Driving is a great way to take in Norway’s wonderful scenery and roads are well maintained and congestion-free. Norwegians are known for their adherence to rules and driving is no exception –flouting of the strict traffic laws is punished by heavy fines. There are few motorways outside Oslo and most of the country is connected by a series of dual carriageways. Speed limits are 110 km/h (70mph) on some motorways and dual carriageways but are restricted to 80km/h (50mph) on the majority of roads. In built up areas the speed limit is 50km/h (30mph) but can be as low as 30km/h (20 mph), so it’s a good idea to always be aware of road signs indicating the speed limit where you are.
Drivers from EU/EEA countries are permitted to drive in Norway without exchanging their licence. Those from outside the EU must exchange their licence by taking a practical exam after a year’s residency in the country.
It has been said that taking a taxi in Norway is one of the world’s most expensive ways to travel. Taxis are privately operated and can charge what they like. For example, tourists have reported paying NOK 1000 (£92) for a 25km (15 mile) journey in Oslo. To cut costs, avoid taxis altogether and take advantage of Norway’s efficient, and cheaper, bus and train network.
Buses and coaches
Norway has an excellent public bus network which connects all cities and rural areas, offering a cheap way to travel. You can buy your ticket on board or purchase one-day or weekly passes from all bus and train stations. Inter-city coaches are also a comfortable and cheap way of getting around. Coaches are operated by private companies, the largest being Nor-way bussekspressen, which covers most of the country. Discounted tickets can be bought in advance online or at bus stations.
Norway has around 3,000 km of railway track, stretching from Oslo in the south up to above the Arctic Circle in the north. Norwegian State Railways (NSB) operate the modern train infrastructure, which includes efficient local trains as well as fast trains with sleeper compartments connecting all Norwegian cities and beyond to neighbouring countries.
Many train journeys offer breathtaking views of the Norwegian scenery. These include the 371 km (231 mile) Bergensbanen between Oslo and Bergen, which has been voted one of the best train rides in the world.
Trams and light rail
Oslo is the only city in Norway which has a metro system – known locally as the ‘T-Banen’ – which consists of six lines and 100 stations. The cities of Oslo, Bergen and Trondheim all have light rail/tram networks offering an efficient and cheap way to get around. Tickets for all metro and light rail networks can be purchased in railway and bus stations, where you can also buy discounted travel cards for use on all public transport in each city.
There are 50 passenger airports in Norway, the largest and busiest being Oslo International Airport, which connects the country with hundreds of destinations around the world. Domestic air travel is well served, even in the most remote areas, however it is expensive and those hoping for a cheaper journey should utilise the excellent train network instead. The national carrier is Norwegian with SAS and Wideroe also operating domestic and international flights from Oslo.
Other ways to get around
Norwegians are a seafaring people and, in a country where some fjords make car travel impossible, travelling by boat is a necessity rather than a choice. Car ferries and undersea tunnels carry passengers where roads cannot go and many people have to travel to work by ferry. A fantastic way to see Norway is to take a cruise with Hurtigruten, which operates ferries and steamers up and down the stunning coastline, offering glimpses of the elusive Aurora Borealis along the way.