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Living in Norway: Do you need a car if you live in Oslo? 

Frazer Norwell
Frazer Norwell - [email protected] • 9 Nov, 2022 Updated Wed 9 Nov 2022 11:05 CEST
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If you are weighing up whether you need a car or not in Oslo, this might help you decide. Pictured is a row of rental bikes in Oslo. Photo by Roar Skotte on Unsplash

Moving to the Norwegian capital and wondering whether you'll need a motor to help you get around? Look no further. 

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For many, the car is the epitome of transportation freedom. Take any journey anywhere, whenever you want. 

However, while many may argue that there aren't too many feelings better than hitting the open road, driving in cities can be monotonous, stressful and draining. 

So, when it comes to the Norwegian capital of Oslo, will you be reliant on a car to get around, or are there better ways to do things? 

Why you won't need a car

Thanks in part to the fantastic public transportation system, the small size of the city and the abundance of electric scooters and rental bikes dotted about, there may not be a need for a car to get around Oslo. 

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Even if you like venturing into forests and wilderness for camping, you can reach all of the city's best nature spots via public transport. 

Additionally, public transport in Oslo runs throughout the day, and some of the quieter suburbs still boast robust transport options to get you into the town centre pronto. 

From personal experience, I have never really needed a car to get around Oslo or its surrounding areas. This is in stark contrast to when I lived in a rural mountain village where life without a car would pose a significant challenge. 

I have had the safety net of having access to a car if needed. However, it has only been needed twice, and one of those times was more out of laziness than a real need

Back to public transport. One downside of public transportation in Oslo is that it is amongst the most expensive in the world ( a monthly ticket costs 814 kroner). 

READ MORE: The downsides of Oslo you should be aware of before moving there

However, even then, it is hard to imagine the cost of running a car for a month to be any cheaper, thanks to high fuel prices, high energy prices (if you are considering going electric), costly parking and tolls

Why you might need a car

As outlined above, many people moving to Oslo probably won't need a car to get around the city, especially if they work there too. 

However, a car may prove quicker and more practical than public transport if your work is located outside the city. 

Furthermore, quite a bit will depend on your circumstances. If you enjoy a super active lifestyle and have a family, you may need a car to haul you and your gear around. While it's relatively easy for a couple to take camping gear for one or two nights on public transport to a nearby nature spot, it would be significantly more challenging for a family with small children. 

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Depending on your and your family's hobbies, you may also need a car to move larger equipment for the family, like skis and kayaks. Your hobbies may also require you to venture outside Oslo and head to much more rural locations. 

Another personal circumstance will also depend on whether you or a partner has family scattered over different parts of the country that you visit regularly. Flying, trains, and buses are all options, but these connections may not get you close enough to your desired location. 

READ ALSO: Six key things to know about buying a used car in Norway

What to do if you need a car temporarily

Say you couldn't quite justify running a car in Oslo full-time, but there would be a few occasions a year when you need access to a vehicle then there are a few options available to you. 

First up, if you have any close friends or family in Oslo, you could ask them to see if you could borrow their car. As the car, rather than the driver, is insured, there should be little red tape stopping you from using their car for a few hours

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Another alternative is a car borrowing service. This differs ever so slightly from traditional rental services, as you could choose to pay for the car per hour- for example, if you needed to move something across the city- or fancied a day trip somewhere. Getaround (formerly Nabobil) is an example of one such service which operates in Oslo. The non-profit firm Bilkollektivet is also an option. 

Then there is the traditional hire car service. Using one of these is much more costly for just a day, but if you plan to use a car for a few days, this may be the way to go. 

And finally, there are taxis. Taxis are very expensive in Oslo, with a journey of around 30 kilometres or 30 minutes setting one back 850-1,000 kroner. Although, this may be the quickest option if you are in a rush. In Oslo, you can use the Vy app to get multiple quotes from taxi firms so you can select the best offer. 

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Frazer Norwell 2022/11/09 11:05

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