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Norway motorhome country guide
Norway is without any doubt the most interesting Scandinavian country to visit. This is simply due to the ever-changing landscape that you drive through. It seems that every 30 minutes you look out over new scenery. Norway is not a cheap country to visit, so stock your cupboards in advance, making sure you check you do not break any of the import regulations, listed below. Motorhome longer than 6 metres or weighing more than 3500kg are charged at least double for tolls and ferries, compared to motorhomes that are less than 3500kg and less than 6 metres.
Norway is not part of the EU and the import regulations are as follows: You must be 18 years or older to take in drink up to 22% alcohol per volume and 20 or over to take in liquor over 22% alcohol per volume. The limits are:
• 1 litre of beverages with more than 22% up to and including 60% alcohol per volume as well as 1.5 litres with more than 2.5% up to and including 22% alcohol per volume.
• Or 3 litres with more than 2.5% up to and including 22% alcohol per volume and 2 litres of beer with more than 2.5 % up to and including 4.7 % alcohol per volume.
• Or 5 litres of other beverages with more than 2.5 % up to and including 4.7 % alcohol per volume. This means that you can take 5 litres of beer provided you do not have any other alcoholic beverages.
• Tobacco (minimum age 18): The maximum limit is 200 cigarettes or 250g of other tobacco products and 200 cigarette papers.
• Meat, meat products, milk and milk products: You can take in meat, meat products, milk, cheese and foodstuffs containing them totalling 10 kilos. These products must originate from European Economic Area countries. You are not allowed to take potatoes, dog or cat food into Norway.
Campsites, Motorhome Stopovers and Offsite-Parking in Norway (free wild camping)
The Norwegian Tourist Board would prefer you to use one of the 1000 campsites, which vary from large commercial sites to plenty of smaller sites, see www.camping.no/en/campingguide-i-pdf/ for a downloadable campsite guide. Due to the 1957 Outdoor Recreation Act the “right of public access”, Offsite-Parking is tolerated as long as you park at least 150m away from a dwelling or cabin, do not drive off road, do not camp on farmland and stop no longer than 48 hours. Finding suitable Offsite-Parking places south of Trondheim is difficult due to the Fjord land geography, farmland, and higher population. Motorhome Service-Points are almost exclusively located at fuel stations but are distributed throughout the country. Motorhome Stopovers are listed in Nordic Camper Guide sold by Vicarious Media. Some of the fuel stations and most campsites will operate septic tanks so we recommend that you fit a SOG extractor to avoid the need for toilet chemicals. Water is sometimes available at fuel stations and should be obtained when filling up with fuel.
Driving your motorhome or campervan in Norway
Norway is a popular motorhome destination even though it is not really possible to have a budget driving holiday because it is such a long way from the bottom to the top and back. Most motorists explain how they enjoy the challenge of the drive and it is the drive that makes the holiday. Dual carriageways are rare. Only the main roads are tarmac and they are no wider than they need to be. The northern road frequently passes under the adjacent railway track and as it does it becomes single vehicle width. Compacted gravel roads provide access to remote communities and dwellings. These gravel roads may not be obvious on your map but do generally go somewhere and are kept in good condition and are likely to provide better motorhome or campervan Offsite-Parking opportunities. Snow can block roads in the north as late as May, so don’t arrive within the Arctic Circle until June and aim to leave no later than September. Winter tyres are mandatory when the government releases the exact dates but approximately 1st of November until the 15th of April. Dipped headlights are obligatory during daylight hours. More road information is available at www.vegvesen.no.
Ferries are necessary to cross the fjords as you drive the coast road. Large towns, like Burgen, Trondheim and Oslo, have toll ring roads (the main road), which are unavoidable. There are two options for paying Norwegan tolls. Either you can register a credit card with AutoPASS and drive through the AutoPASS lanes. Alternatively don’t register your credit card and pay for each toll at the payment booth, if there is no payment booth then drive through an AutoPASS lane and an invoice will be sent to your home address. If you drive through an AutoPASS lane when a manual pay booth is available you will be sent a fine. More information is available at www.autopass.no. Norway is an expensive country and fuel is about 10 per cent more than the UK and motorhomes over 6 metres will be charged twice as much for ferries and tolls.
If you see elk whilst driving, slow down or stop if it is safe to do so. These are wild unpredictable animals the size of a medium horse so collision is disastrous for both parties. Reindeer are semi domesticated livestock herded by Sami people who indicate reindeer crossing points or grazing areas with plastic bags tied to polls and bushes. Reindeer like to stand in the middle of the road and sounding your horn will not get a reaction. Reindeer on the side are a significant hazard as they are prone to walking onto the road despite oncoming traffic. Should you be unfortunate enough to be involved in a collision with a large animal such as a deer or elk, even if it runs away, you must always contact the police to report the incident. If the animal runs back into the woods you must indicate the place with a plastic bag. If the animal is lying on the road put out warning triangles.
Fuel is expensive in Norway, so keep an eye on the prices and fill up when it is cheaper regardless of whether your tank is empty. Check fuel prices on Sunday evenings, as they may be reduced. LPG is available through Norway and a list of LPG stations is available on www.gjelstenli.no, http://lpgnorge.no