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  • Writer's pictureDanae Bianco

Is it expensive to travel in Norway?

Practical tips to help you visit one of the most beautiful (and costly) countries in the world.


If you are thinking, or dreaming, about visiting Norway, this is likely one of the first questions that comes to mind.


So, how much does it cost to travel in Norway?

Undredal village, on the Naeroy Fjord, seen during a boat tour. A Norwegian flag is waving, visible in the right corner of the photo.
Naerofjord, Undredal

I had this same question myself, researched extensively, did a lot of calculations, and racked my brains until I came up with a 12-day itinerary for Norway, all within budget! Still, it was one of the most expensive destinations - if not the most expensive - we've visited in recent years, pricier than Japan, the United States, and Spain, for example.

But it was worth every penny. The beauty of the Norwegian landscapes makes every dollar invested worthwhile. And when you leave, you'll surely think: could have saved more and stayed one more day here!


With simple strategies and proper planning, it's possible to reduce the cost of the trip and still make the most of everything Norway has to offer.


Next, I'll tell you what we did to make this dream come true. Come see how much it costs to travel through Norway!


 

In this post, you'll find tips to save money on your trip to Norway:

 
Preikestolen, or Pulpit Rock, seen from a distance. There are several people at the top of the rock on a clear summer day, with a blue sky and few clouds. Norway.
Preikestolen - Pulpit Rock

How to spend less in accomodation in Norway


After airfare, accommodation is usually the biggest expense of a trip and often the easiest and most effective area to save money.


The cost of accommodation in Norway, like anywhere else in the world, varies greatly depending on location, type of lodging, and level of comfort.


For 2-3 star hotels, expect to pay between US$70 and $130 per day for a double room. In Oslo, we stayed at Citibox Oslo, which offered the best value we could find, at US$106 for a double room and $220 for a family room (we traveled in July, the peak of summer season).


In other cities—Flam, Geiranger, Bergen, and Stavanger — we took advantage of traveling as a group of seven and stayed in apartments. We spent between US$50 and $80 per person per day for these accommodations, which you can see detailed in our complete Norway itinerary post.


Needless to say, in expensive places like Norway, staying in accommodations with a kitchen has an added benefit: we prepared meals at home and reduced our food expenses.


Another way to cut costs is by choosing less central locations. Instead of staying in prime areas, choose a pleasant accommodation a bit farther from the main attractions.


Dark wooden houses with green roofs nestled in a valley surrounded by lush vegetation and mountains with a hint of snow in the background. Norway.
Our cabin (not so) close to the Geirangerfjord.

In Geiranger, we gave up a spectacular location (imagine a hotel with a view of Norway's most beautiful fjord) and opted for a charming and comfortable chalet, a bit further from the main attraction. Similarly, in Flåm, we couldn’t find reasonably priced and available lodging in the village, so we stayed in a comfortable house about 40 km from the starting point of our tours. Since we had a rental car and there was easy and free parking, the farther location wasn’t an issue.


In Stavanger, our comfortable house was just a 15-minute bus ride from the city center.

Two girls play with a Norwegian flag on the green lawn of a dark wooden house with white windows. It's a sunny day with a blue sky.
Our Stavanger Airbnb

In Bergen, I wanted to stay in Bryggen, the historic area of the city, with all its bustle, restaurants, and shops. We chose a house that wasn’t the prettiest or cleanest but had a perfect location and fit our budget.


In other words, in all the places we stayed, we gave up something that we wouldn’t have if we were in a more "affordable" country.


And, of course, research in advance. The earlier you start your search, the more options you’ll have and the better chance you’ll have of finding accommodation that meets your criteria at a price you can afford.


Another factor that influences prices is the time of year. In Norway, summer is considered high season, so if you have flexibility, traveling off-season—in spring or autumn—can be a way to reduce accommodation costs.


So, why not take advantage of this and start researching your accommodation in Norway now?



Food in Norway


Meal prices in restaurants can be a shock. A simple meal at a mid-range restaurant can easily cost around US$30-40, while a dinner at a more upscale restaurant can exceed US$80 per person, excluding drinks.


To reduce food costs, the golden rule is to eat at home. We took advantage of the kitchens available in most of our accommodations: we made breakfast at home every day, and almost all our dinners as well.


On the day we visited Preikestolen and the day we went kayaking in Flåm, we packed sandwiches and fruit for a picnic-style lunch by the stunning fjords.


Make the most of local markets and prepare your own meals—especially since, in my opinion, the local cuisine isn't spectacular enough to justify the high cost of traditional restaurant meals.

 




Drinking in Norway


Alcoholic beverages in Norway are VERY expensive. REALLY expensive.


The first (and only) time I ordered a beer at a restaurant, I almost died when I saw the bill—about $18 (without tip) for a single common beer in an ordinary restaurant.


If you don't drink alcohol, perfect! This is a very simple and effective way to save money on your trip to Norway.


But if you, like me, enjoy a good wine on vacation, here are some tips:


  • Buy the amount of alcohol you plan to consume on your trip (or the maximum allowed) at the duty-free shop.


As per my research, according to the Norwegian Customs website, the limit for non-residents is 1 liter of spirits and 2 bottles of wine (or zero spirits and 4 bottles of wine) and 2 liters of beer, per person over 18. For beverages with more than 22% alcohol, the age limit is 20, and it's prohibited to bring beverages over 60%.


Staying at an Airbnb and having dinner at home allows you to enjoy your wine without guilt or worrying about driving or finding your way back.


  • Be aware that alcohol sales in Norway are strictly regulated by the government (as we experienced firsthand):

    • In supermarkets, you can only buy light beers with up to 4.7% alcohol.

    • Beer is only sold in supermarkets until 8 PM on weekdays and until 6 PM on Saturdays. Alcohol sales are not allowed on Sundays. Only restaurants and bars can sell alcohol outside these hours.

    • Any beverage above 4.7%, including wine and spirits, is sold only in state-run stores called Vinmonopolet. We didn’t find any (but we also didn’t look). These stores are open until 6 PM on weekdays and until 3 PM on Saturdays.

 





Transportation in Norway


The public transportation system in Norway is efficient and may seem expensive, but it is likely the most economical way to travel from point A to point B.


Norway's train service is operated by the company VY. The trains are very comfortable and punctual. However, the main reason to travel by train in Norway is to enjoy the stunning landscapes you’ll see from the window.

We took the train from Oslo to Voss, and from Voss to Bergen. Check the VY website for updated prices, but at the time of this post, the cheapest ticket from Oslo to Bergen was $51.


In Voss, we rented a car for our days in Flam and Geiranger. We used Hertz, but it’s worth checking other options. A compact car, rented in Oslo or Bergen, can be found for around $150 per day.


Although Norway is one of the world’s largest oil producers, gasoline is not cheap—it was more expensive than what we usually pay at home, although I didn’t note the exact prices.


 

Attractions and Activities in Norway


The main tourist attraction in Norway is completely free: appreciating the landscape!


However (and there is always a however), you will often need to spend money to fully enjoy these landscapes.


Below is what we did and the costs (prices in US$ for one adult):


  • Train from Oslo to Bergen (not exactly a tourist activity, but the views are incredible): $51

  • Boat tour on the Naerofjord: $58

  • Train from Flam to Myrdal on the Flamsbana: $47

  • Bicycle rental at Café Rallaren: $42

  • Kayaking tour: $120

  • Viking Valley: $21

  • Drive from Flam to Geiranger: no tolls

  • Borgund Stave Church: $12

  • Ferry in Geiranger: $93 (1 adult + car)

  • Entry to Dalsnibba viewpoint: $31 per car

  • Mount Floyen Funicular in Bergen: $12

  • Bergen Fortress: free

  • Preikestolen hike: the trail itself is free, but if you don’t have a car, you’ll need to pay for transportation. We took a bus for $37; if you go by car, you’ll need to pay for tolls and parking, estimating around $34.


These were the main activities we did; the rest, as far as I remember, were either free or had minimal costs.


It is possible to do the Flam tour as a day trip from Bergen, including the boat from Bergen, the Flamsbana train, and the return to Bergen by train. This tour is called Norway in a Nutshell: there are several operators offering these tours, so research well to find the one that best suits your needs.


Money

 

Would you believe that we spent 12 days in Norway without ever seeing a single banknote?


We used a card for EVERYTHING. Absolutely everywhere accepts cards. Just bring your international card and you’ll be fine.


Best cellphone SIM card to use in Norway

 

In Norway, as in other international trips I've taken, I used the Airalo SIM card, which I bought in Brazil and activated as soon as I arrived at Oslo Airport.


It worked very well and, in my experience, it’s always the most economical option.


Use the coupon DANAE2375 to get a $3 discount on your first purchase!



Plane tickets


Airfare is usually the most expensive part of a trip. I won’t go into details because prices vary greatly depending on the time of year, promotions, use of miles, airline, etc.


The cost of a flight to Norway is generally similar to that of a flight to other destinations in central and northern Europe. In this post, I discuss how we plan our trips and there’s a specific section on how to search for flights. Ultimately, there’s no secret: research, research, and research, and start planning as early as possible.

   


The Borgund Stave Church, a dark wooden church, stands against a backdrop of green-vegetated mountains on an overcast day.
Borgund Stave Church

So, How Much Does It Cost to Travel in Norway?


For a comfortable trip with mid-range accommodations, estimate the following expenses per person, in a double room (US dollars):


  • Accommodation: $60/night

  • Food: $50/day (considering some meals will be homemade or light snacks)

  • Activities: $50/day

  • Car rental: $75/day (economy car, cost shared between 2 people)

  • Miscellaneous expenses: $5/day (urban transport, small purchases: water, snacks, ice cream, etc.)

  • Other costs: SIM card, travel insurance: starting at $26 for a 1-week trip


These were approximately our expenses for a 12-day trip in Norway, in JULY, during the peak of the European summer, which is high season—prices may vary at other times of the year.

Adding it all up, estimate US$240 per day per person, excluding airfare. This is not very different from the cost of a trip with the same level of comfort and activities to other "expensive" destinations like the United States or England. It’s pricey, but I assure you, it’s worth it!


After your trip to Norway, let me know what you think and if these cost estimates were helpful and accurate!


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What’s your verdict? Is traveling in Norway expensive or not?


## Port of Bergen, Norway  The port of Bergen, Norway, features charming wooden houses painted in shades of brown, white, and yellow in the background, with several boats and sailboats in the foreground.
Bergen
 

Other Posts About Traveling in Europe:

 

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