Boot naar Noorwegen

Hoe kom je het beste naar Noorwegen? 9 tips en reisroutes

The best, most affordable and most sustainable way to travel to Norway with the family? In this article I share my findings plus 9 tips and most useful travel routes to the fjords of Norway. Because together with daughters Pip and Juup, Reisachtig recently went to Norway for a short holiday in Northern Norway. 

‘How long is the drive to the south of Norway?’ daughter Pip asks before leaving. “It takes about 16 hours from the Netherlands by car, so we’ll drop that idea for now,” I answer. This is a great plan for those who have all the time in the world and want to turn the drive via Germany and Denmark into a road trip to Norway.

The fastest, shortest way to Norway? That is still flying, but this is the least sustainable way and therefore far from ideal. What is the best way to travel to Norway? The (electric) car, camper, in combination with the boat or ferry. The latter currently still run on Diesel, but in the future this will be hydrogen.

But several roads, in this case boat routes, lead to Norway. The crossing can be made from Denmark, Sweden or Germany. So it just depends on what you’re looking for. The most popular ferry is Fredrikshaven-Oslo. This option is slightly more expensive. These are the routes to Norway.

Denmark-Norway ferry

  • Ferry Copenhagen–Oslo. How long is the sailing? 17 hours and 15 minutes with DFDS.
  • Emden-Kristiansand. Holland Norway Lines operates 3 times a week on this route. The cruise takes 18 hours.
  • Frederikshaven–to Oslo. How long by boat? around 9 am with DFDS: 7 times a week.
  • Kiels-Oslo: crossing operated by DFDS. How long is the boat trip? 20 hours.
  • Hirtshals–Kristiansand. How long is the boat ride? More than 2 hours. Operated by Fjord Line: 3 times a day. Color Line takes an hour longer, but sails 14 times a week.
  • Hirtshals–Larvik. How long to sail? 3 hours and 45 minutes with Color Line: 14 times a week.
  • Hirtshals–Stavanger. How long by boat? 10 hours and 30 minutes. Operated by Fjord Line: 7 times a week.
  • Hirtshals–Bergen. How long does it take by boat? 16 hours and 30 minutes with Fjord Line: 7 times a week.

What is the best way to get to Norway?

The best, easiest (especially with children) and most sustainable way to travel to the fjords of Norway is by ferry, whether or not in combination with the train or car. Update: Holland Norway Lines entered the ship in August 2023 and will no longer sail for the time being. 

Ferry Norway with kids

Holland Norway Lines children’s play area on the right

How long does it take to sail to the south of Norway, Kristiansand? The crossing from Emden takes approximately 6 hours. That sounds very long, but it is not. Because you spend most of the crossing sleeping. You will spend a night on the MS Romantika. Contrary to what the name suggests, this is not a Loveboat or a luxury cruise boat, but an old-fashioned, cozy, oversized passenger ship. Nothing more, but also nothing less.

Our experiences Ferry

Travel route Norway by car or train to Emden Germany. From here, take your car or camper (at an additional cost) straight onto the boat. It is also possible to leave the car in the parking lot in Emden (parking costs around 6 euros per day). We chose the latter option and rolled onto the Holland Norway Lines boat on foot, trolley and all. In Norway you can travel excellently and sustainably by train.

Typically, the ship can accommodate 1,500 passengers, plus a huge crew of crew members. During the summer holidays the ferry is very popular and therefore well occupied. All passengers spend the night in a cabin with or without a window. These are equipped with a mini bathroom with shower, toilet and TV. Now I hear you thinking. Is there also WiFi? For an additional charge you can enjoy WiFi everywhere on the boat. Each cabin is suitable for 2, 3 or 4 people plus luggage. So ideal for a family, although the two of you will of course have more space at your disposal.

The cabins are simple, but not too cramped. According to daughter Juup, the cabins (but in pink) do not look out of place in Barby the movie. In short: small and cute. There are still suites for those who want more comfort. Bring your dog? There is a section with dog-friendly cabins, so dogs can also go on holiday to Norway.Cabin boat Norway

How is it on the boat to Norway?

As soon as the ferry sails, the MS Romantika takes to the sea. We rush on to the sun deck. With a drink in hand and the sun on our heads, we see the view of the shore slowly disappearing. The hustle and bustle on the mainland makes way for a sea of ​​tranquility. There is a pleasant hustle and bustle inside. People walk back and forth from the shop to the bars, casino, and restaurants and vice versa. It looks like the boulevard.

There are several dining options on the cruise boat to Norway. A buffet and an à la carte restaurant, plus a fast food formula. The latter is also the most economical option. To avoid the stress of choosing, we eat at the Grande Buffet during the outward journey and at the Grill House restaurant on the return journey. Breakfast is also served in the Grande Buffet. The advantage of the buffet restaurant?

There is plenty of choice; also vegan, vegetarian and some gluten-free dishes. The girls serve a starter, plus main course and dessert with a glass of soft drink. By the way, for those who think alcohol is expensive in Norway? This all-inclusive formula includes beer or wine, so that saves you another sip on a drink.

The disadvantage of the buffet restaurant is the enormous crowds in the high season. So for those who prefer a quieter dinner during the summer holidays? The Grill House is the place to be. Here you can choose a three-course menu for less than 40 euros, but you can also order just a main course.

We opt for a vegetarian burger with fries and salad beforehand. Tasty! Also the dessert: a creamy brownie goes in like a cookie. The service is also nice and friendly. Drinks are not included, which makes the Grill House slightly more expensive than its neighbor’s buffet. But as far as we are concerned, this is the best choice. Tip: ordering your breakfast or dinner online in advance is slightly cheaper than sitting down on site. On the other hand, when the sea is rough you have little need for food. So every disadvantage has its advantage.Food drink ferry Norway

Sitting area Holland Norway Lines

Seating area

Boat Norway with children

After dinner, like many other families, we play a game in the gigantic ‘living room’ (behind Fast Lane). Tip: Are you traveling with small children? At ‘Fast Lane’ there is also a ball pit and play area for little ones. Instead of watching a movie, we watch the sunset. Beautiful. Then we dive into the cabin and go to sleep.

We spend the night in peace, but in the early morning the sea on the way to Norway is very rough. The last three hours before arriving in Kristiansand are a lot of vomiting, but on the return journey the sea is kind to us and we have no problems. Tip: take travel pills with you, they can come in handy.

Behind the scenes look at the cruise boat?

First steward Kevin takes Reisachtig and kids to the bridge. This appears to be of ballroom size. From here you can see the entire sea. Behind the wheel we meet the relaxed-looking captain Mark and several crew members. In the high season it is all hands on deck on the ferry to Norway. That is why 1000 people work there.

Relaxing is usually not an option. Fun fact: The MS Romantika is of Finnish origin. Due to Finnish legislation, there is also a sauna on board for the crew. Fact: the ship is also equipped with a kind of cell, nicknamed the thinking room. “It sometimes happens that, for example, drunk people need some time to collect themselves,” says Kevin.

Holland Norway Lines

Kevin and Mark

How much does the ferry cost in Norway?

The most economical option: is an inside cabin (cabin without a window). You will spend a little more for a so-called outside cabin (sea view with window). But this is nicer. The costs for a ticket in high season with or without a car vary. Prices depend on the occupancy rate. On average, a ticket for two people and a car costs around 295 euros, including cabin.

As soon as the car deck becomes fuller, costs increase. Tip: Early booking pays off, and this way you don’t miss the net during the holidays. There are regular promotions on Holland Norway Lines . For example for a mini cruise, but also for (last minute) crossings. Additional costs may apply for a pet-friendly cabin: around €30. There are also a number of kennels available. Check the conditions and sailing schedule on the site, as indicated the boat is stationary for the time being.

Questions and answers traveling to Norway
  • Do you need a visa to travel to Norway? If you are an EU or EEA citizen, you do not need a visa to travel to Norway as the country is part of the Schengen zone.
  • Do you have to pay tolls in Norway? Sometimes. You can pay in cash, with a bank card or toll badge.

Many toll roads in Norway have automatic toll gates. Instead, your vehicle’s license plate is automatically scanned. These are available online from AutoPass, EasyGo and Autopassferje (for ferry services). City and regional tolls: In some cities, such as Oslo and Bergen, tolls are applied on some roads within the city limits to limit traffic and support public transport.

  • What is the best season to travel to Norway? Do you want to see the northern lights? Then it is best to travel in winter (October to March). The best travel period for hiking, nature is summer (June to August). But the late season (Sept, October, May) is also colorful and cheaper.

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