Norway’s public transport system is what you would expect from a modern wealthy country. In the major cities, it is effective and efficient and day passes are value for money for tourists. Ferries run frequently across fjords and islands and the Hurtigruten will take you up or down the whole coastline with many stops along the way. The trains in Norway are certainly not the fastest but offer spectacular views and are a great way to reach many route starting points. Domestic flights can take you to the most remote places allowing you to cycle on some of the quietest roads in Europe. The government highly subsidizes public buses that connect small towns and villages. For a cyclist, this is fantastic news. If you are unfortunate to have a major mechanical problem you’ll find on most roads there will be a bus stop not too far away.
Domestic flights to the major cities are usually reasonably priced and at times can be cheaper than a train ticket. However, as you know, traveling with a bike can add costs and inconvenience, and most of the time a train is more practical. Flights to the smaller airports are a great way to reach remote places but the tickets can be very expensive.
Information about traveling with a bike in a box can be found here.
Airlines that operate in Norway
SAS – the flagship airline and one of the best for bike travel. If you book a ticket that includes the 23kg luggage option you can use that to travel with a bike. However, you will need to inform them of this by email so they can register your bike.
Norwegian – Large low-cost airline. Adding a bike is an extra 500kr one way.
Widerøe – Small airline that has regular flights to smaller airports around Norway. They offer a ‘Fly & Bike’ service where rented bikes can be picked up and delivered directly to the airport. Adding your own bike can cost between 299-500kr per flight.
Trains rides in Norway are pretty spectacular. The Oslo – Bergen is considered one of the most beautiful in the world but personally, I feel the Trondheim to Bodø is even better! A large majority of our routes start at a train station and end at one making it the perfect way to travel with your bike.
There are two main types of trains in Norway.
Regional: these are short-distance local trains that travel to the surrounding towns of the major cities. Oslo has an extensive amount of regional trains and they are perfect to get you out of the population hub and onto the country roads away from built-up areas.
You can not book a bike space on the regional trains* and must purchase a ticket onboard. You are never guaranteed a bike spot but I have only once (Friday afternoon rush hour) had to fight to get my bike on.
*exception Gjøvik – Oslo line (17 bike spaces).
Inter-City: These trains serve the major cities of Bergen, Trondheim, and Stavanger with Oslo. They also reach the tourist towns of Åndalsnes and Røros and Bodø in the far north.
You must book a bike place when buying a ticket. Bike spaces on certain lines are limited and I have been denied a ticket on several occasions when I’ve booked late especially during July and summer weekends.
Preparing your bike before departure
Most of the trains will have a hook which you place your front wheel rim into (hanging your bike vertically). If your bike is heavy this could damage the rim/wheel. You should remove all of your main bags before bringing the bike on board. This should be done before the train arrives. You should be able to store your bags on the floor beside your bike. Some bags you may want to take to your seat as access to your bike may be limited after departure. On the Bergen line I have, on several occasions, had to lean my bike up against a carriage interior which felt very unsafe. Once I found my bike lying on the floor having fallen over in transit. I recommend bringing a small luggage strap or lock that you can tie from the carriage to your bike. Unfortunately, the train companies understanding and care towards bikes is lacking at times.
Note, all E-bikes must remove batteries and should be taken with hand luggage to the seat. E-batteries must not be charged on board trains.
Getting your bike on
Buying a Ticket
There are two apps you can download and use. The most popular is Entur and this will give you all the availability, times, & prices for the whole Norwegian train network. The other app is called VY and is pretty similar to the entur app in functionality but doesn’t cover all train companies. The add a bike function is usually part of the ticket quantity box when expanded (see picture below).
You can also buy tickets at machines within train stations and sometimes at manned desks at large stations. On most trains, you can also buy a ticket on board with the conductor. These options however mean the most expensive ticket price. On Inter-city trains, prices are usually considerably lower the earlier you book. ‘Lowfare’ is the cheapest price and these usually come available a few months before departure.
Remember if you are taking an intercity train with your bike you will need to book in advance to ensure a bike spot.
Tip: Think about buying a ‘Flex’ Ticket so you can cancel and receive a refund if your plans change or you struggle to reach the train on time with your bike. I have missed my train home in the past when I underestimated how long a route would take to ride!
Inter-rail: On VY trains it’s usually a set price of 235kr per journey no matter how far you travel. On SJ Nord they have a minimum price of 43kr and a maximum of 215kr.
Regional trains: Difficult to say: I’ve been charged many different prices from conductors. The cheapest was 79kr the most 199kr. There seems to be a real inconsistency when it comes to bike prices.
Regional trains: You will find vending machines selling the usual snacks and soft drinks. Coffee machines are also located in certain carriages. You pay by card for all.
Inter-City: There is a fully equipped cafe in the middle of the train with a seated area. You can buy all sorts of hot and cold food, snacks, and beverages and they even sell alcohol. It’s a wonderful feeling to enjoy a cold beer and watch the beauty of Norway go by after a long ride.
Other info: For many years there were no first or second-class options on Norwegian trains (equalitarian society). Today some Inter-rail trains offer a Premium Pluss service or PlusNight (see photo below). In addition, you can upgrade your ticket to ‘comfort or premium’ which gives you some extra perks but in general don’t expect big differences. Most of the Inter-rail services offer a sleeper carriage on the night trains.
Usually, none standard bikes such as Tandem and Cargo are not allowed onboard (there are a few exceptions).
Chargers: You will find charger plugs under your seat on most trains. So far USB charging connections seem to be missing on trains so ensure you have a European standard plug.
The ‘Dreaded’ Buss for Tog (Bus for train)
When there is maintenance on the lines a bus service may replace the train along a certain area of the train route. This turns your journey into a real inconvenience because the buses ‘officially’ don’t allow bikes on board. You will either have to ride the rest of the way back or figure out if there are other transport means to get you and your bike to your destination. I have heard of many people getting their bikes on the ‘buss for tog’ but it will only happen if the driver has space and they are accommodating (which you don’t know until you are there). This uncertainty is not ideal for people who are on a strict timeline. This has caused me many logistical problems throughout the years.
Official Bike Information from Train Companies
SJ Nord Info: Norwegian Only (use google translate if required)
Go Ahead Nordic: Norwegian Only (use google translate if required)
Norway is a seafaring nation and has for centuries built sturdy boats to travel up and down the coastline or to cross the numerous islands and fjords which cover this country. Any bike journey of distance will at some point require a water crossing and if you cycle the Atlantic coastal route expects over 30!
The big question everyone asks is how much will these ferries cost me. The short and pleasant answer is very little…let me explain.
Car ferries are an essential part of the Norwegian road network. Many of the fjords and islands are too long in distance over open water to build bridges. Thus ferries shuttle back and to all day ensuring people, goods and services reach their destination. The government subsidizes the ferry companies that operate these routes.
As a cyclist, all you need to do is turn up at the ferry crossing and jump on the next one that arrives (there is always space for cyclists). You do not need to book in advance or pay anything! You may be asked to walk your bike on board and park your bike in a certain designated area near the front. Usually, cyclists and foot traffic disembark first.
Note, on the big ferry crossings there may be two to three destinations and it’s important you check and take the right ferry or you could end up on the wrong end of a fjord!
Car ferries that travel down famous fjords may charge foot traffic. For example, car ferries down Lysefjorden and Geiranger charge all foot traffic. In the north ferries to Lofoten and Senja used to charge foot traffic but since Covid, this stopped. They may start charging again at some point. Usually, tickets for bike tourists on car ferries vary from 150kr to 400kr per person including bike. Paying onboard with your card is easy to do.
Any ferries connecting two main roads will run frequently from early in the morning to late in the night. You will never wait long to cross.
Quieter roads may only have a few departures per day and planning accordingly is essential. Being trapped on one side of a fjord and having to wait 10 hours is not ideal for most people. Especially if your booked accommodation is on the other side!
Facilities onboard car ferries.
Some car ferries have large cafes selling fast but usually not-so-healthy food. Other ferries have self-service kiosks and some smaller ferries have nothing at all for sale. Some ferry companies will state what facilities are included on each route. There are always toilets onboard each ferry and usually charging points.
Most ferry ports have limited facilities. Many will have a toilet and perhaps a small waiting room (not often heated). At busy crossings, there may be a cafe or kiosk. At remote crossings nothing at all. In that case, if the weather is bad, ensure you time the ferries or you could be stood waiting in the wind and rain for some time.
Cycling out of towns and cities can be unpleasant at times. Traffic lights, heavy traffic, and getting lost are all common. Norway’s coastal towns all have ferry ports that offer short and long-distance trips further along the coast. These passenger-only ferries are the perfect way to bypass population areas and reach quieter roads without much hassle. They can also be a great way to get back to a city if you have a mechanical problem along the coast.
The cost of these passenger-only ferries depends on the distance. For example, Bergen to Florø along the west coast takes nearly four hours and costs over 700kr with a bike. A short 20-30 min journey may only cost you 70-100kr.
The conductor will show you where to place your bike. Sometimes there are bike stands at the front or rear of the boat and other times there is a special area/room for storage that accommodates bikes.
You don’t have to book a bike spot in advance on these ferries. You can buy a ticket with the conductor or through the local transport app. If many cyclists are getting on you may be refused due to space. But this is highly unlikely and has never happened to me.
Since around 1850 boats have been transporting passengers and goods across Norway’s major lakes and inland fjords. Today many of these historic boats still run as tourist cruises. They can be a useful way to bypass certain areas or a nice way to travel if the legs need a rest. You will read more about these in our route sections.
The famous fleet of boats that for the past 130 years has run up and down the world’s most beautiful coastline. From Bergen in the south to Kirkenes in the far north, they cover every part in-between. In total, there are 36 ports to depart or arrive from.
Once again these boats are a good option if the weather turns bad and you want to skip a section. Some of the boats leave the port towns in the evening and can be used as accommodation allowing you to wake up further down the coast perhaps with better weather.
During the summer boats arrive every day at each port and some have swimming pools, saunas, and gyms onboard.
Cost and bookings:
If the journey is less than 24 hours you are welcome to book a walk-on ticket with no cabin. These usually cost around 50-90 euros depending on the length of the journey. It cost 200kr extra to take a bike and at present, this can not be done with the online booking system you must call +47 8100 3030 to book.
If you’re spending more than 1 day on board you will be forced to book a cabin which takes the price much higher (hundreds of euros). The cost of food onboard is expensive and thus if you’re on a strict budget the local passenger ferries will be a cheaper option in places.
It’s always worth booking in advance but walk on traffic (no cabin) is possible to do without reservation. You can book online here (if you’re not traveling with a bike): https://global.hurtigruten.com/port-to-port/#/
Bikes are kept in the hull’s storage. At present E-bikes batteries are not allowed onboard and must stay with the bike in the hull.
For further practical information, you can visit this page (only in Norwegian use google translate if required).
This boat company offers the same as Hurtigruten and travels from Bergen to Kirkenes along the Norwegian coast. They have slightly cheaper tickets for foot traffic who spend less than 24 hours onboard.
Bicycles can be added to the trip for a fee of 200kr per bike. Contact the customer center at (+ 47) 7000 7070 to book. Note that the electric bike and battery must be stored in the designated place. Charging on board is not permitted. Further info here
Online booking without bike here: https://www.havilavoyages.com/ports
Using the Norwegian bus network is a hit or miss when traveling with a bike. Many buses have come to my rescue when mechanical problems have unexpectedly occurred. But not all buses allow bikes on board and knowing which do and don’t is never easy to understand. But we’ll do our best to explain:
Regional/local buses: Short journey buses that connect local towns and villages usually offer space in the undercarriage. Your bike will be charged one child’s fare (half of a normal ticket cost). There are many local bus companies and you’ll find each one has an app to pay with or you can usually pay with the driver using a card.
City Buses: Those that only run around a local town or city will have space on board. However, wheelchair users and prams/strollers have priority over a bike if space is tight. Once again it’s one child fare for your bike. Payment is done by the bus app or a pre-purchased travel card. You usually can’t pay with the driver.
Long-distance buses: Two main companies operate in Norway
VY has many long-distance routes but only allows bike bookings on mainly selected shorter routes. Bicycles may be transported on the following:
VY1: Oslo – Notodden
VY3: Oslo – Sarpsborg
VY6: Oslo – Hvaler
VY123: Elverum – Oslo
VY175: Oslo – Geilo
VY450: Sogndal – Flåm – Voss
FB11: Oslo Airport – Fredrikstad
To ensure it can be transported you must pre-purchase space for your bicycle. You do this by adding special luggage when you buy your ticket. Electric bicycles are not permitted.
You cannot bring bicycles on services operated by Vy Travel AB in Sweden (Oslo–Gothenburg/Copenhagen/Stockholm).
Nor-way has a similar rule to VY for bike bookings. You will find a bike spot purchase during the booking progress but only on selected bus lines. You need to do your research and go through the booking process to check if a bike spot can be booked. I have spent many hours using both the VY and Nor-way apps trying to figure out where I can take my bike. In the specific route pages on this site, I will try and highlight if a bus option is available to reach that specific destination.
How much and how many?
The cost on NOR-WAY’s buses is an expansive 540kr per bike per journey. On VY it states only 110kr but most of these journeys are under 2 hours.
From experience, I would say there is usually space for two bikes in the undercarriage. If you’re part of a group, buses are not an option you should consider.
If during the booking process if it does not allow you to book a bike you can still turn up and see what is possible. Try to catch buses outside busy times. Politely ask the driver if he has space and is kind enough to accommodate you. There is a small chance you’ll get your bike on but buying a ticket from the driver will be far more expensive than buying in advance. In addition, relying on this strategy leaves you in limbo if denied. Personally, I like guarantees that allow me to plan ahead and be organized.
The bus companies would recommend that the bicycle is packed in a suitable bag, as it will be placed in the coach luggage hold. Of course for many of us that is not possible. To ensure your bike doesn’t get damaged in the hold follow these rules.
Bus hopping through a Tunnel :
I have at times used buses to get through unauthorized long tunnels (find the nearest bus stop and check the timetable on the entur app). Once the driver charged me 79kr for my ticket and 100kr for my bike! The journey was 5 minutes through the tunnel! Other times the driver has just loaded my bike into the undercarriage and said take a seat. He never charged me a thing. I’m sure he was breaking a rule here but the world is a better place when kindness trumps overpriced transactions.
Some people may prefer to rent or bring their own vehicle and only cycle in specific areas. Or perhaps you’re traveling in a group and want a support car. This is a good option if you want to experience many great roads without bikepacking/touring.
Three big costs to remember:
Can I rent a bike rack for my car rental? Maybe, I have heard some of the larger rental companies offer this service in their add-on sections.
Everything else you need to know:
If you require further information about car rentals, road rules, etc, we recommend visiting Norway’s official tourism site who cover this in detail