Motorcycle touring in Norway should be on every rider’s bucket list. You’ll get to explore its picturesque outdoors such as the Geiranger Fjord, the Atlantic Road, and the Lofoten Islands.
If you’re a beginner rider and think that Norway’s hairpin roads feel too extreme for you (for now), then you can instead ride through its beautiful cities, which offer a mix of modern amenities and traditional Scandinavian aesthetic. History buffs can also find museums that talk about Norwegian history and culture.
- Routes & destinations
- When to ride in Norway
- Getting yourself to/from Norway
- Getting your bike to/from Norway
- Accommodation options
- Fuel price and availability
- Road conditions and other considerations
Top Routes for Motorcycle Touring in Norway
Part of the 36-kilometre (22.37 miles) long Atlanterhavsvegen, the Atlantic Road is considered to be one of the most scenic roads in the world. This curvy route goes over the Norwegian Sea, whose waves would crash over the pavement during a storm. It also features eight breathtaking bridges, the tallest of which is the Storseisundet Bridge. Find out more about riding the Atlantic Ocean Road & Geiranger.
Riding the North Cape (Nordkapp) route (E69) takes travellers as far North in Europe as it is possible to go by road. This epic route is for those who like a challenge and to conquer the four corners of the world. The route is 130 km long and passes through some stunning scenery. For the majority of its length, the road hugs tight to the coastline, rewarding travelers with excellent sea views. The road takes in five tunnels. The longest is the North Cape tunnel, running over 200 metres beneath the sea and measuring in at almost 7 km. More info on Riding the North Cape (Nordkapp) route (E69).
National Tourist Route Varanger
Just because it’s part of Norway’s National Tourist Route doesn’t mean Varanger is friendly for beginner riders. This 160-kilometre (99 miles) long road is only open from June to October but still requires motorcycles to be equipped with winter tyres throughout the year. But the beautiful birch forests and jagged cliffs by the Barents Sea will make the ride worth it.
Nibbevegen – Dalsnibba Utsiktspunkt
Dalsnibba is a mountain pass at an elevation of 1.476 metres (4,843 feet) above sea level in the western part of Norway and is often covered by snow even during the summer. Aside from offering Europe’s highest fjord view, this route also features 11 hairpin bends that give impressive views of the unspoiled backcountry.
Lysevegen is a 29-kilometre (18 miles) curvy mountainous road between Lysebotn and Sirdal. It’s remarked as one of the most famous hair-pinned roads in the world. It features 27 sharp bends in a row as well as twists and turns on a single-track road.
Egersund – Segleim
The road to the Eigerøy Lighthouse is a 2.6-kilometre (1.62 miles) rollercoaster ride with steep climbs and downhill rides. Some parts of the road are only wide enough for one vehicle, so watch out for incoming traffic. At the end of the road is Norway’s first cast-iron lighthouse, which offers great views especially on stormy days.
European route E8
The European route E8 is a 1,410-kilometre (880 miles) long road that goes from Tromsø, Norway to Turku, Finland.
Tromsø is a cultural centre for the Northern Norway region and hosts several summer festivals. Meanwhile, Turku is the oldest city in Finland and was designated the European Capital of Culture in 2011.
European route E10
The European route E10 is the second shortest class A road in the International E-road network. It’s also one of the roads you can take to overland to Sweden.
European route E45
If you want to ride through multiple countries, going on the E45 is the easiest way to do so. It starts in Gela, Italy then goes through Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Austria, and ends in Alta, Norway. This road is 5,190 kilometres (3,225 miles) long, making it the longest north-south European route.
European route E75
The E75 starts at the town of Vardø, Norway by the Barents Sea, and ends after 4,380 kilometres (2,720 miles) in the town of Sitia on the eastern end of Crete, Greece. If you plan on riding this road, you’ll have to take a ferry from Helsinki, Finland to Gdynia, Poland.
European route E105
If you’re planning to overland from Norway to Russia, the E105 is the only legal border crossing route between the two countries. The road starts in the village of Hesseng, Norway and runs along Russia’s R21, M10, and M2, then Ukraine’s M20, M29, and M18, before ending in Yalta, a resort city in Crimea.
Best time of year for motorcycle touring in Norway
Generally, the best time for motorcycle touring in Norway is from June to September, when most of the scenic routes are open for vehicles. But visiting in May or October will also give you unique experiences.
During this month, spring is in full bloom. You’ll see trees filled with flowers and fruit and fields lush with green grass.
This is the best time to visit Hardanger and see the apple orchards for their cider, which the local farmers have been producing since the 14th century. The nearby Hardanger Fjord is a must-see as well.
May 17th is Norwegian Consitution Day, where there are parades and other festivities all over the country. If you don’t want to participate, make sure to avoid passing through cities, towns, and villages or you might get stuck in traffic.
If you take Road 13, you’ll find the waterfall Låtefoss, which looks especially spectacular in the spring.
Mid-June to Mid-August
This period is a high season for tourism, so expect prices to be at a premium as well as crowded places. But you’ll still find routes that are not filled with tourists.
Also, while this may be summer in the northern hemisphere, the northern part of Norway still has the same kind of weather and temperature you’d experience in the spring or autumn. So bring waterproof gear if you’re riding to this area.
If you ride to the Arctic islands of Svalbard, you can experience the midnight sun phenomenon, which happens from April to late August.
September to October
As the temperatures get colder, you’ll find fewer tourist crowds and be rewarded with the beautiful colours of nature.
This is when the Northern Lights start to appear, so make sure to venture up north to have a better chance of seeing it.
Norway becomes a bit more affordable during this period as well, so you might be able to stretch your budget.
Getting your bike to/from Norway
Most riders motorcycle touring in Norway start their tour elsewhere in Europe and just ride through the borders or take a ferry. But shipping your motorcycle straight to Norway is an option too.
Websites like DirectFerries.com will help you find the cheapest fare available on your desired schedule, or you can book directly on one of the ferry operators’ websites.
- Shipping from the UK and anywhere in the world
Rapid Shipping is a UK-based shipping company that can transport your motorcycle from anywhere in the world to Norway by sea or air. They have local partners in over 90 countries to transport your vehicle from one place to another.
They can collect your bike directly from your residence at an additional charge, or you can also bring it to their depot if it’s accessible to you. You can also include your helmet, leather gear, and a small number of personal effects with the shipping.
The transit time for sea freight is 4 to 5 weeks, while air freight takes 1 to 2 days. You will receive a copy of the sailing details or air waybill and the contact info of the local partner in Norway once your motorcycle has been shipped out.
While their local partner usually handles the customs formalities, you may also choose to handle this yourself and collect your crated bike directly from the port.
Overland/Ferry – Border entry points
Norway shares its borders with three countries: Finland, Russia, and Sweden.
From Finland, you can ride through any of the following border crossings to Norway:
- Karigasniemi, Finland to Neiden, Norway (road 92)
- Polmak, Norway (road 970/895)
- Utsjoki, Finland (road E75)
- Kivilompolo, Finland (road E45)
- Helligskogen, Norway (road E8)
From Russia, there is only one legal border crossing point, which is between Storskog in Norway and Borisoglebsky in Russia on the E105 highway east of Kirkenes, Norway. It’s only open from 7 AM to 9 PM Norwegian time. Because this border crosses to a country that’s not part of the Schengen Area, expect your documents and bags to be checked more than once.
As for Sweden, you have a selection of 41 roads crossing between the two countries, 30 of which don’t have a customs station, such as E16. However, you can only go through these if you’re not carrying any goods that need to be declared.
Here are the Swedish-Norwegian border crossings with customs control stations:
- Björnfell via E10
- Junkerdal via Swedish Road 95/Norwegian Road 77
- Tärnaby via E12
- Storlien via E14
- Vauldalen via Swedish Road 84/Norwegian Road 31
- Idre via Swedish Road 70/Norwegian Road 218
- Østby via Swedish Road 66/Norwegian Road 25
- Åsnes via Norwegian Road 206
- Eda via Swedish Road 61/Norwegian Road 206
- Ørje/Hån via E18
- Svinesund via E6
Third-party motorcycle insurance is compulsory for motorcycle touring in Norway. It’s recommended that you purchase one that has unlimited coverage for personal injury and NOK 1 million for property damage.
If you’re bringing your own motorcycle from abroad, you’ll have an easier time if you already have a Green Card from your insurance company. On the other hand, if you’re renting a bike in Norway, it’s best for you to get comprehensive insurance.
Bike Permits, Carnets
You can bring and ride your foreign-registered motorcycle in Norway without paying taxes or duties if you’re staying for less than a year (source). Other than registration/ownership documents, you don’t need to present anything else.
However, ask your transport company if there are additional requirements you need to bring when shipping out your bike.
A driver’s license issued in an EU/EEA country is valid in Norway for as long as the license is valid. If it’s issued elsewhere, then it’s only valid for up to three months.
Foreign motorcycles must have an oval-shaped nationality sticker on the back.
UK-registered motorcycles must carry a Form V5 or a Form V379. You can get the latter form from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency in the UK.
Other required documents include:
- Vehicle registration from the country of origin
- Vehicle purchase invoice
- Title and registration
- Proof of ownership
Getting yourself to/from Norway
Norway has 98 airports, 48 of which facilitate public flights. Its main and busiest airport is Oslo Airport, Gardermoen, which served over 28 million passengers in 2019.
Flight times & costs
The cost and flight times displayed below are based on return flights to Oslo Airport, Gardermoen as of June 2021. Note that actual airfare may depend on the season and how far ahead you book from your desired travel dates.
|Origin||Flight Time||Airfare cost|
|London||Fastest at 2h 5m||Around £103|
|New York||Fastest at 8h 50m||Around US$569|
|Los Angeles||Fastest at 13h 48m||Around US$668|
|Toronto||Fastest at 10h 30m||Around US$748|
|Vancouver||Fastest at 13h 18m||Around US$1,088|
|Auckland||Fastest at 29h 13m||Around US$1,668|
|Melbourne||Fastest at 23h 50m||Around US$2,089|
Passports and Visas
British citizens can enter and stay in Norway without a visa for up to 90 days (source).
US citizens are not required to apply for a tourist visa if staying in Norway for under 90 days (source). Their passports must be valid for at least six months and must have two blank pages.
Australian citizens don’t need a visitor’s visa to visit Norway (source). But if they plan on visiting more than one Schengen country in the course of one trip, then they need to apply for a visitor’s visa in the embassy of the country that’s their main destination based on the length or purpose of their stay.
Where to stay while motorcycle touring in Norway
Wild camping is allowed in Norway, with some considerations:
- You can only camp in uncultivated land (e.g. fields, parking lots, gardens) that are not fenced in.
- You must be at least 150 metres away from the nearest house or hut.
- You can camp on the same site for up to two days without permission. If you need to stay for longer than that, then you must get permission from the landowner (if there is one).
If you’re not comfortable with pitching your tent just about anywhere, you can also find campsites all over the country. Renting a space in a campsite starts at NOK 70 / EUR 7 / £6 / US$ 9 per night depending on the season.
Hostels & Guesthouses
There are hundreds of youth and family hostels (locally called Vandrerhjem) in Norway. You can either sleep in a dormitory or opt for a private room. Bathrooms are usually shared with other guests.
Hostels and guesthouses are perfect for motorcycle travellers looking for cheap accommodation and a social experience.
Rates start from NOK 210 / EUR 21 / £18 / US$ 25 per night depending on the room and season.
If you have more budget to spare, there’s a huge variety of hotels for you to choose from. You can find luxury boutique hotels or one-of-a-kind dwellings close to nature.
Rates start from NOK 450 / EUR 45 / £38 / US$ 54 per night depending on the season, and breakfast is usually included in the price. If you book well in advance of your desired stay, you might be able to find discounted rates.
Budgeting for Motorcycle Touring in Norway
Unfortunately, motorcycle touring in Norway is more expensive than most countries. Here are some expenses to expect based on an eight-day trip, with seven days on the bike (airfare not included):
- Getting to/from the airport:
- Bike rental:
- BMW R1250RT = NOK 12,750 / EUR 1,265 / £1,088 / US$ 1,541 (https://www.motor-teknikk.no/utleie)
- Yamaha MT07 = NOK 9,750 / EUR 967 / £832 / US$ 1,178 (https://www.motor-teknikk.no/utleie)
- Harley Davidson Softail Heritage Classic 2012 = NOK 5,000 / EUR 496 / £427 / US$ 604 (https://www.beamersandbulls.com/our-bikes)
- Hirtshals, Denmark to Larvik, Norway = NOK 1,512 / EUR 150 / £129 / US$ 183
- Hirtshals, Denmark to Kristiansand, Norway = NOK 1,522 / EUR 151 / £130 / US$ 184
- Kiel, Germany to Oslo, Norway = NOK 4,547 / EUR 848 / £729 / US$ 1,033
- Strömstad, Sweden to Sandefjord, Norway = NOK 282 / EUR 28 / £24 / US$ 34
- Camping (own gear, no electricity) = NOK 525 / EUR 52 / £45 / US$ 63
- Camping (rented tent/cabin, with electricity) = NOK 3,465 / EUR 344 / £296 / US$ 419
- Hostels (dorm) = NOK 1,470 / EUR 146 / £125 / US$ 178
- Hostels (private room) = NOK 2,786 / EUR 276 / £238 / US$ 337
- Hotels = NOK 3,150 / EUR 313 / £269 / US$ 381
- BMW R1250RT (25 litres) = NOK 3,017 / EUR 299 / £258 / US$ 365
- Yamaha MT07 (14 litres) = NOK 1,689 / EUR 168 / £144 / US$ 204
- Harley Davidson Softail Heritage Classic 2012 (19 litres) = NOK 2,292 / EUR 227 / £196 / US$ 277
- Food (moderate spend and no booze): NOK 1,918 / EUR 190 / £164 / US$ 232 (source: budgetyourtrip.com)
Access to Money
You can find ATMs (locally referred to as ‘mini banks’) outside banks and in busy public places like shopping centres. Banks in Norway regularly close by 3 PM.
Large establishments and hotels accept major credit and debit cards. However, many supermarkets and gas stations do cash-only transactions.
You can exchange your home currency for NOK outside Norway. If you’ll have to exchange your local currency in Norway, however, make sure the banknotes you use look new and undamaged, or else they might not be accepted.
Fuel (cost, access, and quality)
Fuel prices in Norway are relatively higher because of environmental politics and tend to vary per area. But rest assured that you’ll have an easy time finding good-quality fuel.
While you can find fuel stations everywhere in the cities and towns, they tend to be rarer up in the mountains and in remote areas, particularly in the north.
As of May 2021, fuel in Norway (per litre) costs around NOK 17.23, EUR 1.70, £1.47, US$ 2.08.
Roads in Norway
The reason why Norway is one of the top destinations for motorcycle touring is not only because of the breathtaking scenery but also for its expertly engineered and well-maintained roads.
Norway’s tunnels are always well-lit and the longer ones have padded insulation and exhaust fans to remove fumes. Still, it’s smart to be wary of fumes when entering longer tunnels.
If you like riding off-the-beaten paths, be careful: less-frequently used routes tend to have poor or unpaved surfaces. Some roads also turn from two lanes to a single track without warning.
Make sure you use winter tyres if you’re riding in snowy/icy conditions, which is common in high elevations.
The national speed limit is 80 kph (50 mph) on open roads, 50-60 kph (31-37 mph) in villages and business areas, and 30 kph (19 mph) in residential areas.
Avoid going over the speed limit; Norway is known for being strict about this. There are mobile police units lurking at the side of the roads. And if you see a sign that says Automatisk Trafikkontrol, that means there’s a speed camera ahead. Fines range from NOK 1,000-10,000 / EUR 99-993 / £86-855 / US$ 121-1,209, and they can track you back to your home country if you don’t settle it while in Norway.
Norwegians drive on the right side of the road. When in a roundabout, you must give way to vehicles coming from the left.
While Norway uses internationally recognised road signs, here are some local signages you should know as well:
- White M (stands for møteplass) on a blue background indicates you’re about to pass on a single-track road
- All Stans Forbudt means No Stopping
- Enveiskjøring means One Way
- Kjøring Forbudt means Driving Prohibited or Do Not Enter
- Parkering Forbudt means No Parking
- Rekverk Mangler means Guardrail Missing
Lastly, motorcycles don’t need to pay tolls except for a few undersea tunnels, which have a manual toll booth (source).
Any other hints/tips for motorcycle touring in Norway
Here are other things you should know so you’ll have a safe and enjoyable ride in Norway:
- Here are some required gear and tools you should have on you or your bike when motorcycle touring in Norway:
- Red warning triangle for use in case of a breakdown
- High-visibility waistcoat
- ECE 22-05 standard helmets
- Use of dipped headlights, even for motorcycles, is required at all times.
- The blood-alcohol limit in Norway is 0.02%, and violators are subject to severe fines and/or imprisonment. Establishments that serve alcohol may refuse to serve you alcohol if they know you’re riding as they’re also liable if you get caught.
- Motorcycles may not be parked on the sidewalk and are subject to the same parking regulations as cars.
- Don’t just ride through the mountains; get off your bike and hike. Norway offers impressive scenery that you won’t find anywhere else.
- If you’re feeling social, meet a motorcycle club. You’ll get more tips about riding in the country from experienced local riders, plus you’ll gain new friends.
- Watch out for reindeer and moose, especially when riding up north. They tend to jump out onto the road without warning.
- It’s cheaper to buy food in the supermarkets than in convenience stores and petrol stations. Consider packing food in advance.