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Tunnels and Ferries in Norway: 6 Things you Need to Know

Category Archives: Travel tips

Tunnels and Ferries in Norway: 6 Things you Need to Know

Norway offers a wealth of scenic routes you can explore when you hire a campervan in Oslo from us here at Cabin Campers. The natural splendor makes for many spectacular views, but it also creates challenges for our roadbuilders. With so many mountains, craggy islands and narrow fjords, it is no wonder we have ended up with a roadmap that features an extraordinary number of tunnels. You can drive your rented motorhome through the longest road tunnel in the world in Lærdal, and follow it up with passing through the deepest underwater tunnel, in Eiksund, as well.

Some parts of the country can most easily be traversed with ferries that cross fjords or connect islands to the mainland. This makes your campervan adventure in Norway unique and unlike driving through almost any other country in Europe. In order to stay safe and make the most of your journey, please keep the following pointers in min along the way.

1. Remember to switch on your lights

According to the Norwegian highway code, all vehicles should have their headlights on at all times whilst driving. This rule applies regardless of the time of day. As long as you heed this, you will enter tunnels without having to adjust your lights. Should you forget to switch your headlights on, it is crucially important that you do so before you enter the tunnel. Driving into a tunnel without lights on can create dangerous situations.

2. Close your windows

Norwegian tunnels are well ventilated and you will not need to worry about exhaust being trapped even in the longest stretches. However, the air quality is not intended for long-term exposure. You must close all windows in your hired campervan before entering tunnels. The ventilation system should always be set to recirculation. This will assure you a comfortable and pleasant drive.

3. Never cross the median

Many tunnels in Norway have two separate passages – one each for traffic traveling in opposite directions. However, most of our tunnels feature two-way traffic. This means that you will meet oncoming traffic in the opposite lane. Overtaking other vehicles is strictly forbidden in two-lane tunnels. As is crossing over into the opposite lane – for any reason. If your lane is blocked, or a car has broken down ahead of you, you cannot cross into the other lane. You must stop and wait. Only when directed to do so by security personnel can you drive in the opposite lane in a tunnel.

4. Beware of ferry queues

Crossing a fjord or a sound on a ferry can be a great experience. You can take a rest from driving, enjoy the views, and even enjoy a meal and a drink in the cafeteria. However, at certain times of the year, many Norwegian ferry-crossings can become very busy. Queues can stretch several kilometers. You might have to wait for hours. It is advisable to plan your travel accordingly.

5. Long-distance ferries can break up the drive

In addition to crossing smaller stretches of water with a ferry, it is also possible to traverse longer stretches of the Norwegian coastline in a ship. You can park your hired campervan onboard, and take a few days off from the road. This option is worth keeping in mind if you are planning to include North Norway in your campervan adventure, due to the long distances involved.

6. You do not have to pay tolls with Cabin Campers

All our many tunnels mean that building roads in Norway is a costly undertaking. As a result, there are many tollbooths spread throughout our highway system. When you hire a campervan in Norway with us here at Cabin Campers you do not have to pay any tolls whatsoever. It is all included in the price. This saves our camping adventurers both money and hassle on the road! But remember to pay for the ferries – which are not included in the campervan rental price.

Ready to start your adventure? Book your campervan rental in Norway today!

4 Awesome National Parks close to Oslo

When you rent a campervan in Norway, visiting some of our many spectacular national parks should be close to the top of your to-do list. They offer unbeatable access to wild and varied landscapes – from majestic mountain ranges inland, to the fjords that define our coastlines. But did you know that you can visit 4 Awesome national parks within easy driving distance of our capital city? When you hire a campervan in Oslo, with us here at Cabin Campers, any (or all!) of these would make a great starting point for your Norwegian road trip adventure:

1). Ytre Hvaler (1:40 hrs. drive from our campervan pickup point in Oslo)

Oslo lies at the heart of the Oslo-fjord. Driving south from the city, along the fjord’s eastern side, you reach the county of Østfold. Along the coast, close to the border with Sweden, lies Ytre Hvaler National Park.

The park is marine, meaning that it covers coastlines and islands. Among the draws are several picturesque lighthouses and a thriving population of sea birds. Under the surface awaits a rare treasure: one of the largest coral reefs of its kind in Europe. Great for snorkeling or diving! There are many convenient places to park your campervan during your visit.

The nearest town is Fredrikstad, whose historic old-town and well-preserved fortress are well worth a visit.

2). Færder (1:50 hrs. drive from our campervan pickup point in Oslo)

To the south-west of Oslo, in Vestfold county, we find Færder National Park. The park covers several islands, including Tjøme and Nøtterøy – two very popular destinations for vacationing Oslo-dwellers. The landscapes are idyllic and include many historic lighthouses. Some are open to visitors during certain times of the year. Sailing and other water sports are among the main draws. The park offers great facilities for campervans. Nearby, is Tønsberg – Norway’s oldest city.

3). Jomfruland (3:30 hrs drive from our campervan pickup point in Oslo)

The National Park of Jomfruland covers a beautiful archipelago along the westside of the Oslo-fjord. Great for island hopping, and exploring untouched and wild, rocky beaches. The scenery is truly spectacular and rich in birdlife with more than 300 species spotted. The National Park is also home to a permanent colony of seals.

All through the summer, the historic lighthouse on the island of Jomfruland itself is open to visitors. Easily accessible by campervan, with campsites and other facilities at hand. The closest town is Kragerø – a hugely popular destination among Norwegians, with a growing international reputation.

4). Raet (3 hrs. drive from our campervan pickup point in Oslo)

Further south from Færder and Jomfruland, we come to the Raet National Park. This is also a coastal destination, incorporating several small islands. The defining feature of the national park is a wealth of pebble beaches. One of them is more than 130 meters long. This makes for a stunning view and is very popular among photographers. The area is known for its rich marine life and a high density of shipwrecks on the seabed. This makes Raet National Park a favored destination among divers.

The park is close to Arendal, an idyllic coastal town, which teems with life during the summer season.

Here at Cabin Campers, we offer fully equipped campervans for hire in Oslo – the ideal way to explore these 4 Awesome National Parks and other exciting destinations in Norway. Go to the booking tab to book your adventure camping trip to Norway now. Or, if you’re not quite ready yet, continue to explore our blog!

How to find campsites in Norway

One of the big advantages of renting a campervan in Norway is the freedom to go anywhere and sleep anywhere, but to really enjoy that advantage you need to find great campsites!

In Norway, we have the Freedom to Roam act, which is an amazing thing for campervans, and others traveling around. The Freedom to Roam act basically says that you can park/camp anywhere – as long as there is not a “no camping/no parking” sign, you are not obstructing traffic, or you are closer than 150m to someones private property. This means that there are lots and lots of great places you can stop and camp, all around the country. Let’s say you are driving along a quiet road in your campervan and see a stopping place with a great view – most likely you are allowed to camp there!

So how do you find campsites in Norway?

There are two free apps that we recommend, Stellplatz and Park4Night. These apps have hundreds of campsites listed on interactive maps. Some of these campsites are official campsites with showers and other facilities, and you have to pay somewhere between 150-350 NOK per night. Others are free campsites – it could be just a plot of land at the end of a road next to a river, it could be a free parking space next to a church, it could be a pier next to the ocean, it could be anywhere basically.

These apps are very useful, but the best campsites are perhaps best-kept secret? In our experience, this is actually true, and the best campsites are not always listed on apps, you just find them while driving. So our recommendation is really to do both – keep your eyes open for that perfect place to stop, and if you can’t find it that day, check the apps.

Ready to book your trip and go look for your perfect campsites?

September – the Best Month to Travel Norway in a Campervan?

September is a month where the weather can still be very good, there are a lot fewer tourists and the national scenic routes and hikes are still open. If you want to see Norway during a beautiful month and avoid the crowds, September might actually be the best or one of the best months to travel Norway in a campervan.

In Norway, the high season for travel is between June and August, with April, May, September, and October considered the shoulder months. The rest of the year, from November until the end of March is the low season.

Tourism is increasing in Norway every year. Luckily, it’s a large country geographically, and the numbers are still low compared to most other Europeans countries. Still, the number of tourists can be a bit bothersome during high season and at the most popular sights. If you are traveling during July and early August, you should consider getting up early in the morning to visit the most popular attractions and roads, or before sundown at night. Some people do not mind a bit of a crowd, and then you are of course free to visit at any time. The sights, roads, and hikes with the highest number of visitors are for example Pulpit rock, Troll tongue hike, and Geiranger/Trollstigen.

In September, you can visit any of these or other sights more freely and still avoid the crowds. When traveling in late September, please double check to see if a certain hike is still open/recommended. For most of them it will be open, but Troll tongue and some others may be recommended only with a guide in late September or in certain weather conditions. Most of all of the 18 national scenic routes of Norway are usually open in September, and also October.

If you hate mosquitos, September also has the advantage of having fewer, or usually no mosquitos at all. Mosquitos can be quite annoying and plentiful in numbers during the warmest months such as July. In some areas of the country it can be very bad. In September, you will most likely not experience any mosquitos at all.

One last advantage of September (as well as the other shoulder months) is that Cabin Campers and other rental companies usually have more availability.

Every month has some advantages and disadvantages! There are of course many advantages of going on a road trip in Norway during June, July or August as well. But for some, September might just be the best option of them all.

So what are you waiting for? Book your September road trip of a lifetime today. Cabin Campers campervan rental is excited to welcome you to your home on wheels!

10 months ago Campervan Rental , Routes , Travel tips

Cabin Campers recommended on national TV!

We were recommended for traveling in Norway in 2019 on Good Morning Norway TV2! The editor of Norway’s largest travel Magazine, Magasinet Reiselyst, was a visitor on the show, and talked about her worldwide travel recommendations for 2019.

After discussing some trends and recommendations for international travel, she brought up a trip with Cabin Campers she had in 2018, and showed a few pictures from it.

You can see the full clip (in Norwegian) here: https://www.tv2.no/v/1409431/?fbclid=IwAR1K9P8J8xdm78OodGMLxg4dAQaE9mcf9UsedxxR46XmDv-aHe-jXYzHlJ0

Want to take your Norwegian roadtrip adventure in a Cabin Campers campervan? Book your trip directly here on our website, or send us an email with your dates/questions to reservations@cabincampers.no

18 Official scenic roads in Norway

There is without a doubt no better way of seeing Norway than by driving – preferably in a campervan of course. Norway is a large (and in the south, wide) country, and really getting around without a car is not that easy. Most of Norway’s highlights, such as mountains, viewpoints, fjords, glaciers and other scenery is found along roads. So how do you start planning which roads and routes to take? Luckily the Norwegian travel authorities have made this part easy for you. There are 18 official scenic roads which includes basically most of the highlights Norwegian nature has to offer.

The website: https://www.nasjonaleturistveger.no/en is in Norwegian, English and German and provides all the details you need to plan an amazing roadtrip.

So there are 18 routes, listed geographically from North to South these are; Varanger, Havøysund, Senja, Andøya, Lofoten, Helgelandskysten, Atlanterhavsveien, Geiranger-trollstigen, Gamle Strynefjellsvegen, Rondane, Sognefjellet, Valdresflye, Gaularfjellet, Aurlandsfjellet, Hardanger, Hardangervidda, Ryfylke and Jæren.

Some of these routes are around 30-50 km long while others are closer to 300km! Each route is listed on the website with special attractions, highlights and some history.

12 of the 18 roads are in the South of Norway (South of Trondheim) and 6 of the roads are logically in the North of Norway (North of Trondheim). Most of the scenic roads in the South of Norway are found along the west coast and central Norway. When picking up a campervan in Stavanger, you can easily reach all these 12 scenic roads within a day or two. Several of the 12 scenic roads in the south are just a few hours away from Stavanger – such as Ryfylke and Jæren, which basically start or are found very near Stavanger.

From the Geiranger-Trollstigen road

If you have a week in a campervan you can easily cover 8-12 of the scenic roads in the south! If you have more than a week you could even reach the ones in the North!

So what are you waiting for?

Just drop us an email at reservations@cabincampers.no.

We’ll come back with more specific route suggestions and travel tips soon!

Great roadtrips near Stavanger!

There are several really good roadtrips you can take starting in (or very near) Stavanger. Two of these are Ryfylke and Jæren. Both of these are also among the 18 official scenic routes in Norway that we described in another post. Jæren is a short but definitely worthwhile trip (especially if you are interested in beaches and/or surfing), and Ryfylke is a longer roadtrip with lots of classic Norwegian highlights. So lets have a closer look at each of them:

Jæren – 41 km
Norwegian Scenic Route Jæren runs from Ogna to Bore, a total distance of 41 km (Road 44/507). Kvassheim lighthouse, one of the many lighthouses along the coast of Jæren, makes for a lovely detour. Jæren is one of the shorter scenic routes, and to be fair it does not have the attractions and highlights of many of the other scenic routes. There are no mountains or fjords. There are however really nice beaches, coastlines and lighthouses. Its also right outside of Stavanger (around 20 minutes drive) and could be a natural part of making your way out of Stavanger (or short detour). On your way to Ogna, make sure to stop by Sola beach, which is right next to the airport. Jæren is also a great route for surfing.

Orre beach

Surf at Bore beach

For more information see: https://www.nasjonaleturistveger.no/en/routes/j%C3%A6ren

Ryfylke – 260 km (and 2 ferries)
The Ryfylke scenic route is a really interesting roadtrip that gives you a great mini-version of Norway – with mountains, fjords, interesting small towns, waterfalls, modern architecture and more. It starts just 1 hour outside of Stavanger – with the Lauvik-Oanes ferry. While the Ryfylke road trip could be done in a day or two, we recommend a minimum of 3 days/nights. At the northern most point of the roadtrip (Røldal), you are just a few kilometres away from the southern starting point of the Hardanger scenic route as well (see the map).

Some of the main attractions along (or near) the Ryfylke scenic route are:
– Almannajuvet (modern architecture, café and gallery in a historic setting)
– Svandalsfossen (powerful and impressive waterfall that you can get really close to)
– Lysefjorden-Preikestolen (Fjord and the famous pulpit rock 604m above the fjord)
– Sauda (Charming small town with a history of mining)
– Høse bru (modern and impressive architecture in a natural setting – a footbridge crossing the Suldalslågen river)
– Røldal (famous skiing village, and in summer great hiking and mountain views, also features one of the oldest stave churches in Norway)

The famous pulpit rock

Høse bru

Svandalsfossen

For more information see: https://www.nasjonaleturistveger.no/en/routes/ryfylke

Driving a car in Norway – What you need to know

So you plan on renting a campervan and drive all around Norway? Maybe you already booked your Cabin Camper? Lets have a quick talk about some of the basic driving rules and guidelines! Driving a car or campervan in Norway is not difficult, but you should know a few things before you hit the road.

Lets start with a very basic fact – in Norway we drive on the right side of the road – just like most countries in Europe, in addition to the US, Latin America and lots of other countries in the world. If you come from a country driving on the left side of the road and you don’t have any experience “switching sides” – no worries, the transition is easier than you would expect (speaking from personal experiences).

In terms of speed limits: The general rule is to follow the limits set by signs – the second general rule is that rural/country areas have a speed limit of 80 km/h and areas with a bit more people/habitation have a speed limit of 50 km/h. In areas with pedestrian crossings or schools its usually 30 km/h – but again, signs will usually let you know.

Always follow the speed limit!! Norway has lots of speed cameras and traffic controls!

The fine for breaking the speed limits can be really high – sometimes over 10.000 NOK. Unfortunately this is your responsibility when renting a Cabin Camper, so for you own wallet (and safety) please follow the speed limit!

A few other important and general rules:

  • You need to have a drivers license from your country on you
  • You always have to wear a seatbelt
  • Remember that you share the road with cyclists
  • Speed limits on highways are usually 90, 100 or 110

 

For other general information on driving in Norway check out: https://www.visitnorway.com/plan-your-trip/getting-around/by-car/

 

 

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