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

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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.

oeresundsbridge

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.

You might also like:

PO Ferries in talks with the Scottish Government to reopen the ferry service from the UK to Scandinavia
Sign the petition – Reopen Harwich to Esbjerg!

71 Comments

  1. As someone who remembers taking my car on the deck of a Russian boat direct from uk to Helsinki I cannot believe that there isn’t a strong economic case (leaving aside all the important cultural arguements) for a uk-Scandinavia ferry. Surely the popularity of ScandiNoir (Film, TV & books) alone would drive this

  2. I live near Newcastle and I too used to travel often for both work and holidays from Newcastle to Bergen in the early ’70s [ Leda was the earliest ship I travelled on in I think 1965] but miss all of that since the ferry services ceased.
    I was planning to re-visit Mongstad and Hardanger in my old Land Rover [Vera] but the cost of ferry travel and petrol for a return trip via Amsterdam, Kiel and Oslo will exceed the value of my vehicle. Any news of moves to introduce a direct ferry from the UK to Norway would be very welcome. I was quoted £700 for a one way shipping charge from Immingham to Brevik for Vera, plus of course I would have to fly to and from Norway.
    So getting up to about £2000 before I even buy a hot-dog and Fanta!
    Details of any petitions would be very welcome…………

  3. Norway was the cheapest of all the countries we visited the whole Baltic last year at about 95p a litre!!
    Cheaper even than the Baltic states! So yes, check! Was the only thing cheaper in Norway. Alcohol is prohibitively expensive, the Norwegians pop over the border into Sweden for beer and fags.

  4. I would love to travel to Norway it’s on my wish list but would prefer to take my car but I live in Scotland and no ferry here or anywhere in England We do need a ferry from the UK ASAP

  5. We’ve been going to Norway since the 1960’s and bought a house in Hordaland in 2005, before the old ferries were taken off. As we live in the North of England, about 12 miles from Manchester, the South Coast ferries would almost double our driving time. After a deal of trialling different routes, we cut out Sweden and about 200 miles extra driving, by going from Hull to Rotterdam and on through Holland, Germany and Denmark to Hirtshals. Ferries from there include a direct trip to Bergen, via Stavanger on an overnighter. This was our route of choice for taking out Springer Spaniel Sally for 7 years and gave loads of options for overnatting. Incidentally we go for 12 weeks through summer and have to think carefully about accommodation on the return journey in Scandinavia in the autumn.

  6. Thanks for your recommendations. We will definitely take the Gothenburg ferry next time!

  7. You can use the ferry if you are in a commercial vehicle driving for a company, seems stupid considering that a Romanian truck driver brought 57 people in to Immingham in the back of his vehicle, it’s just leisure drivers that can’t use the ferry now. I had the idea of just shipping my car to Sweden and flying there but it’s over £500 now just for the car!

  8. From Hamburg (you have to pass nearby anyway) to Norway You take the cheapest and shortest way to Hirtshals at the top of Denmark. From there you have Fjordline and Color line going to Kristiansand, Langesund, Larvik, or Oslo. All are in the South and South Eastern coastline of Norway. There are also Ferry from Frederikshavn (near Hrtshals.) going to Gotenburg. (short distance)

  9. There used to be a ferry immingham to goteburg sweden not sure if it is still there . Freight ferry but they take cars.

  10. I was wondering would it be quicker if we drive from Germany to Estonia then catch the ferry to Sweden then drive on to Norway from there ?

  11. We are an Anglo-Danish family (living in Denmark), and the closure of both Esbjerg-Newcastle and Esbjerg-Harwich has been a disaster for our bicultural existence. At our grandparental age, the long drive to Dunkirk is not an option. Where is the petition to sign?

  12. It is so upsetting that we find it so difficult to get to Norway nowadays. We travelled there virtually every year from Newcastle by ferry. Then when they ceased to run we found Ryanair from Liverpool airport was the easiest & cheapest way to get there.(bearing in mind we had to hire a car etc.)Now they have stopped their service. My parents are laid to rest over in Norway & we find making the effort to visit what family we have left is diminishing. Please bring back the ferry service. Scandinavian mum is right. Bring back even 1 crossing per week

  13. This time last year I drove my VW camper from Sheffield to Jokkmokk. Utter misery driving across Europe to get to Sweden. This has to be sorted. SIGN THE PETITION AT REOPEN HARWICH TO ESBJERG FERRY

  14. Only problem is that if you live in London, like I do, the Newcastle to Amsterdam ferry doesn’t save you many miles or time. But as you say, if you lived closer to Newcastle, or in the North it’s definitely an option to consider! x

  15. And since north of England also exists: we have several times taken the car ferry (DFDS) from Newcastle to Amsterdam, driving through Germany. We do love the Color Line from Kiel to Oslo, but then we have to spend a night in Germany, with our favorites being Bremen or Hamburg. We do miss the other ferry from Newcastle to Norway though.

  16. The lack of transport to our own flesh and blood neighbours inScandinavia can only. Assist in dragging uk down further and compound teething problems after brexit .
    The Scandinavian countries lead the fields in many industries common to U.K. As opposed to tailing and subsidising many of our less industries Mediterranean countries the UK should making Scandinavian links a priority in order to cement our oil,agricultural ,aquaculture fishing, heavy engineering seafaring and all the industries we share interests in which are being severally neglected at present

    If you wish to fly from northern Uk you can fly from Aberdeen or Shetland isles to Stavangr or Bergen ,still no good for caravan or campervaners.

  17. The lack of transport to our own flesh and blood neighbours inScandinavia can only. Assist in dragging uk down further and compound teething problems after brexit .
    The Scandinavian countries lead the fields in many industries common to U.K. As opposed to tailing and subsidising many of our less industries Mediterranean countries the UK should making Scandinavian links a priority in order to cement our oil,agricultural ,aquaculture fishing, heavy engineering seafaring and all the industries we share interests in which are being severally neglected at present

  18. Darren, that’s sounds completely ludicrous! Scandinavia and UK are suddenly very far apart without the ferry service. Like many other have suggested, we don’t need daily sailing, but perhaps one or two. And UK to Denmark would have been fine too, or UK to South of Norway. Let’s hope this situation changes. Best, Bianca x

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