COMPARE: What is the best way to travel around Norway
Before travelling in Norway it would be wise to figure out what's the best form of transport to get you to your destination. The Local has compiled a list of options and tips that can be extremely useful before you begin your adventure.
First, consider where in Norway you will be travelling. If you're planning on exploring the magnificent islands of Lofoten in Northern Norway, for example, you're going to want to rent a car. Public transportation isn't as established there as it is in other parts of the country. But if you want to visit the big cities and smaller towns further south, your transit options become more ample.
Another thing worth checking before you travel is the local restrictions in the part of Norway you are travelling to. Each of Norway's municipalities has the power to introduce their own coronavirus measures and policy on matters such as facemasks and whether or not alcohol can be served in hospitality, so it's always worth reading up on the rules before you go.
Every city and town in Norway has a bus service. Vy (formerly NSB) is the national Norwegian railway company that primarily provides train services as well as buses and taxis. Norway has moved into the digital age, and most tickets can be purchased and validated at the beginning of your trip through your phone. It would be helpful to download the Vy app for the most convenient way to buy tickets.
In addition to purchasing tickets, the app will also give you maps and updated departure and arrival information.
The best price for bus and train tickets is usually in advance. Tickets are available for sale up to 90 days in advance.
If you're travelling with a lot of luggage or a pet, you can look here for the guidelines.
While travelling by bus may be one of the cheapest options, you can drop this idea from your plans if you are prone to car sickness. The roads in Norway are notoriously windy, so don't make yourself queasy to save a few kroner.
Norway has close to 50 airports that operate for public flights scattered around the country. There are quite a few airlines to choose from, but the three largest domestic airlines are SAS, Norwegian, and Widerøe.
The quickest way to get from the southern parts of Norway to the northern regions is by plane. These routes fill up quickly during the summertime. So it would be wise to book plane tickets critical to your journey in advance if you are visiting during the warmer months.
Flying around the country may be convenient, but it is certainly not the cheapest way to see Norway. A plane ticket between the country's capital Oslo to the western hub of Bergen can cost over twice as much as a train or bus ticket would.
A train or bus ticket from Oslo to the southern city of Kristiansand costs on average 500 kroner (50 euro). In contrast, a plane ticket on the same day can set you back 2200 (220 euro).
Flying to your destination or between destinations may be the most time-saving option. But there are many locals and previous visitors who recommend using a good part of their holiday journeying between their destinations. As previously noted, Norway is a beautiful country. Being a spectator of its abundant varieties of nature can make the extra hours on the road feel like a bonus.
If you are starting your journey in Oslo and arriving by plane to Gardermoen airport, then the easiest, most affordable, and quickest way you can make it to the city centre is by train.
There is a designated flytog, or "airport train" that will take you directly to and from the airport. But if you want to save money, you can take the Vy train for almost half the price. A single adult ticket on the airport train costs 204 kroner (nearly 21 euro). In comparison, a single adult ticket on a Vy train costs 110 kroner (11 euro). The only difference is that it will take you, on average, five minutes longer to get to the city centre.
In addition to being a more cost-friendly price, a Vy ticket from the airport to Oslo S is valid for 2 hours and 30 minutes and works on any of the public transportation options in Oslo.
Trains are also an option to travel between the bigger cities in Norway. The famous Bergensbanen is a train that runs almost daily between the cities of Oslo and Bergen. It takes anywhere between 6 to 8 hours and is often heralded as one of Norway's most beautiful train trips. It is a spectacularly scenic route and runs through the highlands passing through Hardangervidda National Park, onto the Hardangervidda plateau, Europe's largest high mountain plateau.
Most of the tickets for the trains are dynamic, which means that the price can go up and down depending on the capacity and demand. Tickets for Bergensbanen vary between 300 kroner and just north of 1000 kroner depending on what departure time you choose.
Trains tickets are usually within a similar price range as bus tickets. However, trains in Norway are notoriously quicker and more comfortable than taking the same route by bus.
Car hire services
Hiring a car might be the best option if you are travelling with young children, want more flexibility, or are visiting the northern parts of Norway.
While Norway allows international drivers with a valid license to legally drive on the roads for three months starting from the day you arrived, all drivers must obey Norwegian road laws as well as age restrictions.
Currently, in Norway, the average cost of a car hire per day is 37 euro per day. Rental car prices surge dramatically during the holidays and summer months, so you might also want to secure a car at least a few weeks prior to your trip.
Norway has a substantial amount of passenger and car ferries to travel from city to city by ship. The long coastline allows visitors and residents to travel around with the popular ferry ship company, Hurtigruten. Hurtigruten is responsible for transporting passengers both domestically between 30 ports and internationally as well.
Taking the ferry becomes the only travel option at times if you want to visit the many islands of Lofoten. It also becomes the most scenic choice if you are visiting the famous fjords like Geirangerfjord, Nærøyfjord, the Hardangerfjord, and Nordfjord on the western side of the country.
Popular routes such as Bergen to Kirkenes cost around 9400 kroner (940 euro) with meals included.
Express trips on a ferry from Bodø til Svolvær, for example, cost between 600 to 850 kroner (60 to 85 euro).
Hurtigruten's steamers used for express routes within Norway are by no means luxurious. But they are a comfortable way to travel and offer clean facilities, small meals and snacks, and a great view.
Useful Vocabulary and links
avgang/ankomst - departure/arrival
flyplassen - airport
dagstur - a day-long trip
nattbuss - a bus running its scheduled hours through the night
billett - ticket
forsinkelse - delay
Download the Vy app here.
Hurtigruten's routes can be found here.
If you're curious about the views from the famous Bergenbanen line, check out a preview here.