Last update: April 8th, 2021 at 08:52 am
While on a summer trip to Norway, we decided to bypass the popular Norway in a Nutshell (NIN) 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.
Save up to 30% on Car Rentals Worldwide
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 short of our drive.
Distance – Driving Oslo to Bergen
The driving distance from Oslo to Bergen by car is roughly 500km / 310 miles (depending on your route). Five hours might be what you are thinking. When driving from Oslo to Bergen, however, you should tack on a few hours for the maximum 80km speed limit, curvy roads, slow drivers and stops to enjoy the incredible scenery and lunch.
We left Oslo at 8:30am and arrived in Bergen at about 6:30pm. I also want to mention that we did this drive in July with mostly dry roads. If you are driving this road in the winter, for obvious safety reasons, you would want to take a lot more time, and keep abreast of changing road conditions.
Our Route – Oslo to Bergen Drive
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 actually bypassed the town of Flam altogether because it is where all the tour buses tend to stop (a hub of tourist activity).
Where to Eat between Oslo and Bergen
We enjoyed an authentic homestyle meal (reindeer meatballs and waffles with brown cheese*) in the town of Undredal right on the water with a beautiful fjord view. This town is only 10 minutes from Flam and almost tour bus free !
Unfortunately, I think the Undredal Kafe where we ate may now be gone, but if I were doing the drive today, I would lunch at Marianne Bakeri and Kafe. This locally run cafe is also only a 10 minute drive from Flam in Aurlandand, just below the Stegastein Lookout (which you will surely want to visit anyway).
*Undredal is quite famous for their “Brunost” – a sweet and soft brown cheese often served on waffles.
I highly encourage you to load up on snacks and fill up your water bottles for the drive as there are not a huge number of decent restaurants between Oslo and Bergen (Flam and Undredal 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 (4 USD) and a bottle of water was about 40KR (6 USD). You can only imagine how things can add up.
Where to Stay Between Oslo and Bergen
Just as I would choose not to dine in Flam (too busy), I also wouldn’t choose Flam as a place to stay between Bergen and Oslo. For those of you considering overnighting in the area to break up your journey, I would recommend something in or near the town of Aurland.
If you are doing this drive during the summer months, finding accommodation along the route can be tricky. I would try to book something as early as possible. Sites like Booking.com usually allow you to reserve accommodation without a deposit and that you can be easily cancelled (without a fee) if your plans change.
Driving from Oslo to Bergen Map
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. Also along this route is the Gardnos Meteorite Crater Park. You can actually drive right into the center of the crater where you will be met by guides that can take you exploring.
Renting a Car in Norway
We did quite a bit of driving in Norway on this particular trip, renting a number of different cars (and flying between some of the greater distances). Our most expensive Norway car rental was for the drive from Oslo to Bergen because it was a one-way rental, for which you pay a premium (almost double).
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.
Tip: 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.
Update June 2019: While driving from Oslo to Bergen, I was a little surprised by the number of Teslas on the road. I have since looked in to how you would rent one for this route, but it does not seem possible for visitors at this time. There are places that rent them in Oslo (Avis for one), but they do not seem to do a one-way rental and they also have very low km limits (making it prohibitively expensive for long drives). If you know differently, please comment on this post.
Norway Driving Tips
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 do 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 two in the mail.
- 10 Things to do in Oslo with Kids
- Best Oslo Family Hotels
- A Guide to Bergen, Norway with Kids
- Manshausen Island Resort – Northern Norway Design Hotel
- Hiking Pulpit Rock, Norway – Simply Spectacular
- The Incredible Juvet Landscape Hotel, Norway
- Trollstigen, Norway – Driving the Trolls Road
- Travel into the Arctic Circle – The Lofoten Islands, Norway
Are the roads mobile home friendly between Oslo and Bergen. We have a 6 metre long motor home,
A lot of large tour buses go between Oslo and Bergen so I should think if you plan your route carefully and are comfortable driving a motor home, you should be fine (assuming you are taking the route with the Laerdalsrtunnelen tunnel like us). Where I most definitely would not go is up the road to the Stegastein Lookout, which takes you on an alternative route, the Aurland Snow Road (Aurlandsfjellet). We did see some larger vehicles going up it, but it seemed crazy (lots of backing up to let other vehicles pass).
we are 2 adults, have 5 days going Oslo to Bergen and back by car.
we would like to see the most out of it of course.
what would be the main highlights.
we are not into the food business .. so it is mainly local culture, nice villages and of course nature (fiorjds, water falls , short hikes to see nice things – not a full day hike)
appreciate if you can also mention how much time is reasonable to spend in each place so i can take the breakdown per day, hotels ,etc
i was told about those things but they seem to be south a bit from your route
Hardangervidda National Park
and Bergen of course
thanks a lot
That sounds like a wonderful trip ! I wish I could be of more help, but unfortunately we passed through quite quickly (1 day). I would suggest posting this on a TripAdvisor forum as I’m sure there are many people who would be happy to offer their suggestions. We are actually heading back to Norway this summer (The Lofotens) and I used the forums quite regularly for advice.
How nice! One thing I noticed was that you drove to Voss-Dale-Bergen. Why?! You should have taken the fjord way! It’s so much more fun than Dale, we’re all you see is tunnels and dales?
Believe it or not Helena, our kids were most excited about the long tunnels ! 🙂
any you advice us where to stay in between oslo and bergen. We would be undertaking this trip in August and will be completing oslo to bergen in two days by road.
Kindly advice where to stay. ( hotel/hostel)
While we did the drive in one day, we stopped for lunch in Undredal, which is a small, but really sweet town near Flam. Although they don’t have many places to stay, they do have a couple of guesthouses (you could check Airbnb too). Flam is also an option, but it is very touristy (which is why we skipped it). I hope you enjoy your trip. That drive is beautiful ! Let me know how you make out with accommodations.
Hi Tara! We are considering driving from Bergen to Flam, but my boyfriend is concerned it will be a long and tiring 3 hours driving manual if the roads are extra windy and/or hilly. What was your experience with this? Appreciate any tips!!
Hi Serena, Will you be returning back to Bergen? The only really windy part that I recall was when we drove up to the Stegastein Lookout from Flam (took about 20 minutes on a narrow windy road if I remember correctly). The rest wasn’t too bad. The driving conditions should also be very good then. Norwegians are very safe, considerate and slow drivers – so that is one less thing to be stressed about.
Hi Tara!! love your post!! it is very informative and detailed. We are planning to do 8 days road trip in norway.. oslo/ Flam/ Bergen/Oslo in mid-Sep this year. wonder if the normal mid-sized car is ok for the weather or shall we opt for SUV? Prefer the most economical one as nothing seems not pricey in Norway. Also, i heard diesel is way cheaper than petrol?
Hi Elaine, That sounds like a wonderful trip ! We are very frugal when it comes to our rental cars. We just rented a basic sedan and it was fine. You are correct that diesel is the way to go (much cheaper). I would also suggest stocking up on snacks for the car as those little truck stops are really expensive (I’m sure you already know how expensive Norway is though). 🙂 Have a fantastic trip !
Thank you so much for the feedback. I was actually just about on the same road with the exception of the tunnel. That I simply cannot do for more than 4 minuets ?
My pleasure. You are certainly not alone in your distaste for tunnels. A number of people have mentioned them to me. I try not to think about them too much. 🙂
Hello will be in Norway June 3-11. Would like to rent a car and drive round trip oslo -bergen and experience the sognefjord. Thinking we would do this in 2, perhaps 3 nights as time is tight. Where would you recommend staying? Should we stay one night in Bergen then sightsee and drive in the direction back and stay in another area – Voss? I am so incredibly confused and stressed as I didn’t give us enough time. Help!
Hi! It is quite overwhelming isn’t it? I’ll admit that I left the part up to my husband since he was really passionate about it. Let me check with him, and I will get back to you. 🙂
Here is what my husband had to say (below). Personally, I think it is worth taking your time one way, perhaps spending a night near Flam (Undredal), and if you have another night, take it in Bergen (then perhaps more directly back?). Bergen books up very quickly in the summer. I would make a hotel reservation now that you can cancel if your plans change. You can also pose this question on a Tripadvisor forum. Lots of people (experts and otherwise) enjoy chiming in. Have a lovely trip. Norway is spectacular !
“We took the Oslo #7 to Gol where we hit the # 52 through Hemsedal (gateway to high country). 52 to Borgund (most historic stave church). Shortly after we went through the Laerdalstunnelen. Other option is high mountain “Aurland road” between Aurland and Laerdal. It passes by the Stegastein viewpoint. Might still be snowbanks in June. We had lunch at Undredal (just past overly touristy Flam. Probably took us ~6hrs to Undredal with a couple stops). Might be a nice quaint place to stay there. If one was to stay in Undredal/Flam area, could probably get a morning boat out to see the Fjord that wouldn’t be nearly as busy as when the trains arrive. Voss is an outdoor activity hub but only two hours to Bergen.
If we did the round-trip drive, would go Aurland road on way there (stopping at Stegastein on way down) then through tunnel on way back (if that’s important, it is a bit quicker).”
We just drove from Oslo to Flam on routes 7, 52 and E16 (whatever Google maps recommended as the shortest). The scenery was spectacular, but here are a couple of advices. Put “avoid tunnels” in your navigation, as otherwise you will spend a good chunk of the road underground, and its superboring there. Almost all of them could be avoided though by going a few extra miles on parallel historical roads, which usually follow rivers and creeks. Second, be careful with speed cameras. Speed limits don’t make sense at all. It is 80 on a winding road, which should be 60, and it is also eighty on a perfectly straight highway, which should be 110! There are also too many changes of speed limit aling the road, and one can easily miss them. 3d, there are many toll roads and you have to sign up for EPC (European parking commission) account online (could also be done after the trip (so you can pay the tolls), unless your rental includes them. Or you can ignore the sign up, but if your rental doesn’t include them, they can still bill you for it, but they will add their own processing fees on top, so it’ll be more expensive.
Thank you for the excellent suggestions. The speed limits were rather puzzling at times to us as well.
Hi! Thank you for the ideas and advice! I am heading to Norway with my siblings in August and we are hoping to drive from Oslo to Bergen and spend the night along the way.
– which car rental company did you like?
– did you spend the night at any lovely (cheap) places between Oslo and Bergen?
thank you! 🙂
Hi Katie! We rented a car from a downtown Oslo office of Hertz (one way). We picked it up the night before so we could get an early start (cost was the same for some reason). It was a diesel fueled vehicle (gasoline very $$$ in Norway). You probably have an idea how expensive Norway is already (and how booked up the hotels get in summer). I wondered about the small village of Undredal for an overnight stay. We had an excellent traditional meal on the water there just after visiting the Aurlandsfjellet lookout (about 4 hours from Oslo). There are a couple of guesthouses there that get okay reviews (Visit Undredal and Undredal Gjestehus) and the prices aren’t too bad. The real reason to stay there, however, is the beautiful location on the water. Anyway….might be worth a look. 🙂
I will be flying into Oslo at 10:30 AM and I would love to drive to Bergen not including the tunnel. What route can I take ? I like your route minus the tunnel. I hate tunnels. I also want to climb pulpit rock so I thought I would drive from Bergen to Stavanger and fly out of Stavanger back to Oslo. I have 4 days to do all of this. Do you think it is possable?
Hi Debbie. I’m not an expert on this (as I really only know our route), but I believe there is a more direct route than ours (just under 7 hours on the RV7). Unfortunately, that way will bypass Flam and Borgund. Alternatively, you can go the same direction as us and take the Aurlandsfjellet (the Snow Road), which I think will take about 9 hours (check this). The Aurlandsfjellet is supposed to be a very unique experience (we had a hard time deciding which way to go). Regardless, it will be a long day assuming you probably will not be on the road until noon (if you leave the day you fly in). On the plus side, if you are visiting in the summer, you have a lot of hours of daylight to work with. Something I want to caution you about is tunnels. Although you can avoid the very long tunnel, Norway is full of tunnels (ranging from a few dozen meters to several kms). Bergen to Stavanger is a shorter drive (<5 hours I believe). Whether you decide to drive or fly, I think it is worthy of a visit in order to visit Pulpit Rock (see post). I hope you have a wonderful trip. 🙂
We did many one-way car rentals on our trip, so I afraid I can’t say what a good rate would be necessarily. I can only recommend booking as soon as possible because rates tend to go up during peak times (June-Sept). I hope you have a great trip.
We will be traveling to Oslo this September and would love to know what a great deal is for car rentals! Thinking of driving from there to Bergen, down to Stavanger, then back to Oslo for 5 days. With a diesel, manual, economy car for 2 adults.