We caught the ferry from Denmark to Norway- here’s everything we learned!
Which ferry from Denmark to Norway?
We chose to go from Hirtshals to Kristiansand (not to be confused with KristiansUnd… which is way further North. We considered the ferry from Hirtshals to Bergen, but it missed out a lot of the stuff we wanted to see further south. Also, the ferry is only 2 hours- which wasn’t too long in case the dreaded North sea was having a bad day! There are a couple of ferry providers- we chose Colorline as it was one of the few which allows motorhomes.
How much does the ferry from Denmark to Norway cost?
We paid €462.20 in total which broke down as: (yep, prices are in Euros, not NOK)
- Adults €14 each (which included Jade, although sadly she didn’t end up travelling with us for this bit in the end.)
- Seats- €26 each
- Motorhome (high car) up to 8m €235.20
- small trailer up to 5m €107
For a two hour ferry, it’s ridiculously expensive. We only booked it a couple of weeks in advance as we were waiting for Jade’s college to confirm her show dates, so we knew when she needed to fly home. You could definitely save some money by being more organised and booking in advance! Obviously, not having a trailer helps lower the cost too- no shock there!
What’s Hirtshals like?
Hirtshals is very small- there’s not a whole lot to do so don’t turn up crazy early. On the outskirts is a huge petrol station with a cafe and play area for the kids. There’s also a motorhome service point here, which is useful to use so you don’t need to find places on your first day in Norway.
We wouldn’t recommend the food in the cafe- we had chicken nuggets and schnitzel and both were pretty bad. The shop sells a lot of alcohol, which is quite expensive, and not much else. Do your final shop elsewhere- there’s a Lidl about an hour away or many other options.
Tips for the ferry from Denmark to Norway
Declare your alcohol/ tobacco on the app
Declare your alcohol in advance using the app. Norway is not part of the EU, and therefore there are restrictions on how much alcohol and tobacco you can bring into the country. You can fill in how much you are carrying on the app Norwegian Customs App (it’s currently bright yellow.) TOP TIP– remember to accurately add in how many adults are travelling as you EACH get an allowance. They aren’t stupid and they make it fairly easy to forget on the app… I did forget, so we paid way too much tax as I did our allowance as if it was only one person travelling instead of two. Doh! We paid about 270NOK (about £27) for 8 bottles of wine and I think 6 beers and 2 bottles of spirits. Annoyingly, the wine was from Lidl in France and only cost €2.99 each…!!
The fines for incorrectly declaring what you are carrying are massive, so for us it isn’t worth the risk. We didn’t get checked or stopped, but we saw a couple of motorhomes and vans who did. By declaring your allowance in advance, you get to drive down the ‘green’ lane, instead of queuing in the ‘red’ lane- much easier!!
Book a seat
Because we got the late ferry, we decided to book seats for the journey so we could get a couple of hours sleep. This turned out to be a REALLY GOOD IDEA. The ferry was full of over-excited and tired children who were in various states of yelling, crying and/or screaming. The restaurants and cafes were overrun by people sleeping on the floor, cramming into a corner and lying in the corridors.
By contrast, the seats, which are called business seats, just to confuse you, are in a quiet haven with free tea/ coffee, fruit, biscuits, cheese and other goodies. The seats are really comfortable and we got a good sleep on them, which definitely helped when we landed on the other side.
What’s Kristiansand like?
It actually looked like a very nice town. There were plenty of shops and amazingly it looked like nearly all the restaurants and takeaways were still open- at nearly 1am! So there’s plenty to do if you fancy a night out on arrival, although how long they stay open for I’m not sure.
Parking once you get off the ferry is pretty tough! We headed for one place which we found on Park4night and was about a 5-minute drive… but the main road was shut for roadworks. So we picked another spot, and it turned out that was an illegal parking area!
In the end, we decided to drive about 20 minutes south and found a lovely spot on a quiet road next to a beautiful lake. It was an awesome way to start our Norwegian adventure!! The location is on the map.
Now- onwards to explore Norway!