Bergen

Should you hire a car in Bergen?

Should you rent a car in Bergen Norway > Bergen

Bergen Introduction

Why? Why not? Ratings

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?

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?

Bergen Car hire summary


Overall drive rating

90%

 

Cheapest rate for one week

€275

 #253/300

 

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

 

 €350

222/300

 

Free parking score

Total 60 - of which 13 have free parking. [full notes - parking]

22%

#238/300

 
  • 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

Why? Why not? Ratings Comments

Bergen public transport quick facts

Train score

 

00%

Water travel score

50%

Overall public transport score

10%

Walking and Cycling Overview

Active travel score

(walking + cycling)

60%

  • 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

Car rental in - Bergen Need v worth & should!

Do you need a car in Bergen?

Based on comparison with transit, walking and cycling.
 

Is it worth hiring a car in Bergen?

Based on value for money
 

Should you rent a car in Bergen?

Weighing up the above, if you are asking about hiring a car, is it a good idea?
 

Who is travelling?

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

What about for 2 people travelling together?

For families?

 

Where are you staying?

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

What if we are staying on the edge of the city/resort?

Or in a rural area?

 

What is your attitude towards driving?

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

If I am easy either way?

If I prefer to drive?


 

Verdict

Final score:

6

Go back up to:
Why? Why not? Ratings Comments
 

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?
Tell us what you think using the comments section below:
 

Oslo

Is it worth hiring a car in Oslo?

Should you rent a car in Oslo Norway > Oslo

It’s well-known that Norway has some of the most stunning scenery in Europe, so surely the natural instinct of any visitor arriving at any one of Oslo’s three airports is to jump straight into a rental car and head for those wonderful mountains and fjords?

Well, hold it right there!

We can’t even begin to offer any Oslo car hire advice without first mentioning the astonishingly high prices you can expect to pay when renting a car here.

It doesn’t really make that much difference whether you arrive at one of the budget airports of Torp or Rygge, whether you fly into the main Gardermoen International airport, or if you plan to pick up your hire car in Oslo city centre. The simple fact is that you aren’t going to expect much change from £240/€270 for a full week’s rental.

Naturally, you can of course massively cut down your Oslo car hire costs if you just choose to rent the car for a day or two instead of for a longer period, and this isn’t as daft as it sounds!

This is why we think is worth explaining a few options to get around Oslo and the area well beyond it, whether by train, by bus, or even by boat!

Oslo Introduction

Why? Why not? Ratings

Oslo Airport connections

If you are arriving into either the two budget airports, then both have stations nearby, but you will need to take a local bus first, and it’s generally easier just to take the coach into town, as these are timed to match arriving and departing flights.

Oslo International airport holds the distinction of having more arriving passengers travelling onwards by train than any other airport in the world (as a percentage of passengers), and when looking at the rail route map, it’s easy to see why.

Whereas most airports only have a local train service shuttling back and forth into the city centre, the “Flytoget” express train runs right underneath Oslo in a tunnel and out the other side, serving numerous other towns in the region, and also providing easy onward connections from Oslo Central station. Yet you can also head straight out of the airport in the other direction by train, with regional services heading towards the winter Olympics resort of Lillehammer, and also then onwards as far as Trondheim.

Norway might have a reputation for being expensive, but the country’s home-grown airline Norwegian has long since spread its wings throughout Europe and beyond. You might well be able to find a reasonable value flight directly into Oslo International airport, rather than having to use the more remote Torp or Rygge airports.

Using a combination of arrival and departure airports, or using one way bus and train trips, you could significantly cut down the amount of mileage you need to drive. Since petrol in Norway is also amongst the most expensive in the world, letting the bus or train take the train for some of your trip can be a really good way to cut costs.

Instead of flying into and out of Oslo, why not fly into Oslo, see the city sights, find a cheap one way train ticket to Stavanger or Bergen, and then rent a car there?

Whatever you do, we really don’t advise getting into a taxi at any of the Oslo airports without taking out a second mortgage first, unless you really are just popping to a hotel nearby.

Why should you rent a car in Oslo?

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 Oslo?

Oslo Car hire summary


Overall drive rating

50%

 

Cheapest rate for one week

€210

 #234/300

 

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

 

 €605

238/300

 

Free parking score

Total 155 - of which 30 have free parking. [full notes - parking]

19%

#250/300

 

Is it worth hiring a car in Oslo?

  • Yes, car hire is expensive, but unless you book one way trips well in advance, and outside peak times, the trains and buses can be extortionate too!
  • The most stunning scenery in Norway is on the west coast, so you will need to get there somehow. For a larger group, it’s probably still best to drive.
  • Most of Norway is very remote. For such a sparsely populated country, public transport really is outstanding – but local buses will still only run a few times per day once outside the big cities.
  • For the safety minded, the Norwegians also have one of the lowest road accident rates of any country anywhere in the world.

Why not? Visiting Oslo without a car

Why? Why not? Ratings Comments

Oslo public transport quick facts

Train score

 

60%

Water travel score

20%

Overall public transport score

70%

Walking and Cycling Overview

Active travel score

(walking + cycling)

70%

  • The most impressive Norwegian fjords are about a day’s travel to the west of Oslo, and if this is your sole focus, then you probably be better off by flying into Bergen or Stavanger in the first place, although naturally Oslo has a much wider choice of inward flights.
  • However, the train trip between Oslo and Bergen is also highly rated in its own right as one of Europe’s finest, and the excursion on the Flam Railway is rated even higher still. If you leave Oslo early enough, it’s perfectly possible to head west towards Bergen, to do a round trip on the Flam Railway and then to head onwards to Bergen.
  • You could even head back to Oslo, but you then be travelling in the evening, and you’d be missing out on all the great wonders that lie in the fjords lands to the south of Bergen.
  • This is why we would recommend heading from Oslo to Bergen by train, and then essentially travelling in a triangle by road and ferry through the fjords and then down to Stavanger. It’s at this point that we’d suggest that if you can get a bearable enough one-way rental deal, then doing a road trip from Bergen to Stavanger by car is considerably more flexible than using buses, as neither the main road nor the ferry routes get close enough to the most impressive viewpoints, for example deep within the Hardanger fjord.
  • If you do look into this triangle, once you get to Stavanger, then there’s a chance to take another great railway trip along the coast and back to Oslo – but a Bergen to Oslo road trip may also make perfect sense.
  • Given that Norwegian and a small number of other airlines also offer a reasonable number of low-cost flights into both Stavanger and Bergen, it’s worth looking at a combination of out to Oslo and back from one of these cities as an alternative to flying out and back through Oslo, but the return from Stavanger to Oslo by train is still well worth doing.

Note that if you are heading back into Oslo from Stavanger and you are flying out through Torp, it might make sense to alight here, rather than to go back into the city and out again.

Is it worth hiring a car in Oslo for a road trip?

If you are already coming here with a road trip in mind, then yes, of course, go for it! We’re not here to put anybody off such a venture, and a road trip around Norway is going to be one of the most amazing experience you are ever going to have in a car.

However, if you are planning such a trip, then covering more mileage is obviously going to hit you each time you fill up. Since any kind of car rental in Oslo is expensive, it might be worth getting a slightly larger car, and ensuring that you are travelling with a large enough group so you can divide all the costs between you. You also might want to think about starting somewhere on the west coast, such as in Bergen – although that’s less of an issue if you are looking at doing a loop that would come via Oslo anyway.

Verdict

So despite the costs, is it still worth hiring a car in Oslo? There are several interesting and scenic rail routes which can be taken from Oslo, the most famous of which is the route to Bergen. This line is well served by a good frequency of trains, but generally, the rail system in Norway is not that good outside the Oslo capital region.

The city of Oslo may be clamping down on private car usage, but this is unlikely to have much impact on your trip, unless you plan on staying in a very central hotel for the whole duration of it. If that’s your plan, then the chances are that you won’t have that much reason for a hire car anyway.

However, if you are here for skiing, you should be able to expect good transport services out to major ski resorts from the centre of Oslo – but this advice is more aimed at summer time touring.

Is it worth hiring a car in Oslo? You can certainly see a great deal here if you plan your trip well to get the best out of public transport – but if you are the sort of traveller for who this is a marginal decision, then the choice in Oslo is still going to lean towards getting a hire car. This balance shifts even more when you are in a larger group, so there are more people to divide the costs between.

 

Overall verdict – no.

Ratings

Car rental in - Oslo Need v worth & should!

Do you need a car in Oslo?

Based on comparison with transit, walking and cycling.
 

Is it worth hiring a car in Oslo?

Based on value for money
 

Should you rent a car in Oslo?

Weighing up the above, if you are asking about hiring a car, is it a good idea?
 

Who is travelling?

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

What about for 2 people travelling together?

For families?

 

Where are you staying?

Do you need a car in Oslo if we are staying in a central area?

What if we are staying on the edge of the city/resort?

Or in a rural area?

 

What is your attitude towards driving?

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

If I am easy either way?

If I prefer to drive?


 

Verdict

Final score:

5

Go back up to:
Why? Why not? Ratings Comments
 

Would you hire a car in Oslo?

Have you driven in Oslo? Do you agree with our advice on whether or not it's worth hiring a car in Oslo?
Tell us what you think using the comments section below:
 

Stavanger

Do you need a car in Stavanger?

Should you rent a car in Stavanger Norway > Stavanger

[coming]

Stavanger Introduction

Why? Why not? Ratings

Why should you rent a car in Stavanger?

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 Stavanger?

Stavanger Car hire summary


Overall drive rating

40%

 

Cheapest rate for one week

€280

 #254/300

 

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

 

 €385

229/300

 

Free parking score

Total 58 - of which 20 have free parking. [full notes - parking]

34%

#182/300

 
  • Generally, a hire car is going to be useful here, because despite the exorbitant costs of renting a car anywhere in Norway, having a car is the best way to get up close and really deep into the best of the fjord lands.

See also our car hire guides to Bergen and Oslo, which include suggestions for combinations of rail and bus trips, together with a more detailed driving guide to the Norwegian fjords.

Why not? Visiting Stavanger without a car

Why? Why not? Ratings Comments

Stavanger public transport quick facts

Train score

 

80%

Water travel score

50%

Overall public transport score

80%

Walking and Cycling Overview

Active travel score

(walking + cycling)

80%

  • It is possible to travel around Norway’s fjords by scheduled bus, but you are limited by where and when you can get off.
  • Onward rail connections available towards Oslo.
  • Stavanger is an exceptionally cycle friendly city, with many cycling trails leading into scenic areas nearby.
  • Bus services may also include stretches of ferry, opening up more chances to see the coastline close up.

Ratings

Car rental in - Stavanger Need v worth & should!

Do you need a car in Stavanger?

Based on comparison with transit, walking and cycling.
 

Is it worth hiring a car in Stavanger?

Based on value for money
 

Should you rent a car in Stavanger?

Weighing up the above, if you are asking about hiring a car, is it a good idea?
 

Who is travelling?

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

What about for 2 people travelling together?

For families?

 

Where are you staying?

Do you need a car in Stavanger if we are staying in a central area?

What if we are staying on the edge of the city/resort?

Or in a rural area?

 

What is your attitude towards driving?

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

If I am easy either way?

If I prefer to drive?


 

Verdict

Final score:

8

Go back up to:
Why? Why not? Ratings Comments
 

Would you hire a car in Stavanger?

Have you driven in Stavanger? Do you agree with our advice on whether or not it's worth hiring a car in Stavanger?
Tell us what you think using the comments section below: