Norway Driving Guide

Norway Driving Guide

Norway is a unique beautiful country. Explore all of it by driving when you get your International Driving Permit

2023-12-31 · 9 mins

Norway is a unique, beautiful country. Explore all of it by driving when you get your International Driving Permit.

Dreaming of chasing the Northern Lights amidst Norway's mesmerizing landscapes? Driving in Norway reveals the true magic of this Scandinavian wonder, taking you beyond typical tourist routes and into its stunning countryside.

Picture yourself navigating through quaint towns and majestic mountains and along the edge of magnificent fjords, all while exploring lesser-known gems at your leisure.

If you're visiting Norway for the first time, don't let the thought of driving deter you. This guide will equip you with everything you need to navigate Norwegian roads confidently.

How Can This Guide Help You?

To have a quintessential Norwegian experience, you must know a few things about the country, such as what to expect when driving in Norway. You must be ready to observe rules and regulations and treat the land and each other as Norwegians would, especially on the road. So explore this driving guide as the land of nature’s pretty lights, fjords, and Viking history is waiting for you.

Let's Take a Closer Look at Norway

Geographic Location

The Scandinavian region in northern Europe comprises countries with geographical and cultural similarities. Norway and Sweden share the Scandinavian peninsula, while Denmark is separated from the peninsula by the Danish Straits.

Culturally, Scandinavia includes the surrounding countries Finland, Iceland, Greenland, and the independent Faroe Islands. This term reflects the interconnectedness of these countries across various fields, as advocated by Danish and Swedish scholars.

Languages Spoken

There are two official languages spoken in Norway. Norwegian is derived from Old Norse and is written in two ways - Bokmål and Nynorsk. This language is spoken by most of the people in Norway. In the northern regions of Norway, the Sami is a family of no less than 10 distinct but related languages that are mostly spoken by the indigenous Finno-Ugric people of the same name.


The original Norwegian population is mostly Norwegian, with about 80% belonging to this group. The Sami people make up around 60,000 individuals, while other Scandinavian tribes of Germanic descent also reside in the country.

Approximately 8.3% of the population consists of other European nationalities. In recent years, there has been an increase in Polish, Lithuanian, British, and Indian immigrants. Norway grants protection to refugees, along with family reunification and labor migration.

Land Area

Norway’s total land area is 385,203 km² (148,728 mi²). The land area allotted as agricultural land is only 2.69 %, while forest area is about 33.17 %. The total urban area in Norway accounts for 20,282.205 square kilometers. Most of the regions of the country are mountainous terrains and snow-capped areas. Most of its territory, especially in the northern part, is already rural.


The kingdom of Norway is governed in the form of a constitutional monarchy. Before its independence was declared in 1905, Norway was united with Denmark until 1814 and then with Sweden.


Its state power is divided among the Parliament, the Cabinet, and the Supreme Court. The elected parliament exercises all legislative power called the Storting, which the Prime Minister leads. The monarch of Norway merely represents the country and acts as a ceremonial leader. A governor is appointed to each county called a fylker,

International Driving Permit FAQs

Traveling with an International Driver's Licence is highly suggested when driving in Norway. It helps with the ease of driving, and it lets Norwegian authorities understand your license if it is not issued in an EU/EEA country or if the language characters used are not Romanized. It also serves as an additional identification document that you can present to authorities. However, always bring your local driver's license with you to make your Norway IDP valid. Plus, note that you don't have to take a new practical driving test to get an International Driver's Licence.

Do I Need an IDP to Drive in Norway?

It entirely depends on the country you’re from. Although some European citizens have licenses from EU countries, having an IDP is still beneficial when renting a car.

  • UK License: Currently, UK licenses are valid for driving in Norway. However, changes may occur post-Brexit.
  • US License: US citizens can use their licenses in Norway for up to three months and exchange them for a Norwegian license within a year.
  • UAE License: Valid in Norway and 49 other countries, UAE licenses allow you to rent a car or exchange it for a Norwegian license without additional requirements.
  • Indian License: Indian licenses are valid for driving in Norway for three months and can be exchanged for a Norwegian license without any tests, as long as they're not expired.

How Do You Get an International Driving Permit in Norway?

Obtain an International Driving Permit (IDP) online through the International Drivers Association. Apply for an IDP online with a valid driver's license from your home country. Ensure your native license remains valid to fully utilize the IDP in Norway and other countries with frequent border crossings. Provisional licenses are not accepted.

You may choose the desired validity period and apply on our website.

Does an International Driving Permit Replace a Native Driver’s License?

An International Driving Permit is required in Norway to complement some foreign licenses. It is only valid when presented with a full and valid driver’s license from your home country. Ensure your license is up-to-date and valid throughout your trip, as the IDP's validity depends on your native driver’s license.

What Should I Do if I Get Drowsy While Driving?

Being well-rested and fit is crucial for safe driving. Falling asleep at the wheel can cause harm to others on the road. If you feel drowsy during a road trip, pull over to a safe area, away from main roads, for a quick nap. Use reflective triangles. Resume driving only after getting enough rest to prevent accidents.

What if the Rental Car Gets into an Accident?

If you're in a rental car accident, your insurance may cover it based on your policy. Check your terms and contact the rental company and your insurance provider for guidance on what to do next.

What are Some Safety Tips for Driving in Norway During Winter?

If you're accustomed to driving in tropical countries and want to experience snow in Norway for the first time, coping with winter chills may be challenging. Here are some tips for driving in snowy Norway.

  • Allow extra time for your road trip in snowy conditions.
  • Ensure your vehicle is fitted with winter tires.
  • Remove snow from your windshield and car plates regularly.
  • Monitor weather forecasts and be prepared for sudden changes.
  • Keep essentials like a flask of hot drinks, thermal clothing, blankets, ice scrapers, warning triangles, and a fully charged mobile phone.

Renting a Car in Norway

You can always drive your car in Norway if you prefer, but there are certain conditions when this is not the most viable option. For instance, if your car is not well suited for winter driving in Norway or the terrain, you may experience breakdowns or engine malfunctions.

Luckily, rental cars are available in Norway, especially for tourists. Below are essential details you should know about them:

Car Rental Companies

You can hire a car from any of these popular car rental agencies for driving in Norway. You can check out their websites and book your car before your trip to avoid consuming your vacation time with the rental arrangements.

  • Sunnycars
  • Hertz
  • Avis
  • Sixt
  • Keddy
  • Budget
  • Europcar
  • Thrifty
  • Dollar
  • YourRent
  • Enterprise
  • National

Rental Restrictions

Usually, a rented vehicle can be taken for a beautiful drive to any part of Western Europe without restriction. However, there are restrictions on luxury rental cars and traveling to certain countries.

Cars rented in Norway are not permitted in the following countries:

  • Albania
  • Bosnia
  • Belarus
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Estonia
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Macedonia
  • Montenegro
  • Poland
  • Russia
  • Slovenia
  • Turkey
  • Ukraine
  • Yugoslavia

Documents Required

When planning to rent a car in Norway, it's crucial to ensure you have the necessary documents in order. This guide outlines the required paperwork and offers useful insights for a seamless car rental experience in this picturesque country.

To kick off your car rental journey, make sure you have the following documents at hand:

  • Valid Local Driver's License: Ensure your local driving license is up to date and ready for presentation. If your foreign license lacks clear or up-to-date photos, obtaining an International Driving Permit is advisable.
  • International Driving Permit (IDP): A vital companion to your local license, the IDP enhances the recognition of your driving credentials.
  • Complete License: When opting for a foreign car, presenting your complete license is a standard requirement.
  • Minimum Driving Experience: Most car rental agencies in Norway mandate a minimum of one year of driving experience.
  • Mandatory Car Insurance: Car insurance is a non-negotiable requirement for car rentals in Norway.

Keep your travel documents and a credit card handy, as some rental agencies may request them. With these essentials in place, you can confidently explore Norway on four wheels.

Vehicle Types

You can choose from a range of vehicle types depending on your needs:

  • Mini Cars: Ideal for city driving and easy parking (e.g., VW Up, Chevrolet Spark).
  • Economy and Compact Cars: Suitable for up to four people, convenient for city driving (e.g., VW Polo, Ford Fiesta; VW Golf, Mercedes A-Class).
  • Midsize Cars: Great for family vacations or group excursions, offering larger engines for long drives (e.g., Volvo V40, Audi A3 Sportback).
  • Large-Size Cars: Offers plenty of space and comfort for long journeys (e.g., Kia Sportage, Ford Mondeo).
  • Luxury Cars: Perfect for relaxation or business trips (e.g., BMW 3 Series, Mercedes E Class).
  • SUVs or Vans: Ideal for group or family travels through Norway's countryside (e.g., Citroen C4 Aircross, Ford Kuga).

Car Rental Cost

Rental car prices in Norway vary based on the type of car you want. On average, compact cars range from $55 to USD 84 or 520 to 800 NOK per day. Different agencies have different rates, but Alamo ($24/day), Europcar ($30/day), and Sixt ($50/day) offer some of the cheapest options.

Remember that gas and parking costs can be higher in Norway compared to the US and other European countries.

Age Requirements

The minimum driving age in Norway is 19 years old. Some agencies would only allow 21-year-old drivers to rent from them. If you are under 25, you must pay an additional fee, usually 125-160 NOK daily. Different rates may apply to different car rental agencies.

The minimum age requirement must be met even if you hold a full driver's license from your native country.

Car Insurance Cost

Insurance is mandatory in Norway for added security, given its diverse terrain. Opt for a car rental with inclusive insurance – a standard feature with most companies. If your chosen rental lacks coverage, consider extending your existing insurance to your destination or consult your credit card company for their policies.

Car Insurance Policy

Most driving insurance in Norway has rates that include mandatory fire and third-party liability coverage. Others may also provide collision and theft coverage at an advance purchase discount. You may choose to decline collision and theft coverage, but it's wiser to secure these coverages. If you opt to use the coverage offered by your credit card, please contact them directly for details.

Road Rules in Norway

Driving in Norway can be problematic, especially when thinking about the new traffic systems, reading unfamiliar language on road signs, the harsh weather conditions, and, of course, the new driving rules in Norway that you must adhere to. Learn more about these below.

Important Regulations

Like any other country, road laws in Norway are established for safety. That said, know that Norwegian authorities take firm action to ensure driving safety. Some specific driving rules in Norway include:

  • The minimum car driving age is 18, with different rules for large vehicles and motorcycles.
  • Third-party insurance is mandatory for all vehicles.
  • Carry a red warning triangle and at least one yellow fluorescent vest for breakdowns.
  • Winter tires are required in Norway.
  • Be cautious of wildlife on the roads, especially in rural areas where warning signs are common.
  • Overspeeding and driving without a license are strictly enforced in Norway.

General Standards of Driving

Before you start your journey through Norway's scenic destinations, familiarize yourself with the country's driving standards. This section covers the key aspects to ensure a smooth and lawful driving experience.

  • Transmission: Both manual and automatic cars are common; manual transmission with winter tires is recommended for snowy terrains.
  • Documents: Always carry your driving license, IDP, proof of insurance, passport, and a V5C certificate.
  • Vehicle Requirements: Your vehicle must contain a reflector vest, headlamp beam reflector, warning triangles, and helmets for motorcycle/moped drivers. Dipped headlights are mandatory during the day.
  • Parking: "Parkering forbudt" denotes no parking, while "stans forbudt" indicates no stopping. Downtown parking requires a ticket from a vending machine to be displayed on the dash.
  • Fines: Violations can lead to hefty fines, i.e., beating a red light or failing to give way - 6,800 kroner; driving in a public transport lane - 5,500 kroner; using a mobile phone without hands-free technology - 1,700 kroner.
  • Speed Limits: General limit is 50kph, 30kph in residential areas, 80kph on rural roads, and 90kph on highways. Speeding fines are proportionate to the speed.
  • Speed Cameras: Norway uses radar, laser, and civilian car control cameras. The country also measures average speed across stretches of roads.

Seatbelt Laws

Seat belts are mandatory for everyone in Norway, even in the backseat and on short trips. Failure to wear seat belts may result in fines for drivers and passengers over 15 years old.

When traveling with children, securing those under four and a half feet tall in an appropriate child restraint is required, as stated in the Traffic Act by the NPRA. International car rental agencies provide car seats and restraints for rental vehicles. Adults are responsible for all children in the vehicle.

Driving Directions

When entering roundabouts in Norway, set your turn signals before entering and exiting. Local drivers often use their left turn signals when entering a 4-way roundabout to take the third exit and sometimes don't signal when entering for the second exit. There is no official rule regarding this practice in Norway. Treat roundabouts like regular intersections, indicating your direction when entering and exiting.

Traffic Road Signs

If you wish to have an authentic Norwegian experience, you can't avoid dealing with the language. Road signs and phrases are everywhere, even if you don't interact with Norwegians. Here are some widely used words on the road:

  • Vikeplikt: Upside-down red triangle means giving way or waiting. Drivers must wait for a clear road or yield to vehicles, especially from the right.
  • Fartsgrense: Speed limit sign with a red circle enclosing the number. Crucial in mountainous regions during winter.
  • Isete vei: Icy road requires extra attention to road conditions in Norway, especially in winter.

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 must give way to vehicles approaching from the right.

Unless otherwise specified by road signs, vehicles on the right side have the right of way when approaching an intersection. However, trams and pedestrians consistently hold the right of way at designated rails or crossings.

The minimum driving age in Norway is a little over the legal driving age in most countries. You can only drive and have a full license at 19 years old. When renting a car, agencies would only allow 21-year-old drivers to rent from them.

But if you are under 25, you must pay an additional fee that may apply differently among car rental agencies. This minimum age requirement must be met even if you hold a full driving license from your native country.

Laws on 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, especially concerning motorcycles. Cars may not overtake cars, and 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 and license confiscation for 9-12 months.

Driving Side

Norwegians drive on the right side of the road, which is common for most countries worldwide, especially in other Scandinavian countries. Driving on the wrong side of the road can cause you to incur traffic violations and cause fatal road accidents. So, you must be careful and mindful of the road you drive on.

Driving Etiquette in Norway

Road problems are bound to happen unexpectedly. That’s why there are certain important etiquettes you need to remember when you encounter them.

Car Breakdown

If your car breaks down or you encounter a flat tire while driving in Norway, follow these steps for a safe and efficient resolution:

  • Pull Over Safely: Find a secure spot away from sharp turns. Opt for an open area to ensure visibility.
  • Activate Hazard Lights: Turn on your hazard lights immediately to alert other drivers of the situation.
  • Wear a Reflective Vest: When inspecting the problem, wear a reflective vest to enhance your visibility.
  • Use GPS Coordinates: Assist the towing company by providing your exact location through GPS coordinates.
  • Open the Hood: Signal to passing drivers that you need assistance by opening the hood of your car.
  • Deploy Reflective Triangles: Enhance road safety by placing reflective triangles on the side of the road.
  • Stay Calm: Wait patiently for help while staying calm. Norwegian road assistance is known for its efficiency and will arrive promptly.

By following these steps, you can confidently navigate unexpected car troubles on Norway's roads.

Police Stops

It's common for police in Norway to conduct vehicle inspections, often at designated sites. If you find yourself subject to an inspection, ensure your documents are organized and easily accessible to avoid unnecessary delays. Neglecting to adhere to road signs leading to the inspection site may result in penalties.


Inspectors focus on ensuring your safety and that of other drivers, pedestrians, and even wildlife you may encounter on the road. The following aspects are checked to ensure this safety:

  • Car weight and dimensions
  • Technical condition of the vehicle
  • Security of load or luggage
  • Winter or summer tires
  • Snow chains
  • Hazardous goods
  • Driving and rest times
  • Travel documents, licenses, and identification

During these inspections, the goal is to ensure safety by carefully examining and assessing these factors.

Driving Conditions in Norway

Driving in Norway may differ greatly from driving in other countries. The Norwegian gloom lingers longer during the Polar Night when the sun doesn't rise.

Accident Statistics

Norway has successfully reduced the number of traffic accidents over the years, achieving one of the lowest traffic fatality rates in the world. In 2021, there were 80 traffic fatalities in Norway, which was the lowest number of deaths in traffic accidents in many years.

Alcohol-related incidents are the leading cause of road fatalities, prompting Norway to set a low blood alcohol limit of 0.2 g/l. Government investments in road improvements, including enhanced safety features on new cars and reduced average speed, have significantly improved road safety over the past two decades.

Common Vehicles

Over half of the recent car sales in Norway are electric, with popular choices like Audi’s e-Tron, Volkswagen’s Golf, Hyundai’s Kona, Nissan Leaf, and Tesla’s Model 3. Everyday drivers opt for adaptable four-wheel drive vehicles, ideal for the country's mountainous and snow-covered landscapes.

Toll Roads

Norway has about 190 operational toll stations, most of which use the AutoPASS system, automatically collecting toll fees and sending an invoice through mail. This system enables the automation of tolls and makes 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.

Road Situation

Driving in Norway is a breeze with well-structured highways, especially in the Southern part. Major cities are within a day's drive from each other and the capital. Just be prepared for tolls and city parking fees. Check the Norwegian Public Roads Administration website for road conditions and updates. Some roads may be closed in winter due to snow. Stay informed and enjoy your journey!

Driving Culture

Norwegians are so accustomed to driving slowly, steadily, and thus safely. They are also more likely to adhere to speed limits than other nationalities within the Scandinavian area and possibly the whole European region. This is probably due to the slower speed limits, stricter implementation of road rules, cautious citizens, and extremely costly fines.

Top Destinations in Norway

The specially curated route for a stunning nature scenery road trip through Norway includes various top destinations to visit, each offering the most spectacular views and beautiful sites.

Troms og Finnmark

After the regional reform in Northern Norway, Troms og Finnmark became the largest county by land area. It resulted from merging the former county of Finnmark, the city of Tromso, and the Tjeldsund municipality. It is home to stunning fjords, diverse wildlife, and ancient ethnic groups.


Nordland is a captivating destination in Northern Norway, distinguished by its incredibly diverse landscapes. It stretches from the idyllic Helgeland coast, known for its distinctive mountain range 'The Seven Sisters' and thousands of islands, to the Lofoten and Vesterålen archipelagos, globally renowned for their unique, steep mountains and sheltered bays.

More og Tromsdal

The western Norway county of More og Tromsdal consists of 3 unique districts: Nordmore, Romsdal, and Sunnmore. Explore these areas to experience Norway's rugged terrain, with its mountains, valleys, and the world-famous UNESCO Geirangerfjord.


Vestland was established in January 2020 and centered around Norway’s second-biggest city, Bergen. The county can also enjoy numerous tourist attractions like museums, food districts, and mountain views. Other smaller municipalities within Vestland also have a lot of activities and spectacular scenery that is a shame to be missed.


Rogaland is located in western Norway, which borders the North Sea in the west, Vestland in the North, Vestfold og Telemark towards the east, and Agder to the southeast. One of the biggest cities in Norway, Stavanger, is its administrative center, with Norway’s petroleum industry at the county’s core.

Unleash Your Norwegian Adventure with an IDP

Ready to embark on your epic driving journey through Norway's majestic landscapes? Equip yourself with an International Driver's Permit from the International Driver's Association. It's your passport to a hassle-free and enriching driving experience in this Scandinavian gem.

Don't hold back; start your application today! Grab your International Driving Permit here.


Get your International Driving Permit in 8 minutes

Instant approval

Valid for 1-3 years

Worldwide express shipping

Back to Top