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Why carry an IDP while driving in Norway?

Your IDP is a valid form of identification in more than 150 countries worldwide and contains your name, photo and driver information in the 12 most widely spoken languages in the world – it is understandable to most of the local officials and authorities of the countries you visit.

It translates your identification information into 12 languages — so it speaks the language even if you don’t. Norway highly recommends an International Driving Permit.

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Sharing the Scandinavian peninsula with other Nordic nations, Norway is a long, narrow country situated beside Sweden, resting upon the Arctic circle. It is the home to nature’s gifts, such as rich flora and fauna, as well as environmental wonders with some of the most majestic water and landforms. The Norwegian civilization is not late to the urban development of the rest of the world as it boasts its Scandinavian architecture in its major cities.

Top Destinations in Norway

Norway is the land of beautiful fjords, wonderful scenic routes, and fishing villages. If you are someone who is always captivated by folklore, legends, and movies about mystic beings and enchanted mountains, driving in this country should be on your travel bucket list.

Why should I visit Norway?

Visiting the said country is a feat. It's an adventure that would take you through cities and countryside with idyllic landscapes, unique minimalist architecture, and snowy mountainous regions. The Scandinavian design and heritage can be seen in a lot of products and establishments nowadays but truly experiencing a nordic country is about being one with nature and civilization in its purest form.

What are the must-visit cities for road tripping through Norway?

Oslo

What makes it famous?

Oslo is the capital and the center of urban living. It is the major transportation hub in the country, so traveling to this country would practically mean traveling to Oslo and probably move from there. Being the largest city in the country by far, Oslo has a population of around 600,000. But roughly around two million people reside within the wider urban area and towns circumnavigating Oslo.

Resting between Oslofjord, forest areas, and undulating hills, Oslo was named European Green Capital 2019 for conserving the natural areas surrounding it and enforcing pollution reduction. It is safe and easily accessible to explore the city using any type of transportation you might be comfortable with.

What are the places to go and things to do there?

There are a lot of places to go to in Oslo, considering that it is the economic center and a beacon of internationally renowned educational institutions for both local and foreign students. Places like the Royal Palace, the Opera House, a bunch of museums, including the Munch Museum, the Astrup Fearnley Museum, and Viking ship Museum all contribute to the educational undertakings of its massive youth population.

Places of enjoyment, like Holmenkollen Ski Jump, some clubs, and arenas for the music scene, are also popular among the young and the adults alike. The city has become one of Europe’s popular scenes for live music, having the most popular annual music festival, Øya, and another called the OverOslo, which is overlooking the city from 370 meters above the fjord as proof of this undeniably striving economy.

Can you still get in touch with nature?

The great thing about the urban setting in Oslo is that it is still just within a few minutes of transit time from nature. You can be surrounded by the woods, or you can stand staring at a panoramic view of a beautiful fjord in no time.

Bergen

What makes it famous?

This metropolitan area on the west coast is home to a relatively small population even if it is the second-largest city in the country. Despite its popularity among tourists and the crowded feeling it gives during peak season, the population is still only about 420,000 people already considering those who live around the wider perimeter of the city. This gives off the small-town vibe to Bergen with its hillside houses, cobbled alleys, and world-famous heritage sites.

What are the popular places to go and things to do there?

Bergen perfectly sits between two of the biggest fjords in the country, the Hardangerfjord and the Sognefjord which probably plays a part in why tourists come there most often. You can hike to the top of Mt. Fløyen or take the Fløibanen funicular up the peak. The highest of the mountains surrounding Bergen is the Ulriken who’s peak is also easily accessible via the Ulriken cable car.

Sticking to the urban areas, the Bryggen is an iconic old wharf listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site with traditional wooden buildings housing today’s museums, shops, and restaurants. Another thing about Bergen, it is a UNESCO City of Gastronomy and fresh seafood is its core. Nightlife and concert scene is also popular among Bergen’s citizens and visitors, especially for music lovers. This city raised some of the most successful musicians today such as AURORA, Kygo, Alan Walker, and Boy Pablo.

Stavanger

What makes it famous?

Stavanger has been named European Capital of Culture once before so it definitely has a lot to offer from food, design and architecture, educational institutions, and even nightlife. It is also Europe’s oil and energy capital reflecting the city’s vigorous atmosphere. Old Stavanger is famed for having over 170 of the best-preserved white wooden houses in Europe truly making it a city of bona fide Scandinavian culture and design.

What are the popular places to go and things to do there?

The city is also nestled deep within fjord country. Preikestolen or the Pulpit Rock is a cliff with a near-perfect flat top rising a little more than 600 meters above the Lysefjorden. This view is one of the most famous natural gems in the country and a must-see for tourists passing through the area. Surfing along the sandy beaches is also a viable option to spend time in this wonderfully diverse city.

Trondheim

What makes it famous?

The city situated right in the middle of compact southern Norway is where one of the largest educational institutions in the country, the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), was established. The population of roughly 200,000 is intermixed with a number of foreign exchange students and is small yet diverse.

What are the popular places to go and things to do there?

The perfectly curated mix of quaint and urban architecture balancing each other is probably due to the fact that in the Viking era, Trondheim was the capital of the country. This is a very interesting fact to explore as you rummage through history in the numerous scattered museums around the area. You should also consider visiting the Nidaros Cathedral in the middle of the city before you go on about exploring more fjords and forests that are within a short transit ride or walking trail away from the urban area.

Kristiansand

What makes it famous?

Kristiansand is a popular summer destination and its central beach is one of the best in the country. Located far south, the city was also an important military stronghold in history. A view of its traditional wooden buildings gives a rustic vibe contributing to the iconic Scandinavian design known worldwide.

What are the popular places to go and things to do there?

The city has numerous children-friendly attractions like a zoo and theme park. It also has more grown-up attractions too like museums, classic architectural establishments, and a beautiful cathedral. Nature lovers would enjoy Kristiansand with its beautiful coastal beaches and surrounding woodlands.

Tromsø

What makes it famous?

Opposite the previous city on the list, Tromsø is located far north of the country. Its citizens may be under a hundred thousand people but Tromsø is still a fantastic urban destination. Museums and beautiful architecture are found abundantly in Tromsø, but nature is truly what it has to offer. The surrounding mountains, woodland areas, and arctic tundra make it a paradise if you would love to get more in touch with nature's finest.

What are the popular places to go and things to do there?

If your main agenda of heading over to the country is to see the Northern lights, you will probably end up in Tromsø. This enthralling phenomenon is one of Tromsø’s honeypots. The lights are visible on numerous nights from fall through winter.

Ålesund/Sunnmøre

What makes it famous?

Often referred to as a ‘fairytale city’, Ålesund’s architecture resonates with art-nouveau influence and cobbled streets winding around the water surrounding the city. The jagged mountains rise from the fjords, one of which is the renowned UNESCO World Heritage site Geirangerfjord. This city is the cultural center of the region where numerous festivals are held for food, arts, theatre, and music

What are the popular places to go and things to do there?

Aside from its famed and beautiful architecture, Ålesund has a number of museums such as the Art Nouveau Centre and the KUBE Art Museum. It also has amazing viewpoints in Aksla, Fjellstua restaurant platform, and Alnes lighthouse. You can also try the Wildlife Sea Safari where you can ride along the city coastline in a RIB-boat and get the chance to visit seal and bird colonies around the area if the weather permits.

When is the best time to explore Norway?

June to August

  • Peak tourist season
  • Average Day Temperature: (21°C to 26°C) - (27°C to 32°C)
  • Average warmth, breezy winds with brief rainstorms.
  • Chilly nights even in summer

May to Late July

  • Midnight Sun season
  • Longer operating hours for accommodation establishments and tourist attractions
  • Transportation systems run more frequently
  • May 17 - Syttende Mai, Constitution Day

March to April

  • Great time for skiing, clearer skies with still much snow left
  • Late winter season to early march to see snow-covered mountains with the Northern lights
  • Southern Norway - mildest climate
When is the worst time to go there?

November to February

  • Anywhere north of Oslo - Snow covered
  • Easter Week is when Norwegians head for the mountains
  • Cities, establishments, and even grocery stores are on virtual shutdown
  • Days are dark and nights are cold
  • Bergen receives the most rain in winter.
What should you prepare for Northern Lights viewing?
  • 3 layers of clothing
  • Base Layer - thin wool or synthetics, insulates, wicks moisture away
  • Mid Layer - Fleece or thinker wool, breathable, traps heat, include trousers for heavier cols
  • Outer Layer - Breathable Windproof Waterproof
  • Extremities - Use to regulate body temperature, Warm and comfortable
  • Powerbank and extra batteries
  • Ground pad
  • Water
  • Hot drink
  • Food and snacks
  • Headlamp or torch
  • Tripod
  • Smart Phone
  • No Flash
  • Manual focus
  • ISO bet 800-3200
  • Shutter speed 2-15 seconds
  • Camera
  • * If possible, a wide-angle lens
  • * Manual focus
  • * ISO between 800 and 3200
  • * The aperture between f/1.4 and f/4
  • * Shutter speed from 2 seconds
  • You can use an app for the Northern lights appearance forecast.

Most Important Driving Rules

What do you need to remember before driving in Norway?

You must be physically and mentally ready to drive with all the traffic regulations in the country in mind. Always be well-rested and wary of medications that would make you feel sleepy prior to driving and some that may also cause you to fail a breathalyzer test. You must have a firm grip on not only the technicalities of the driving laws but also the practicalities of the standard driving practices.

Observe the proper speed limit.

The national speed limit is 130 kilometers per hour. Driving on main roads in France has a limit of 80 kilometers per hour while 50 kilometers per hour is the standard limit for build-up areas

Seat Belts and Car Restraints

It is mandatory for everyone, including those in the backseat, to use seat belts when riding a vehicle, even on short trips. Drivers as well as their passengers who are above 15 years old may be fined for not wearing seat belts. Adults are responsible for all children in the vehicle. Children under four and a half feet must have their own car seats or appropriate restraints as stated in the Traffic Act by the NPRA.

Right of Way

In road crossings, Norwegian roads are not usually guided with priority signs which are yellow diamond-shaped signs. The “Priority to the Right” rule applies meaning it is required to give way to vehicles approaching from the right. Unless indicated by signs, vehicles approaching an intersection from the right have the right of way. Trams and pedestrians always have the right of way at marked rails or crossings.

Overtaking

An “Overtaking forbidden” sign which looks like two cars encircled in red with a line drawn across one of the cars, can be found along the roads which specially concerns motorcycles. Cars may not overtake cars, motorcycles may not overtake cars but cars may overtake motorcycles. This rule is strictly enforced throughout Norwegian roads and is worth a NOK 5200 fine as well as license confiscation for 9-12 months.

Avoid driving under alcohol influence.

A very low blood alcohol limit is imposed in the country. Failing a Breathalyzer test would automatically require you to be subjected to a blood test. The limit for blood alcohol level is set at 0.2 percent. This is comparably stricter than the limit in the UK and the US.

Park in the proper areas.

Parking on the side of the road is usually allowed if it is not the main road or a highway. "Parkering forbudt" means no parking, while "stans forbudt" means no stopping. For most downtown parking you must either buy a ticket from an automatic vending machine and display it on the dash, or use a public car park which is more expensive ranging from NOK 100 - 250 a day depending on the city.

Pay Tolls

The country has about 190 operational toll stations and most of it uses the AutoPASS system which automatically collects toll fees and sends an invoice through mail. This system enables the automation of tolls and driving easier since you do not have to stop or slow down when passing through the stations. Rental agencies will have registered the car and toll charges will be added to your rental bill.

Traffic Violations

The country is very particular about its driving rules. Hefty violation fines are imposed and there is a point system regarding traffic violations. Starting with zero, your license will be confiscated for six months after accumulating eight points within three years. Getting your license back will reset your points back to zero.

Drive slowly and carefully during winter.

It is dangerous to drive on some Norwegian roads during winter. You must take extra care, especially in a snow zone. Having identification cards, like a passport, driver’s license, or an International Driver's Permit, is a good idea for emergency purposes. Having winter tires with a minimum of three-millimeter tread on are required by law. Studded tires and snow chains can be used from November to early April.

You would have to restructure your plans, check weather forecasts and allow for a lot of delay, sudden weather changes, and emergency time. Regularly make stops to clear snow from your driving view. Bring a flask of hot drink, ice scrapers, extra warm clothes, warning triangles, and fully charged phones.

What should you do during police stops and checkpoints?

Inspections are frequently done and if you are inspected, then you should have all your documents in order and readily available for inspection so as not to delay the checking. Failure to follow road signs approaching the inspection site will cause you to incur penalties. Inspection sites focus on checking things that will ensure safety for you and other drivers, pedestrians, and even wildlife that you may encounter along the road

What are the documents or legal requirements for driving in Norway?

You don't need a local Norwegian driving licence to enjoy your trip abroad. However, you may need to prepare your International Driving Licence or Permit (IDP). It serves as the translation of your local driving license, and some car rental companies may require you to have this document ready. Your IDP will also serve as a means of identification.

When applying for an International Driving License or International Driving Permit for Norway online, you should take note that you are going to need the zip code in your location or your zone of residence. You can avail of an International Driving Licence for your Norwegian driving trip through our website page for the said country.

Other Questions About Using an International Driving Permit In Norway

Is an International Driving Permit required for Americans in Denmark and Norway?

An International Driving Permit is not required for Americans in the said countries. However, it is a valid document that may accompany your native license to be able to drive legally in either of the countries.

If I am from the EU/ EEA area, do I need an International Driving Licence in Norway?

No, you do not need an International Driving Licence in Norway. An IDP in the country is not required if you're from the EU/EEA-affiliated countries.

Do US citizens need an International Driver's License in Norway?

No, US citizens do not need an IDP in the country. However, for their convenience, if they encounter locals officials who can’t understand English, they can apply for one.

If I am from UAE, do I need an IDP in Norway?

You will not need an IDP in the country if you hold a full and valid national driver’s license issued from the Emirates.

Are International Driving Licences required in Norway, if I own a UK-issued license?

International Driving Licences are required in the country by some car rental agencies. But if you are a holder of a UK license, you do not need one.

What are the requirements for an IDP in Norway?

If you want to know more about the requirements for an IDP in the country and if you wish to avail of one, you can apply on the IDA website. Do not forget to double-check your entered location so your International Driver's Permit will be accurately delivered.

Do you need an IDP in Norway if you are from India?

You do need an IDP after 3 months, especially if your Indian license is not equipped with a translation. It will help you with identification and license checking by Norwegian police if they can understand your license through an IDP.

If I am living in a different country from those mentioned above, do I need an IDP in Norway?

You can check out the website for Norwegian policy on IDPs to know if you do need one in the country.

References

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