Europe > Norway > Bergen
See: Why rent a car in Bergen ? | Why not? | Ratings | Summary | Comments
(All of these pages will look a lot nicer when they are tidied up later in the spring)
Your key questions for any destination:
Do I need a car in Bergen ?
Strictly speaking, there are very few travel destinations anywhere in the world where it's absolutely essential to rent a car in order to see the main points of interest.
That's why we give you loads of ratings scales from 1 to 10, rather than just yes or no answers!
- The need question is generally answered by looking at public transport (transit) options. Is it good enough for visitors who are happy to consider using it?
- How many public transport routes are there, and are they mainly rail or road (bus) based?
- Is public transport fast, frequent, safe, reliable and cheap?
- Does public transport actually take you to the places you'll probably want to see?
Is it worth hiring a car in Bergen ?
This question is usually more about value for money. For this, we look at Bergen car hire options, and consider how rental costs compare with using transit.
How far are you likely to drive anyway, and how much might you expect to spend on fuel, road tolls, parking and any other charges. We compare Bergen with other destinations locally and around the world.
This is obviously much more of an issue if you are planning a longer road trip than it is on a small island.
Should I rent a car in Bergen ?
This is basically a merging of the two questions. Everything else might be about giving certain facts about the costs of car rental or using public transport in Bergen , but answering this question is very much a matter of opinion.
Please note that Carornocar.com is currently being revised and updated in preparation for the Summer 2022 (northern hemisphere) tourist season.
We do not intent to include detailed covid information, nor do we intend to suggest hiring a car, just because public transport might still have a mask requirement. Our advice will be based on the same criteria we've always used, ie whether or not you can get a better travel experience, or at least a better value one, by choosing not to hire a car.
Bergen is in car rental price band: 7/10 (1 = cheapest car rental location)
General comment - based on price alone, is it worth renting a car in Bergen ?
No. Car rental is expensive by global standards.
Can you expect big swings in car rental prices in Bergen between the peak and the off peak season?
5/10 (0 = stable prices)
Driving score: 10/10
Non car score:9/10
(0 = car hire not advised / 10 = rental car essential)
General comment -
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? Visiting Bergen using a hire car
Why do you need 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
Why don't you need a car in Bergen ?
- 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: How does Bergen compare?
Is it worth hiring a car in Bergen ? TBC
This is based on a rough consideration of the costs of renting a car in Bergen , and how this compares with the costs of using public transport. The answer to this varies hugely from one destination to the next, based on a wide range of factors. It's based on renting a car at the airport (TBC), and driving for an average of 2-3 hours on open roads on most days.
How does this compare if:
You are travelling:
Solo / As couple / small family / larger family / senior couple etc
Does car rental make sense on different budgets?
Do you need to hire a car in Bergen ? TBC
This is based strictly on whether or no we think it's possible to visit Bergen (and the surrounding area) without using a car. Of the three key questions, this one is the most likely to be a "no".
Should you rent a car in Bergen ? TBC
This is a balance of all factors. Remember this is an answer to the question for people who are already asking it. That's why the answer might still be a "yes", even when public transport is good.
See global comparisons
Hiring | Driving | Parking
Trains | Buses | Local travel
Car hire basics:
Public transportation basics:
Regular bus services: YES
Coach (inter-city): YES
High Speed Rail:
Rail type (end stub / through / junction / hub):
As you start ....
Does Bergen airport have a direct rail link?
(Yes - within terminal / adjacent / short walk) (Yes - bus transfer / other) No
Has our advice for Bergen car rental changed over time, or has it been pretty constant?
2017 - 4
2019 - 6
2021 - 6
Average score - 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!
Do you or don't you need a car in Bergen ?