Insider tips for your (first) trip - ferries in Norway

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How you can save on the ferries with the new AutoPass Ferjekort in Norway and what else is worth knowing about ferry crossings, we will tell you in this article.

On the ferry, get set, go ...

With a coastline of over 80,000 kilometers and about 150,000 offshore islands in the kingdom at the Arctic Circle is simply nothing without ferries ... For us it is always a highlight to ferry in Norway with a ferry. It has something of additional deceleration, because especially on a road trip is a crossing to the other side of the fjord or an island often a welcome break. If you are traveling in Fjord Norway or generally on the coast, a road often ends at a ferry port. During a coffee we often wait for the next opportunity to translate ...

However, many of the ferry routes have been replaced in recent years by tunnels or bridges to increase the average travel speed in the country. The topic of the environment plays an increasingly important role.
In the future, people want to transport vehicles and people as environmentally friendly as possible. As early as 2015, the first all-electric ferry was used on the Sognefjord. In January 2019, five further fully electronic ferries were ordered by the shipping company "Fjord 1".

One of the typical ferries in Norway

Anyone who has not been on the road in Norway before has quite certain and justified some fundamental questions about the ferry crossings in the country. From our own experience, as well as from the inquiries that reach us, we summarized below the Top 5 FAQ on this topic:

  • Can or must I reserve a ferry crossing in the country?
    Not at all ferry crossings is a reservation possible and necessary. On the so-called short distances one just joins the queues at the quay. In the high season you may have to adjust to longer waiting times. It can happen that you can not ride directly on the next ferry and have to wait for the next opportunity. In the main holiday period, the timetable is therefore usually adjusted. Then, additional ferries to the fjords commute to cope with traffic. It makes sense to use the ferry either very early in popular crossings or only in the evening. To sweeten the waiting time, there is a snack with delicious soft ice cream einen or a grocery store at many Fähranlegern. Especially for longer ferry crossings (such as the passage from Bodø to Moskenes in Lofoten) should be considered during the season but a prior reservation. Since one usually has limited time on vacation, a longer waiting period can be very annoying. Please note that only 40% of the available capacity can be pre-booked. The remaining 60% remain freely available to those who wait at the quay without a reservation. So you should be fast, especially in the high season. Alternatively, one could in this case, however, also avoid the land ...
  • Are there ferry connections even in low season?
    In the off-season, the timetables change mostly. Since it is much quieter in the country at this time, the ferry times are adjusted accordingly. But there are also ferries that for safety reasons only in summer drive, such as the following ferries: Andenes (Vesterålen) - Gryllefjord (Senja) or Bodø (mainland) - Moskenes (Lofoten)
    In any case, you should inform yourself about the timetable in advance in the off-season, if you plan longer or more passages. Otherwise it may well be that you wait in vain for a ferry, or get stuck for several hours. As of today, unfortunately, there is no standard overview for all ferries in the country. The Norwegians are still working on that. So you just enter the name of the two ferry ports and the word "ferge". Mostly you will find then a timetable and the tariffs as a PDF on the Internet.
  • Can I translate by ferry at night?
    Generally this is possible. But at night, the travel times are also often limited and smaller ferries may not drive at all. To avoid long waiting times, it is advisable to take a look at the driving times in advance.
  • What about security?
    On our countless crossings we had only once a little queasy feeling when the untrustworthy ferry on the high seas also went on strike. With about 3 hours delay we still reached our destination safely. All subsequent trips for this day have been canceled .... You should also be prepared for this eventuality. There are different approaches taken by ferry companies to draw attention to the safety instructions. Some shipping companies issue safety cards that explain exactly what to do in an emergency. When leaving the ferry, these cards are collected again. Other companies in turn rely on short video clips, which are usually broadcast in the bistro of the ferry. The safety instructions will also be indicated by large posters that are attached to various locations on board. Life jackets and lifebuoys are available on every ferry. On some longer ferry routes you have to leave the vehicle for safety reasons. All RV owners must also close the gas tap in their vehicle. So that is not forgotten, you will find a sign in the ferry port.
  • Which waves can be expected?
    If you are used to crossing the North or Baltic Sea from Kiel or Denmark, you will hardly have any problems on a domestic ferry. We were always lucky on our innumerable ferry rides in the country. Even when the sea was rough, we hardly felt any swell on the larger ferries. But we have already been told of dramatic crossings with very high waves, especially to Lofoten. We always have trays for such cases and hope that it will not be so bad after all 🙂
The small ferry from Solvorn to Urnes on the Sognefjord

Before our first crossing inland we were honestly very excited. We had no idea how big a ferry is and how to get there at all. But the pragmatic Norwegians make it really easy. Already when you drive to the ferry, you can see the lanes, which are marked by numbers. Are you the first on the quay, you place yourself in the track "1". Only when one track is completely filled, another is opened.

Then the wait begins .... If you do not know when the next ferry leaves, you can check out the posted timetable (Norwegian "Rutetider"). It may well be that a staff member of the ferry company collects the fare directly at the ferry terminal. However, it is also common to pay for a cashier right after you get on the ferry. You simply wait in the car until an employee comes to the cashier. Only very few ferries are paid directly in the office or in the bistro.

The numbered lanes in a harbor filled in turn by the waiting vehicles

You can pay comfortably with cash, credit card or Ferjekort (more on this variant later). In the ferry price from the car is always the driver included, only for the accompanying persons must be paid extra. The ticket order for us two Nordland bloggers is thus: "En bil og en voksen, takk" (A car and an adult, please). Since our van is less than 6 meters long, we pay the same price as for a car. To anticipate the question: Formally, the tariff / price results from the actual length of the car, so in doubt with a bike rack. However, we have seen it very often that the cashier winks at us and just cashed the "6 meters" without attachments ...

A ferry crossing is always a great experience

When approaching the ferry, there are instructors who show you exactly in which lane you should park your car. With very few exceptions you usually drive forward on the ferry and without shunting, you leave this at the destination in the same way (you drive through the ferry, so to speak). There are only a few exceptions to this rule, such as the ferry from Solvorn over the Sognefjord.

Shortly before the end of the crossing, it is pointed out via the loudspeakers of the ferry that the port of destination will soon be reached and one should go to his vehicle. Then it is usually pretty fast. Once the ship has docked, the front hatch opens and a ferry operator manages the exit. There are often parking spaces in the harbor, which we like to use to let faster vehicles pass. This guarantees a relaxed and "chilled" onward journey for us.

A ferry port at the Helgelandskysten in the north of Norway

As already mentioned, there are many short crossings of about 10 minutes. However, some passages can last up to 4 hours. In addition to the open ferries (where you can stay in the vehicle) for the short-haul, there are also larger ships that are closed and where you partially parked below deck. On these ferries you usually have to leave your car.

Almost all ferries have a toilet on board. The larger ferries are additionally equipped with a cafeteria and a salon. Here you can enjoy coffee and tea with waffles, grilled sausages, Lefser and many more. In the salon there are comfortable armchairs and tables to make the crossing as comfortable as possible. There you can also charge your mobile phone or notebook on your road trip. The Norwegian women often use this time-out to knit or crochet. On the other hand, we mostly find ourselves on deck with our camera, because the beautiful landscapes have to be recorded 🙂

Without the ferries in the land of the fjords nothing (more) ...

The costs for a crossing are very different. In Norway, the regional ferry companies set the tariffs independently, which can also vary regionally. Regardless of the price increases on the one hand by the length of the crossing and on the other hand plays the size of the vehicle and the number of passengers traveling a significant role. Therefore, our following overview can only be a rough guide:


Strekning (length of the route)

0 - 2,9 km
3.0 - 5.9 km
6.0 - 8.9 km
9.0 - 11.9 km
12.0 - 14.9 km
15.0 - 17.9 km


Sone (tariff zone)

1-3
4-6
7-9
10 - 12
13 - 15
16 - 18

For example only: The prices of the vehicles with the different lengths in each zone of a ferry company (prices in NOK / Stand 2019)

Because of its length less than 6 meters (without bike carrier), our van is usually charged like a car. Otherwise, the price usually increases with every meter of vehicle length. Thus, the price difference between a car and a mobile home with a length of more than 7 meters is often over 10 euros. When buying a ticket or when paying, you must therefore specify the length of your motorhome.

Children under 4 years drive normally for free.

One of the modern ferries in the north of the country

What is the Ferjekort? How does the system work? What do I have to pay for and what can I save? Do I have to pay attention to something?

Since the ferry crossings on a road trip along the coast, the holiday fund can significantly reduce, you should think about the savings with the Ferjekort. The system of the Norwegian "Ferjekort" has been completely restructured and is valid since 01.01.2019. The provider, the Norwegian company AutoPass, we have already mentioned in this article about the toll in Norway .

  • The Ferjekort of AutoPass is a prepaid card with which you get a high discount on most domestic ferries. A list of all routes that participate in this system, you can find in this overview on the Norwegian side of the provider AutoPass (which incidentally also bills the toll in Norway automatically): AutoPASS-ferjekort
  • On the internet you can easily order your card on the site autopassferje.no . The website is available in Norwegian and in English. First, select whether the card should be used privately or commercially. Then you confirm the terms of contract. Then you give his mobile number and then receives a PIN sent to the specified phone. Then you enter his personal and the vehicle data, completes the process and is ready. After a short time you will receive your invoice by e-mail. Due to the high demand and the huge interest in the topic, we have published here a detailed guide with all monitor images and the individual steps to help you with the order perfectly.
  • The Ferjekort costs 50 NOK (just over 5 euros / stand 01.19) administrative expenses, which will not be refunded later. The advance payments, which are prepaid to his customer account as a pre-paid card, were adjusted on 01.01.2019.
    There are three vehicle categories, which are determined by the length of the vehicle:
    - 0 to 8.00 meters (NOK 3500 prepayment)
    - 8.01 to 17.50 meters (NOK 13,900 prepayment)
    - over 17.51 ​​meters (NOK 26,300 prepayment)
  • The owner of the Ferjekort receives, if he uses the card privately, a discount on his ferry crossing (driver included) of 50 percent !! For a commercial user, there are still 40 percent. For all accompanying persons one receives 17 per cent discount. So you can save a few hundred euros on a longer round trip with many ferry crossings and a larger motorhome.
  • If you only have 25% of the prepaid deposit on the card, you will automatically receive an e-mail with the reminder for a new prepayment. If you ignore this and your original balance is eventually used up, you pay the full price from the next crossing.

In the near future, as with the Norwegian toll, there will be an automatic registration of the ferry fees. This is being worked on intensively and that will greatly simplify this system. Some (few) ferry routes on the west coast can already be paid automatically with the AutoPass chip at the entrance to the ferry and receive corresponding discounts.

If you want to get a quick overview of the expected ferry routes on your route as well as a look at most timetables, then we recommend you this new online tool from Statens Vegvesen, which we present here in more detail.

In low season there is plenty of space on the ferries

We hope that with this article we have been able to answer some of your questions about ferry crossings in Norway. Do you have comments, questions or have we forgotten important information? Then we look forward to your comment.

Otherwise we only have to say: "Ahoy" and always a safe crossing 🙂

Conny and Sirko

"Yes, we love this country ..." - that's the beginning of the Norwegian national anthem, and yes, we too - Conny Sirko - love this country, its inhabitants, the magnificent scenery, the peace and tranquility that we enjoy there and throughout Scandinavia Find. We've been touring the North more than 20 times - at different times, in many regions and in all variations. The idea for this homepage came to us last year, because then we have the opportunity to write the permanent wanderlust to the north of the soul and hopefully inspire you for it. So: heading north!

56 comments

  • Hello you two, great blog, thanks for that. Thanks to you, I can now even less expect to finally come to Norway 😉, next year it's time, I'm fully into the planning in it 👍

    My question is, there may be height restrictions / problems on the (small) ferries. I'm unsure if I should pack the roof box on my T5, then the height is about 250-260cm. A colleague mentioned that depending on the water level "up" times can become tight. How is your experience?

    Greetings from FR
    Rudi

    • Hei Rudi,

      Thank you for your nice and great feedback. The planning and anticipation of the journey is usually already an exciting part 🙂 🙂 We wish you a lot of fun and are happy to help and advice.
      To your current question: This is absolutely no problem and we have already used a lot of ferries - even more unusual models and compounds. In the end, the delivery trucks and trucks have to be transported on the routes, so you will not have any problems with your altitude. For example, we're on tour with a height of almost 3 meters, so we had no problem with that. In addition, most ferries are open at the top and thus not regulated. So all right - pack what's possible. Incidentally, this also helps you with the fare on the domestic ferry, because it depends on the length of the vehicle and not on the altitude 😉
      Greetings from Finland,
      Conny and Sirko

  • Hello you two,
    On your hot tip, we have sent the Ferjekort. We want to start tomorrow in the direction of Norway and on 14.09. from Kristiansand. Now we get a mail today that the Ferjekort is accepted from 15.09.19 only in connection with the chip payment.
    Customers without a valid chip must pay the full fare either in cash or by credit card.
    What now? Of course, it's too late to order a chip. Furthermore, it can be read in the mail that from 01.01.2020 on many connections, the chip payment is introduced, which are paid today with the Ferjekort. Customers who do not have a chip should order one. We are unsure and will not be very smart. We have now transferred for free the 3500 crowns and have to pay locally. Have you heard something about it? I would be grateful for a quick answer. best regards

    • Hei Roland, according to our information starts from mid-September, only the gradual transition to the automatic payment with the AutoPass Brikke (chip), which was planned anyway and should be completed in 2020. On the Ferjekort homepage one still sees an overview, which ferries accept the Ferjekort and which only the chip. This is and should now continue to shift in favor of the payment with chip. Since we did not receive any mail, it would be great - to be on the safe side - if you could forward your mail to kontakt@nordlandblog.de . We would like to get back to you.
      Should a connection to an AutoPass chip / tag actually become necessary, this could be clarified. Because unlike the Ferjekort you can buy the AutoPass chip even when entering Norway at various points, such as the customs stations. We'll wait for your mail and then look more closely at what the best or a possible solution can be 😉👍
      Greetings from Norway, Conny and Sirko

  • Hello everybody!
    Very helpful info!
    If I understand correctly, this Ferry Card is a real card that will only be mailed to the applicant's mailing address, and it usually takes a week!
    Since I will be flying to Norway in 4 days, I do not think that makes sense, I'm afraid.
    In the digital age I initially counted on a digital solution (eg 2D code or similar). Pity!
    I'm just thinking of sending the Ferry Card to our hotel in Norway. But this is apparently not intended on the website.
    vG,
    Yang

    • Hei Yang,

      in fact, you get the card only in a conventional form - like a prepaid credit card. According to our information, you can actually send it to another address. To do this, send an e-mail or message via the contact form to the service area. However, the card and probably this effort only worthwhile /, if you actually use some Fährpassagen.
      Best regards,
      Conny and Sirko

  • Achso, I still remember a question
    It's called card, but is not a real card right?
    If I understand correctly, do you get a PIN that you show?

    greeting

    Andreas

    • Hei Andreas,
      but - it is a real card, just like the prepaid cards for cell phones or just a credit card. You will then pay for the ferries and the amounts will be deducted from your balance.
      Greetings, Conny and Sirko

  • Hello you two.
    Great article.
    How do I judge if the Ferjekort is worthwhile? I only want to travel in the south of Norway and possibly over the bridge or by ferry from Rostoch to Sweden and from there to Norway. Maybe Oslo, direction Bergen, Antlantikstraße and a the coast back.
    And do you get money again if there is something left on the map?

    Thanks in advance
    Andreas

    • Hello Andreas, first thank you for your comment and the question. In general, the Ferjekort is only worthwhile if you are traveling with a correspondingly large motorhome / team and can assume that you will have at least 2 or 3 ferries on your route. You get a 50% discount on the vehicle and the driver and a 17% discount on all other passengers traveling with you. From our experience, the map will be worthwhile for you if you drive along the coast, as there are many ferry connections. If you are driving the Oslo - Bergen route inland, there are a few ferries. The details or the sum of all tolls and what lies at ferry crossings on your route, you can see very well in this tool, which we present and explain HERE. Please check again so that you can be sure for yourself whether the Ferjekort on your route can be worthwhile.

      Of course, you'll get back the credit you do not use if you deactivate the card after your trip or if you cancel your account with AutoPass. We hope to have helped you with that and send best regards, Conny and Sirko

    • Many many thanks.

  • Hi,
    We are going to Norway with our camper in September and have some ferry routes in the planning. At 4 ferry routes, the new Ferjekort works, which I have just ordered with your instructions. THANK YOU FOR 😉
    For 2 ferry routes (Mortavika-Arsvågen approx. 500 NOK Halhjem-Sandvikvåg approx. 700 NOK) it is stated that the connection will be charged via the AutoPASS day.
    The WoMo is registered for the regular toll with EPC; We are very satisfied with that. So I'm wondering if it's worth buying the AutoPASS tag just for these two ferry routes. What would be the savings for these two ferry routes, if you use the AutoPASS tag instead of "cash payment"?

    Thank you and best regards
    Peter

    • Hei Peter,
      Thank you for your comment and feedback on our contribution. But now to your question: On the routes that are already paid with the AutoPass chip, you get 10% discount on the ferry price. Incidentally, this is also usually the discount that you get with AutoPass Chip on most paid routes in Norway. Only on some routes, there are even 20% - that only for information and as a basis for your calculation or considerations, whether the chip is worthwhile for you. He himself is free and only with a deposit occupied.
      Our personal opinion: If you (still) travel to Norway more often, it is definitely worth the order of the chip. Especially as more and more ferries are switched to pay by chip.
      We hope that we have been able to help with this. A good journey and best regards,
      Conny and Sirko

  • Hello everybody,
    We are now in two weeks with their own car going on and I think we have so far, also thanks to your help, all together. But maybe there was a problem - we wanted to order a car chip (which I found rather complicated). In the end, I ordered a chip from some (random) toll station, I thought. Over two weeks nothing belongs u. also get no chip. So we registered with EPC, everything went very well. Today comes, to my surprise, a package with the car chip ... .. and now ???? Is that a problem now? Do I have to cancel one of them?
    I hope again for your help :-)))
    Thank you and best regards
    Tamara

    • Hei Tamara,
      yeah, the AutoChip order is actually a science and you're not alone with your questions and problems .... The many questions about the order were finally the decisive point for our new article, in which we explain the order step-by-step in great detail. However, that actually comes in your case now once too late. But now to your question: It is no longer a problem, if you are traveling with the chip of AutoPass AND additionally an EPC registration. In the past there were sometimes problems, but now the two systems are networked together and there are even constellations where it is better or more useful to use both systems in parallel. So as a foreign driver with EPC you could deposit your vehicle details to pay the correct amounts based on these values ​​with the AutoPass chip in the environmental zones. Long story short: you do not have to cancel anything, mount the chip and enjoy the ride through Norway.
      If you come back then the chip will go back (unless you are going back to Norway soon) and you will get the deposit back. With EPC you do not have to do anything - you can just leave the account inactive.
      Now we wish you a great and exciting journey. GOD TOUR !!
      Best regards,
      Conny and Sirko

    • You are really great !!!
      Many thanks for the quick reply 🙂
      Great, then I leave everything as it is. I'll probably get an invoice from somebody.
      But there would still be a short question - how does that look with the phone or WLAN? Norway does not belong to the EU, should I buy a prepaid card locally or what would be your tip?
      I'm already saying thank you" :-)))
      LG Tamara

    • Hei Tamara,

      all good and very happy ... 😉 As far as the subject of mobile radio in Norway is concerned, one has to say that in comparison we are really a developing country. In general, once you have almost nationwide, even in remote regions, a pretty perfect reception and very, very many free and free wireless networks, especially in the vicinity of municipal buildings (library, cultural center, etc.) and also near many supermarkets and other vendors who want to attract or retain customers. We telephone and surf (because of our blog very much) without surcharge in Norway, because our supplier Vodafone Norway belongs to the "Extended European Economic Area" (just like Iceland and Switzerland). This is the case with most providers, but probably not at all. Look again in your documents or the details of your tariff on the Internet. There you will find the answer.
      IMPORTANT: Be sure to put the phone on the ferry in flight mode or disable mobile data. At sea, there is only the "sauteure" maritime network and if your mobile logs in there and the APPs pull a few data, it can quickly become very, very expensive.
      Soooo - now we are waiting for the next question 😉 and send you greetings,
      Conny and Sirko

  • We're going to Norway with a new carabus this year. Thank you for your work and the many helpful descriptions and reports.
    Josef and Doris from the beautiful Augsburg.

    • Hello you two,

      Thank you for this nice feedback and your dear lines. These are the comments and thus the moments that motivate us to invest so much love, work and energy all over again ... Nice, if you like it and even more, if it helped in the preparations of the journey.
      Then we wish you a wonderful stay in Norway, a great trip and many nice experiences.
      Greetings to Augsburg,
      Conny and Sirko

  • Hello Conny and Sirko,

    my questions about ferekjort have been resolved - have read the other questions and your answers.

    Many greetings
    Heinz Hauer

    • Hello Heinz,

      Thank you for your feedback and nice that the question has settled.

      We wish you a good journey and send greetings,

      Conny and Sirko

  • Hello, greet you,

    I still have questions about the Ferekjort:
    1. if I order the card over the net and then get the data on the phone, then how is the ferry recognized that I have this card, then this is still delivered?
    I drive on 30.6. from, is there still time to pay?

    2. Or can I buy the ticket in Norway upon arrival?

    Vielen Dank für Eure Antwort..
    Heinz und Astrid Hauer