Public transport can be a cheaper and more environmentally friendly way of travelling. Unfortunately, Norway isn’t ideal to travel using only public transport.
Car rental in Norway is a popular choice because it is really the only way you can see all the hidden gems and venture off into the countryside as and when you wish. Driving in Norway is spectacular, luckily. The scenery and the views are incredible, the roads aren’t too busy and the beautiful destinations are plentiful.
Public transport in Norway is actually very expensive too, so renting a car may not be the worst financial decision you make on your holiday. Not to mention the fact that if you travel to see the Northern Lights, you will likely go in the winter (though its worth checking the weather forecast beforehand). Waiting around for trains at night when it is cold is not ideal for a relaxing holiday.
Best time to go to Norway
There is no objective answer to when the best time to visit, but there are certainly better times than others depending on what you would like to see and do. If you think you’ll be driving late into the night and would prefer it to be as light as possible, then June, July and August offer the longest days. This can be a beautiful experience, to go on hikes and cruise around late into the night and see the midnight sun.
May and September are perhaps more picturesque times of the year when there are lots of colours (May being blossom time). The temperatures will be mild and there will be fewer tourists during these times. However, if you’ve come to see the Northern Lights or go skiing, then winter time will be your best bet. It may be safer to drive without the ice and in the long summer nights, but this is ultimately down to personal preference.
Where to visit
Below is a rough 10 day itinerary for a road trip in Norway. This certainly isn’t the only way you can travel around and many people have different preferences. However, the different days that touch shoulders on this plan will take into account geographic proximity, meaning you can take bits that you like the sound of and add in your own replacements.
Day 1: Oslo
When flying to Norway, you will most likely arrive in Oslo. The airport is easy to navigate and it should be easy to find a car to rent. Cars will likely be manual and you don’t necessarily need a 4x4 on Norway’s roads. The first day you will likely want to chill out after your long-haul flight and so checking into a hotel when you arrive is a good idea.
Day 2: Oslo
Oslo is the capital of Norway and is a beautiful city. Although you will no doubt be looking forward to those long countryside drives, this will be a good time to see some tourist city sights.
Day 3: Kristiansand
When in Kristiansand, there are several zoos and amusement parks to enjoy. Be sure to check out the boardwalk called Strandpromenaden too. You can also enjoy the incredible sunrise and sunsets as you face the south of the whole globe.
Day 4: Manafossen
You have to see some natural wonders when in Norway, and Manafossen is home to an incredible waterfall. It's also the tallest mountain in Rogaland (90m).
Day 5: Stavanger
Stavanger is the third largest Norweigen city and home to its famous 12th century cathedral. Stavanger is rich in culture and history so be sure to check out a museum when here.
Day 6: Enjoy the west coast
The drive between Stavenger and Bergen is just over 200 km. It takes a while, though, because of the islands and coastline. Take your time going across and be sure to check out Haugesund and Leirvik along the way.
Day 7: Bergen
Bergen is a mountainous city on the southwest of Norway. It is known for its colourful wooden homes and has many great hiking trails and gorgeous views.
Day 8: Bergen
Two days in this city (it’s the second largest in Norway) is recommended. Driving to the top of some mountains to enjoy the landscape is an amazing experience.
Day 9: Hardangervidda National Park
Hardangervidda is the largest national park in Norway and an absolute must-see. The park is over 3400 km2 and has some incredible wildlife. You can either camp the night or drive towards Oslo in preparation for the flight.
Day 10: Drammen
Drammen is a little over 40km away from Oslo’s airport. Assuming the flight is in the evening, the port city of Drammen can certainly be explored for a few hours before the end of you vacation.
This plan was based on the south of Norway which isn’t too intensive in its driving hours. If you venture up north, be sure to check out Tromso which has arguably the best views of the Northern Lights.