From UK to Norway by car and ferry – this is how we travel to Scandinavia

No wrestling with limiting baggage allowance or going through the stress of airport security and passport controls. Instead you could travel from the UK to Norway in comfort by car, with the help of a few ferries.

Unfortunately in 2017 there are no more ferries running between the UK and Scandinavia. Even the sailing between Harwich and Esjberg in Denmark closed down in 2014. And considering that London to Oslo is about 20 hours by car – it’s a bit of stretch to drive.

The thought of being trapped in a car for many hours can seem daunting, especially when travelling with young children. But going by car certainly has it advantages. Firstly, as soon as you are getting in the car the holiday can begin. You can make as many stops and detours you’d like. You can bring much more than what you can when flying. And by passing through the changing scenery and landscape you’ll get a better sense of Scandinavia and what the region has to offer.

So here its is, step by step, our best travel recommendation from the UK to Scandinavia;

First you need to cross the channel, either by catching a ferry from Dover to Calais. Prices starts from £31 each way. Day sailings takes 1 hour an 30 minutes and night sailings are 2 hours. We tend to travel to France via the Eurotunnel from Folkstone to Calais, crossing the channel in only 35 minutes. Prices starts from £23 each way.

Then, from there you drive up through France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany and Denmark all the way up to Hirtshals in northern Denmark. Altogether the drive from Calais to Hirtshals is about 12 hours, without stops. When travelling with children you might want to consider stopping in North of Germany or South of Denmark for the night before continuing.

You can go by boat with Colour Line from Kiel to Oslo. The kids will love this minicruise with lots on board activities on offer but it will ad an extra cost as well as 20 hours more to your travel time. Another option Stena Line from Kiel to Gothenburg, which is only a 1 hour and 50 minutes pleasant drive from the Norwegian boarder. You can also drive all the way, from Germany, through Denmark, crossing the Öresundbridge from Denmark to Sweden and continue up along the Swedish coast until you’ve reached Norway.


However this will ad a good amount of miles to your journey, so not recommended unless you’d like to see more of Denmark and Sweden along your way. I must admit – the bridge is beautiful, but it’s down to how much time you have on your way to Norway.

From Hirtshals in Denmark ferries run to Kristiansand in Norway, which is great if you are travelling on to the West coast and the Fjords of Norway. However, if you are travelling to Oslo, there’s a speed ferry to Larvik, which is only 3 hours and 45 minutes. Prices from €89. Then all that is remaining of your journey is a 1 hour and 30 minutes drive from Larvik – before you’ve reached your destination, Oslo.

When travelling by car we recommend checking fuel prices in advance. Prices may vary a lot from country to country. Norway is expensive and so is its petrol, so tank up before you leave Denmark (or Sweden). Also, book the Eurotunnel and ferries in advance, to get the best possible deal. If you decide to travel through the Öresundbridge, consider a ‘Bropas’ if you will be crossing the bridge more than once in a year.

To find out more about Oslo or how to get there, go to Visit Oslo

To book your channel crossing, go to Eurotunnel or DFDS Book ferry to Norway via Color Line

Please note that in the comment field below it has been suggested to take the freight ferry from Immingham to Breivik, Norway. But the freight ferries are no longer allowed to take private cars and passengers. So unfortunately this is no longer an option.


  1. Dear Toby. That’s super exciting! Is it for work or adventure – or both? Best, Bianca aka The Scandinavian Mum.

  2. I’m hoping to visit Norway also, it looks mesmerizing. Not sure where to visit yet but I’d like to drive I’m certain of that!

  3. I been thinking to drive to myre norway to visit my auntie who lives there. since we are a family of 5. 2 adults and 3 kids. i just wondered if that be possible for a budget holiday.

  4. I’m eventually moving to Norway (I have friends in Stavanger and Oslo). I’ll be living in a campervan so I wish they’d restore the direct route too. It’s gonna be such a long journey to get there X_X

    Still, I suppose that’s all part of the experience!

  5. TODAY…DFDS response to my tweet “Hi Carolyn, unfortunately we have no future plans to reinstate this crossing, apologies we do not have better news.^AC”

    In my naive knowledge of monopolising companies, I don’t understand why DFDS would buy the Colorline route only to cancel it. Why buy something they are not interested in. The Newcastle Bergen route was idyllic…fond memories of floating into Bergen via the islands. My husbands family live in Ulsteinvik and Gurskoy. To reach them it means a torturous/expensive journey via ferry from Harwich to The Hook, drive from The Hook to Hirtshals, Ferry from Hirtshals to Bergen, overnight in Bergen, five hour drive and fjord ferries up to the islands.

    The return journey alone takes 6 days out of an annual 14 day holiday…tired just thinking about it.

  6. Hi I am considering driving from the Uk in the summer with my 4 children. Can anyone recommend places to stop / stay overnight on the way to break up the journey please. Also looking to book a house when we get to Norway, so any beautiful places that can be recommended would be much appreciated. Thanks for your help!

  7. Hi Lou. Norway is a large country. Would be happy to recommend, but let me first know what part you are looking to visit. Best, Bianca x

  8. Would like to go to Oslo on the ferry in car but looks like best way is via Denmark. What is the best ferry from UK to Denmark, to catch ferry to Oslo (and which ports please!)? Also, can I bring my dog with me (which is major reason for taking car/ferry)?

    Thank you!

  9. We’ve just booked now and unfortunately they’ve stopped taking private cars on the freight ferries from Immingham. I will update the post above accordingly. Meanwhile, our best route now, considering both time, price and also the best way to break the journey up, we’ve chosen to drive (via Eurotunnel) to Kiel. Then Stena Line from Kiel to Gothenburg (leaving early evening and arriving the morning after). From Gothenburg to Norway you can expect good roads and less than a 2 hour drive before you cross the boarder to Norway. Price difference when booking now was Kiel – Oslo £395 and Kiel – Gothenburg was £239 – with a better sailing time. Hope this helps. And lets hope one of the ferry companies would set up a sailing from the UK to Scandinavia sometime soon!

  10. Never see UK registered cars in West Norway these days. I am sure it is the same in NE England and South Scotland with lttle or no Scandinavian cars. With all the subsidies to Ryanair to jet in tourists why do Bergan, Newcastle and Stavanger councils not throw some money on the table. Surely the EU will let Norway have a little of their tourist development fund being thrown at the southern lands. Bring our Ferry Back. JD Stavanger

  11. I so wish they’d bring back the U.K. to Norway ferries. I’m Norwegian but live in the U.K. and would love to be able to visit Norway by car. Sick of airports and then having to rent a car or rely on relatives to
    lend us cars while we’re there. Bring back the direct ferry, preferably Harwich to Oslo!! Please!!!

  12. I couldn’t agree more Marthe. And I’d settle with only a fea departures, say around the school holidays. Best wishes, Bianca x

  13. Sound great I’ll drive my vw caddy going to Norway want to know how much diesel? Thanks cheer

  14. Thank you for the informative read. I cant believe how bonkers this is not having any ferries! As a kid we used to love the Ferry to Norway. Did they not stack up financially? Surely the economic benefits to both countries through tourism, and the jobs created through employment, would be worth both Governments supporting the reinstatement of the service, even if it was one of the other ferry companies doing a very limited service? I dont supose there are any Government representatives that would want the work of looking into it?. 🙁

  15. I lived and worked in Kristiansund for a few years and the day DFDS stopped accepting car driving passengers on the Immingham – Brevik ferry was a very bad day indeed. There was talk of re-instigating the Newcastle upon Tyne – Bergen route but nothing seems to have come of it. Has anyone looked at crowd funding to capitalise a new ferry as I am sure there wil be sufficient traffic for operating expenses and profit? It is completely untenable for there to be no direct ferry route to Scandinavia.

  16. If you live north of London its an option to do Newcastle to Netherlands. Then a 5 hour drive to Kiel and then ferry to Oslo. Saves a bit of driving, but adds to the cost I guess

  17. Hi Jan. It adds to the cost but mostly it adds time and last time I checked that option it doesn’t save that much of the drive as you still have Germany to travel through? … If they could only reinstall the route! x

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