Norway Driving Guide 2021

Norway Driving Guide 2021

Norway Driving Guide 2021

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

Nai-update Abr 9, 2021·9 min basahin
Driving Guide

When thinking about Norway, two words come to mind - Northern Lights. Driving through the mountains of Northern Norway would let you experience the mystical Aurora Borealis. Marvel at the sight of quaint little towns at the base of a glorious mountain. You can even live both worlds of a luxurious traveler and an indigenous Inuit by staying and relaxing in a glass igloo for the rest of your stay.

You can explore most of the natural treasures and ease itinerary adjustments by driving in Norway. Most of the places would satisfy those who are more natural landscape focused, but every city you visit can also offer lots of fun activities. Although the major cities are connected by the local transport system through buses and trains, driving will allow you to visit the unfrequented destinations and scenic routes along the countryside and near the majestic fjords.

How Can This Guide Help You?

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

General Information

Whether you’re looking on your left or right, driving in Norway seems like a winter wonderland. Norway is an ethereal country filled with rich legends and lots of magical places to explore. But before doing so it may be helpful to discover some facts about the history, culture, and the land itself first. This will give you the general background to know what to expect in Norway and why it has become one of the most sought-after travel experiences.

Geographic Location

The Scandinavian region of northern Europe comprises a group of countries that share geographical and cultural similarities. Norway is one of the main bodies of territory that make up the Scandinavian peninsula sharing it with Sweden. The Danish straits separate the island of Denmark from the peninsula but is also a part of Scandinavia in terms of geography.

Culturally speaking, Scandinavia is made up of the Scandinavian peninsula joined by the surrounding countries Finland, Iceland, Greenland, and the independent Faroe Islands. This may be due to their histories, traditions, and concept of artistic pursuits being interwoven with each other. The term is a result of Danish and Swedish scholars advocating the interconnectedness of the countries across various fields.

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. While 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.

Population

You can say that the original Norwegian population is not entirely diverse. About 80 percent of the people are in fact, Norwegian. Some 60,000 of which belong to the Sami people. Other Scandinavian tribes of Germanic descent also live in the country and about 8.3 percent are of other European nationalities.

Though in recent years, many Polish immigrants came to Norway in 2019. A significant number of Lithuanians, British, and Indians also moved to the country. Immigration has peaked sometime in 2011 when almost 80,000 foreigners came to settle in the country. Norway grants protection to refugees from other countries which is why it is one of the most common reasons for immigration along with family reunification and labor migration.

Land Area

Norway’s total land area as of 2018 is 365,123.008 square kilometers. The land area that is 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. The majority of its territory, especially in the northern part, is already rural land.

History

The kingdom of Norway is governed in the form of a constitutional monarchy. But did you know that before its independence was declared in 1905, Norway was united with Denmark until 1814 then united with Sweden after that? This is probably why the history of these countries has greatly affected one another.

Government

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

Tourism

Norwegian society is very much motivated by egalitarian values. This welfare state has very trusting citizens toward the government. Efforts to ensure equality in economic and social issues are highly regarded in Norway making it a very comforting place to spend time or even settle in. It is known to be among the safest countries in the world having really low crime rates even in its major cities

Norwegians are known to be very reserved and wary of strangers in general but if you meet them once, they can be pretty warm and friendly to tourists. Since the country itself is welcoming to tourists and refugees, then the citizens are accustomed to seeing new faces arriving into their borders.

To truly feel what it is like when driving in Norway, you’re gonna have to exchange your pocket money with Norwegian Kroner (NOK). Banknotes are circulated in 50, 100, 200, 500, and 1000 kroner bills while coins come in 1, 5, 10, and 20 denominations. One US dollar is equal to 9.57 Norwegian Krone, while one Euro is equal to 11.13 Norwegian Krone.

IDP FAQs

Traveling with an International Driving License 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.

Do I Need an IDP to Drive in Norway?

It entirely depends on the country you’re from. Although some license holders are issued from EU countries, having an IDP is still beneficial when renting a car.

UK license

Driving in Norway with a UK license is completely legal. As of today, UK license holders still share the same license privileges as EU/EEA license holders. But after Brexit takes hold, this withdrawal of the UK from the European Union may slightly change the driving license agreement for Norway. Norwegian authorities are still looking to finalize provisions for any driver with a UK license when driving in Norway.

US license

The USA is one of the countries with which Norway has lax license restrictions. This means you can definitely travel with your US license when driving in Norway for up to three months and have the privilege to exchange it with a Norwegian license within a year of staying in Norway.

UAE license

As of 2018, your UAE driving license is valid in Norway and 49 other countries. When driving in Norway, you will not be required to present an international license and will be allowed to rent a car or exchange your license with a valid Norwegian license

Indian license

If you are wondering if an Indian driving license is valid in Norway, then the answer is yes. Indian tourists can use a valid Indian driving license for driving in Norway for three months without having to exchange them with a Norwegian license. Or you can also exchange without taking any tests. Just make sure that your Indian driving license is not expired upon usage in any other country you wish to visit.

How Do You Get an International Driving License in Norway?

An International Driving License in Norway or more appropriately called an International Driving Permit can be obtained online through the International Drivers Association. You can easily apply for an IDP if you hold a full and valid driver's license from your home country may apply for an International Driving Permit online. Provisional licenses will not be accepted in applying for a permit.

You have the liberty to choose which validity period would fit your travel plans. You can visit our online application page to apply for your IDP and also get to choose the validity period. Just make sure that your native driver’s license is also valid within that duration so you can maximize your International Driver's Permit or International Driving License in Norway. It is highly recommended to get one, especially when driving in countries that typically cross borders to get around efficiently like in the Scandinavian Peninsula.

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

An International Driving Permit is required as a complement with some foreign licenses when driving in Norway. An International Driving Permit will only be valid if presented with a full and valid driver’s license from your native country. It is only as good as your local license’s validity and will no way replace a native driver’s license in any country you drive in. So make sure your license is up-to-date and valid within the duration of your trip. Even if your IDP is valid for 3 years, it will be invalidated if your native driver’s license expires.

Renting A Car in Norway

You can always drive your own car in Norway if you wish to bring it over but driving a foreign car in Norway can be a bit problematic. If your car is not well suited for winter driving in Norway or for the terrain, it will not give you a pleasant time to enjoy your trip. Luckily, a few facts about how rental cars can be hired in Norway are laid out for you below.

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, rental cars can be driven to any part of Western Europe without restriction. There are restrictions on luxury rental cars and on traveling to certain countries. Cars rented in Norway are not permitted into the following countries:

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

Documents Required

You can easily rent a car in Norway if you have a driving license. You are going to have to present your full, valid license before driving a foreign car in Norway. You must have had your license for at least one year for it to be considered by most, if not all car rental agencies. EU/EEA issued licenses will be valid in Norway and non-EU/EEA issued licenses are generally valid for three months. Car insurance is compulsory when driving in Norway.

Requiring an IDP to rent a car in Norway is within the rental agency’s prerogative. For those with foreign driving licenses that do not have or have unclear and out-of-date photos, it is best to get an IDP before traveling to Norway if you want to rent a car. You would also want to prepare your travel documents and a credit card just to be sure in case the agency requires you for your travel details.

Vehicle Types

There are different car types you can choose to hire for driving in Norway. Mini cars are great for quickly driving around cities and securing parking spaces. Economy and compact cars can fit up to four people and are still manageable for driving in urban areas. If you are planning to go to Norway to spoil yourself a bit or for a business trip, you may avail of a luxury car rental.

You can also equip yourself with a bigger and more roomy vehicle to accommodate more people and luggage when traveling as a group. Family or midsize cars are great for family vacations or group excursions. These car types have larger and stronger engines for long drives to mountainous terrains. But the best fit for Norway’s countryside escapades for group or family traveling would be secure SUVs.

Here are car rental models that can be a great fit for your travel plans to Norway:

  • Mini Car Models: VW Up, Chevrolet Spark, Peugeot 107, Nissan Micra, Citroen C1, etc.
  • Economy Car Models: VW Polo, Ford Fiesta, Peugeot 208, Hyundai i20, Toyota Yaris, etc.
  • Compact Car Models: VW Golf, Mercedes A-Class, Ford Focus Estate, Toyota Auris, VW Golf Estate, Citroen C4, etc.
  • Intermediate-Size Car Models: Volvo V40, Audi A3 Sportback, Skoda Octavia Estate, BMW 3 Series, etc.
  • Large-Size Car Models: Kia Sportage, Kia Niro, Ford Mondeo, Mazda 6, Skoda Octavia Estate, Mercedes B Class, Audi A4, etc.
  • Luxury Car Models: BMW 3 Series, Volvo V60 Estate (Hybrid), Mercedes E Class, Mercedes E Class Estate, Tesla Model S, etc.
  • SUV or Van Models: Citroen C4 Aircross, Mazda CX 3, Nissan Qashqai, Toyota Rav 4, Ford Kuga, Ford S-Max, VW Sharan, Ford Tourneo, etc.

Car Rental Cost

The cost of rental cars in Norway would depend on the car type you want to hire. The average cost is up to 55 to 84 USD or 520 to 800 NOK per day for a compact car. There are also different rates per agency but among the cheapest are at Alamo ($24/day), Europcar ($30/day), and Sixt ($50/day). When renting a car in Norway, it is best to allot a budget for gas since it is more expensive than in the US or in 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 will have to pay an additional fee usually at 125 - 160 NOK per day. Different rates may apply to different car rental agencies. The minimum age requirement must be met even if you hold a full driving license from your native country.

Car Insurance Cost

In Norway, it is compulsory to have some level of car insurance. This provides a sense of security especially with the terrain that Norway has. It is essential to choose a car rental company that includes insurance in the package. Most car rental companies would include car insurance in their fees. If you rent a car at a car rental company without covered insurance, you may opt to choose to extend your original coverage to your destination if possible or ask your credit card company about their policies.

Car Insurance Policy

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

Road Norway

Road Rules in Norway

The idea of driving in Norway can be disconcerting especially when thinking about the new traffic systems, reading unfamiliar language on road signs, the harsh weather conditions, and of course, new driving rules in Norway that you need to adhere to. All of these factors contribute to a foreigner's uncertainty when driving in Norway. To calm and prepare you a little, here are the things that you need to know.

Important Regulations

As with any other country, road laws are established for safety similar to how it is when driving in Norway. But one thing to note is that there is a difference in how driving in Norway is controlled by these laws. Norwegian authorities have taken firm action to guarantee safety when driving in Norway.

You must be physically and mentally ready to take on a driver’s responsibilities. You must be well-rested and be wary of medications that would make you feel sleepy before driving and

some that may also cause you to fail a breathalyzer test. It will help you to know the driving rules that are particular to Norway such as the following:

  • You must be 18 to drive a car and there are different rules/tests for driving large vehicles and motorcycles
  • Third-party insurance is mandatory for all vehicles
  • A red warning triangle and at least one yellow fluorescent vest are a must-have in case of breakdown
  • Changing over to winter tires is a must in Norway
  • Be wary of the wildlife that may wander into the roads especially in the countryside You will find warning signs in areas where animals are frequently seen crossing the roads
  • The law is very strict about overspeeding and driving without a license in Norway

General Standards of Driving

Norwegian drivers use either manual or automatic cars depending on their expertise. Manual transmission is recommended when driving through the country’s snowy terrains for better

Documents

It is essential to carry important documents with you all the time such as your driving license, proof of driving insurance in Norway or green card, passport, and a V5C certificate. You must also carry your International Driving Permit or international drivers’ license with your native license. Driving without a license in Norway warrants a fine between NOK 8,000 and 9,500 for first-time offenders.

The law requires you to always have specific items in your vehicle. These include a reflector vest, headlamp beam reflector, warning triangles, and helmets for drivers of motorcycles and mopeds. It is also mandatory for all drivers including foreign visitors to use dipped headlights during the day.

Drinking and Driving

A very low blood alcohol limit is imposed in Norway so it’s a no-brainer to refrain from driving if you have had any alcoholic drink. failing a Breathalyser 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 more strict than the limit in the UK and the US.

Parking Situations

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. If you’re parking downtown, you have to buy a parking ticket from an automatic vending machine. The ticket must be displayed on the dash. You can also park at a public car park, which is more expensive, ranging from NOK 100 - 250 a day depending on the city.

Traffic Violations

Breaking driving rules in Norway can be very expensive. As noted on the Norwegian Police website, the police decide the applications of traffic laws. Norway has many road traffic laws and regulations and the police decide which of them applies in individual situations.

There is a point system in Norway 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. Grave offenses would cause you to incur three points such as:

  • Overspeeding
  • Beating the red light
  • Overtaking on “overtaking prohibited” roads
  • Violating a “give way” or “stop” sign
  • Violating the “priority to the right” rule
  • Not stopping for pedestrians crossing
  • Crossing a solid or double-solid line
  • Driving with very little clearing distance with the vehicle in front of you
  • Driving with a trimmed motorcycle or moped
  • Failure to restrain passengers under 15 years old

Fines

Norway is very particular about the driving rules that they have established. Hefty violation fines are imposed for even the smallest offense and typical driving standards in other countries so foreigners must prepare themselves a lot before planning to venture through Norwegian roads. Here are some traffic and road rules violation with the corresponding fine imposed:

  • beating the red light and failure 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 for a first-time offender
  • over-speeding violations depend on your speed
    ◘ 5 km/h over the speed limit can cost an 800 kroner
    ◘ 25 km/h over the speed limit can result in a driving ban

Speed Limits

All speed limit signs in Norway are in kilometers per hour. The general limit is 50kph while residential and other built-up areas such as town centers have a limit of 30kph. Rural roads have an 80kph limit and a limit of 90kph is set along Norwegian highways. Norway is unique because it has already set a maximum speed limit in 1912 then just increased them little by little while other countries started with unlimited speed then later set limits that gradually decreased over time.

Speed Cameras

Radar, laser, and civilian car control cameras are everywhere within Norway. It is the only European country that is so strict in implementing speeding rules, it gives prison sentences for speed rates that are normal for other neighboring countries. If you are lucky, the police may apply a 3% margin of error for motorways when driving conditions are suitable.

Norway’s new sophisticated system for measuring average speed for stretches of roads is installed. A green flash indicates that your license plates were recorded at the beginning and end of each road stretch, then the average speed is calculated. Norwegian roads have fixed speed cameras and signs to keep drivers from speeding when they scan for the speed camera boxes. Fortunately, there are no cameras for roads with speed limits above 80 km/h.

Seatbelt Laws

It is mandatory for everyone, including those in the backseat, to use seat belts when riding a vehicle in Norway even on short trips. Drivers as well as their passengers who are above 15 years old may be fined for not wearing seat belts.

When traveling with children, it is required by law that those who are under four and a half feet tall should be secured in a car seat as stated in the Traffic Act by the NPRA. Many international car rental agencies have available car seats and individual restraints you can use with your rental vehicle. Adults are responsible for all children in the vehicle.

Driving Directions

When entering roundabouts in Norway, you should set your turn signals before entering and as you exit the roundabout. Most local drivers would turn on their left turn signals when entering the roundabout if they want to take the third exit on a 4-way roundabout and sometimes do not use turn signals when entering if they are to take the second exit. But there is no official rule as to how this practice came about specifically in Norway. You can treat roundabouts as any regular intersection where you indicate your direction when entering and before exiting.

Traffic Road Signs

You can’t have a legitimate Norwegian experience without having to deal with the language. Even if you avoid talking to Norwegians, you can’t escape road signs and other phrases that can be seen on the road. Some Norwegian words that are used widely on the road are:

  • Vikeplikt - This upside-down red triangle sign is a call to give way or wait. it means that the driver must wait for the road to be clear or give way to any other vehicle especially when those vehicles are coming from the right

Fartsgrense - This is the word for speed limit which is a sign with a red circle where the speed limit number is enclosed in. Speed limit signs are critical for drivers especially in mountainous regions in winter.

  • Isete vei - This means icy road and you must pay extra attention to the current road conditions in Norway if this pops up on the news or when you see it on the road during wintertime.

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.

Legal Driving Age

The minimum driving age in Norway is a little over the legal driving age in the majority of the countries. You will only be allowed to drive and have a full license at 19 years old. As far as renting a car is concerned, agencies would only allow 21-year-old drivers to rent from them. If you are under 25, you will have to 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 which specially concern 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.

Driving Side

Norwegians drive on the right side of the road which is pretty common for most countries in the world, especially with other Scandinavian countries. Driving on the wrong side of the road can cause you to incur traffic violations and not to mention, cause fatal road accidents. So you have to be careful and mindful of the road you are driving on.

Driving Etiquette in Norway

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

Car Breakdown

If your car breaks down or you get a flat tire in the middle of the road, the first thing that you need to do is pull over on the side to a relatively safe spot. It would be best that you stop at an open area instead of just right around a sharp turn. Put on the hazard lights and keep them on until your dilemma is resolved. You should put on a reflective vest before going out of your car to check on the problem.

Turn on your GPS from either your phone or car device. This will be helpful for the towing company to locate you along with the details of your current situation. Open the hood of your vehicle to signal other drivers of your situation. You should also use reflective triangles to put on the side of the road where your car is oriented along the direction you were driving to signal other approaching cars. Remain calm as you wait for help. It will surely come since Norwegian road assistance is efficient with its work.

Police Stops

Police may stop and check vehicles. Inspections are frequently done and there may be designated sites in Norway. 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.

Asking Directions

Dodging conversations is not healthy at all and striking one with even a quick question about directions can spark a few connections and friendships with the locals that you might need later on in your journey. And more importantly, asking about it at the moment is what you actually need at the moment.

So here are some useful words for asking driving directions in Norway to break the language barrier.

  • Top - Topp
  • Bottom - Bunn
  • Up – Opp
  • Down – Ned
  • Middle – Midt
  • Center – Midten
  • Front – Foran
  • Back – Baksiden
  • Side – Side
  • East – Øst
  • West – Vest
  • North – Nord
  • South – Sør
  • Outside – Utenfor
  • Inside – Inne
  • Opposite – Motsatt
  • Adjacent/Beside/Next to – Ved siden av
  • Toward – Mot
  • Corner – Hjørne
  • Distant – Fjernt
  • Far – Langt
  • Close – Nær
  • By – Med
  • Surrounding – Omringe
  • All sides – Alle sider
  • Above – Over
  • Under – Under

Checkpoints

Inspection sites focus on checking the following to ensure safety for you and other drivers, pedestrians, and even wildlife that you may encounter along the road:

  • car weight and dimensions
  • technical condition
  • securing of load or luggage
  • winter or summer tires
  • snow chains
  • hazardous goods
  • driving and rest times
  • travel documents, licenses, and identification

Other Tips

Aside from checkpoints, car breakdowns, police stops, and asking for directions, you also need to know what to do in some situations like accidents. Here are some tips that would help you know what to do.

What Should I Do if I Get Drowsy While Driving?

Being well-rested and fit is important when driving anywhere. Falling asleep at the wheel may cause serious harm to anyone you may encounter on the road. if you feel like dozing off during your road trip you may pull over to the side of the road or park in safe areas for a quick nap. Be sure to stay clear of the main roads and utilize reflective triangles. You may get back on track after being adequately rested to avoid possible accidents.

What if the Rental Car Get Into Accidents?

Being involved in rental car accidents may be covered by your insurance depending on the policy coverage you availed of and on what your insurance provider offers. It is best to check your policy terms and you must call the rental company and your insurance provider at once so that they can instruct and advise you on what the best thing to do next.

Driving Situations and Conditions

How driving in Norway is, may be very different from how it is in other countries especially from tropical ones. The Norwegian gloom seems to hover longer over the country more distinctively during the Polar Night season when the sun does not rise. Snowy mountain areas, icy roads, and winter chills may be daunting for summer-loving tourists but you may find that it is not all that bad. To truly know what it is like when driving in Norway needs experience, but you can start by reading below.

Accident Statistics

It may give you solace to know that the recorded number of annual road-related fatalities in Norway from 2000 to 2018 has dropped by 68% and has only increased by about 2% within that last recorded year. A bulk of the small number of road fatalities are alcohol-related, so Norway has capped its legal blood alcohol limit at a very low level which is only 0.2g/l. Since then it has been fairly stable and slightly decreasing.

The government has deliberately invested so much in road improvements over the past two decades. Research in 2014 pointed out that they were doing a great job in promoting safety by increasing safety features on new cars and by reducing the average speed on the roads. These two contributing factors were identified as the main reasons for the substantial improvements.

Common Vehicles

About more than half of the cars sold in Norway in recent years are electric. The most popular cars include Audi’s e-Tron, Volkswagen’s Golf, as well as Hyundai’s Konda, the Nissan Leaf, and Tesla’s Model 3. Cars usually driven by regular citizens are more adaptable to mountainous terrains and snow-covered paths. Four-wheel drive vehicles are commonly used and are recommended.

Toll Roads

Norway has about 190 operational toll stations and most of them use 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.

Road Situation

You may be sitting there planning your upcoming road trip and thinking “How is driving in Norway?”. You can stop overthinking for a bit because exploring the major cities in Norway is made more fun with well structured and marked highways especially in the Southern part where all of the urban areas are within a day’s drive from the capital and each other. The only other thing you might want to be ready with is the cost.

Tolls for major roads entering larger cities are expensive as well as city parking. But elsewhere, it may be less costly but more unpredictable. Roads can be narrow and winding, while some may be closed in winter because of the snow. You can call or check the website of the authority for Norwegian roads (Norwegian Public Roads Administration) for updates about road conditions and other necessary information.

Road Closures

When planning trips, you must take into account that a few of the routes you are going to take may be closed mostly because of the weather and dangers that may arise on those roads concerning the wildlife and the environment. Some roads may close at night or throughout the day in winter.

MAY BE CLOSED AT NIGHT

Road Route County

E10 Bjørnfjell Nordland

E12 Umbukta Nordland

E69 Skarsvåg-Nordkapp Finnmark

Fv. 13 Gaularfjellet Sogn og Fjordane

Fv. 243 Aurland-Erdal (Lærdal) Sogn og Fjordane

Fv. 27 Venabygdsfjellet Oppland / Hedmark

Fv. 45 Hunnedalen Vest-Agder / Rogaland

Fv. 51 Valdresflye Oppland

Fv. 53 Tyin-Årdal Oppland / Sogn og Fjordane

Fv. 55 Sognefjellet Oppland / Sogn og Fjordane

Fv. 813 Beiarfjellet Nordland

MAY BE CLOSED IN WINTER

Road Route Close Opens

E69 Skarsvåg–Nordkapp Oct Apr

Fv. 13 Gaularfjellet Dec May

Fv. 51 Valdresflye Dec Apr

Fv. 55 Sognefjellet Nov May

Fv. 63 Geiranger–Langvatn Nov May

Fv. 63 Trollstigen Oct May

Fv.252 Tyin–Eidsbugarden Oct June

Fv. 63 Trollstigen Oct May

Fv.520 Hellandsbygd–Røldal Nov June

Fv.886 Jarfjordfjellet (Vintervollen–Grense Jakobselv) Nov May

Fv.243 Aurland–Erdal (Lærdal, Sogn og Fjordane) Nov June

Fv.337 Brokke–Suleskard (Aust-Agder/Vest-Agder) Nov May

Fv.341 Smelror–Hamningberg (Finnmark) Nov May

Fv.355 Melfjellet (Nordland) Nov May

Driving Culture

Norwegians are so accustomed to driving slowly, steadily, and thus safely. They are also more likely to adhere to speed limits than any 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, and extremely costly fines. Citizens are also extra cautious

Other Tips

Now that you know the road situations and other important information about driving in Norway, you also need to know some winter driving tips to make sure you’re safe.

Is It Safe to Drive in Winter?

With the natural terrain and topographical features of the country, winter driving in Norway can be perilous. Exercising attentiveness and mindfulness is a sine qua non when driving in Norway. This is a good standard practice in any given situation whatever the season may be. It is worthwhile to stay cautious until you get the hang of driving here, especially if your trip is short enough that there is not much room to get used to it.

Changing to winter tires or making sure the car rental agency gave you a car with installed ones would help you navigate easier through the whole winter driving thing. A minimum of three-millimeter tread on winter tires is required by law. Studded tires and snow chains are also useful for extra pavement grip on icy roads and can be used from November to early April.

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

If you are used to driving in tropical countries and you want to experience snow for the first time in Norway, you may have a hard time coping up with the winter chills. Here are some tips for driving in Norway during the snow season.

  • Give a significant amount of time allowance for your intended road trip
  • Make sure you have winter tires installed
  • Regularly make stops for clearing out snow off your windshield and car plates
  • Check weather forecasts but be ready for sudden changes
  • Bring a flask of hot drink and some water
  • Bring thermal clothes and thick blankets
  • Bring ice scrapers, snow brushes, and old rags/cloths for clearing snow
  • Make sure you have orange warning triangles in case of road emergencies
  • Fully charge your mobile phones before starting your trip
  • Regularly go on brief road breaks especially when following a long route.

Things to Do in Norway

There are a million and one ways to enjoy your vacation in Norway. More so if you plan to stay there. You can apply for work and get the most of the Norwegian experience when traveling and driving in Norway. There are available driving jobs in Oslo, Norway you can apply for if you plan to stay awhile longer.

Drive as a Tourist

Tourists that will stay for 3 months or less can practically drive without having to worry about exchanging their licenses with Norwegian ones. It is just that the validity and restrictions of their native license must be compatible with the driving license privileges in Norway. There are stricter limits on driving age in Norway than in other countries such as the USA. So if you can drive there at 16, you have to wait 2 years to be able to drive legally in Norway.

Work as a Driver

There are a lot of available driving jobs in Oslo, Norway being the country’s capital. Other cities may also offer some job opportunities as well. Job opportunities for drivers in Norway offer a lot more than just being able to earn. Drivers for either a taxi, courier services, bus, or trucks in Norway will always have the wonderful

The Norwegian Public Roads Administration has laid out a guide for drivers to follow on how to get a driving license in Norway and to be able to get a driving job:

  • You should undergo a vision test then submit a vision and an overall health certification approved by a doctor before you can proceed with driving lessons
  • There is a certain number of driving hours that are required to be accomplished with a certified instructor
  • A new driver must undergo and pass both practical and written examinations before getting a license
  • A mandatory course about Slippery Driving or Glattkjøring is a driving simulation that is set up for practicing the correct maneuvering and driving reactions on icy roads. This is included in the driver’s education program in Norway
  • All driving trainees must have an L-Plate that is clearly seen at the back of the vehicle’s window. It can be printed out or bought at some selected gas station.

Work as a Travel Guide

Other than traveling to Norway or living there to experience all the beautiful sights that tourists get to see for free, you can also get paid for it. A lot of choices as to what kind of guiding job you may apply for are available like a mountain guide or Northern Lights guide. In general, a tour guide’s hourly wage is higher than any other job in terms of hospitality. You can find a lot of advertisements about guiding jobs on social media and online job platforms. The most important qualification is to be able to speak another language other than English or Norwegian.

Apply for Residency

If you fell in love with Norway and wish to settle in the country, you would need a permanent residence permit. This permit gives you a permanent right of residence so you can live and work in Norway. This permit also allows your family to be entitled to your residency. You’ll need to register your residency application via an online portal then make an appointment with a police office or the embassy. You should have your residency for at least 3 years to be able to apply for permanent residence.

Other Things to Do

Aside from residency and work permits, it’s also important to know if you can convert your driving license to a Norwegian driving license. Below are things you need to know.

How Do You Get a Driving License in Norway?

If you are carrying a foreign license that is eligible for exchange with a Norwegian license and you wish to do so, you must process your exchange immediately preferably within a year of registering as a Norwegian resident. If you wait too long, mandatory training with theoretical and practical driving tests will be required. You can check the NPRA for further information on how to get a driving license in Norway.

Can You Travel With a Foreign License When Driving in Norway?

You have 3 months of driving in Norway with a foreign license and the privilege to exchange it with a Norwegian license without any driving test within a year if it was issued from any EU/EEA country. It is because, as stated earlier, Norway is a part of the European Economic Area. Some non-EU/EEA countries share the same benefit while others do not. You’d have to check with your local driving license restrictions to verify.

Can You Exchange Your Native Driving License in Norway?

Take note that there are only certain countries that can exchange their foreign license for a Norwegian license. There are also deadlines or time limits for exchanging native licenses to that of Norway’s. There are also different requirements that you should look into if you wish to exchange your license. The following countries may exchange their foreign license for a Norwegian license:

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Hong Kong
  • Israel
  • Monaco
  • New Zealand
  • San Marino
  • South Korea
  • USA
  • Switzerland
  • Greenland
  • Japan

If your country is not listed above, then you would have to apply for a Norwegian license in the same way first-time drivers apply for their license in Norway.

How Long Does it Take to Drive Across Norway?

Observing a map of Norway, it is a pretty long country. There was a past misconception that Norway is a small country that you can drive around in a day. It’s probably because most of Northern Norway consists of mountainous regions that are far from civilization. But, these mountains, and especially the ones where you can see the Northern lights most clearly, are a part of Norway and are the very spots it boasts the most.

It would take you 26 hours to travel from Alta which is a municipality in the northernmost part of Norway to Kristiansand in southern Norway. Even flying would still take you about 7 hours so it is a long journey. Plus, driving routes would cross boundaries to Sweden then back to Norway

Top Destinations in Norway

The specially curated route for a scenic road trip through Norway includes 18 beautiful sites that offer the most spectacular views. The government has funded road conditioning and facility improvements along this route to smoothen out everything for the ultimate Norway vacation experience.

Viewpoints, rest and picnic areas, transit areas as well as other utility structures such as restrooms have all been incorporated into the improvement plans that will be carried out until 2023. Designed with modern architectural attributes, these enhanced man-made areas are envisioned to be free-standing tourist attractions adding up to the beauty of nature around it.

Troms og Finnmark

Troms og Finnmark

When the Northernmost area of Norway underwent regional reform, Troms og Finnmark was the resulting county as the former county of Finnmark and the city of Tromso were merged with the Tjeldsund municipality. It is the largest county by land area following the reform. It is now home to various fjords and wildlife as well as a few of the oldest ethnic groups that survived through the years.

Driving Directions:

Fly from Tromso to Vadso, Norway

Vadsø Airport

9800 Kiby, Norway

  • Head west on Fv325 toward E75 (290 m)
  • Turn right onto E75
  • 53.5 km
  • At the roundabout, take the 3rd exit onto E6
  • 26.4 km
  • Turn left
  • 270 m
  • Varangerfjorden

9840 Varangerbotn, Norway

Things To Do:

You can do and see a lot of things in Troms og Finnmark especially because this is the largest county in Norway.

1. Learn about the ethnic heritage in Varanger

Known as the land of wide horizons, Varanger is very different from the typical interspersed mountain-fjord view. It is the spot furthest from the capital, which consists of undulating hills and rocky coastline cliffs toward the sea and low-coastal beaches toward the Varanger Fjord. The sun rises at its peak here, an hour earlier before Oslo. The Nesseby church was built in 1858, projects from the landscape still intact even after WWII.

It has a multi-faceted landscape having small parts with the only real tundra in mainland Norway and pine forests along the Tana River. It is also multi-ethnic in heritage, having the Sami as the oldest ethnic group and the Kven people rooted in Finland dominating its population. Many people also spoke the Russenorsk pidgin owing to the history of trade between Arkhangelsk, Russia, and the cities of Vardø and Vadsø.

2. Watch wildlife in Havøysund

The Havøysund landscape seems utterly arid giving off the vibe that no one has ever traveled there before. The road is interestingly diverse and parts of it cross bleak rocky land adjacent to the view of the Arctic Ocean. Despite this, wildlife such as seagulls and reindeer still make their appearances. The road stops at a picturesque, fishing village emerging from the seemingly uninteresting scene taking tourists by surprise

3. Go on a hiking tour in Senja

The most distinctive spectacle in Senja is the view of the mountains falling steeply into the ocean. The narrow and winding roads are laced along the fjords with crystal clear, icy cold waters that are unnerving to swim in no matter how breathtakingly beautiful and inviting the beaches to look. A viewing platform at Bergsbotn allows you to look over the wonderful Bergsfjorden with its ocean backdrop.

Nordland

Nordland

Driving Directions:

Bodø Airport

Olav V gate, 8004 Bodø, Norway

  • Follow Riksveg 80/Rv80 to Follaveien/E6 in Fauske
    • 49 min (53.7 km)
  • Follow E6 to Rv85 in Hamarøy
    • 2 hr 14 min (163 km)
  • Turn left onto Rv85
    • 57 s (240 m)
  • Take the Bognes-Lødingen/Rv85 ferry
    • 1 hr 16 min (23.3 km)
  • Continue straight onto Rv85
    • 3 min (2.8 km)
  • Turn left onto E10
    • 15 min (17.5 km)
  • Continue on Rv85 to your destination in Bjørnskinn
    • 1 hr 13 min (84.7 km)
  • Bjørnskinn, Andoya, Norway

Things To Do:

The wildlife and natural peculiarities of Norway are especially abundant in Nordland. Check out all the possible activities to do in Nordland to maximize your Norwegian vacation and drive through one of the most beautiful regions of Norway.

1. Experience whale safari in Andøya

The road to Andøya follows wide tillage between the wide ocean and the uneven mountain peaks. You can taste cloudberries, visit bird cliffs, and watch seals and whales in the waters. Some exceptional features include the fishing village of Bleik, the Bukkekjerka rock formation, and the all-new public attraction Spaceship Aurora at the Andøya Space Center. Deep-sea fishing or whale safari is also commendable activity.

2. Learn about cod fishing in Lofoten

Lofoten is staggeringly beautiful whatever the season may be. The untamed islands of Norway are known for the small fishing villages and white beaches great for cod-fishing, kayaking or snorkeling. This causes the road to Lofoten to be so busy during peak season. But the Arctic winter can be as beautiful as summertime since it is the perfect time to see the Aurora Borealis.

3. Discover natural peculiarities in Helgelandskysten

The road following the coastal area changes advancing from the northern peaks to the fjords, then the mountains until the scenery softens with the view of the islands. Exploring four hundred kilometers of natural and cultural wonders will definitely have a resounding effect on you.

Many natural peculiarities can be found here such as the Saltstraumen strait having the strongest maelstrom in the world, Svartisen being Norway’s second-largest second largest glacier, Torghatten peak having a hole in the middle of the mountain, and the UNESCO-featured Vega Islands representing maintenance of sustainable living by eiderdown harvesting over the last 1,500 years

More og Tromsdal

More og Tromsdal

The western Norway county of More og Tromsdal is composed of 3 districts which are Nordmore, Romsdal, and Sunnmore. Each of these parts is unique in its own way so it will be really exciting to explore these areas when you visit Norway. It may have the characteristic rugged terrain of Norway due to the mountain and valley regions but it makes the whole experience all the more tasteful. It is home to the world-famous UNESCO hailed Geirangerfjord.

Driving Directions:

Tromsø Airport

Flyplassvegen 31, 9016 Tromsø, Norway

  • Follow Fv862 to Fylkesvei 862/E8
    • 47 s (650 m)
  • Follow E8 to Bognes - Skarberget/E6 in Narvik
    • 4 hr 33 min (312 km)
  • Take the Bognes - Skarberget/E6 ferry
    • 39 min (7.8 km)
  • Follow E6 to Halsa-Kanestraum/E39 in Halsa
    • 12 hr 59 min (953 km)
  • Take the Halsa-Kanestraum/E39 ferry
    • 33 min (5.5 km)
  • Follow E39 to Storlandsvegen in Gjemnes
    • 21 min (23.5 km)
  • Follow Storlandsvegen and Fv279 to Fv64 in Hustadvika
    • 34 min (37.1 km)
  • Atlantic Ocean Rd, Vevang, Norway

Things To Do:

Whether it be any season, this amazing part of Norway is nothing short of wonders. Discover the beauty of this county through the destinations and activities like the ones below:

1. Drive through the Atlantic road in Atlanterhavsvegen

The Atlantic Road truly echoes the ocean, considering the bond it has with the citizens. For centuries, the ocean has been the most important transport route, income source, and wellspring of recreation. Winter storms and summer sunshine are both felt in this area.

2. Cross the Storseisundet Bridge

This scenic road is usually included in lists of the world’s most beautiful road trips. This bridge is the longest of the eight bridges making up The Atlantic Road.

3. Find hairpin roads in Geiranger - Trollstigen

Taking on this scenic route will give you the chance to experience the best-known fjord in the world – the Geirangerfjord which is listed as UNESCO’s World Heritage site. The roads that look like eleven hairpin bends of Trollstigen, rich valleys of a strawberry plantation, and calm sheer mountains can be seen from the vantage points in Ørnesvingen, Flydalsjuvet gorge, and Gudbrandsjuvet gorge.

Vestland

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

Driving Directions

Oslo Airport

Edvard Munchs veg, 2061 Gardermoen, Norway

  • Take Lufthavnvegen to E16. Take exit 2 from Lufthavnvegen
    • 4 min (2.6 km)
  • Follow E16 to Slettmovegen in Nannestad. Take the exit toward Vollaugmoen/Slettmoen from E16
    • 12 min (12.7 km)
  • Follow Gamle Hadelandsveg, Fv23 and Oppdalslinna to E16 in Roa
    • 34 min (29.1 km)
  • Continue on E16. Take Rv7 to Teigdalsvegen in Voss
    • 5 hr 20 min (356 km)
  • Continue on Teigdalsvegen. Take Brekkhusfjellet to Fv344 in Vaksdal kommune
    • 35 min (24.6 km)
  • Vestland, Norway

Things To Do:

Since Bergen is the second biggest city in Norway, it has a lot of known shopping and tourist spots that you will surely enjoy. There is a great range of outdoor adventure activities for every adventurous heart that can be experienced like mountain hiking, kayaking, and spotting wildlife

1. Find amazing stone masonry in Gamle Strynefjellsvegen

This scenic route stretching from Western to Southeastern Norway is a landmark on its own. Ancient stone masonry with guard stones manually constructed toward the end of the 19th century is evidence of excellent workmanship. Viewpoints at the Øvstefossen and Videfossen have magnificent waterfalls. You can go kayaking through mountain tarns and enjoy the glowing colors, especially in Autumn.

2. Marvel at a real-life painting in Rondane

The vibe and view of the famous 1914 painting “Winter's Night in Rondane” by Harald Sohlberg are recreated at the curving Sohlbergplassen viewing platform in Atnsjøen. You can observe Rondane from the same vantage depicted in the painting. The area is great for hiking and offers easy terrain for beginners and children. You can continue on the road to take you to the Rondane National Park.

Hike mountains in Sognefjellet

From Bøverdalen which has lush meadows and landscapes, the road traverses the mountain up to the summit at 1,434 meters, making it northern Europe’s highest mountain pass. The landscape continuously changes down towards the Sognefjord mountain region, to where the Hurrungane massif towers up then the mountains suddenly opens up again.

At the Mefjellet stop, you will find Knut Wold’s stone sculpture. There are many hiking options in the Jotunheimen mountains. Lom has become a culinary hub where you can eat gourmet meals with delicious local products. The Lom Stave Church is worth a visit and is a great place to start or end your trip with.

4. Rest at mountain farms in Valdresflya

The open landscape, rest areas, and artworks blend into each other forming a compound picture instead of presenting individualities one at a time. You can stop almost anywhere and go hiking in the mountains. Rjupa and Vargbakkene are purposefully adapted stops but you can also take a break from driving in summer mountain farms where you can buy traditionally produced butter, sour cream, and cheese.

5. Discover the secret of Gaularfjellet

For most people, Gaularfjellet is Norway’s best-kept secret. But if you want to experience the scenery yourself, you will be rewarded with an adventure along the road across Gaular, the mountain between Dragsvik and the Sognefjord. At the Utsikten rest area, you can observe the panoramic mountains and valleys.

The road follows the protected Gaularvassdraget watercourse, which offers wild rapids and 29 characteristic waterfalls. It is the longest lowland waterway. You can walk along a continuous, almost-25-km “waterfall path” that was established from Nystølen to Eldal or walk over the flexible steel bridge at Likholefossen waterfall.

Rogaland

Rogaland

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.

Driving Directions

Stavanger Airport

Flyplassvegen 230, 4055 Sola, Norway

  • Take Flyplassvegen to Solasplitten/Rv509
    • 3 min (2.0 km)
  • Take E39 and Ryfast Tunnel to Fiskåvegen in Tau
    • 31 min (34.5 km)
  • Follow Fiskåvegen to Koladalen in Fiskå
    • 11 min (9.3 km)
  • Ryfylke, Norway

Things To Do:

Aside from also being one of the fjord areas in Norway, Rogaland houses numerous beaches and islands. Lysefjord is the most famous fjord in the area while Preikestolen is its most visited attraction.

1. Be enchanted by the pulpit rock in Ryfylke

This long and contrasting expanse of the road with views of high arid mountains, flourishing hillsides, and deep fjords are definitely worth your while when you arrive and view the stony, forthright Saudafjellet mountain, the Svandalfossen waterfall, and the enchanting Lysefjorden. Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock) and the Kjerag boulder with Lysefjorden as its backdrop are two famous photo-op spots

2. Relax and surf in Jæren

The 40 kilometers long coastal area of Jæren with its beaches is beautiful in whatever weather. The scenic route of Jæren goes from Ogna (north of Egersund) to Bore. The road may seem monotonous at first which looks like any other regular road. But driving through it will give you a keener sense of the subtleties of the region.

3. Walk along Sola Beach

You can either rent out a cabin to relax, go surfing, then maybe take an evening walk along the beach

References:

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