1/20 of a person), vehicle, and cabin (app. 125 percent of a person). Reservations are strongly advised for rooms and vehicles; on deck, there is typically adequate space for people and bikes.
Lakes, in general, do not offer public boat transportation; however, there are a few notable exceptions. The Randsfjorden lake is crossed by a single vehicle ferry. Skibladner, a 150-year-old steam boat, enables visitors to traverse Lake Mjsa the old-fashioned manner (at Gjvik and Hamar). The Telemark canal, Norway’s only true canal, transports tourists from the coast to deep interior through beautiful lakes and magnificent locks.
An large network of express buses connects cities across Norway, including most national parks. The largest operators are NOR-WAY Bussekspress, Timekspressen, and Boreal Transport. Nettbuss also operates express services.
Lavprisekspressen provides low-cost tickets from Oslo to Trondheim (through Rros and the Dovre mountain range), as well as from Oslo to Kristiansand and Stavanger. If you’re fortunate, you may obtain a ticket for as low as NOK49, but most tickets cost between NOK199 and NOK299. The double decker buses are clean and contemporary, with complimentary Wi-Fi, coffee, and tea.
Bus timetables and frequency vary considerably, and seats may be restricted, so make your plans accordingly. For additional information, visit each operator’s website or use Rutebok.no’s comprehensive connection search, which is accessible in English, Norwegian, and German. It’s worth noting that certain mountain crossings are blocked throughout winter, and buses traversing them usually operate only from May to September.
Traveling by taxi in Norway may be extremely costly, and in most cities, using the bus, tram, or rail (or simply walking) is preferable. Taxis are usually safe as long as they are licensed (with a white taxi sign on the roof). Because there may be no or just one taxi vehicle in a hamlet, tourists should plan ahead of time.
By car or motorcycle
Norway, like the rest of Europe, has right-hand traffic. The condition of Norwegian roads varies, although all public roads are asphalt. The majority of highways are two-lane divided, with a small motorway network surrounding Oslo. The general speed restriction is 80km/h, although speed is often reduced owing to road conditions. Driving in the winter requires specific equipment, and previous snow and ice expertise is strongly advised. During the winter, several of the most beautiful mountain passes, including Geiranger, Trollstigen, and Nordkapp (North Cape), are closed.
Driving is usually simple since traffic is quiet, and most drivers are disciplined and follow the rules, but mild speeding is frequent on highways. However, because of their numerous one-way streets, certain city centers (such as Bergen and Oslo) may be difficult to traverse for first-time visitors. Except for city centers and a few sections on major highways, traffic is usually low (notably E18 near Oslo). The E18, E6, and ring roads around or within Oslo may get crowded during morning and afternoon rush hours, as well as during weekend rush hours (Friday afternoon) out of Oslo. Gas is costly, with prices beginning at NOK14.50 per litre (approx. USD9.30 per gallon). In Norway, manual gearbox is considered standard and is present in the majority of private vehicles. Although most places have an excellent dependable bus service, renting a vehicle is extremely costly but may be necessary for easy access to some of the more remote areas.
- Even during the day, headlights are required.
- Off-roading is often prohibited. Vehicles must remain on public roadways.
- Don’t drive if you’ve had a few drinks. Your blood alcohol content must not be more than 0.2. (or 0.02 percent ).
- The rules are rigorously enforced, especially when it comes to drinking, speed, and overtaking.
While riding a bicycle is one of the finest ways to see Norway’s landscapes, it may be a strenuous experience for people who are not physically strong. There are few bike routes, and most riders must share small roads with heavy vehicles. Bicyclists are seen differently by different people. While some cars show respect by slowing down and giving bicycles a wide berth, others demonstrate animosity by passing much too close and at far too fast. Cycling as a sport is growing in popularity in Norway, thanks in part to the success of Norwegian riders like as Thor Hushovd. Attitudes toward bicycle visitors vary, but are generally favorable. Hostels and camping grounds are usually excellent places to meet individuals who share your interests. Norwegians like to travel on well-equipped, sometimes costly, bicycles. In most cities, there are good bicycle stores.
There are many trip diaries available online. There are just a few authorized bike routes, mainly in major cities, and they are not completely linked. With the exception of highly inhabited regions, they may mostly be disregarded. While speed restrictions in Norway are relatively modest and the overwhelming majority of drivers are responsible and patient, the country does have its fair share of speeders and road hogs. When a freeway is constructed, the previous road is frequently re-designated as a bike path.
It is critical for bikers to be seen. To assist avoid accidents, highly visible safety jackets and flashing lights on bicycles are recommended.
Cycling throughout much of Norway may be physically demanding owing to steep ascents and strong winds. Lightweight and aerodynamic equipment should be used. On many hills, you’ll need a broad range of gears: a ratio of 39-27 for a strong cyclist without baggage or even 22-32 for a typical cyclist with luggage is required. When traveling for more than a few days, your brakes should be of excellent quality, and you’ll require extra brake pads. Because of the many tunnels, lighting is required. Because of the gusts, it is best to avoid wearing large panniers and loose-fitting clothing. For those who are familiar with this kind of bicycle, a lightweight recumbent should be regarded as a serious alternative, particularly while riding south to north.
The roads are usually well-paved, but gravel roads are sometimes necessary. You won’t need suspension or grooved tyres if you don’t go off-road.
Due to the lengthy distances and many hills, bicycle visitors should plan ahead of time and be prepared to take public transportation for the less fascinating or challenging sections. Passenger boats (including longer tourist ferries) may occasionally be utilized to bypass tunnels, mountain passes, or less attractive sections, particularly in western and northern Norway.
Ferries accept bikes for free or at a low cost. On trains, you must pay a fee. Some buses do not accept bikes, but in all other instances, bikes will only be carried if there is sufficient room (no charge or children’s fee).
It is allowed to pitch a tent anyplace in Norway (as well as Finland and Sweden) for one night. This must not be too close to someone’s house or in any other inappropriate location. This is especially useful for bikers, who may roll their bikes into the forest at a good location. It is more difficult for vehicle drivers to accomplish this since it is difficult to locate a decent parking spot near a suitable tent location (car parking is not permitted on private roads e.g. in the forest).
Special consideration should be paid to tunnels, since many of them, as well as a few highways, are off-limits to bicycles. Even if motorcycles are permitted, certain lengthy and tight tunnels are not advised. A tunnel map may be available online. A map of the prohibited paths is also available at the tourist information. When hiring a bike, you may discuss the route you wish to travel with the person who lends you the bike. In many instances, signposts direct bicycles and pedestrians around closed roads or tunnels. Some high-speed tunnels feature bus stations near the entrance where you may board special buses outfitted with bike racks to carry you through the tunnel. Buses typically operate regularly on major roadways. Some subsea tunnels are also very steep. If you must ride through a tunnel, utilize lights and safety reflectors (such as reflector jackets or vests). In tunnels, Norwegian drivers do not slow down.
Caution: Don’t underestimate the quantity and length of tunnels, especially in western Norway. For example, on the E16 between Bergen and Lrdal, 30–50% of the route is under tunnel. Tunnels often replace older roads that are accessible for cyclists and pedestrians in the summer or for local traffic all year. To locate your route, ask locals or carefully study the map.
Hitchhiking in Norway is ideal on roads from Oslo to Trondheim (E6), Oslo to Kristiansand (E18), and Kristiansand to Stavanger (E19) (E39). However, they are now highways near cities, and it is no longer feasible to stand on the road itself. Hitchhiking is uncommon in Norway. If hitchhiking is ever safe, it is fairly safe in Norway; nevertheless, getting a ride may be tough and slow.
When waiting, stand in a location where cars can see you and have a safe chance to stop. Ferry terminals and major gasoline stations are also excellent locations to start. Stretches with modest speed limits (50–60 km/h) are usually preferable to high-speed roads since vehicles find it easier to come to a stop there. Heavy truck drivers, in particular, like to maintain a constant pace. Roadside cafeterias where truckers stop for a break may be an excellent location to request a ride.
From large cities, the following are good hitchhiking spots:
Bergen and the mountains—if you’re feeling adventurous, try Oksenyveien (see Kristiansand), but keep in mind that most vehicles continue south to Drammen. Rather, take the Timekspressen bus from Hnefoss to Sollihgda.
As highway construction proceeds, access to Trondheim and the north-east becomes increasingly difficult. Inside Oslo, the best bet is bus station Ulvenkrysset. Take the metro to Helsfyr, then transfer to bus 76, 401, or 411 for one stop. To escape local traffic, go farther outside to the Shell petrol station at Skedsmovollen, which is served by buses 845 and 848 from Lillestrm railway station.
Kristiansand and the south: Few places beat the Oksenyveien bus stop, which is served by buses 151, 251, and 252. Cars going towards Hnefoss and the mountains/Bergen may drop you off at Sandvika. Display a sign.
Sweden along E6: All highway, except near the center. Buses 81 and 83 stop at Nedre Bekkelaget. Sweden along E18: You might attempt Nedre Bekkelaget, but because most traffic is heading towards Strömstad and Gothenburg, you should take the Timekspressen bus 9 to the stensj stop, right after the Holstad roundabout.
Oslo – Take a local train to Arna and try near the Arnanipa tunnel opening. North – Take the bus to Vgsbotn in Arna and attempt hitching a ride near the Hjelle bakery. To the south, take the light rail to Nesttun, then any bus for three stops to Skjoldskiftet. Take the E39 exit and go south.
Trondheim to Oslo: Take bus 46 to City Syd, then travel under the E6 and try your luck at the City Syd E6 station. If the city tax on buses is extended beyond the Klett roundabout, you should proceed to the bus stop immediately after the roundabout and try your luck on any Melhus-bound bus.
Molde/Lesund – Take any Orkanger bus to the stop just after the Klett roundabout. Trondheim city tax will soon be extended to Brsa, at which point you should remain on the bus as long as you can and catch a ride from there. North – Take the city bus 7 or 66 to the Travbanen station. Sweden – To ensure that you only hitch on vehicles heading into Sweden, take a train or bus to Stjrdal and hitch on the E14.
Looking courteous and pleasant is an excellent technique in general. Asking vehicles in line at a ferry dock (if traveling along the coast) is a great idea that may lead you very far. It’s not unheard of for people to hitch rides from Molde to Bergen, but don’t count on it.
In general, you can travel to anyplace from anywhere by thumb, but it may take a long in certain areas.