We spent 3 and a half weeks travelling around and experiencing van life Norway in our motorhome in September / October 2022, and it really was one of the best road trips we have been on.
We had been travelling around Europe and the UK full time for 7 months by this point, and this was the 12th country we had been to in that time, so we had a lot to compare it to, and still, van life Norway came out on top.
We wanted to share with you everything that we did in Norway and hopefully this will help to inspire your own van life Norway adventure.
Van Life Norway Quick Facts
Our Route – Tromso, Senja, Lofoten Islands, Arctic Circle Center Norway, Lomsdal Visten National Park, Trondheim, Briksdalsbreen
Duration – 3 and a half weeks
Currency – Norwegian Krone
Language – Norwegian
Schengen Zone – Norway is in the Schengen zone, so for people from the UK, it does count towards your 90 day allowance in the EU
Fuel / LPG Cost – Roughly £2 per litre on average but the price of fuel fluctuates massively on a daily basis in Norway. From fuel station to fuel station, hour to hour, you will see different prices of fuel. The best thing to do if you see a fairly good fuel price is just to stop and get some.
Toll Roads – There are toll roads in Norway and there are two ways to pay for them. You can register an agreement for a toll pass before you enter Norway which will be sent out to your home address, so you need to do this in plenty of time before you travel, or you can register online for an epass, where an invoice will be sent to your home address after your trip, and you can pay the toll fees online.
We will discuss more about how tolls work later in this blog post.
Places to park / stay overnight – There is an abundance of great free park-ups as well as campsites in Norway. A lot of the free park-ups are laybys or rest areas but in Norway, everywhere is beautiful. The number of free park-ups makes it really easy to save money this way, which is really important in Norway, as one of the most expensive countries in the world!
Water / Electricity / Emptying – There are lots and lots of rest areas and service stops in Norway where there is free drinking water and the facilities to empty your black and grey waste. In fact, Norway is probably the easiest country we have been to for this. Wherever we were, we were never far away from somewhere with these facilities which was amazing, especially for us as we prefer to stay in free spots rather than campsites.
There were also plenty of bins everywhere where we could throw away our rubbish responsibly which we really appreciated.
Norway is really made for travelling in a motorhome or campervan, they make it very easy for you.
Laundry – We didn’t really find many self-service launderettes around, so we relied on using a campsite with washing facilities.
Supermarkets – Norway is one of the most expensive countries in the world and unfortunately this means that the supermarkets are expensive too. We used the Kiwi supermarkets and found them to be one of the more reasonably priced with a lot of options to choose from. We will discuss supermarkets in Norway in more detail later in this blog post.
Taking Your Dog to Norway
If like us you are travelling in your motorhome or campervan with your dog, you may be wondering whether it is possible to take your dog to Norway.
It is possible, however there are some steps you need to take first in order to ensure that they are able to enter the country.
Your dog will require a tapeworm treatment to enter Norway, and this must be administered no less than 24 hours and no more than 5 days before you enter Norway. This must be administered by a vet and also recorded in your pet’s animal health certificate or its European pet passport.
If you do not get your pet a tapeworm treatment before you enter Norway, you run the risk of not being allowed into the country, your pet being put into quarantine and also some hefty fines, so this is something that is really important to make sure that you do before you go to Norway.
TIP – If you’d like to know more about taking your dog to Europe, we have written a whole dedicated blog post on this subject here – Europe Travel With A Dog – What Do I Need To Know?
Best way to get to Norway from the UK
We drove into Norway from Sweden, having crossed the Oresund Bridge from Denmark to Sweden and then travelling through Sweden, and then started our Norway adventure in the north of Norway.
When we go to Norway again, we think we would get the ferry from Denmark which goes straight into the south of Norway.
Norway is an absolutely incredible country as a whole, from top to bottom every part of Norway is impressive. In our opinion though, we preferred the North, so if we were to plan the road trip again, we would start in the South and save the North until last.
Cheapest Supermarkets In Norway
Supermarkets in Norway are the same as elsewhere. There are lots of larger supermarkets and a few smaller ones, but the prices are similar between them. All supermarkets sell regulated food products and some also sell alcohol and cigarettes. The largest supermarket chains in Norway include Coop, Kiwi, Rema 1000 and Spar. Some of these have branches in other countries too.
Rema 1000 and Kiwi are two of the biggest supermarket chains in Norway and they are both described as being discount stores. This does not however mean that they are cheap, it is Norway after all!
We really only stuck to Kiwi supermarkets whilst we were in Norway, although they were expensive, they were not outrageously expensive if you shop sensibly, depending on your budget of course.
Tolls In Norway
If you are planning van life Norway in your motorhome or campervan, then it is important to be aware of the toll fees. And the good news is that there are some toll roads in Norway that are free of charge.
However, as always, this is subject to change, and you should always check before setting out. In addition to the toll roads noted above, there are also various bridges and tunnels across Norway which also have tolls.
These can range from around 50 kroner up to 300 kroner per vehicle. You can find a full list of Norwegian toll roads here: http://www.trafikkskolen.no/en/tolls-and-regulations/tolls-in-norway
As mentioned above, the two options for paying for toll roads in Norway are to either obtain a toll tag, or to register for an epass.
It is not possible for a foreign vehicle to obtain a toll tag whilst in Norway, so it’s really important to make sure you do this prior to your trip, and with plenty of time. This option comes with discounts on tolls, ferry tickets etc. More information about this option can be found here –
The second option is to register an Epass 24 account without a toll tag. This is the option that we went for as we hadn’t left ourselves enough time to obtain a toll tag before our trip. You register your vehicle online and the tolls have number plate recognition, so it is not possible to stop and pay by cash or card as you would in countries like France or Italy.
You will then receive an invoice to your home address with the total amount of toll fees that you incurred on your trip, and you have to pay it online. The invoice can take weeks and even months to come through after your trip.
You don’t receive the discounts with this option, so really the toll tag is the best option, so make sure you’re more organised than we were and get yourselves one of these! We spent almost a month, travelling almost all the way from the top to the bottom of Norway and our tolls came to roughly £70.
More information on the Epass24 option can be found here –
Park-ups In Norway
As mentioned above, there are plenty of park-ups to choose from in Norway, from free laybys to beautiful campsites with amazing views over a fjord.
You won’t struggle to find somewhere to stay here.
We used Park4night to find all of our park-ups in Norway.
Best and Worst Things About Norway
We think that the best things about Norway are:
- The scenery – simply some of the most incredible scenery we have ever seen
- Friendly locals
- The number of free park-ups and free service points
- The Northern lights!
- Norwegians speak very good English so it’s easy to communicate with people
- There is so much to see and do
We think that the worst things about Norway are:
- How expensive it is
- The weather, especially in the autumn when we were there, it can be very rainy and unpredictable
Van Life Norway Road Trip Locations
Tromso is one of the furthest North points of Norway and it is the biggest city in northern Norway. It is a great place to visit in Norway as there’s a lot going on there, it’s a pretty vibrant city.
The majority of Tromso is located on an island and is attached to the mainland by the huge Tromso bridge.
Tromso is home to the iconic Arctic Cathedral.
Tromso is also one of the very best places in the world to see the Northern lights, and we were lucky enough to see them whilst we were there in September. In Northern lights seasons you could say that your chances of seeing them in Tromso are pretty high if the conditions are right.
Tromso also experiences the midnight sun in the summer. Between May and July there is no darkness at night!
Senja is the second largest island in Norway and it’s up there with the best places to go.
We didn’t have much time to spend on Senja unfortunately but the time we did spend there, we were very impressed with what we saw.
Whilst in Senja we did a great hike with some amazing views. We did the Hesten Hike. Hesten is the neighbouring mountain to the mighty Segla mountain, the most famous mountain on Senja.
Hesten gives amazing views of Segla’s north cliff, which is almost vertical rock face, but not only that, the beautiful surrounding fjords, Mefjorden and Ornfjorden.
We followed this trail from All Trails –
You also don’t have to climb all the way to the top of Hesten to get amazing views of Segla and the fjords.
The places that we visited in the Lofoten Islands were –
- Haukland Beach – Uttakleiv
- Kvalvika Beach
- Reinefjorden kayaking
We’re not going to go into full detail about the Lofoten Islands in this post because they were so special, they needed their very own blog post. If you would like to know more about the Lofoten Islands and what we did then you can check out our blog post – 10 Best Things To Do On The Lofoten Islands 2022 (threeasabird.com)
Arctic Circle Center Norway
The Arctic Circle Center can be found along the main E6 highway which runs through Norway, and it marks the Arctic Circle Center at 66’ 33” North.
You will find a gift shop inside the centre, along with a café and some toilets which is great if you choose to stay here in your motorhome or campervan like we did.
The Arctic Circle Center is also a fantastic place to see the Northern Lights. We were lucky enough to see them when we were here and the Northern Lights never get boring, they’re always completely magical when you see them!
We think that the Arctic Circle Center is a must visit location if you have made it that far North in Norway.
Lomsdal Visten National Park
The Lomsdal Visten National Park is located at the exact geographical centre of Norway and has been a protected area since 2009.
There is so much to see and do here including hiking, fishing, fjords, mighty mountains and magnificent wildlife.
One of the hikes that we did in this area was climbing the Helgelandstrappa Sherpa steps in Mosjoen. This set of Sherpa steps is Norway’s longest stone staircase. Its 3000 steps lead the way up the Oyfjellet mountain in Helgeland. When climbing the steps, you get amazing views over Mosjoen.
And if you don’t fancy hiking back down the steps, there is the possibility to get a zipline back down, how cool is that!
We also visited the fantastic Laksforsen Falls. This is a 17metre waterfall on the river Vefsna which is a famous salmon fishing river. It’s a magnificent waterfall and if you are travelling like us in your motorhome or campervan then you can park right by the waterfall and stay overnight. There is a restaurant onsite also.
Trondheim is a city located on the Trondheim fjord. It is more than 1000 years old and was founded by a Viking King. It now has a large student population as it is home to Norway’s science and technology university.
The city has two parts, the main city and an old town which is separated by the old town bridge.
The iconic colourful riverside wooden buildings that you’re likely to see whenever you look at anything to do with Trondheim are called wharfs. The wharfs have a long history as being storage facilities for loading and unloading cargo from traders from all over the world. Now they have different uses such as being used for private homes and art galleries.
Trondheim is a great city to go and wonder around, looking in the shops and enjoying a coffee in one of the many lovely cafes that they have, or a meal in one of the restaurants.
Briksdalsbreen is one of the most accessible and well-known parts of the famous Jostedalsbreen Glacier, the largest glacier in the European mainland, which is protected and located inside Jostedalsbreen National Park.
Set in a beautiful location surrounded by mountain peaks and great waterfalls, it’s a really cool spot to visit in Norway.
For us, we felt like a glacier was one of the must-do things whilst we were in Norway.
A glacier is formed when there is a build-up of snow, ice, rock and sediment over many centuries and moves down slope due to its weight and gravity.
There is a walking route up to as close to the glacier as you can get, which takes around 45 minutes from the car park on site. If you are not able to do the walk, then you can pay to take a ride up in one of the buggies that are available to transport people.
At the start of the walk, you will also find a gift shop and a cafe/restaurant.
Along the way on the walk up to the glacier you will also pass Kleivafossen waterfall.
There is also a campsite onsite which we stayed at in our motorhome –
It’s a great campsite with all facilities and even has male and female sauna rooms which are included in the cost of the campsite, and you can use in the summer season, but unfortunately was closed when we visited in autumn. From the campsite you can see the glacier from below.
If you would like to know more about the Briksdalbreen glacier, then you can find out more information here –
or you can check out the official website here
Road Laws in Norway
Driving in Norway is very different from driving in other countries. It is important to be aware of the differences before you start driving.
The first thing to know is that Norway has a strict zero-tolerance policy when it comes to drinking and driving. If you are caught driving with any alcohol in your system, you will be automatically fined and could even face jail time.
Another important difference is that Norway has a lot of toll roads. These tolls must be paid in order to use the roads, and they can be quite expensive. Be sure to have enough money with you before you start driving on a toll road.
Finally, it is important to know that Norway has a very different speed limit system than other countries. The speed limit on the highways is usually around 80 km/h, but it can be lower in some areas. In urban areas, the speed limit is typically 50 km/h.
If you are planning on driving in Norway, be sure to familiarise yourself with the laws and regulations before you get behind the wheel. By doing so, you can ensure that you have a safe and enjoyable trip.
This article provides an overview of the main road laws in Norway. For detailed information, please consult the Norwegian Public Roads Administration website.
There are no words that we can put in this blog post that can really do what we saw in Norway justice. If you have never been to Norway before, however good you think it’s going to be in your head, you need to be prepared to be completely blown away!
I know we keep mentioning the scenery, but wow, again – no words!
There were lots more we would have liked to have done in Norway if we had more time, so Norway is definitely one for us to come back to.
If you are planning a van life Norway road trip, then we hope that you have found this post useful and inspiring for your own adventure.
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I love everything about travel, from seeing new places, learning about new cultures and trying new foods! I believe that travel is one of the best forms of education you can get, I have learnt so much about myself and about the world from travelling all over. Travel is something I feel so passionately about, and I love the fact that we are now lucky enough to have this opportunity to do what we love as much as we can, it’s a dream come true.
Before we started travelling, I worked in local government in administration. I had been in this job for several years and had reached a complete brick wall where I was so fed up, but didn’t know what else to do. The only thing I knew that I wanted to do was to travel, and had wanted to do that for many years.
There were hundreds and hundreds of places on my wishlist that I wanted to go to, and I knew that going on a weeks holiday maybe twice a year if we were lucky wasn’t going to cut it.
After being in lockdown due to the Covid pandemic, and working from home staring at the same 4 walls every day, 2021 seemed like the perfect time for us to take the risk to finally do what we had dreamed of for so long.
It was a hard decision to completely change our lives, but so far it has been the best decision we have ever made!