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Road Trips in Norway

Driving in the Norwegian mountains

Plan your ultimate scenic road trip across Norway.

A road trip through the fjords is a bucket list item for many.

While many of Norway's highlights can be seen from a train window or by bus, renting a car opens up a whole new set of opportunities. Quiet villages, hiking trails and spectacular scenery await.

A roadside beach in Lofoten, Arctic Norway

While it can be expensive to rent a car, having your own transport means you can easily access cheaper accommodation. Outside the towns and cities, Norway is a nation of campsites!

Staying on these – whether in a tent or in a cabin – means you can stock up on cheaper food from supermarkets, and not be beholden to public transport timetables when it's time to move on.

Top Tip: Search here for the best rates on car rental in Norway

National Tourist Routes

Eighteen roads have been designated National Scenic Routes, which are the most beautiful drives that Norway has to offer.

Driving through Rondane National Park
Rondane National Park (Photo: Helge Stikbakke / Statens vegvesen)

Significant investment has been made to improve facilities along these roads, so you can expect clean public restrooms and thoughtfully designed lookout points at the very least.

That said, some of the roads are still not the best quality and many are quite narrow, so care should be taken if you are not used to driving on such roads. Many are also closed for the winter.

Half of the routes are located in the fjord region, making a road trip here an even more attractive proposition.

Suggested road trip itineraries

As good as the National Scenic Routes are, they are spread all across the country, which isn't so helpful when planning a trip.

Coming soon, I'll share some of the most popular itineraries to help you plan your own driving experience in Norway.

In the meantime, you can check out these articles about a road trip in Lofoten and one around fjord Norway to help you start planning your own trip.

Driving through Lofoten

Driving in Norway

If you are planning to visit one of the major cities (Oslo, Stavanger, Bergen or Trondheim), chances are you won't need a car.

Public transport systems are generally run to a high-standard and although not cheap, they certainly work out cheaper than renting a car and paying for parking.

All countries in the EU and the European Economic Area (EEA) have a ‘mutual recognition’ agreement for driving licences.

Queueing for the car ferry in Norway

This means if you are in possession of a valid driving license from an EU/EEA nation, you are legally able to drive in Norway.

For citizens of all other countries, a foreign-issued driving license is valid for up to 3 months, as long as the license remains valid in the issuing country.

If you intend to drive in Norway it is your responsibility to understand the rules of the road. In particular, note that speed limits are probably lower than you are used to.

You should also be prepared for the high number of road tolls, especially in and around all the major cities. If you're renting a car, the tolls are usually included in the rental. Ask if they will be added separately.

Driving in Norway in a Mercedes car

Car rental

Major international chains with a presence in Norway include Hertz, Avis, Budget, Europcar and Sixt. Even the smallest airports should have at least a couple of these firms presence.

Rent-a-Wreck has a good presence across the country and offer maintained used cars at a lower price. Renting in advance is essential during the summer season. Search for the best rates on car rental now

Winter driving

If you're not used to driving in the winter, consider carefully whether you want to do so in Norway.

Roads can be treacherous and weather conditions can change at short notice. This often causes roads, even main highways such as the Oslo to Trondheim E6, to be closed.

Some of the more interesting road trip routes are closed for months at a time over the autumn and winter. Some don't open until as late as May.

Kong Øysteins veg, Trondheim

These applies to roads, including some of the National Scenic Routes, in the fjord and mountain regions, so check in advance if you are planning a trip on a tight schedule.

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About the Author: David Nikel

Originally from the UK, David now lives in Trondheim and was the original founder of Life in Norway back in 2011. He now works as a freelance writer for technology companies in Scandinavia.

4 Comments

  1. Can you help me with an accurate estimate of how much time it takes to drive from Bergen to Stavenger / Naerbo ? I have the estimated distance via the E39, plus note of two ferries. We have two days for a round trip from Bergen to Naerbo and fear this is unrealistic/impossible. We are meeting a cruise at Bergen at the end of these two days , so can’t be late, Too late to change flight reservations. We will make other plans for using the days if our original intended visit is unrealistic.. Please advise. Thank you in advance.

    1. Your best bet is to use Google Maps for an estimate, these tend to be very accurate. The biggest variant is with ferries, so it’s worth knowing the timetable in advance so you don’t arrive and have to end up waiting 30 minutes for a departure. That said, the E39 ferries are very frequent during the day as it’s such a main route. Have fun!

  2. Nice site David.
    I intend to go from Oslo to Flam by car in beginning of March. I did the same route in 2016 during the spring, but I would like to repeat it in the winter.
    I cannot find the information if this road – E16 I think – is closed during the winter.
    Can you help me on that?

    Thank you!

  3. Hi
    My wife and I are palnning a trip to Norway in June this year.
    We are planning to hire a small campervan in Oslo and drive to Tromso via Bergen, Trondheim, and Bodo. We would like to use the coastal route where possible but appreciate this makes the trip a lot slower.
    Unfortunatly we will only have 14 days.
    We appreciate the extra cost in one way hire but consider it worth it.
    As we are from Australia we are used to driving long distances, but also want to enjoy the trip seeing as much as we can on the way.
    We understand this is will involve some long driving days, do you think this route is doable?

    Thanks in advance
    Phil

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