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Van Life Norway

Van Life Norway
01.07.2022
Stephen Hockley
7 minutes of reading
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Thinking of Norway for your holiday this year? The Scandinavian land of fjords, mountains, forests, rivers and lakes, glaciers, waterfalls and the midnight sun is not to be missed. It’s popular with travellers looking for peace, adventure, wilderness, and untouched nature, all without the crowds you might find in other places.

The advantages of travelling by campervan in Norway are many, but here are our top 3:

  1. You have complete control over your social interactions
  2. You save a load of cash on accommodation
  3. You have the ability to move anywhere as and when you wish

Call us biased, but campervan travel is truly empowering! You decide for yourself where you’ll go and for how long, right down to the minute. No check-in or check-out time, no limitations on the breakfast menu... you’ve got complete autonomy. Plus, the great thing about Norway is the country is very well prepared for camping, with its rich network of campsites. In fact, camping is allowed almost anywhere, and you can use the camps only when you need them if you’re more into off-grid travel. Lastly, Norway is an ideal country for cycling and hiking. You may not know this, but the beaches are lined with beautiful white sand… just remember that if you’re swimming the sea can get a bit chilly! 🥶️

Is Norway good for camping?

Norway offers a unique blend of peace, wildlife, freedom and adventure. Attractions include Oslo, the Viking ships, the Royal Palace, and the city of Bergen. As for activities, you can try dog ​​sledging, sea kayaking, skiing, or simply tasting the amazing seafood.

Norway is not often the #1 location on a traveller’s bucket list and that’s a shame because there’s so much to discover here. The low population density means you’ll find it a peaceful place, with minimal crowds of people compared to the warmer destinations in Europe. And if you’re planning on a cross Europe trip, you can easily get to Norway by campervan via a ferry from Denmark. However keep in mind that the journey up is long, so it pays to go for a longer period, at least 2 weeks if possible.

Village in Lofoten

Village in Lofoten

What documents do I need to travel to Norway?

Be sure to pack your ID and passport for the trip abroad. Always check the requirements for your specific country as rules and regulations can change, too. If you have an old passport that doesn’t have at least 6 months remaining, have a new one issued in time before you book, so that you don’t run into any nasty surprises.

Don’t forget that you’ll need to bring your driver's licence! For motorhomes up to 3,500 kilograms, the kind that we stock at Campiri, a standard European group B driver's licence (or equivalent) is all you need. Make sure you’ve got your travel insurance sorted too.

A tip if you’re passing through the border

You’ll need to be prepared to answer the question "where are you going and why" that you may get asked at the border. It’s definitely advisable to make a reservation at the campsite you intend to stay at as proof, and to even print a confirmation of accommodation (even if you change your plans). They are entitled to ask this question, so don’t risk it!

So in summary, don’t forget:

  • ID and passport
  • Driving licence (European B level or equivalent)
  • Proof of campsite booking

What are the tolls like?

If you’re road-tripping through Europe with a campervan, you can expect tolls at the borders of each country (as a minimum). However, they’re generally much more frequent than this. An up-to-date overview of toll prices by country and region is available here. Here are a few examples of what you can expect below.

1. Crossing Denmark and motorway tolls

Motorways are free of charge! This is made possible by the 8-kilometre-long Øresundsbron Bridge, which connects the capital Copenhagen with Malmö, Sweden, with the four-kilometre Drogden Tunnel. Unfortunately, these are not free… but you can buy a ticket online right here.

Øresundsbron Bridge

Øresundsbron Bridge

2. Ferry from Denmark to Norway

How do you book a ferry from Denmark to Norway? There’s a lot of info here, so buckle up!

  • The ferries connect 3 ports in Denmark (Copenhagen, Frederikshavn and Hirtshals) with 6 ports in Norway (Oslo, Bergen, Kristiansand, Stavanger, Larvik, Langesund).
  • There are seven routes operated by 3 transport companies: Color line, Fjord line and DFDS Seaways.
  • The cruise lasts from 4.5 to 9 hours, depending on the distance of your route. You can make a reservation on this website.
  • The nearest one leads from the northernmost tip of Hirtshals to Langesund or Larvik (and takes about 4.5 hours). If you’d like to find out the prices, here’s the link for that.

3. Crossing Sweden and tolls

If you want to stay on land to get to Norway by crossing Sweden, there’s no free motorway. Øresundsbron is an 8 km long bridge which, together with the 4 km Drogden tunnel, connects Copenhagen with the Swedish city of Malmö (see crossing Denmark above).

4. Crossing Norway and tolls

Tolls in Norway are collected in the form of tolls for roads, tunnels and bridges. Details on specific fees can be found here. Tolls are paid by the toll gates themselves in some cases; the gate takes a photo of the licence plate of the car and passes the invoice to the owner's address. The second option is to pay via the Auto Pass on-board unit. You can find a map of the location of those toll gates on this website. Finally, there is a toll route planner here.

In Norway, there are frequent roundabouts and many narrow roads, plus a lot of tunnels too. So please take this into account when choosing the size and height of your vehicle!

Besseggen ridge

Besseggen ridge

Can I go wild camping in Norway?

Norway is a paradise for people who like being and camping in the wild. In Norway, camping is allowed in the countryside as long as you’re 200 metres from a dwelling or private plot. Make sure that you pack warm clothes (even for summer!) and a sleeping bag that will cover you to at least -10 degrees celsius. You’ll also want waterproof clothes because it rains all year round.

Norway is the perfect place if you want to be by yourself. You can forget about hectic city life, work, worries, current events… you can just be and blend back into the rhythm of nature. And if you like foraging there are a lot of tasty wild mushrooms, cranberries and blueberries! Wild camping in Norway is its own unique experience. According to some recent travellers, caravans and motorhomes can also be parked in beautiful places along the roads, as well as in many places right in nature. You’ll find the language won’t be an issue, as English is widely spoken.

Sognefjord coast

Sognefjord coast

Where can I camp in Norway?

Norway is a paradise for lovers of camping and sleeping in the open air. Norwegians themselves are enthusiasts of this way of travelling too. That’s why you’ll find about 1000 campsites of relatively high quality all over the country, often right by the fjords, dotted along the sea, or in the forests and mountains. Most importantly: they’re usually equipped for caravans and motorhomes. You wake up in the morning and you’re right there at a fjord, waterfall or glacier, it’s fantastic. You can find a list of photos and contacts on these websites:

Alanrogers.com

Visitnorway.com

Motorhomefacts.com

Booking.com

Tripadvisor.com

And of course, on applications for campervans.

In Norway, camping in the wild is allowed, as long as you follow the rules:

  • Don’t park closer than 200 metres to a house or private dwelling.
  • Clean up your rubbish.
  • Be respectful of noise.
  • Don’t disturb nature.
  • Ideally, don’t start a fire.

It’s all worth it; you can save so much on accommodation if you have a lower budget, and you’ll have the experience for the rest of your life.

The trip to Norway is usually a longer one due to the landscape and the time needed to get there, so it pays to go at least 2 to 3 weeks or longer, if you’ve got the resources.

One final tip for camping sites in Norway: there is no need to book in advance. Check-out is usually at midday and the campsites are filled naturally as the day goes on. It’s therefore recommended to leave early in the morning to find the nicest spots.

By the way, if you need to fill up…

Current prices of petrol and diesel in Europe can be found here.

The most beautiful places in Norway (take notes!)

Norway is one of the most beautiful places in the world due to its various carefully preserved natural landscapes. You can discover a very rugged coastline with countless fjords - long, narrow bays and mountains rising high above the sea. A few examples you might want to jot down are the areas of ​​Lofoten, Sognefjord, Trolltunga or Vesterålen. You’ll also see various waterfalls, endless forests and tundra, rivers both small and large, lakes, mountains and glaciers. Norway is a paradise for mountain hikes, such as Narvick or Helgeland.

Out of the cities you won’t want to miss Oslo, Tromso, Stavanger, Nordkapp, Arendal, Ålesund, Bergen, and Trondheim with its colourful houses. Norway is home of the Vikings so you’ll also find some interesting Viking ship museums. If you arrive at the right time of year, you can see the aurora borealis. Then you can go and watch the whales, polar bears and walruses in Svalbard…

If you’d like to get started right now, you should check out the Campiri websitefor your next steps.

See you on the road!