DFDS Seaways ferry "Queen of Scandinavia"  Photo courtesy of DFDS.

R I P... The DFDS ferry to Norway was sadly withdrawn for good in September 2008, ending over 120 years of direct ferry links between the UK & Norway... Photo courtesy of DFDS

UK to Norway without flying...

The last ferry between the UK & Norway (DFDS from Newcastle to Bergen) was sadly withdrawn in September 2008, but there's no need to fly to Norway.  It's easy to travel from London to Norway by train, taking an evening Eurostar to Brussels, going from Brussels to Copenhagen by train next day, then from Copenhagen to Oslo the day after that.  Or travel by Eurostar and onward trains from London to Hamburg, staying there overnight, take a train to Copenhagen next morning then the luxurious overnight cruise ferry to Oslo.  Or you can take a train to Kiel in Germany then the luxurious Color Line ferry to Oslo, sailing up Oslo Fjord.

COVID-19 update See COVID-19 travel information.

Train times, fares & tickets...

On this page you'll find a step-by-step guide to planning, booking & making a journey from the UK to Norway by train, with train times, approximate fares, and the best way to buy tickets.

  London to Oslo by train all the way

  London to Oslo via Copenhagen-Oslo ferry

  London to Oslo via Color Line ferry Kiel-Oslo

  London to Kristiansand & Stavanger via Hirtshals

  Trains in Norway: Oslo to Bergen, Stavanger...

  How to buy Norwegian train tickets

  Hurtigruten coastal ferry Bergen-Trondheim-Kirkenes

  Trains from Norway to other European cities

  Trains to Oslo from other European cities

  Useful country information: dial code, currency...

  Hotels in Oslo, Bergen & Norway

  The Norway in a Nutshell tour by train, Oslo>Bergen>Flam>Oslo

  General European train travel information

  Luggage   Taking a bike   Taking a dog

Interactive map:  London to Norway & Scandinavia by train & ferry...

...click on a route for times, fares & how to buy tickets.

Train travel in Norway Copenhagen-Oslo train or ferry Key - Finland via ferry from Germany Key - via Harwich-Hoek Key - via Eurostar Via the Harwich-Hoek ferry Train travel in Sweden Train travel in Finland Travemunde to Helsinki by ferry Helsinki-St Petersburg by train Ferries to Tallinn Stockholm-Riga by ferry Stockholm-Helsinki by ferry London-Norway via Hirtshals London-Copenhagen by train

Useful country information

Train operator in Norway:

Vy (rebranded from NSB, Norges Statsbaner in 2019) www.vy.no.

Ferries to Norway:

www.dfds.co.uk (Copenhagen-Oslo). UK-Norway ferry withdrawn in 2008.

Norwegian coastal steamers:

Hurtigruten Line sails along the Norwegian coast to the far North.

Railpasses:

Beginner's guide to European railpasses  Buy a rail pass online

Time zone:

GMT+1 (GMT+2 from last Sunday in March to last Saturday in October).

Dialling code:

+47

Currency:

£1 = approx 11 Krone.   Currency converter

Tourist information:

www.visitnorway.com     Recommended guidebooks

Hotels in Norway:

Find a hotel in Norway.  Hostels:  www.hostelworld.com

Page last updated:

17 October 2020. Train times valid 15 Dec 2019 to 12 Dec 2020.


London to Oslo by train

In this option you travel from London to Oslo by train all the way, with an overnight stop in Brussels & Copenhagen in the outward direction, and just one overnight stop at Hamburg in the inwards direction.  The Cologne to Copenhagen sleeper train was sadly discontinued in November 2014.

London ► Oslo

Oslo ► London with overnight stop in Hamburg

Oslo ► London with overnight stops in Copenhagen & Brussels

How much does it cost?

How to buy tickets...

How to buy tickets by phone...

Have Railbookers arrange it...

What's the journey like?

1. London to Brussels by Eurostar...

Eurostar trains link London & Brussels in just 2 hours, travelling at up to 300 km/h (186 mph).  There are two bar cars, power sockets at all seats and free WiFi.  Standard Premier and Business Premier fares include a light meal with wine (or breakfast, on departures before 11:00).  There's a 30-minute minimum check-in (10-minutes for business premier) as all border formalities are carried out before you board the train.  More information about Eurostar including check-in procedureSt Pancras station guide.  Brussels Midi station guide & short cut for changing trains in Brussels.

Eurostar e320   Eurostar e320 first class seats

A Eurostar e320 at St Pancras.  More about Eurostar.

 

Standard Premier/Business Premier.  Larger photo.

Eurostar e320 2nd class   Eurostar e320 cafe-bar

Standard class seats.  Larger photo.

 

One of two cafe-bars, in cars 8 & 9.  Larger photo.

2. Brussels to Cologne by ICE3...

Germany's superb ICEs have a bistro-restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.  In 1st class, bistro orders are taken at your seat.  50 minutes after leaving Brussels the ICE calls at Liège, where you can admire the impressive station designed by celebrity architect Santiago Calatrava.  As you approach Cologne Hbf you'll see the twin towers of Cologne Cathedral on the right, next to the station.  More information about ICE3 Brussels Midi station guideCologne Hbf station guide.

ICE3M to Cologne & Frankfurt, boarding at Brussels Midi

An ICE3M to Cologne at Brussels Midi.  More information about ICE Advice on changing trains in Brussels.

2nd class on the Frankfurt-Brussels ICE3M train   1st class on the Frankfurt-Brussels ICE3M train

2nd class seats on an ICE3M.  Larger photo.

 

1st class seats on an ICE3M.  Larger photo.

Erdinger Weissbier on the Frankfurt-Brussels ICE train   Restaurant car on the Frankfurt-Brussels ICE3M train

Proper china & metal cutlery.  I recommend the Erdinger Weissbier! See  current month's menu.

 

Restaurant car:  This is the small 12-seat restaurant on an ICE3M...  Larger photo.

3. Cologne to Hamburg by Intercity train...

Germany Intercity trains travel at up to 200km/h (120mph), with power sockets at all seats and a bistro car serving tea, coffee, wine, beer, snacks and hot dishes.  On the Cologne to Hamburg route you'll find some departures are operated by high-speed ICEs (usually ICE1) rather than Intercity trains, although the ICEs are no faster than ICs on this section of line.  Immediately after leaving Cologne Hbf, the train crosses the Hohenzollern bridge over the Rhine, then passes through the industrial Ruhr.  More information about Intercity trainsHamburg Hbf station guide.

A DB InterCity train

A German Intercity train.  More information about Intercity trains.

Beef ribs and Spatburgunder red wine on the Amsterdam to Berlin InterCity train   Inside the Amsterdam to Berlin bistro car

Dinner in the bistro.  The beef ribs were delicious...

 

Bistro car.  See current month's menu...

2nd clas seats on a DB Intercity train

2nd class seating is usually in open-plan saloons like this, most seats unidirectional, but with some tables for 4.  Sometimes you'll find 2nd class compartment cars with side corridor and ten 6-seat compartments  Larger photo.

4. Hamburg to Copenhagen by Intercity train

Hamburg-Copenhagen trains are operated by Danish IC3 trains like this, shown in the timetable as IC for Intercity See more photos, tips & information about the Hamburg to Copenhagen journey.

Hamburg-Copenhagen train at Hamburg Hbf

The late afternoon Hamburg-Copenhagen IC3 leaving platform 5 at Hamburg Hbf on a busy summer day.  The yellow stripe above the windows indicates first class, located at one end of both 3-car units.  More information about the Hamburg-Copenhagen journey.

A Danish IC3 train at Copenhagen station...   1st class seats on an IC3 train from Hamburg to Copenhagen

Boarding a Danish IC3 train at Hamburg Hbf...

 

1st class seats on an IC3 train.  Larger photo.

2nd class seats on an IC3 train from Hamburg to Copenhagen   A Danish IC3 train at Copenhagen station...

2nd class seats on a IC3 train.  Larger photo.

 

An IC3 train to Copenhagen at Hamburg.

5. Copenhagen to Oslo by train...

Seats on an Oresund link train to Malmo & Gothenburg   An Oresund link train from Copenhagen to Gothenburg at Malmo

Step 1, take an Öresund Train (Öresundtåg, above) from Copenhagen to Gothenburg, then a connecting Norwegian train to Oslo (pictured below).  The train crosses from Denmark to Sweden on the 1999-built Öresund Link tunnel & road/rail bridge...

The Norwegian train from Gothenburg to Oslo, arrived at Oslo Central   Komfort class (1st class) on the Norwegian Gothenburg to Oslo train

Step 2, take a Norwegian train from Gothenburg to Oslo, seen here arrived at Oslo Sentral.  Photos courtesy of Ivor & Ines Morgan.

 

Vy Plus (Komfort) class on the train to Oslo.

London to Oslo by train + ferry

In this option, you travel by train from London to Copenhagen, then use the luxurious DFDS overnight cruise ferry between Copenhagen & Oslo.  It's faster than the previous option using train all the way.

London ► Oslo

Oslo ► London

How much does it cost?

How to buy tickets...

Another way to buy tickets...

How to buy tickets by phone...

What's the journey like?

1. London to Brussels by Eurostar...

Eurostar trains link London & Brussels in just 2 hours, travelling at up to 300 km/h (186 mph).  There are two bar cars, power sockets at all seats and free WiFi.  Standard Premier and Business Premier fares include a light meal with wine (or breakfast, on departures before 11:00).  There's a 30-minute minimum check-in (10-minutes for business premier) as all border formalities are carried out before you board the train.  More information about Eurostar including check-in procedureSt Pancras station guide.  Brussels Midi station guide & short cut for changing trains in Brussels.

Eurostar e320   Eurostar e320 first class seats

A Eurostar e320 at St Pancras.  More about Eurostar.

 

Standard Premier/Business Premier.  Larger photo.

Eurostar e320 2nd class   Eurostar e320 cafe-bar

Standard class seats.  Larger photo.

 

One of two cafe-bars, in cars 8 & 9.  Larger photo.

2. Brussels to Cologne by ICE3...

Germany's superb ICEs have a bistro-restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.  In 1st class, bistro orders are taken at your seat.  50 minutes after leaving Brussels the ICE calls at Liège, where you can admire the impressive station designed by celebrity architect Santiago Calatrava.  As you approach Cologne Hbf you'll see the twin towers of Cologne Cathedral on the right, next to the station.  More information about ICE3 Brussels Midi station guideCologne Hbf station guide.

ICE3M to Cologne & Frankfurt, boarding at Brussels Midi

An ICE3M to Cologne at Brussels Midi.  More information about ICE Advice on changing trains in Brussels.

2nd class on the Frankfurt-Brussels ICE3M train   1st class on the Frankfurt-Brussels ICE3M train

2nd class seats on an ICE3M.  Larger photo.

 

1st class seats on an ICE3M.  Larger photo.

Erdinger Weissbier on the Frankfurt-Brussels ICE train   Restaurant car on the Frankfurt-Brussels ICE3M train

Proper china & metal cutlery.  I recommend the Erdinger Weissbier! See  current month's menu.

 

Restaurant car:  This is the small 12-seat restaurant on an ICE3M...  Larger photo.

3. Cologne to Hamburg by Intercity train...

Germany Intercity trains travel at up to 200km/h (120mph), with power sockets at all seats and a bistro car serving tea, coffee, wine, beer, snacks and hot dishes.  On the Cologne to Hamburg route you'll find some departures are operated by high-speed ICEs (usually ICE1) rather than Intercity trains, although the ICEs are no faster than ICs on this section of line.  Immediately after leaving Cologne Hbf, the train crosses the Hohenzollern bridge over the Rhine, then passes through the industrial Ruhr.  More information about Intercity trainsHamburg Hbf station guide.

A DB InterCity train

A German Intercity train.  More information about Intercity trains.

Beef ribs and Spatburgunder red wine on the Amsterdam to Berlin InterCity train   Inside the Amsterdam to Berlin bistro car

Dinner in the bistro.  The beef ribs were delicious...

 

Bistro car.  See current month's menu...

2nd clas seats on a DB Intercity train

2nd class seating is usually in open-plan saloons like this, most seats unidirectional, but with some tables for 4.  Sometimes you'll find 2nd class compartment cars with side corridor and ten 6-seat compartments  Larger photo.

4. Hamburg to Copenhagen by Intercity train

Hamburg-Copenhagen trains are operated by Danish IC3 trains like this, shown in the timetable as IC for Intercity See more photos, tips & information about the Hamburg to Copenhagen journey.

Hamburg-Copenhagen train at Hamburg Hbf

The late afternoon Hamburg-Copenhagen IC3 leaving platform 5 at Hamburg Hbf on a busy summer day.  The yellow stripe above the windows indicates first class, located at one end of both 3-car units.  More information about the Hamburg-Copenhagen journey.

A Danish IC3 train at Copenhagen station...   1st class seats on an IC3 train from Hamburg to Copenhagen

Boarding a Danish IC3 train at Hamburg Hbf...

 

1st class seats on an IC3 train.  Larger photo.

2nd class seats on an IC3 train from Hamburg to Copenhagen   A Danish IC3 train at Copenhagen station...

2nd class seats on a IC3 train.  Larger photo.

 

An IC3 train to Copenhagen at Hamburg.

5. Copenhagen to Oslo overnight by DFDS cruise ferry...

DFDS ferry from Copenhagen to Oslo

The huge DFDS luxury overnight cruise ferry Crown Seaways berthed at Oslo...  Courtesy of Ivor Morgan.

Atrium on the ferry from Copenhagen to Oslo   Standard cabin on the ferry from Copenhagen to Oslo

The ferry is a floating hotel, with cabins, suites, restaurants, bars and entertainment.  The Pearl Seaways even features an outdoor jacuzzi but reportedly her sister ship Crown Seaways lacks this.  Courtesy of Andrew Leo.

1, 2, 3 or 4 berth standard cabin on the Crown Seaways with shower & toilet and satellite TV.  Larger photoCourtesy of Ivor Morgan.

Suite on the ferry   Suite on the ferry

Commodore Class suite with double bed on board the DFDS superferry to Oslo.  Courtesy of Andrew Leo.

Sunset at sea on the DFDS ferry from Copenhagen to Oslo

Scenery in Oslo Fjord on the voyage to Norway...  Courtesy of Ivor Morgan.

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London to Oslo via Kiel-Oslo ferry

OK, so this takes a bit longer, but with comfortable daytime trains, a night in a hotel in Kiel or Hamburg then a mini-cruise on a luxurious Colour line cruise ferry.  Well worth considering!

London ► Oslo

Oslo ► London

How much does it cost?

How to buy tickets...

Another way to buy tickets...

What's the journey like?

1. London to Brussels by Eurostar...

Eurostar trains link London & Brussels in just 2 hours, travelling at up to 300 km/h (186 mph).  There are two bar cars, power sockets at all seats and free WiFi.  Standard Premier and Business Premier fares include a light meal with wine (or breakfast, on departures before 11:00).  There's a 30-minute minimum check-in (10-minutes for business premier) as all border formalities are carried out before you board the train.  More information about Eurostar including check-in procedureSt Pancras station guide.  Brussels Midi station guide & short cut for changing trains in Brussels.

Eurostar e320   Eurostar e320 first class seats

A Eurostar e320 at St Pancras.  More about Eurostar.

 

Standard Premier/Business Premier.  Larger photo.

Eurostar e320 2nd class   Eurostar e320 cafe-bar

Standard class seats.  Larger photo.

 

One of two cafe-bars, in cars 8 & 9.  Larger photo.

2. Brussels to Cologne by ICE3...

Germany's superb ICEs have a bistro-restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.  In 1st class, bistro orders are taken at your seat.  50 minutes after leaving Brussels the ICE calls at Liège, where you can admire the impressive station designed by celebrity architect Santiago Calatrava.  As you approach Cologne Hbf you'll see the twin towers of Cologne Cathedral on the right, next to the station.  More information about ICE3 Brussels Midi station guideCologne Hbf station guide.

ICE3M to Cologne & Frankfurt, boarding at Brussels Midi

An ICE3M to Cologne at Brussels Midi.  More information about ICE Advice on changing trains in Brussels.

2nd class on the Frankfurt-Brussels ICE3M train   1st class on the Frankfurt-Brussels ICE3M train

2nd class seats on an ICE3M.  Larger photo.

 

1st class seats on an ICE3M.  Larger photo.

Erdinger Weissbier on the Frankfurt-Brussels ICE train   Restaurant car on the Frankfurt-Brussels ICE3M train

Proper china & metal cutlery.  I recommend the Erdinger Weissbier! See  current month's menu.

 

Restaurant car:  This is the small 12-seat restaurant on an ICE3M...  Larger photo.

3. Cologne to Hamburg by Intercity train & on to Kiel by regional train...

Germany Intercity trains travel at up to 200km/h (120mph), with power sockets at all seats and a bistro car serving tea, coffee, wine, beer, snacks and hot dishes.  On the Cologne to Hamburg route you'll find some departures are operated by high-speed ICEs (usually ICE1) rather than Intercity trains, although the ICEs are no faster than ICs on this section of line.  Immediately after leaving Cologne Hbf, the train crosses the Hohenzollern bridge over the Rhine, then passes through the industrial Ruhr.  More information about Intercity trainsHamburg Hbf station guide.

A DB InterCity train

A German Intercity train.  More information about Intercity trains.

Beef ribs and Spatburgunder red wine on the Amsterdam to Berlin InterCity train   Inside the Amsterdam to Berlin bistro car

Dinner in the bistro.  The beef ribs were delicious...

 

Bistro car.  See current month's menu...

2nd clas seats on a DB Intercity train

2nd class seating is usually in open-plan saloons like this, most seats unidirectional, but with some tables for 4.  Sometimes you'll find 2nd class compartment cars with side corridor and ten 6-seat compartments  Larger photo.

4. Kiel to Oslo overnight by Color Line cruise ferry...

Germany to Oslo Color Line ferry at Kiel

This photo is taken from the exit of Kiel station, so you can see how close the ferry is.  It's a 5-6 minute walk across the harbour, with a street lift up to a connecting walkway which takes you to the ferry terminal. If you have reserved one of what Color Line call their 5 star suites, check in at the desk rather than the machines and you'll be directed to a special lounge to wait with free tea, coffee, juice, snacks & WiFi.  You'll also have priority boarding of the ship & free access to the on-board spa.  Photos courtesy of Andrew Leo.

Boarding the ferry in Kiel

Boarding the Color Line ferry to Oslo in Kiel...

Kiel to Oslo ferry, Color Class suite   Kiel to Oslo ferry, restaurant

A 5 Star Suite on the ferry...

 

More cruise liner than ferry!  The restaurant.

Mall on board the ferry to Norway

Shopping street in Oslo?  No, just the main mall on board the Color Line ship...

View from Color Line ferry to Oslo

Wake up to lovely scenery sailing up Oslo Fjord....

 

The Color Fantasy, arrived at Oslo Color Line terminal...

 

Transfer bus to Oslo Sentral...

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London to Norway via Hirtshals

You can of course travel by train to Oslo, then take a train from Oslo to Bergen (a very scenic route), or from Oslo to Kristiansand & Stavanger.  Click here for advice on booking onward trains within Norway.

But as you can see on the route map above, the most direct route is to head up to Hirtshals in northern Denmark and take a Color Line or Fjord Line ferry direct to Kristiansand, Stavanger or Bergen, by-passing Copenhagen, Sweden & Oslo.

London ► Kristiansand, Stavanger & Bergen

Bergen, Stavanger & Kristiansand ► London

Fares & how to buy tickets...

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Trains in Norway...

Train connections from Oslo to Bergen, Stavanger, Trondheim & other Norwegian cities...

  How to buy Norwegian train tickets from Oslo to Bergen, Trondheim, Stavanger...

How to buy Norwegian train tickets at www.vy.no...

The scenic Flåm Railway...

A scenic tourist line worth mentioning is the famous Flåm Railway (Flåmsbana) from Myrdal (on the Oslo-Bergen line) 900m above sea level to Flåm on the Fjord below.  Train run daily all year round, 4 departures a day in winter, 10 or so in summer.  It can be done as a day trip from Oslo, as the Myrdal-Flåm journey itself only takes 40-50 minutes each way.  See www.visitflam.com/en/flamsbana, then see www.vy.no for connections from Oslo or Bergen to Myrdal.

Sleeper trains from Oslo to Bergen, Stavanger, Trondheim...

You can't beat a daytime journey on the scenic Oslo to Bergen line, but on the way back you can save time by travelling on the sleeper.  Unlike most other European sleeper trains where you can book individual berths in shared compartments, in Norway you pay a fixed supplement and get a whole 2-berth compartment to yourself, whether there are two of you or only one.  When you board, you must first check in at the cafe car to have your ticket checked and receive the plastic card-key to your sleeper compartment.

Oslo to Bergen sleeper train

The sleeper train from Oslo to Bergen...  Photos courtesy of Tom Gigo

Cafe car on the train to Bergen   Sleeping-car corridor   2-bed sleeper on the Oslo to Bergen sleeper train

Cafe car...

 

Sleeper corridor...

 

2-berth sleeper...

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Hurtigruten coastal ferries

From Bergen to the Arctic Circle:  www.hurtigruten.com...

Bergen - Trondheim - Bodo - Tromso - Kirkenes

Every day, an express coastal steamer service called Hurtigruten (www.hurtigruten.com, the word hurtigruten simply means express route) sails from Bergen on an all-points trip north to Kirkenes in the Arctic Circle close to the Russian border, a 6-night one-way voyage or a 11 or 12-night round trip.  It's an essential transport service for the communities along the route which also offers cruises for visitors wanting an unrivalled boat ride along the beautiful Norwegian Fjords up to the land of the Midnight Sun.  For details and online booking, see www.hurtigruten.com.  For more information on the service and its history, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurtigruten.

A Hurtigruten ferry   Cabin on a Hurtigruten ferry

Hurtigruten ferry.  Photo courtesy of Sue Smith...

 

Standard outside cabin...

Seating area in a Hurtigruten deluxe cabin   A Hurtigruten ferry

Seating area of a suite...

 

The M.S. Nordnorge

Norwegian fjord from a Hurtigruten ship

Norwegian Fjord, seen from a Hurtigruten ship.  Photo courtesy of Sue Smith...

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Norway in a Nutshell tour

Oslo - Bergen - Flam - Oslo over 5 days...

The popular 'Norway in a Nutshell' circular tour takes you from Oslo to Bergen to Flam and back to Oslo over 5 days.  Train-based tour specialist Railbookers can sort this for you with train reservations & hotels.

  UK call 0207 864 4600, www.railbookers.co.uk.

  US call free 1-888-829-4775, www.railbookers.com.

  Canada call free 1-855-882-2910, www.railbookers.com.

  Australia call toll-free 1300 971 526, www.railbookers.com.au.

  New Zealand call toll-free 0800 000 554 or see website.

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European Rail Timetable & map

Thomas Cook European Timetable -  click to buy onlineTraveller's Railway Map of Europe - buy onlineThe European Rail Timetable (formerly the Thomas Cook European Timetable) has train & ferry times for every country in Europe plus currency & climate information.  It is essential for regular European train travellers and an inspiration for armchair travellers.  Published since 1873, it had just celebrated 140 years of publication when Thomas Cook decided to pull the plug on their entire publishing department, but the dedicated ex-Thomas Cook team set up a private venture and resumed publication of the famous European Rail Timetable in March 2014.  You can buy it online with worldwide shipping at either www.stanfords.co.uk or www.europeanrailtimetable.euMore information on what the European Rail Timetable contains.

A Traveller's Railway Map of Europe covers the whole of Europe from Portugal in the west to Moscow & Istanbul in the east, Finland in the north to Sicily & Athens in the south.  On the back are detailed maps of Switzerland, Benelux & Germany, plus city plans showing stations in major cities.  Scenic & high-speed routes highlighted.  Buy it online for £14.50 + postage worldwide (UK addresses £2.80) at www.stanfords.co.uk/Continents/Europe-A-Travellers-Railway-Map_9789077899090.htm or (in the Netherlands) for €13 + €5.50 postage from www.treinreiswinkel.nl.

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Guidebooks...

Make sure you take a good guidebook.  For independent travel, I think this means either the Lonely Planet or the Rough Guide.  Both guidebooks provide the same excellent level of practical information and cultural and historical background.  You won't regret buying one!

Click the images to buy at Amazon.co.uk

Lonely Planet Norway - buy online at Amazon.co.uk   Click to buy - Lonely Planet Scandinavia   Rough Guide to Scandinavia - buy online at Amazon

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Hotels in Oslo, Bergen & Norway

My favourite hotel search site: www.booking.com

www.booking.com is my favourite hotel booking site and I generally prefer booking my hotels all in one place here.  You can usually book with free cancellation - this allows you to confirm your accommodation at no risk before train booking opens.  It also means you can hold accommodation while you finalise your itinerary, and alter your plans as they evolve - a feature I use all the time when putting a trip together.  I never book hotels non-refundably.  I have also come to trust their review scores - you won't be disappointed with anything over 8.0.

Tip:  It can pay to compare prices across multiple hotel sites:  HotelsCombined.com is a price comparison site which compares hotel prices on Booking.com, Hotels.com, Expedia, Accor, Agoda and many others.  Though if there's not much in it, I prefer keeping all my bookings together in one place at www.booking.com.

Other hotel sites worth trying...

www.tripadvisor.com is the place to find independent travellers' reviews of all the main hotels.

Backpacker hostels: www.hostelworld.com...

www.hostelworld.com:  If you're on a tight budget, don't forget about backpacker hostels.  Hostelworld offers online booking of cheap private rooms or dorm beds in backpacker hostels in Paris and most other European cities at rock-bottom prices.

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Travel insurance & VPN

 

Columbus direct travel insurance

 

Always take out travel insurance...

Never travel without travel insurance with at least £1m or preferably £5m medical cover from a reliable insurer.  It should also cover trip cancellation and loss of cash & belongings up to a reasonable limit.  An annual multi-trip policy is usually cheapest even for just 2 or 3 trips a year, I have an annual policy myself.  However, don't expect travel insurance to bail you out of every missed connection, see the advice on missed connections here.  Here are some suggested insurers, Seat61 gets a little commission if you buy through these links, feedback is always welcome.

In the UK, reliable insurers include Columbus Direct.

If you have a pre-existing medical condition or are over 65, see www.JustTravelCover.com - 10% discount with code seat61.

You can use www.confused.com to compare prices & policy features across major insurance companies.

        If you live in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland or the EU, try Columbus Direct's other websites.

  If you live in the USA try Travel Guard USA.

 

Curve card

Get a Curve card to save on foreign transaction fees...

Banks often give a poor exchange rate, then charge a currency conversion fee as well.  A Curve MasterCard means no foreign transaction fees and gives you the mid-market exchange rate, at least up to a certain limit, £500 per month as I write this.  The balance goes straight onto one of your existing debit or credit cards.  And you can get a Curve card for free.

How it works:  1. Download the app for iPhone or Android.  2. Enter your details & they'll send you a Curve MasterCard - they send to most European addresses including the UK.  3. Link your existing credit & debit cards to the app.  4. Now use the Curve MasterCard to buy things online or in person or take cash from ATMs, just like a normal MasterCard. Curve does the currency conversion and puts the balance onto whichever of your debit or credit cards you choose.  You can even change your mind about which card it goes onto, within 14 days of the transaction.

I use a Curve Blue card myself - I get a little commission if you sign up to Curve, but I'm recommending it here because I think it's great.  See details, download the app and get a Curve card. Use code MAN61 to get £5 cashback after signing up and using your Curve card the first time.

 

Express VPN

Get a VPN for safe browsing.  VPNs & why you need one explained...

When you're travelling you often use free WiFi in public places which may not be secure.  A VPN means your connection to the internet is encrypted & always secure, even using unsecured WiFi.  In countries such as China where access to Twitter & Facebook is restricted, a VPN gets around these restrictions.  And lastly, you can select the geographic location of the IP address you browse with, to get around geographic restrictions which some websites apply - for example one booking site charges a booking fee to non-European visitors but none to European visitors, so if you're not located in Europe you can avoid this fee by browsing with a UK IP address using a VPN.  VPNs & why you need one explainedExpressVPN is a best buy and I use them myself.

 


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