A long way, but the roads are good
Every summer, tens of thousands of motorists drive up into Northern Norway from the south of Norway, and the rest of Scandinavia and Europe. Some even dare to come in winter, and encounter surprisingly few problems. Although Northern Norway is quite remote, it is remarkably easy to get there in your own car. Many people choose to take the fast roads through Sweden or Finland, while others choose the more winding but much more scenic roads of Norway.
North through Norway
The E6, Norway's main north-south artery, is of a good standard throughout, and can generally be driven without any problems all year round. From Majavatn at the Trøndelag county boundary, it runs 1,670 kilometres (1,038 miles) to Kirkenes, via Fauske, Narvik, Bardufoss, Alta, Lakselv and Tana Bridge. There is still one ferry on the route, from Bognes to Skarberget between Bodø/Fauske and Narvik. A more scenic alternative is Fv17, the Coastal Route. This National Tourist Route is an attraction in itself, but it takes much longer to drive, because of its many ferries.
Winter road closures
Occasionally, the mountain passes on the E6 are closed because of bad weather in winter. The passes generally open again after a few hours. You can obtain updated information on the Norwegian Public Roads Administration's website and on the radio. Petrol stations and roadside restaurants also tend to have the latest updates. The most frequent winter closures on the E6 are in the following places:
- Saltfjellet (between Mo i Rana and Rognan)
- Kvænangsfjellet (between Storslett and Burfjord)
- Sennalandet and Hatter (between Alta and Lakselv/North Cape)
Sweden and Finland
Many tourists from southern Scandinavia and the continent choose to get to Northern Norway by driving through Sweden or Finland. The roads there are more direct, with higher speed limits, meaning that you can eat up the miles very quickly. You then have to cross over into Norway on one of the many international roads:
Sweden – Norway: These roads may occasionally be subject to winter closures. From south to north:
- Rv73 Storuman – Tärnaby – Krutvatnet – Trofors
- E12 Umeå - Storuman – Umbukta – Mo i Rana: "'The Blue Road"
- Rv 77 Arjeplog – Junkerdalen – Rognan – Bodø: "The Silver Road"
- E10 – Kiruna – Riksgränsen – Narvik - Lofoten
Finland – Norway: These roads are rarely closed in the winter. From west to east:
- E8 Rovaniemi – Kaaresuvanto (bridge to Karesuando, Sweden) – Kilpisjärvi – Skibotn – Tromsø
- E93 Rovaniemi – Hetta – Kautokeino – Alta – North Cape
- E92 Rovaniemi – Ivalo – Karigasniemi – Karasjok – North Cape
- E75 Rovaniemi – Ivalo – Utsjoki – Tana
- Rv893 Rovaniemi – Ivalo – Näätämö – Neiden – Kirkenes
Russia – Norway: A visa is needed to cross the border.
- E105 Murmansk – Zapoljarnij – Storskog – Kirkenes
Driving distances have been taken from Google Maps, and we cannot guarantee the accuracy of travel times.
- Oslo – Brønnøysund: 864 km (537 miles), 12 hours, E6 and Fv17
- Oslo – Bodø: 1,197 km (744 miles), 16 hours, E6 to Fauske, Rv. 80
- Oslo – Svolvær: 1,450 km (900 miles), 20 hours via E6, ferry from Bognes to Lødingen
- Oslo – Tromsø: 1,642 km (1,021 miles), 22 hours, E6, E8 from Nordkjosbotn
- Oslo – North Cape: 1,985 km (1,233 miles), 25 hours (via Sundsvall/Sweden, Kautokeino)
- Oslo – Kirkenes: 1,915 km (1,190 miles), 24 hours (via Sundsvall, Rovaniemi (Finland))
- Stockholm – North Cape: 1,736 km (1,079 miles), 22 hours (via Luleå, Kolari, Kautokeino)
- Helsinki – Kirkenes: 1,350 km (839 miles), 16 hours via Jyväskylä, Rovaniemi, Ivalo
- Berlin – Tromsø: 2,668 km (1,658 miles), 30 hours via Stockholm (E4), Karesuando, Skibotn
- Amsterdam – Svolvær: 2,842 km (1,766 miles), 33 hours via Stockholm, Arjeplog, Junkerdal, Fauske.
- Gibraltar – North Cape: 5,530 km (3,436 km), 56 hours, via Paris, Stockholm and Kautokeino.
- Source: Google maps. May be subject to change.