Campervan Rental Norway
Travelling by campervan is an amazing way to get up close and personal with Norway’s natural beauty. From dramatic fjords and towering mountains to the magical Northern Lights, this Scandinavian country is a nature-lovers dream, while also being incredibly well set up for travelling by road. Here is everything you need to know about travelling Norway by campervan.
Related Article – 10 Days In Norway | The Ultimate Roadtrip Itinerary.
Norway by Campervan: The Essentials
Most companies will not allow drivers under the age of 21 to hire a campervan, although there are some exceptions, while others will only hire vehicles to drivers over the age of 25. Of course, drivers must also hold a valid licence, which they are usually required to have held for a minimum of one year and must be presented at the time of rental.
Driving a Campervan in Norway
There are several driving rules that you must abide by in Norway. In the daytime it is compulsory to use dipped headlights no matter the conditions. You are also required to carry a warning triangle and it is highly recommended that visitors carry reflective jackets. If there is snow or ice on the roads, winter tyres or snow chains must be used, otherwise you can expect a hefty fine. Your campervan will likely be checked near the border, and if you are travelling in winter and don’t have either, you will be asked to purchase some or turn back around.
Speed limits are generally low at 80km (or 50 miles) an hour for most roads. In combination with a lot of narrow and winding routes, it’s a good idea to allow for additional time in your Norway trip itinerary.
AutoPASS is the name of the Norwegian toll system, with around 190 toll stations located across the country. There are few manned toll booths, with most being automated, and you simply drive through as a camera captures your registration.
If you hire your campervan in Norway, the rental company will have registered the vehicle with AutoPASS and your charges will be added to your final bill unless agreed otherwise.
One thing to bear in mind is that travelling Norway by campervan is significantly more expensive than in most other European countries. While campsite and petrol prices are on par with other destinations, groceries, alcohol, dining out and activities come with a much higher price tag. To ensure you get the most out of your trip, it’s highly recommended to come up with a sensible budget before you go and if you would like, take some dried and canned foods with you.
Best Time to Explore Norway by Campervan
As it spans such a large area, the best time to travel Norway by campervan largely depends on where you want to go. Broadly speaking, however, the spring and summer months are an ideal time to visit. Outside of the cities Norway is rarely, if ever overcrowded, and even the most popular routes leave more than enough room for everyone. If you are stopping off in any cities like Oslo or Bergen, you might prefer to visit during the shoulder seasons of spring and autumn when there will be fewer tourists milling around.
If you are planning on driving through northern Norway in particular, this is best avoided in the winter months. Depending on how far north you go, days can be incredibly short with only a few hours of sunlight, and many roads will be closed.
Best Campervan Destinations in Norway
Norway is a vast and largely remote country, with a huge 1000 square miles of it covered in glaciers. Depending on which part of Norway you go to, there can be long drives between towns where there’s little in the way of sights and attractions. Covering everything you want to see in one trip could be an ambitious task. Depending on the length of your stay, you might prefer to pick a specific region to explore. Here are some of the most popular routes and regions.
The Lofoten Islands
Far above the Arctic Circle and flanked by the turbulent Norwegian Sea, the Lofoten Islands offer a picture-perfect vision of Norway. There is untamed beauty at every turn, with awe-inspiring landscapes dotted with idyllic fishing villages and vast sandy beaches.
A trip to Lofoten also gives you the best chance of seeing the Northern Lights in all their glory. This incredible natural spectacle is a common occurrence in Lofoten between October and early March, but in the right location with the right conditions, you can even see them as early as August. If you are visiting during summer you’ll also experience the strange phenomenon of the midnight sun, where for months at a time the sun never dips below the horizon.
The Atlantic Road
Hailed by some as one of the best road trips in the world, the Atlantic Road runs between Kristiansund and Bud along the west side of the country. This unique road curves and winds across the coastline, linking tiny islands and communes to the mainland. It has been designated National Tourist Route status, with a number of viewpoints along the way to take in the incredible landscapes. Combining scenery, culture and history, there’s a reason why this incredible road was dubbed ‘the Norwegian Construction of the Century’.
If you want to see Norway’s world-famous fjords first-hand, Hardanger is the route for you. Most notable is the Hardangerfjord itself, a 179 km long waterway that is the fourth largest fjord in the world. The Hardanger route combines nature and heritage, where along with fjords and impressive waterfalls you’ll find rich handicraft and art traditions in its various towns and villages. Plus, in the south of the country, it makes for a relatively easy drive over from Oslo or Bergen.
The Trollstigen Pass
Not for the faint of heart, the Trollstigen Pass is a dramatic mountainous route that takes you up to 2,800 feet above sea level. Hairpin bends show Norwegian nature at its most powerful, offering dizzying views of the land below. The route from Geiranger through to Trollstigen offers ample opportunities for hiking and climbing, with natural viewing points like the Gudbrandsjuvet gorge and several specially constructed viewing platforms. This route also includes the UNESCO-protected Geiranger Fjord, where you can catch a ferry out to not one, but three of Norway’s incredible waterfalls.
Where To Park a Campervan in Norway
Norway boasts a large network of campsites and caravan parks across most towns and all of its major tourist centres. There are several benefits to staying in a dedicated camping site. You will be able to connect your vehicle to electricity and there will be kitchen and bathroom facilities for you to use. Campsites in Norway can’t generally be booked ahead of time, but you’ll rarely have trouble with finding a space. Even if that is the case, you can always try your hand at a spot of wild camping.
The Right To Roam
Norway differs from many other countries in that you are afforded ‘the right to roam’ (or ‘allemannsretten’). Essentially, this means that you can walk, and camp, almost anywhere you like, with just a few rules and regulations to follow. You can set up a tent wherever you please, whether it be in the countryside, mountains or forest, as long as you keep a distance of at least 150 metres from the nearest occupied house or cabin. If you would like to stay for more than two nights in the same place, you simply need to ask the landowner for permission (unless you are in the mountains or very remote areas). And of course, you should always take all your rubbish and belongings with you, leaving your campsite exactly as you found it.
For help finding the best campsites, wild camping and free parking spots, you can use the handy park4night app on Google Play or App Stores. With just a quick search you’ll find that there is a huge selection of places to stay in Norway, each with a handy description of the conditions and amenities as well as a photo of the area.
Travelling Norway by campervan can be an incredible adventure, allowing you to experience the country’s wealth of natural beauty on your own schedule, with the benefit of being able to stop for the night almost anywhere you choose.
Norway offers pleasant driving conditions, with long, quiet stretches of road making up much of the country, and you’ll find a warm welcome everywhere you go. By keeping a few simple rules in mind, you’ll be able to enjoy a hassle-free holiday in one of the safest countries on earth.
If you want to tick travelling Norway off your bucket list, it’s well worth saving up a few extra pennies. With a good budget and a little bit of planning, you’ll ensure that your tour of Norway is a campervan trip that you’ll never forget.
About the Author
Karl O’Brien is a writer and adventure traveller from Dublin, Ireland. He has been travelling the world since his late teens. His adventures have taken him to the far reaches of the globe including most of Europe, North & South America, New Zealand, Australia, South East Asia and the Middle East. When he is not planning his next adventure Karl can be found building and renovating campervans.