Travel Tips Norway – Take To The Roads And Explore!
Norway ‘The Land of the Midnight Sun’ is located in western Scandinavia. It’s a country renowned for its immense natural beauty with deep fjords (the finest in the world!), snow capped mountains, glaciated valleys, the unspoilt open countryside and lush forests. All these natural attractions combine to produce some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. From the midnight sun, northern lights, Viking Ships, stave churches, medieval farms and an endless list of outdoor activities – Norway is a superb holiday destination.
If you’re intending to spend some quality time exploring Norway then a car is the best means of transport as it can take you to some hidden gems off the beaten track.
Norway Car Hire Tip: When in Norway, drive on the right, overtake on the left and always leave your headlights on.
Probably the best starting point for your Norway adventure is its capital Oslo. The cultural city of Oslo is becoming a very popular holiday and short break destination. It’s a fantastic city with lots of shopping, nightlife, and top attractions like the City Hall, the Royal Palace, the Cathedral and Akershus festning – a superb medieval castle in the city centre. While in the city it’s recommended that you park the car up and use the public transport as the city has poor parking and severe congestion during rush hours.
However, it’s only when you drive out of the city that you begin to experience the true extent of Norway’s natural beauty (and this is where your car hire comes in!).
Norway Car Hire Tip: Speed limit is 90km/hr on a motorway, 80km/hr on open road and between 30 -50km/hr in residential areas.
Outside the city you can drive to Winter Park Tryvann, which is the main ski area in Oslo and is only about 10km from the city centre. It’s located at the top of Holmenkollen and has 14 slopes and 6 lifts. It’s popular for snowboarding and both telemark and alpine skiing. To get there, take exit for ‘Smestad’ from Ring Road 3 and follow signs for ‘Holmenkollen’.
Another top attraction is TusenFryd Amusement Park, which is in Vinterbro, about 20km from Oslo. You’ll enjoy endless family fun here with roller coasters, carousels, a spectacular waterpark (seasonal) and loads of restaurants. Get on route E18 and take exit 6 to get to Vinterbro.
Norway Car Hire Tip: There are severe penalties for drink driving in Norway – the strictest in Europe, so just don’t do it.
One of the best scenic driving routes in Norway (and indeed Europe) is from Oslo to the city of Bergen. The drive is roughly about 500km (plus a ferry crossing) but how long it takes is up to you! This popular driving route is called the RV7, more commonly known as the ‘Hardangervidda‘ as this is the name of the national park you drive through en route. There is so much to see and do along the way and plenty of accommodation. It’s mainly a mountainous drive but you’ll really see a slice of Norway on this road trip!
Norway Car Hire Tip: In some parts of Norway snow chains and snow tyres are compulsory during the winter time.
Bergen is the second largest city in Norway. When you arrive here you’re better off parking the car and walking as it will be much faster! Try to drag yourself away from the amazing bar, clubs, pubs and restaurants to see attractions like Bergenhus Fort (one of the best preserved in Norway!), Fantoft Stave Church, or take a cable car to the top of two nearby mountains and enjoy the view. Because Bergen has such a long established maritime history, you should really visit the famous Bergen Fish Market and watch what goes on beneath the surface of the water at the Bergen Aquarium. There’s a tropical area here too with crocodiles, snakes and monkeys. Stroll down ‘Bryggen’, which is the old wharf of Bergen, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, or visit the home of composer Edward Greig which is now a museum or simply do some shopping. Bergan has lots of pedestrian shopping streets.
Norway has an amazing array of Fjords and the ones along the west side of the country are incredible. Take E39 north of Bergen to Sognefjord which is said to be the world’s deepest fjord! The most scenic route to get there is through the Sognefjell Mountains. If travelling from Oslo you’ll need to head northwest and get on route 51 taking a left off road 15 and taking exit on to route 55.
Other fjords in that area worthy of a visit are the Hardangerfjord, Geirangerfjord,the Lyserfjord and the narrowest one in the world the Naeroyfjord
Norway Car Hire Tip: Some roads are closed in Norway during the winter due to poor driving conditions, so it’s better to check you’re driving route before you leave for your destination.
If you’re up for an adventure then you can continue north of Bergen and drive to the Artic Circle or you can even go futher to the North Cape (Nordkapp) and stand at the very tip of Northern Europe while watching the mid night sun. This is a superb driving route where you’ll notice field and fjords give way to remote lakes, forests, wilderness and snow further north. Stay in a cosy little log cabin for a real Artic experience.
Norway Car Hire Tip: You’ll come across lots of toll roads!
South of Oslo is very popular with tourists. Important destinations include the historical town of Sandefjord – a 14th century town located on the south east of Norway. This charming town was formed during the Viking era and the harbour hosts a replica of the historic Gokstad Viking Ship. Long ago, Sandefjord had many whaling expeditions to the Antartica and at one stage up to 2,500 men from here worked on the whaling ships. Whaling stopped at the end of the 1960′s. The whaling monument and the whaling museum (Sandefjordmuseene) are two popular attractions in the town. Sandefjord is located just off the E18 about 120km from Oslo.
Stavanger city is on the west close to the stunning Lyserfjord. The city, which is on a peninsula, has been chosen as the 2008 European city of culture. The city centre has a beautiful old town, lots of cobbled street, open air markets, a beautifully preserved cathedral and lots of museums. The city and its outskirts are a paradise for outdoor activities like hiking, climbing, skiing, snowboarding and if you’re up for ice skating during the winter time you can drive to a lake called Stokkavannet which is about 20 minutes outside the city.
There is just so much to see in Norway and this is just a taste of what you can visit by car. Check out our Car Hire Norway page.
We hope you enjoy your Norway adventure. Remember if you’ve any questions or tips/advice on driving in Norway for us, just pop them into the comments box below.