About Norway (NO)
The westernmost of Scandinavian countries, Norway as a travel destination is known for its intricate and myriad system of fjords, islands, and inlets spanning its west coast from the North Sea into the Arctic Ocean.
Home to spectacular visions of mountains rising dramatically from the sea, Norway is one of the most photogenic countries in the world. With the bulk of its population concentrated around the coastline of the southern peninsula, the cities of Oslo and Bergen serve as international entry points to a vast wilderness of pristine beauty found in Northern Norway. One of the great things about Norway is the sense of order and sophistication prevalent throughout the country, even in the remote northern region, notably in the city of Tromsø — a popular destination for viewing the Northern Lights.
Getting around Norway by car hire isn’t terribly difficult once you understand a couple of main points. First of all, outside of the main urban areas, the land is rugged wilderness with few signs of civilization. Next, roads will be in variable condition, and thus, you certainly won’t be exceeding any speed limits on rural routes under the midnight sun. And finally, driving in Norway is nothing if not significantly more expensive than what you may be used to. For example, fuel prices are consistently the highest in Europe — followed very closely by the Netherlands.
Given the distances involved, public transportation is understandably time-consuming and not an ideal way to explore Norway by any stretch of imagination. The best way to navigate Norway is to rent a car and enjoy the independence of traveling on your own timetable. Just bear in mind that travel times between distant attractions will average 70 km/h — in ideal conditions. And no conversation about driving in Norway could be complete without a word on tunnels — of which there are thousands, from 1 to 24 km in length, sometimes one after the other. The abrupt changes of scenery can be distracting, so a good sense of road awareness is necessary for safe travel.
Choosing your car
While it may be a challenge to get a genuinely cheap car rental in Norway, you will have a tremendous variety of vehicle types to choose from — thanks to Avis, Enterprise, Europcar, Hertz, Sixt, and Thrifty. From compact and economy sedans to 7-12 seater minivans, you’ll find a wide range of vehicles in between: standard, intermediate, and fullsize sedans, estate wagons and more. However, all-wheel drive SUVs are the smart and obvious choice for driving in Norway.
Tips and advice for renting a car in Norway
It’s possible to drive from Norway to Sweden, Finland, and/or Russia, but check with your car rental provider about border crossing restrictions, and do your homework about necessary visas, where applicable.
Fuel stations are predictably isolated in rural areas, and even some developed villages don’t have road services.
The majority of Norway car rentals have manual transmission. Book well in advance if you need to reserve a car with automatic.
Weather conditions are notoriously unpredictable in Norway. For remote driving, it’s recommended to prepare an emergency kit containing food, water, and blankets, in addition to the standard tools such as warning flares found in a car hire.
The bulk of toll roads in Norway are electronic-only AutoPass lanes.
Most road surfaces in Norway are marked with lines that indicate direction of travel. Roads with a white line are one-way lanes in the same direction. Yellow lines mean the traffic flows in opposite directions. A large number of rural routes don’t have any line at all.