What are the specifics of a car rental in Norway? How to save with a budget car hire and what are the means of public transport in Norway?
To rent a car in Norway and go along the picturesque landscapes is a great idea, though mostly for a summer holiday. Winter trip by car may be uncomfortable: it’s dark beyond the Arctic Circle, some mountain roads are closed, many hotels and campsites either, it is cold and windy. So, if you decide on a winter trip to Norway, it is better to choose public transport. Let's see how things are going with both ways of travelling over the Nordic country.
Roads in Norway
In general, there is no much difference in Norwegian traffic code and arrangement from international standards; still, there are some specifics.
- Among the main features of Norway roads is their winding character. You should treat the warning signs with the utmost seriousness.
- Most of the roads in the country are free; still there are toll parts of the roads – about 40. You have to pay to go through some tunnels and bridges; there are barriers and pay points at every toll station.
- On country roads the maximum speed shall be 80 km / h, and in the city – 50 km / h. Moreover, you should remember that speed limits may change several times on your way, so you need to watch the signs very carefully.
- Penalties for breaking the rules are strong enough. Thus, speeding fine ranges from EUR 75 to 1,100. It is higher than anywhere else in Europe, and even if your speed was only 1 km above permitted you will have to pay. Other penalties: if you fail to use seatbelts – EUR 92; talking on the phone without a hands free device – EUR 160, driving without lower beam – EUR 250; violation the rules of kids’ transportation – EUR 92.
- Renting a car, make sure it is equipped with everything you may in case of emergency: first aid kit, warning triangle, a fire extinguisher, and a reflective vest. The use of radar guns is prohibited in Norway.
- There are many roundabouts in Norway and usual junctions are very rare. The priority grade belongs to the drivers going by the roundabout.
- Foreign drivers must have a driver's license of international standard, otherwise driving is illegal.
Local drivers drive calm, they accurately observe all traffic rules, so feel free to rent a car and go on an exciting journey over Norway.
Car rental in Norway
In Norwegian car rental is called ‘leie en bil’. It is better to think over a round trip as renting a car in one city and passing it in another is much more expensive (extra charge for one way); moreover, if you want to leave the car in a neighboring country, the rate will be even higher. Minimum extra charge for one way within Norway is EUR400, with the departure to Finland, for instance, is EUR700.
You can rent a car in an international company via its web-site: Budget, Avis, Hertz, Holidayautos, Europcar, Auto Europe, Sixt, as well as, on site of one of the booking operators: Scandinavian Car Rental, TravelJigsaw, Economy Car Rentals, Nova Car Hire, Instant Cars. But remember that in the second case you may see not all costs (e.g., at the rental office you may have to pay extra for a full tank of gasoline – about EUR80).
Average rental car prices
|Rental Company (Oslo, city center)||Price per week, in euro (4-5 door, VW Golf or similar)|
The cost of a car rental in Norway commonly includes unlimited mileage, insurance against damage with a deductible amount of about 1,000 Euros (CDW – Collision Damage Weaver), insurance against theft with the same franchise. Additional payments: insurance with less deductible amount or even without it, child seat, ski rack, GPS-navigator. Be prepared that about EUR 1,000 will be blocked on your card as a car rental deposit.
Still, there are opportunities for a budget car hire in Norway:
- to save money, the car should be booked in advance, several weeks or even months before the trip. Rental centers in Norway raise prices, relying on the dynamics of internal logistics – the number of the remaining cars on the certain period;
- it is beneficial to rent a car for a few people, thus, your expenses can be significantly reduced;
- diesel car rental often is cheaper because diesel is cheaper than gasoline.
Norway car rental tips
To rent a car a driver must be at least 19 years old (age limits vary depending on a car category) and you should have experience of driving at least a year. Drivers younger 25 may have to pay an additional fee (about EUR 12 per day). Seat belts are mandatory, as well as child safety seats for passengers up to 4 years – these rules are typical of many European countries, with slight variations. What is so special waiting for the drivers who rent a car in Norway?
- Going on a trip to Norway in winter, remember that many roads in the mountains are closed (usually from November to May). Moreover, in bad weather, some parts of the mountain roads can be partially closed.
- At a gas station you will find 95 and 98 unleaded gasoline and diesel fuel, leaded gasoline is not permitted for sale. Prices across the country may vary. In the mountainous and remote areas the distance between gas stations can be great.
- Like almost everywhere in Europe, in Norway you must pay for parking on city streets on weekdays during business hours. Usually you can pay via P-machine. You should put parking ticket, which the machine gives, under the windshield. Parking meters are distinguished by color: Yellow one allows parking for an hour, Gray – for 2 hours, Brown – for 3.
- Be sure to carefully inspect the car before you sign documents. Before the departure, check if there any defects and in case there are, be sure that they are marked in your rental card.
Before you travel, it is better to carefully plan your route, purchase a road map (the best is with main attractions) and mark all the places you are interested in, or use the GPS-navigator.
Public transportation in Norway
If you prefer public transport, then in Norway, there are lots of possibilities: trains, busses, ferries, air service – everything is at your service. Planes fly almost anywhere, but the rate is quite high. Though it is obvious that an air travel is the most comfortable and, of course, the fastest way to get anywhere.
The railway network covers many areas of the country, with the exception of fjords. After purchasing a monthly pass to the Norway railways, you will be to travel all over Scandinavia. There is no destination and arrival time in the pass, and it is geared for an unlimited number of trips, giving an opportunity to choose your itinerary.
Sea transport is also very popular in Norway. Ferries go off the coast of Bergen to Kirkenes and much further north to the Russian border. Fjord areas are served by a huge number of ferries. Usually, the voyage takes from 10 minutes to 2 hours. The most popular Norway company for sea voyages is Hurtigruten.
Bus service is well-developed and connects all major cities in the country even with the small settlements. In Norway, there is a number of regional and inter-regional bus companies which routes, fares and schedules are connected to a single reservation system. The bus service between the mainland and settlements on the islands is carried out in cooperation with ferry companies. In this case, the cost of the sea crossing is already included in the bus ticket price. Rates are relatively high, but, as in the case of trains and planes, there are frequent promotions and special offers. In addition, you can buy a special pass for 3, 7 or 21 days that allows travelling unlimited across the country.
Another travel option in Norway is hitchhiking. A hitchhiker should chose larger roads, but it is prohibited to thumb up your way on highways, even just walking there is not recommended – you should wait for a car at the bus stops, for example. Try to avoid the highways and major cities (of course, if they are not your goal), because it is quite difficult to leave them hitchhiking. Single travelers without big backpacks have more chances to catch a car.
Whichever means of transportation you choose to travel across Norway, the trip promises to be fun and memorable, because even some of the roads in this northern country are attractions themselves.