Norway Driving Advice and Car Hire Info
Driving In Norway
You can drive on the photo licence of most countries but if you hold a non-Scandinavian/English language licence it may be best to use an International Driving Permit.
Roads are generally well maintained and are in good condition, even minor roads. Though in mountainous areas roads are steep, narrow and winding. In the North expect severe winter conditions and many minor roads may close. Winter tyres are mandatory from approximately 1 November to 15 April (exact dates can vary year on year).Distances are great and driving takes longer than you think. Keep headlights on at all times and observe speed limits, which are, in general lower than the rest of Europe. Fines for speeding are high and are enforced by automatic cameras.
Alcohol limits for drivers are low and random checks for alcohol are frequent, with severe penalties if you’re over the limit. Driving standards are high and road rules are generally complied with.
Norway is a spectacular driving location with a number of scenic drives such as –
The Sognefjellet National Tourist Route is the highest mountain pass in Northern Europe and is widely accepted as one of the most spectacular drives in Scandinavia. Along its 108 kilometres you will find The Sognefjord and Jostedalsbreen Glaciers, and Galdhøpiggen, Norway’s highest mountain.
The Hardanger National Tourist Route is a 194-kilometre-long stretch of road east of Bergen passing by glaciers, mountains, moorland and waterfalls, its seen as the classic Norwegian drive.
The Lofoten National Tourist Route – a 166-kilometre-long stretch of road between the village of Fiskebøl in the north of the Lofoten islands and Å in the south.
The Helgeland Coast National Tourist Route is divided in two parts; Helgeland Coast South and Helgeland Coast North.
Helgeland Coast South is a 101-kilometre-long stretch of road between Holm and Alstahaug. Helgeland Coast North is a 129-kilometre-long stretch of road between Stokkvågen and Storvika.
Rondane National Tourist Route is a 42-kilometre-long stretch of road that follows the border between the Rondane Mountains and the valley from Enden to Folldal . The area is part of the destination Villmarksriket Hedmark, Scandinavia’s southernmost wilderness.
The Old Strynefjell Mountain Road (Gamle Strynefjellsveien) is a 27-kilometre long stretch of road between Videseter and Grotli.
The Scandinavian countries are notoriously expensive destinations for food and drink (especially alcohol!). For that reason, many travellers opt for a campervan holiday. This saves on hotel costs and allows you to be self sufficient in terms of food and drink. The Scandinavian countries are perfect for campervan and caravan holidays as, away from main Cities, the roads are quiet and in good condition, and camp sites are plentiful and have good facilities.
Also, all the countries abide by whats known as ‘Everymans Law’. (In Norway its allemannsrett – all men’s right) This varies by country but generally provides a ‘right to roam’ eg the opportunity to hike across or camp on another’s land , boating on someone else’s waters, and picking wildflowers, mushrooms and berries. However — with the rights come responsibilities; that is, an obligation neither to harm, disturb, litter, nor to damage wildlife or crops.
I’ve experienced a campervan holiday in Scandinavia myself, and booked my campervan using a broker located, strangely, in Australia. They were very good though and can be recommended –
Driving distances and times between main settlements in Norway-
Oslo- Stavanger -550km, 8hrs
Oslo-Bergen – 520km, 8hrs
Oslo- Trondheim- 500km, 7hrs 15
Trondheim to Bodo- 715km,9 hrs
Bodo to Tromso- 561km, 7hrs
Trondheim- Tromso -1155km, 16hrs
Oslo- Tromso -1650km, 23hrs
See Svalbard section for driving on the Islands.
Norway Car Rental –
Sixt, Hertz, Europcar, Alamo, National,Avis, Budget, have outlets here.Also usually features on Car rental broker sites such as Argus Car Hire and Web discount sites such as LastMinute.com. See Svalbard section for driving on the Islands
This company is based in Svolvær. Hertz,Avis and Europcar also have branches in the town.
This well known American company now operate in Denmark, Norway and Sweden. They rent older vehicles and tend to be cheaper than most of the big companies. They also have less stringent rules on young drivers and renting without a credit card.
Norway Self Drive Rules –
The big companies generally allow Cross Border Rentals to Denmark, Finland and Sweden with no Greencard needed. Cross Border Rentals out of the Nordic countries may be allowed with written authority from the rental company. If they grant permission they will also arrange a green card which you will need to carry in the vehicle. One way rentals are allowed within Norway by some companies. (Sixt allow them between Kristiansand, Stavanger, Oslo, Bergen, Sandefjord and Trondheim.)