Bergen

By | 16th January 2018

Should you hire a car in Bergen?

Do you need a car in Bergen > Should you rent a car in Bergen Norway > Bergen ( BGO ) Do you need a car in Bergen? Is it worth hiring a car in Bergen? Should you rent a car in Bergen?

Bergen Car hire summary


Overall drive rating

Based on a weighted score across all cost and quality factors. [Full notes - drive rating]

90%

  • Price alone isn't the only factor in determining whether or not it's worth hiring a car in Bergen but clearly it's an important one. See our "why" section for more figures.
  • Cost factors include - price of car hire (peak and off peak season), car hire extras, fuel, tolls and parking costs.
  • Quality factors include - scenic drives, road quality and upkeep, general safety and congestion levels.
  • A complete index of all 10 factors will be uploaded shortly.

Cheapest rate for one week

Based on cheapest economy car hire deal with no added extras. [full notes - basic costs]

€275

 #253/300

  • This is the very lowest price we could find for a one week car rental period in Bergen during the quiet season.
  • You will almost always end up paying more than this figure, but any extra costs or supplementary charges are usually determined by the renter, so we cannot easily compare like with like.
  • In many cases, rental companies will offer a cheap rental and then expect you to take out expensive insurance waivers. There are always ways to avoid this!

How much should I expect to pay in the peak season?

Based on cheapest deal during the summer holiday season. (Unless otherwise noted) [full notes - seasonal variations]

 €350

222/300

  • During the peak holiday season, public transport is often better value, as many train and bus fares are fixed throughout the year. See our "why not" section for more suggestions.
  • For most featured destinations, the peak season will be during the summer, typically July and August for northern hemisphere destinations. However, peak demand might occur at different times, for example in some ski resorts or winter sun destinations etc.


Free parking score

Based on the number of hotels which offer free parking. Total 60 - of which 13 have free parking. [full notes - parking]

22%

#238/300

  • Free hotel parking is very useful to have when you are hiring a car, and it's always worth checking ahead beforehand.
  • If free hotel parking is not available, you might want to consider renting a car for a single day, rather than for your whole trip.
  • The availability (or lack of) free hotel parking can be a really important factor in determining whether or not it's worth hiring a car in Bergen, as it can be a significant extra daily cost which you won't usually be paying at home!
  • Parking costs play a very major part in our consideration of whether or not it's worth hiring a car in each destination.
  • By using public transport, walking or hiring a bicycle, you can avoid having to worry about parking charges altogether! See our "why not" section for more suggestions.

Bergen public transport quick facts

Train score

Higher scores go to the systems which don't just take you to the most amazing places, but also to the ones which are easy to use, fast, reliable and frequent. A good train system on its own is usually enough to determine that you don't need to hire a car in many destinations.

90%

  • [full notes trains]
  • Trains include all kinds of urban rail system from trams up to metro and suburban networks.
  • Trains also include mountain railways and cable cars.
  • Generally, places with a good rail network will automatically mean that you don't "need" to hire a car, but you can still might find that on balance you are better off by having one.

Water travel score

This is a general rating for all types of water travel, including scheduled ferries, sea / rivers cruises and excursions in Bergen

90%

  • [full notes - water score]
  • The water score looks at means of transport on water - it does not consider water based activities like surfing or kayaking.

Overall public transport score

This is a more practical rating based on bus and rail travel, and also including ferries and other boat services, where they are part of the public transport network.

90%

  • [full notes - overall transit] buses | trams | metro | local & regional rail | national rail
  • Is public transport in Bergen good value, or is it worth hiring a car just because it is cheaper overall?
  • Even if public transport is cheap and reliable, you might still feel that you should hire a car in Bergen because it will still give you more flexibility to reach out-of-the-way places, especially in rural areas.

Walking and Cycling Overview

Active travel score

This overall rating considers walking and cycling in and around Bergen. It includes factors such as the quality of the street environment, and whether you are likely to feel safe walking or cycling, together with the availability of bicycle hire and the ease of linking walking or cycling routes with public transport.

90%

  • [full notes - active score] walking (city) | hiking | cycling (city /  country).
  • A high active travel score means that you might not need a car in Bergen, because you can see everything you need to see using a combination of your own two feet and the public transport system.

Car rental in - Bergen Need v worth & should!

Whether you have come here asking "do I need a car in Bergen", "is it worth hiring a car in Bergen", or whether or not you "should" hire a car here, these are all slight variations on a similar theme. Here we break each one down according to the criteria we use for each question. This is a weighted score based on the values above. These are explained further in the text which follows - [#why] [#whynot]. Do you need a car in Bergen?

Do you need a car in Bergen?

This is essentially based on whether or not public transport and other "non car" options are good enough to get around and beyond the city. For the lowest "need" score, the destination should have a combination of excellent all-round public transport, great opportunities for walking and cycling, together with poor value car hire or generally poor quality roads. 
  • In destinations where both public transport and car hire options are excellent, the verdict for "do I need a car in  Bergen " will swing towards a strong no, because you can do absolutely fine without one).
Is it worth hiring a car in Bergen?

Is it worth hiring a car in Bergen?

Is car hire good value, especially during the peak season? How does this compare with transit fares? This question mainly looks at issues of cost and practicality.
  • In destinations where both public transport and car hire options are excellent, the verdict for "is it worth hiring a car in  Bergen" will swing towards whichever option offers the lowest overall cost for a group of 2-4 people travelling together.
Should you rent a car in Bergen?

Should you rent a car in Bergen?

Weighing up the above questions, if you are here for the first time AND asking about hiring a car, is it a good idea?
  • The final "carometer" swing is much more opinion based, and it takes into account which options will give you the truly best travel experience (n our humble opinion of course). Where a destination offers an excellent score with or without a car, the swing will go towards whichever option we feel gives the most truly unforgettable experience.
  • Ultimately, it's your choice whether or not you rent a car here. We're trying to give you something that's sufficiently far enough away from a "maybe" to help you make that choice. Ultimately, people only come to us because they are uncertain, but we don't really know what each person's preferences are. Whether we say you should or you shouldn't rent a car in  Bergen, you might also want to look up some of our other cities to see how  Bergen compares with other destinations in  Norway or  Europe.
  • By using public transport, walking or hiring a bicycle, you can avoid having to worry about parking charges altogether! See our "why not" section for more suggestions.


What does everyone else do?

Do most people hire a car in Bergen?

This is based on our observations of (a) car rental facilities and (b) what we think most people will do here. It's not an exact figure, just an estimate of how likely people are to get hold of a rental car here.
  • his is based on the percentage of people "in the market" who we think are likely to hire a car. This includes anyone arriving on holiday here who would usually hire a car on their travels, so it doesn't include people who don't usually drive (or don't drive), people staying with friends etc.

30%

Visitors per year (million)

  • Cities with more visitors are more likely to have more complex airport car rental arrangements, and generally they will also have better public transport, but this is not always the case, especially in North America.

1

  • [full notes - do as everyone else does?]
  • You may wish to go with the flow, or you might prefer to avoid doing the most popular or obvious option. This will vary according to the range of choice available. This tends to be much higher in destinations which are closer to the middle of the car or no car scale.

Who is travelling?

Your group size and travel budget has a major impact on whether or not getting a rental car is good value compared to using public transport as your main means of getting around. Ultimately, these are all "worth" questions:

Is it worth renting a car in Bergen if I am a solo / budget traveller?

Generally, hiring a car is not good value for solo travellers for multiple reasons, especially as most of the costs of renting apply to the car, not the occupants. With public transport, the reverse is usually true! However, there are always some places where you will need a car, simply because they are almost impossible to reach using public transport.

Is it worth renting a car in Bergen for 2 people travelling together?

A rental car can be good value for couples or for friends travelling together, but since most cars come with at least four seats, it's often still better value to use public transport. However, if you prefer to keep yourselves to yourselves, then you might still want to rent.

Is it worth renting a car in Bergen for families?

Families of groups of 3-4 people travelling together will always get the best value from a rental car. However, you may also be burdened with extra costs for car seat hire, and you well also prefer to use local trains and buses, if they are quicker than getting stuck in heavy traffic.

Where are you staying?

The place you are staying, together with the sort of places you want to see, will have a large impact on whether or not you "need" to rent a car:

Do you need a car in Bergen if we are staying in the city centre / main resort area?

Most large towns or purpose built holiday resorts will have some kind of public transport, whereas parking provision will vary greatly from one place to the next. 

Do you need a car in Bergen if we are staying on the edge of the urban area?

Typically you may be staying in an apartment or hmall house on the edge of a resort or urban area. These places usually have some level of public transport, but not as much as city / resort centres.

Do you need a car in Bergen if we are staying in a rural area?

Rural proprties might include larger villas or apartments, but they can still be within a short walk of a bus stop or local railway station, and the opportunities for hiking and cycling might also be substantial, depending on the destination.

What is your attitude towards driving?

We can give you suggestions based on whatever we consider to be a "typical" visitor to Bergen, but ultimately your decision is also going to be influenced by whether or not you ususally prefer to hire a car in the first place.

Should I hire a car in Bergen if I prefer not to drive?

This is especially the case when there is only one main driver in the group, and it's based on the attitude of the driver rather than their passengers! The main driver may also simply prefer to use public transport, or they may prefer to take scenic train journeys where available.

Should we rent a car in Bergen if we are easy either way?

This is more aimed at the typical visitor who isn't that bothered about how they get around, as long as it is the most convenient / best value option.

Should I rent a car in Bergen if I prefer to drive?

For people who usually prefer the freedom and flexibility of having a hire car. Is it still best to rent a car in Bergen, or are there good reasons not to?

Do you need a car in Bergen? Introduction

When someone asks "Do you need a car in Bergen?", this often breaks down to two key questions:
  1. Can you actually get around using public transport, or is a car all but essential?
  2. Is it worth hiring a car in Bergen? Is it good value for money, compared with non-car options?
Over the next few sections, we wil look at the pros and cons of driving in Bergen as a tourist, and ultimately weigh these up, so we can answer the key question of Should you rent a car in Bergen?
Why? Why not? Ratings Comments

James says - a few trip notes:


It is a while since I actually visited Bergen, but oddly enough, the scenery hasn’t changed much, and the infrastructure hasn’t changed a great deal either, although there have been a few road improvements.

Back then, you could take your own car on the DFDS ferry between Newcastle and Bergen. This is no longer an option (DFDS canned the route in 2008), so assuming you arrive on flights to Bergen instead, what’s the best way to get around?

So, the obvious suggestion would be that a rental car is the best way to explore this very scenic, but sparsely populated part of the world. But the costs are astronomical – Bergen tops the list of cities I’ve looked at, with car hire prices starting at over £300 per week.

For this reason, I think it is worth thinking again:


Why should you rent a car in Bergen?

What are the main reasons for hiring a car here? Do you just want to drive locally? Do you want to go further afield, or should you even look at taking a road trip? In terms of factors like the cost of the hire itself, fuel costs, road tolls and parking charges, is it worth hiring a car in Bergen?
  • Explore: For all the obvious reasons – this is a land of stunning scenery, and the only way to do it justice is in a hire car.
  • Hardanger Fjord – not only this this perhaps the most famous of Norway’s fjords, but it might have been one to reach by rail, had the Granvin line been kept open. Note: Google maps shows Granvin station as being open, when this is not the case.
  • Expensive trains too! – car hire in Bergen (or in Norway generally) might be expensive, but the trains are too. The price of car hire in Norway is more of a reflection of the generally high cost of living, rather than of motoring costs.
  • Atlantic Ocean Road – from Bergen you can start a road trip right up to the famous Atlantic Ocean Road around Averøy. Never mind the price of Bergen car hire, this is one particularly unforgettable trip that you will need to do with your own set of wheels.

Why not? Visiting Bergen without a car

What is public transport like in Bergen? What about local conditions for walking or cycling? Can you rely on public transport and maybe a few taxis for most or all of your trip? Are there some times of year when it's easier to get by without a car than others? When should you rent a car in 5?
  • Cost – whether due to the high costs in Norway or not, car hire in Bergen is still ridiculously expensive, and more so than any other city we have looked at for Car Or No Car. For this reason alone, it is very difficult to advise hiring a car here!
  • Stunning rail trips: The Bergen to Oslo railway is rare amongst inter-city lines in that it is rated as scenic for virtually its entire length.
  • Flåm Railway – this route is one of the most famous scenic routes in Europe, if not one of the great railway journeys of the world. The line branches off the Bergen to Oslo railway line, itself also incredibly scenic, but is much closer to Bergen than it is to Oslo.
  • Boats: Whether you take advantage of organised trips, or use the ferries (combined with buses), the fjords are at their most impressive when reflected in all their glory from the water. Taking your car onto the ferries is an additional expense on top of already exorbitant Bergen car hire prices!
  • Walk it: The other ‘classic’ view of the fjords is from the top, but the best spots are rarely accessible directly by car, so you will have to plan to do some walking. Whereas many other scenic parts of the world can be visited by a ‘road trip’, the car in this part of the world is only going to take you to and from the start of a walk.
  • Outdoor Activities – there are many excellent opportunities for guided outdoor activities, and these may well come with transport provided, in which case a hire car won’t be needed.

Ratings

Our slider ratings range from 0 (it isn't even possible to hire a car, e.g. Hong Kong) through to 10 (you really must rent a car here, e.g. Phoenix, Tampa). However, most places are somewhere inbetween these extremes, and this is where it gets more interesting! Further ratings breakdowns, including a much more detailed public transport rating, are currently being added. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below.

Verdict

What is our final score for Bergen on the Carornocar scale?

Remember, this isn't so much a rating of the road network, or a score for what we think of the buses or trains, but it's simply a scale showing the swing between whether or not we think a rental car is a good idea here.

6


Conclusion – Should you hire a car in Bergen? You would naturally expect that a hire car in Bergen will give you the most flexibility, but there clearly are other options. As car hire in Norway is more expensive than anywhere else I have seen, I have to suggest thinking twice before booking.

Verdict – no (based on cost)

What about car hire in Haugesund or Stavanger?

  • Bergen is more of a gateway to the fjords, although it may be tempting to look at Ryanair’s flights to Haugesund. However, Haugesund is nowhere near a station, so it is harder to get around without a car, and there are no scenic rail routes to enjoy. If it is a case of enjoying the area around Bergen without a car, or flying into Haugesund and renting, one, then those ‘cheap’ flights could end up being very expensive indeed!

Would you hire a car in Bergen?

Have you driven in Bergen? Do you agree with our advice on whether or not it's worth hiring a car in Bergen}? Do you need a car in Bergen? For some or all of the time? Tell us what you think using the comments section below:

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