We are considering renting a car while in Bergen..for several "day" trips. Is international driving license necessary there for US citizens? What about hiring a dedicated all day driver service to shuttle us around. Any suggestions or recommendations.
Driving licenses from outside the EU are valid for up to 3 months of driving within Norway so it isn't a requirement for this country.
Here is the website from the Norwegian licensing authority on the subject.
That said, I personally always get an International Driver's Permit (not a license; there is no such thing) from AAA whenever I travel overseas whether it is a requirement of that country or not. If you are stopped by the police it's simply a translation of your driver's license from home and can be of great help avoiding problems.
Norway is quite an expensive country and hiring a driver for the day would be very costly.
I've rented a car many times in Norway. You absolutely don't need anything but a USA license. All Norwegians are required to learn fluent English in school.
Also, if your destinations are served by bus, that might be a more relaxing and scenic way to travel since the buses are tall and you can see over the guard rails and don't have to manage all the narrow highways. Some highways in western Norway are older and narrow where sometimes you may meet a large truck head on and need to reverse to a wider spot in the road in order to allow the truck past.
US license is sufficient. But if you have time, you can also travel by bike or on foot. The imagery is impressive. Lots of vikings were there>)
All Norwegians are required to learn fluent English in school.
During our first trip to Norway, a second grade school group boarded the Bus 25 that we were riding to Bygdøy. Their teacher was taking the student to the folk museum. I was impressed that we could carry on a conversation in English with these second graders.
You may want to consider the cost of parking in Bergen. Having reached Bergen by train and walked around, I wasn't looking at the parking situation but didn't recall parking lots or structure near our harbor location. I did find this reference to parking in Bergen:
Klostergarasjen is the most central multistorey car park in the centre
of Bergen - only 50 metres from Bergen’s `meeting place’ -
Torgalmenningen square, and 200 metres from Hurtigruten. The daily
charges for parking in Klostergarasjen is NOK 200 pr 24 hour. Short
time parking is charged NOK 18,- pr 30 min in the hours between 07:00
and 19:00 and NOK 9,- in the hours between 19:00 and 07:00 as well as
all of Sunday.
ByGarasjen is Bergens largest multistorey car park with parking for
2.205 cars. ByGarasjen is situatet above the bus station and Bergen Light Rail terminal, and is connected to the railway station. The
daily charges for parking in ByGarasjen is NOK 150.- pr 24 hour.
Short time parking is charged NOK 12,- pr 30 min in the hours between
07:00 and 19:00 and NOK 6,- in the hours between 19:00 and 07:00 as
well as all of Sunday.
It's not clear if the daily charge offers in and out privileges, but you in all likelihood would only need overnight storage.