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Transport: how to travel in Norway; planes, trains and electric automobiles

Embarking on a Norwegian adventure often feels like navigating a puzzle due to the vastness of the country. Picture this: you'd like to immerse yourself in the vibrant energy of Oslo, a yearning to witness the beauty of the west coast's fjords, and you've watched countless insta reels, tempting you to explore the enchanting island of Senja. The ticking clock suggests time will force you to compromise, but allow me to introduce a more nuanced perspective.

Planes and trains

Let me start with an example. Your journey begins with a plane touching down in Oslo, a city that beckons you to linger for a few days, for good reason. Yet, the allure of Bergen calls, and a flight seems the swiftest course of action—undeniably true. But ponder the actual time siphoned by air travel. Thirty minutes from Oslo to the airport, a luggage check-in dance ideally performed 2 hours before liftoff, a one-hour flight to Bergen, and an additional 40 minutes from Bergen's airport to its city centre. A grand total of approximately 4.5 hours from hotel doorstep to hotel doorstep, or realistically, a journey spanning 5.5 hours. A timeframe not filled with noteworthy sights but rather with anticipatory waiting, be it in airport lounges or the confines of an aircraft.

For this escapade, I would recommend to explore the possibility of a train journey. Not necessarily to gain time, but to spend that otherwise lost time in quality. Imagine, instead of languishing in an airport, being ensconced in a train carriage, gazing upon the mesmerizing Norwegian panorama from the comfort of a plush seat, coffee in hand, and WiFi at your fingertips. The train voyage from Oslo to Bergen, a legendary odyssey, perennially gracing top 10 lists of awe-inspiring train journeys. My inaugural journey had me, for about 6 hours, glued to the window in complete awe of the passing scenery. A nugget of wisdom: reserve a seat facing left in the driving direction. As you traverse past Finse, you'll be treated to the spectacle of Hardangerjøkulen, a breathtaking glacier. Seven hours on the train, a mere two hours longer than the airborne alternative, but seven hours spent in fruitful contemplation. Secure your train tickets at VY well in advance, for this sought-after journey tends to sell out far in advance. Should the skies beckon, book your flight here.

Electric automobiles

Should the siren song of exploration guide you to traverse the entirety of this land, planes become an inevitability. Senja's allure, for instance, mandates a flight to Narvik. But what then? Enter the Norwegian crucible of electric driving, where frequent charging stations are a given. I propose the contemplation of an electric vehicle. Beyond the serenity of their silent hum, the economics are quite obvious. Last week's petrol and diesel prices flirted with 25NOK per liter (which is more or less equal to $2,50), a steep investment if you're considering a small road trip. In contrast, charging a Polestar 2 comes at about 150NOK, propelling you 500km. The equivalent petrol journey demands a purse 10 times heavier. The moral is clear. Should the whispers of a road trip already stir within, I advise you to reserve an electric car as soon as you have a rough idea of your itinerary. The high season depletes the electric car reservoir at most rental companies, and an early reservation ensures the exact car for your journey, often with a fair period for reconsideration.

A word on acquiring a vehicular rental at an airport: not all 'airstrips' boast car rental services. Opt for the slightly more endowed airports, where a car hire awaits amidst the control towers and runways. Behold, the following aviation havens extend this convenience:

Oslo Gardermoen Airport (OSL), Bergen Flesland Airport (BGO), Stavanger Sola Airport (SVG), Trondheim Værnes Airport (TRD), Tromsø Langnes Airport (TOS), Kristiansand Kjevik Airport (KRS), Ålesund Vigra Airport (AES), Bodø Airport (BOO), Sandefjord Torp Airport (TRF), Molde Årø Airport (MOL), Harstad/Narvik Airport (EVE), Haugesund Karmøy Airport (HAU), Evenes Airport (EVE).

Public Transport

Much of your sojourn can be orchestrated with the finesse of public transportation, particularly within cities boasting stellar transit networks. Oslo's metro, a masterpiece in motion, even elevates you to Frognerseteren, one of the city's pinnacles, affording a regal view of fjord and city.

To navigate this symphony, wield the ENTUR app—an oracle of nationwide timetables offering an array of choices. Occasionally, this app may lead you to other maestros, prompting the purchase of tickets through a different melody. Fear not, for clarity prevails.

Prepare for your venture with the anticipation of these downloadable overtures:

- VY (bus and train)

- ENTUR (travel planner, ticket sales)

- Widerøe (serving the smaller airports)

- Norwegian Air Shuttle (conducting flights to larger airports)

- SAS (orchestrating most routes between larger airports)

How to travel in Norway is truly is up to each individual to decide how they wish to shape their journey. However, these are your key tools to make your trip unforgettable and enjoyable. Godspeed!


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