There is a good range of inexpensive flights to Norway from London, though from the UK’s regional airports the choice is poorer. Oslo Gardermoen airport is the main point of arrival. Flights are almost invariably much less expensive than the long and arduous journey from the UK to Norway by train or car. There are currently no ferry services direct from the UK to Norway, but this situation may change and it’s worth checking out if you’re considering taking your car.
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From Ireland, there is much less choice, but there are regular flights to Oslo Gardermoen airport. For travellers arriving from North America, the main decision is whether to fly direct to Oslo – though the options are limited – or via another European city, probably London. Australians, New Zealanders and South Africans have to fly via another country – there are no nonstop, direct flights. Finally, getting to Norway from the rest of Scandinavia (Denmark, Sweden and Finland) is quick, easy and relatively inexpensive, whether you travel by plane, bus or train.
Flights from the UK
From the UK, there’s a good choice of direct, nonstop flights from London to Oslo as well as a scattering of flights there from the UK’s regional airports. Norway’s main international airport is Oslo Gardermoen, 45km north of the city, but several budget airlines use the deceptively named Oslo (Torp) airport, which is actually just outside Sandefjord, 110km from Oslo, and Oslo (Rygge) airport, 60km south of the city near the little town of Moss. There are also a handful of nonstop, direct flights from the UK to other Norwegian cities, including Stavanger, Ålesund, Bergen and Trondheim, but for the likes of Tromsø you’ll have to change planes. Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) and its subsidiary Widerøe has the largest number of routes.
Prices vary enormously, but Norwegian Airlines often offers the least expensive tickets with a return from London Gatwick or Manchester to Oslo costing from as little as £140. Flying times are insignificant: Aberdeen to Stavanger takes just one hour, London to Oslo a little over two.
Flights from Ireland
Flying from Ireland to Norway, there’s not much choice, but Ryanair ( w ryanair.com) has flights from Dublin to Oslo (Rygge) and Norwegian Airlines (wnorwegian.com) flies between Dublin and Oslo Gardermoen. As sample fares, Norwegian charges anywhere between €70 and €160 for the flight from Dublin to Oslo with a flying time of just over two hours.
Flights from the US and Canada
From the US, you can fly direct/nonstop to Oslo Gardermoen from New York City with United Airlines (wunited.com) but otherwise you’ll have to change at a hub airport with London being an obvious choice. Return fares from major cities in the US to London start at around US$800, but otherwise reckon on spending around US$1500–2000 return for a nonstop New York–Oslo return flight with Continental. There are no direct flights to Norway from the west coast, but plenty of carriers will get you to Oslo with one stop, for as little as US$1500 return.
From Canada, the best deals are usually offered by Air Canada (waircanada.com), which flies nonstop to London Heathrow, with onward connections to Norway. From Toronto to Oslo, expect to pay around Can$2000 in high season and Can$1500 in low season, while typical fares from Vancouver are around Can$2200 in high season and, likewise, Can$1500 in low season.
The flying time on a direct, nonstop flight from the east coast of North America to Norway is just over seven hours.
Flights from Australia and New Zealand
There are no direct/nonstop flights from Australia or New Zealand to Norway. Most itineraries will involve two changes, one in the Far East – Singapore, Bangkok or Kuala Lumpur – and then another in the gateway city of the airline you’re flying with – most commonly Copenhagen, Amsterdam or London. You can get tickets to Oslo from Sydney, Melbourne or Perth for Aus$1500–2500, NZ$2000–3000 from Auckland.
Flights from South Africa
There are no direct/nonstop flights from South Africa to Norway, but several airlines will get you to Oslo with one stop via a European hub city. For example, KLM (wklm.com) fly from Cape Town to Amsterdam with onward connections to Oslo for a return fare of between ZAR9500 and ZAR12,500.
By train from the UK
Eurostar ( w eurostar.com) services running through the Channel Tunnel to Brussels put Norway within reasonable striking distance of the UK by train, but the whole journey from London to Oslo, which is usually routed via Brussels and Copenhagen, still takes about 22 hours and costs about £300 one-way (£350 return), though special deals and concessionary rates can reduce these fares considerably.
If you’re visiting Norway as part of a longer European trip, it may be worth considering a pan-European rail pass. There are lots to choose from and Rail Europe (wraileurope.com and wraileurope.co.uk), the umbrella company for all national and international passes, operates a comprehensive website detailing all the options with prices. Note in particular that some passes have to be bought before leaving home, others can only be bought in specific countries. Note also that Inter-Rail Pass (winterrailnet.com) and Eurail Pass (weurail.com) holders get discounts on some internal ferry and bus journeys within Norway.
Driving from the UK
To reach Norway by car or motorbike from the UK, the best bet is to use Eurotunnel’s (weurotunnel.com) shuttle train through the Channel Tunnel. Note that Eurotunnel only carries cars (including occupants) and motorbikes, not cyclists and foot passengers. From the Eurotunnel exit in Calais, it’s a somewhat epic journey of around 1400km or so to Oslo.
By ferry from the UK
There are currently no car ferries from the UK to Norway; the nearest you’ll get is Esbjerg in Denmark, about 900km (around 10hr) by road from Oslo, with DFDS Seaways (wdfdsseaways.co.uk) from Harwich. Tariffs vary enormously, depending on when you leave, how long you stay, what size your vehicle is and how many passengers are in it; on overnight sailings, there is also the cost of a cabin to consider. As a sample fare, a seven-day, peak season return fare for two adults in an ordinary car costs around £250. Reservations are strongly recommended. There are three or four Harwich-to-Esbjerg sailings every week and the journey time is about eighteen hours.
By train, bus and ferry from the rest of Scandinavia and Russia
By train you can reach Oslo from both Stockholm (2–3 daily; 6hr) and Copenhagen (2 daily; 8hr). There are also regular services from Stockholm to Narvik (1–2 daily; 21hr), operated by the Swedish company SJ (t00 46 771 75 75 75, wsj.se). For online tickets, go to wraileurope.com.
Several bus companies provide services into Norway from other parts of Scandinavia. These include Eurolines (weurolines.co.uk) buses from London to Oslo, which pass through several Danish and Swedish towns, notably Copenhagen, Malmö and Gothenburg; the Swedish company GoByBus (wgobybus.se), which has services to Oslo from Stockholm, Copenhagen, Malmö and Gothenburg among others; and Swebuss (wswebus.se), which operates an express bus from Stockholm to Oslo. In the far north, Eskelisen Lapin Linjat (weskelisen-lapinlinjat.com) runs a number of bus services from Finland to Norwegian destinations, including Tromsø, Kirkenes and Nordkapp.
A number of car ferries shuttle across the Skagerrak from Denmark to Norway.
As for border crossings, there is (usually) little formality at either the Norway–Sweden or Norway–Finland borders, but the northern border with Russia is a different story. Border patrols (on either side) won’t be overjoyed at the prospect of you nosing around. If you have a genuine wish to visit Russia from Norway, it’s best to sort out the paperwork – visas and so forth – before you leave home. Kirkenes is the main starting point for tours into Russia from Norway.
Tours and organized holidays
Tourism in Norway is a multi-million-dollar industry that has spawned a small army of tour operators. Some provide generic bus tours of parts of the country, but there are many more specialist companies too, featuring everything from skiing and walking through to whale-watching and cycling. Most of the better companies offer a choice of escorted and independent tours. Additional, domestic tour operators are detailed throughout the Guide.
Tour and holiday operators
Anglers’ World Holidays
UK t 01246 221 717, w anglers-world.co.uk. Sea- and river-fishing holidays in Norway.
Brekke Tours & Travel
US t 1 800 437 5302, w brekketours.com. A well-established company offering a host of sightseeing and cultural tours of Scandinavia in general and Norway in particular.
Discover the World
UK t 01737 214 251, w discover-the-world.co.uk. Specialist adventure tours including whale-watching in Norway, wildlife in Spitsbergen and dog-sledging in Lapland. Independent, tailor-made tours too.
UK t 0845 508 4197, w exodus.co.uk. Large, activity-holiday specialist offering cross-country skiing and all sorts of other winter sports plus whale-watching, hiking and Spitsbergen excursions.
UK t 0845 564 7148, w headwater.com. Limited but well-chosen selection of winter fun holidays in Geilo and Venabu, where punters choose anything from skiing to reindeer safaris.
High & Wild
UK t 0845 004 7801, w highandwild.co.uk. Adventure holiday specialist through whose services you can join a Sámi reindeer migration.
t 00 47 81 00 30 30, w hurtigruten.com. The Hurtigruten coastal voyage is Norway’s most celebrated sea cruise (see Hurtigruten sailing schedule).
UK t 01653 617 001, w inntravel.co.uk. Outdoor holidays in Norway including skiing, walking, dog-sledging, fjord cruises, and whale- and reindeer-watching.
North South Travel
UK t 01245 608 291, w northsouthtravel.co.uk. Friendly, competitive travel agency, offering discounted fares worldwide. Profits are used to support projects in the developing world, especially the promotion of sustainable tourism.
UK t 0191 265 1110, skedaddle.co.uk. Highly recommended company organizing a couple of cycling tours of Norway each year, usually one to the Lofoten islands and another round the western fjords.
Scandinavian America World Tours
US t 1 800 545 2204, w scandinaviantravel.com. Scandinavian specialist offering an extensive programme of group and individual tours and cruises within Norway.
US t 1 727 415 5088, w scandamerica.com. A wide variety of packages – everything from dog-sledging to garden tours – throughout Scandinavia. Florida based.
US t 1 800 223 7226 w scantours.com. Huge range of packages and tailor-made holidays to every Scandinavian nook and cranny.