While on a summer trip to Norway, we decided to bypass the popular “Norway in a Nutshell” train tour from Oslo to Bergen and rent a car for the journey instead. Why, might you ask, would we take a pass on one of the most scenic train rides in the world? Well, because we didn’t want a “nutshell” tour. We wanted more. By choosing to drive the distance between Bergen and Oslo instead, we were able to enjoy similar scenery, but bypass the crowds and the “herding” effect of tours that we tend to loathe. If you are also considering traveling from Oslo to Bergen by car (or Bergen to Oslo by car), here are our suggestions. You can also take a one minute tour with this Youtube video of our drive.
Driving Distance between Oslo and Bergen
The driving distance between Oslo and Bergen is roughly 500km / 310 miles (depending on your route). 5 hours might be what you are thinking, but tack on a few hours for the maximum 80km speed limit, curvy roads, slow drivers and stops to enjoy the incredible scenery. We left Oslo at about 8:30am and arrived in Bergen at about 6:30pm. If you are driving this road in the winter, for obvious safety reasons, you would want to take a lot more time and perhaps overnight somewhere.
Our Route – Oslo to Bergen by Car
Our route was determined by personal choice. We wanted to make sure we hit Borgund, home to one of the best preserved stave churches in all of Norway. We also decided to skip the Aurland snow road and take the world’s longest tunnel through the mountain instead (Laerdalsrtunnelen is 25km long ! ).
While we could have taken a fjord boat tour from Flam, we opted instead to drive up the windy road and view Naeroyfjord from the stunning Stegastein Lookout.
We bypassed the town of Flam altogether because it is where all the tour buses seem to stop. We enjoyed an authentic homestyle meal (reindeer meatballs and waffles with brown cheese*) in the nearby town of Undredal instead (Vingerstad Kafe) – right on the water with fjord views. This town is only 10 minutes from Flam and almost tour bus free !
*Undredal is quite famous for their “Brunost” – a sweet and soft brown cheese often served on waffles.
Map of our Driving Route from Oslo to Bergen:
Side note: If you enjoy retro music, tune in to 100.8 (and sometimes 100.6) along the route. Quite frankly, I have never heard so much Queen and Bon Jovi in my life (a Norway thing?), plus many other flashback and one hit wonder artists. Apparently Norway has not forgotten Tiffany, Roxette, Suzanne Vega, Survivor, Meatloaf and many more blasts from the past.
Other Stops on the Oslo to Bergen Drive
If you are traveling with children, you may be interested in a stop at Bjorneparken, a well reviewed wildlife park in the town of Flå, between Oslo and Borgund. See website for more information. Also along this route is the Gardnos Meteorite Crater Park. As the website for the crater is in Norwegian, here is the link for the TripAdvisor reviews of the crater park instead.
Where to Eat between Oslo and Bergen
I highly encourage you to load up on snacks and fill up your water bottles for the ride as there are not a huge number of decent restaurants between Oslo and Bergen (Flam and Undredol are exceptions). When you do stop – like everywhere in Norway – food is very expensive. A candy bar at a gas station along the way, for instance, was 25 KR (3 USD) and a bottle of water was about 40KR (5 USD). You can only imagine how things can add up.
Renting a car in Norway
We were in Norway for over 2 weeks, renting a number of different cars (and flying between some of the greater distances). The most expensive rental was from Oslo to Bergen because it was one-way, for which you pay a premium. That said, it cost us about the same as it would have to buy tickets on the Norway in a Nutshell train trip for our family of four (2 adults, 2 kids). Most rental cars are manual and an automatic needs to be requested (for which you will pay a premium). Gasoline is expensive. Choose a diesel vehicle if possible as it is much cheaper.
Note: We picked up our rental car in Oslo the night before our journey at no extra cost, giving us one less thing to do in the morning before hitting the highway.
Driving in Norway
Take a deep breath and slow down. My husband likes to drive all roads like the Autobahn. Driving in Norway took a little getting used to for him. Norwegian drivers seem to be very content to drive under the speed limit. They also didn’t seem very interested in passing really slow cars in front of them (or tractors). Safety enforcement cameras (radar cameras) are quite common along this route. As I write this I am still half expecting us to receive a ticket (or 10) in the mail.
Disclosure: I was not compensated in any way for this post. All opinions in this post are entirely my own. I would like to always encourage you to also read reviews from other travelers (Google, TripAdvisor etc.), before finalizing your travel plans or making a booking.
You May Also Enjoy the Following Posts: