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Is Norway Expensive? (Insider’s Guide)

Is Norway Expensive? (Insider’s Guide)


Welcome to the insider’s guide to Norway, where we’ll take a closer look at whether Norway is an expensive country to visit. Norway is known for its stunning natural landscapes, vibrant cities, and rich cultural heritage. However, it is often associated with high living costs. In this article, we’ll explore various aspects of the cost of living in Norway, including accommodation, transportation, food, tourism, shopping, healthcare, and communication.

Norway, located in Northern Europe, is renowned for its high standard of living and excellent public services. The Norwegian krone (NOK) is the official currency, and the exchange rate may fluctuate. It’s important to consider the currency exchange rate when planning your trip to Norway.

Accommodation costs in Norway can vary depending on the city and type of lodging. Major cities like Oslo and Bergen tend to have higher accommodation prices compared to smaller towns. Both hotels and Airbnb options are available. It’s advisable to book in advance and compare prices to find the best deals.

Transportation costs in Norway can also contribute to your overall expenses. Public transportation, such as buses, trams, and trains, are efficient and reliable options for getting around. However, these services can be quite expensive. Renting a car may offer more flexibility but comes with additional expenses like fuel and tolls.

When it comes to dining out in Norway, be prepared for higher food and drink prices compared to other countries. Norwegian cuisine is known for its fresh seafood, traditional dishes like lutefisk and gravlax, and reindeer meat. While eating at upscale restaurants can be costly, there are also more affordable options available, such as street food vendors and casual eateries.

Norway is a land of breathtaking natural landscapes, and exploring the country’s tourist attractions and activities can add to your expenses. Whether you’re planning to hike in the fjords, go dog sledding in the Arctic, or visit museums and historical sites, be sure to factor in the cost of admission fees and guided tours.

Shopping in Norway can be a delightful experience, but it’s important to be mindful of the prices. Norwegian design, fashion, and handicrafts are popular purchases among visitors. However, keep in mind that luxury items and imported goods tend to be more expensive. Look for local and sustainable products to support the local economy.

Healthcare in Norway is of high quality but can be costly for tourists. It’s recommended to have travel insurance that covers medical expenses during your stay in Norway. Prescription drugs can also be expensive, and it’s advisable to bring necessary medication from your home country.

Communication and internet charges can add to your expenses, especially if you rely heavily on mobile data. Wi-Fi is widely available in hotels, restaurants, and cafes, but using your cellular data can be expensive. Consider getting a local SIM card or a travel plan to stay connected without breaking the bank.

In the following sections, we’ll delve deeper into each aspect, providing tips and insights on how to save money while enjoying your stay in Norway.


Currency and Exchange Rate

When planning a trip to Norway, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the country’s currency and the prevailing exchange rate. The official currency of Norway is the Norwegian krone (NOK). While Norway is not part of the Eurozone, some businesses may accept euros, but it’s always a good idea to have some Norwegian currency on hand.

The exchange rate between the Norwegian krone and other currencies can fluctuate, so it’s important to check the current rate before your trip. You can use online currency converters or consult with your bank or currency exchange service to get an accurate understanding of the exchange rate.

It’s worth noting that exchanging currency at airports or hotels often comes with higher fees and less favorable rates. It’s best to exchange currency at banks or authorized exchange offices for more competitive rates. Additionally, using ATMs in Norway is usually a convenient way to obtain Norwegian krone. However, be mindful of any transaction fees or international withdrawal charges that may apply.

When using credit or debit cards in Norway, it’s wise to inform your bank or card issuer of your travel plans to avoid any potential issues with transactions being flagged as suspicious. Major credit cards like Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted in most establishments, but it’s always a good idea to carry some cash for smaller or cash-only businesses.

In recent years, Norway has become more cashless, with many businesses accepting digital payment methods like mobile payment apps and contactless cards. This trend makes it convenient for travelers who prefer not to carry large amounts of cash.

It’s also important to budget your expenses and have a rough idea of the average cost of items in Norway. While Norway is known for being an expensive country, it’s still possible to find affordable options if you plan ahead and make smart choices.

Keep in mind that the exchange rate can affect the overall cost of your trip. A favorable exchange rate can provide more value for your money, while an unfavorable rate may make things more expensive. It’s important to factor in the exchange rate when budgeting for your trip to Norway and to adjust your spending accordingly.

In the next sections, we’ll explore different aspects of the cost of living in Norway, including accommodation, transportation, food, tourist activities, shopping, healthcare, and communication. We’ll provide tips on how to save money and make the most of your visit to this beautiful Scandinavian country.


Accommodation Costs

Accommodation costs in Norway can vary depending on the city, season, and type of lodging you choose. Generally, major cities like Oslo, Bergen, and Stavanger tend to have higher accommodation prices compared to smaller towns and rural areas.

In Norway, you can find a range of accommodation options, including hotels, guesthouses, hostels, and vacation rentals like Airbnb. Hotels in Norway come in different categories, from budget to luxury. The rates for a standard hotel room in a major city can range from around 1000 NOK to 3500 NOK per night, depending on the location and amenities.

If you’re traveling on a budget, consider staying in a guesthouse or hostel, which usually offer more affordable rates. These types of accommodations often provide shared facilities like bathrooms and kitchens, but they can be a great way to meet fellow travelers and save money.

Vacation rentals, particularly through platforms like Airbnb, are becoming increasingly popular in Norway. Renting an apartment or a house can provide more space and flexibility, especially for families or larger groups. The prices for vacation rentals in Norway vary depending on the location, size, and season.

During the peak tourist season, which is usually from June to August, accommodation prices tend to be higher. If you’re planning to visit during this time, it’s advisable to book well in advance to secure the best rates and availability.

Another option to consider is camping. Norway has a strong camping culture, and there are numerous campsites throughout the country. Camping can be a cost-effective alternative, allowing you to experience Norway’s beautiful natural surroundings while saving money on accommodation.

When booking accommodations, it’s essential to compare prices, read reviews, and consider the location. Staying in the city center may be convenient but can be more expensive. If you don’t mind a short commute, consider accommodations in the outskirts or neighboring towns where prices may be lower.

Lastly, if you’re planning an extended stay in Norway, you may want to explore options like house-sitting or rental shares. These arrangements can provide a more affordable and immersive experience in the country.

Overall, while accommodation costs in Norway can be higher compared to other countries, with proper research, planning, and flexibility, you can find suitable options that fit your budget. Remember to consider the location, type of accommodation, and seasonality when budgeting for your stay in Norway.


Transportation Costs

Transportation costs in Norway can significantly impact your overall expenses. While the country offers a well-developed transportation system, it’s important to consider the various options available and their associated costs.

Public transportation, including buses, trams, and trains, is a common and efficient way to get around in Norway. Cities like Oslo, Bergen, and Trondheim have extensive networks that can take you to most tourist attractions and city centers. However, it’s worth noting that public transportation in Norway can be expensive compared to other countries.

To save on transportation costs, consider purchasing travel passes or cards that offer unlimited travel within a certain period. For example, the Oslo Pass provides free access to public transportation, as well as free admission to many attractions. It’s important to research and compare different pass options to find the most cost-effective one for your travel needs.

If you prefer more flexibility and independence, renting a car can be a convenient option. Norway has a well-maintained road network, and renting a car allows you to explore the stunning countryside and remote areas at your own pace. However, keep in mind that renting a car comes with additional expenses such as fuel and tolls.

When considering car rental, compare prices from different rental companies and book in advance to secure the best deals. It’s also important to familiarize yourself with driving regulations in Norway, such as speed limits and parking regulations.

For those traveling long distances, domestic flights can be a time-saving option. Norway has several regional airports connecting major cities and remote areas. While flying may be more expensive compared to other modes of transportation, it can help you save time, especially when covering long distances.

When it comes to intercity travel, it’s advisable to book transportation tickets in advance, as prices tend to be higher when purchased on the day of travel. Websites and apps like Vy, Nettbuss, and Ruter provide information and online booking options for buses, trains, and trams in Norway.

Another factor to consider is the cost of parking, especially in major cities. Parking fees can be high, particularly in downtown areas. Look for alternative parking options, such as park-and-ride facilities or parking garages located outside city centers, to save on parking costs.

Bicycling is also a popular mode of transportation in Norway, particularly in urban areas. Many cities have well-developed cycling infrastructure, with dedicated bike lanes and rental services available. Exploring the cities on a bike can be a cost-effective and eco-friendly option.

Ultimately, transportation costs in Norway can vary depending on your chosen mode of transport and the distances you need to cover. It’s important to plan ahead, compare prices, and consider the most suitable options for your itinerary. By doing so, you can manage your transportation expenses while enjoying the beauty of Norway.


Food and Drink Prices

When it comes to food and drink prices in Norway, it’s important to be prepared for higher costs compared to other countries. Norway is known for its high standard of living and the quality of its ingredients, which contributes to the overall higher prices.

Whether you’re dining out in restaurants or buying groceries to cook your own meals, it’s essential to plan your budget accordingly. Eating at upscale or fine dining establishments can be quite expensive, with prices ranging from 400 NOK to 1500 NOK per person for a three-course meal.

However, there are also more affordable options available. Street food vendors, food trucks, and casual eateries offer a variety of tasty and budget-friendly options. Some popular street food choices in Norway include pølse (hot dogs), fish cakes, and reindeer kebabs.

If you prefer to cook your own meals, grocery stores are the way to go. While groceries in Norway can be more expensive compared to other countries, you can still find affordable options by shopping at budget-friendly supermarkets or taking advantage of discounts and offers.

Traditional Norwegian cuisine includes dishes like lutefisk (dried fish soaked in lye), gravlax (cured salmon), and reindeer meat. These dishes can often be found in local restaurants, but keep in mind that they may come with a higher price tag due to their specialty nature.

When it comes to drinks, alcoholic beverages in Norway can be particularly expensive. The government imposes high taxes on alcohol, making it more costly compared to many other countries. If you plan on enjoying a few drinks during your trip, be prepared for a higher bar tab.

A popular money-saving strategy for food and drinks in Norway is to take advantage of lunch specials and set menus. Many restaurants offer discounted lunch options during weekdays, which can provide a more affordable dining experience while still enjoying quality food.

If you’re on a tight budget, consider self-catering or picnicking. Norway has an abundance of scenic picnic spots, and purchasing ingredients from grocery stores or local markets can save you money while allowing you to savor the beautiful Norwegian landscapes.

It’s worth noting that tap water in Norway is of high quality and safe to drink. Bringing a reusable water bottle and refilling it throughout the day can help you save money on purchasing bottled water.

Overall, while food and drink prices in Norway might be higher compared to other countries, there are still ways to enjoy delicious meals and beverages without breaking the bank. By exploring different dining options, taking advantage of lunch specials, and making cost-conscious choices, you can experience the culinary delights of Norway while managing your expenses.


Tourist Attractions and Activities

Norway is a country rich in natural beauty and cultural heritage, offering an array of tourist attractions and activities for visitors to enjoy. Whether you’re exploring the stunning fjords, immersing yourself in the vibrant city life, or learning about the country’s history and culture, there are plenty of options to suit all interests.

One of the must-visit attractions in Norway is the fjords. These stunning natural formations, including the famous Geirangerfjord and Nærøyfjord, offer breathtaking views and opportunities for activities such as boat tours, kayaking, and hiking. While some fjords can be visited for free, others may require paid tours or transportation.

For outdoor enthusiasts, Norway offers a wealth of hiking and skiing opportunities. The country has a vast network of well-marked hiking trails, ranging from easy walks to challenging multi-day treks. Additionally, during the winter months, Norway’s ski resorts attract visitors from around the world to enjoy downhill and cross-country skiing.

Exploring Norway’s cities is also a highlight for many visitors. Oslo, the capital city, boasts a rich cultural scene, with world-class museums such as the Viking Ship Museum and the Munch Museum. Bergen, known as the gateway to the fjords, offers charming old wooden houses at Bryggen and the famous funicular ride to Mount Fløyen for panoramic views of the city.

Another popular tourist activity in Norway is chasing the Northern Lights, also known as the Aurora Borealis. Tromsø, located in the Arctic Circle, is a prime destination for viewing this natural phenomenon. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the Northern Lights are a natural occurrence, and sightings are subject to weather conditions and seasonal variations.

When planning your activities in Norway, be prepared for entrance fees and charges at various attractions. Many museums, historical sites, and national parks require paid admission. It’s advisable to research in advance and consider purchasing combination tickets or tourist passes that offer discounts on multiple attractions.

There are also plenty of free or low-cost activities to enjoy in Norway. Hiking in national parks, exploring local markets and festivals, and visiting public parks and gardens can provide memorable experiences without breaking the bank.

Lastly, if you’re interested in cultural experiences, attending traditional folk festivals, visiting local art galleries, and exploring quaint villages can give you a deeper understanding of Norwegian culture and traditions.

Remember to factor in the costs of transportation, equipment rental, and guided activities when budgeting for your tourist attractions and activities in Norway. Consider booking in advance to secure better deals and availability, especially during peak tourist seasons.

Overall, Norway’s tourist attractions and activities offer a diverse range of options to suit every traveler’s interests. By planning ahead and choosing wisely, you can make the most of your visit to this beautiful Scandinavian country while managing your expenses.


Shopping Expenses

Shopping in Norway can be a delightful experience, offering a range of unique and high-quality products to take home as souvenirs or gifts. However, it’s important to be aware that shopping expenses in Norway can be higher compared to other countries.

Norway is known for its design and craftsmanship, with many local designers and brands producing exceptional products. From clothing and accessories to home decor and furniture, you’ll find a variety of goods that showcase Norwegian style and tradition.

When it comes to shopping for clothing, both international chains and local boutiques can be found throughout the country. Norwegian fashion is often characterized by functional and minimalistic designs, reflecting the country’s outdoor lifestyle and focus on sustainability.

Handicrafts are also popular purchases among visitors to Norway. Traditional items like woolen sweaters, rosemaling (folk art) pieces, and silver jewelry can be found in specialty shops and markets. Look for the “Handmade in Norway” label to ensure that you’re purchasing authentic Norwegian crafts.

While shopping in Norway can be a pleasurable experience, it’s important to keep in mind that luxury items and imported goods tend to be more expensive. If you’re on a budget, consider looking for local and sustainable products, as they can often be more affordable

Local markets and flea markets are also worth exploring for unique finds at lower prices. Here you can discover second-hand treasures, antiques, and locally produced goods at bargain prices. It’s a great way to support local artisans and businesses while scoring some budget-friendly buys.

When making purchases in Norway, keep in mind the tax refund program. Non-EU visitors can request a VAT (value-added tax) refund on eligible goods purchased in Norway. Look for stores displaying the “Tax-Free Shopping” sign and ask for a tax refund form when making your purchase. Remember to follow the process and requirements outlined to claim your refund.

Lastly, don’t forget to budget for souvenirs and gifts. Whether it’s a traditional Norwegian troll figurine or a jar of local honey, there are plenty of unique and meaningful souvenirs to bring back home. Consider purchasing items that reflect the local culture and traditions, allowing you to share a piece of Norway with your loved ones.

Overall, shopping in Norway offers opportunities to find high-quality, unique items. While prices may be higher compared to other countries, by exploring local markets, looking for budget-friendly options, and considering tax refund options, you can enjoy the shopping experience in Norway without overspending.


Healthcare and Medical Costs

Healthcare in Norway is of high quality and accessible to both residents and visitors. However, it’s essential to be prepared for potential healthcare and medical costs during your stay in Norway.

If you’re a visitor to Norway, it’s recommended to have travel insurance that covers medical expenses. While emergency medical treatment is provided to everyone, regardless of insurance coverage, having travel insurance can give you peace of mind and help to manage any unexpected medical costs.

Prescription drugs in Norway can be costly, especially if you don’t have insurance coverage. If you require regular medication, it’s advisable to bring an ample supply from your home country or make sure your travel insurance covers prescription drug costs.

When visiting a doctor or seeking medical attention in Norway, be prepared for consultation fees. These fees can vary depending on the type of visit and the healthcare provider. It’s advisable to ask about the fees before your appointment to avoid any surprises.

In case of emergencies, Norway has a well-developed emergency medical response system. In the event of a serious illness or injury, dial 113 for emergency assistance. Ambulance services are available and free of charge in case of emergencies.

It’s worth noting that Norway has reciprocal healthcare agreements with some countries. If you are a citizen of a country that has a healthcare agreement with Norway, you may be entitled to certain medical services at reduced or no cost. It’s important to check if your country is eligible for such agreements and understand the coverage provided.

To reduce the risk of unexpected medical costs, it’s important to take care of your health while traveling in Norway. Stay hydrated, practice good hygiene, and follow any necessary safety precautions. It’s also a good idea to carry a basic first aid kit with essential medications and supplies.

If you require specialized medical treatments or procedures during your stay in Norway, it’s advisable to research in advance and consult with your insurance provider. Some treatments may not be covered by travel insurance, and you may need to make arrangements with healthcare facilities or specialists in your home country beforehand.

For minor illnesses or non-emergency healthcare needs, pharmacies in Norway can offer over-the-counter medications and advice. Pharmacies may have limited hours, especially outside major cities, so it’s advisable to check the opening hours before visiting.

Overall, while healthcare in Norway is of high quality, it’s important to be aware of potential healthcare and medical costs. Having travel insurance, being prepared for prescription drug costs, and understanding the healthcare system can help you manage any medical expenses that may arise during your stay in Norway.


Communication and Internet Charges

Staying connected while traveling is important, and understanding the communication and internet charges in Norway can help you manage your expenses and stay in touch with loved ones.

Mobile phone coverage in Norway is generally excellent, even in remote areas. Norway has several major mobile phone service providers offering various plans and packages. If you plan to use your phone extensively, it’s advisable to check with your provider about international roaming charges and data packages that can be added to your existing plan.

Using your mobile data while roaming in Norway can be costly, so it’s recommended to connect to Wi-Fi whenever possible. Most hotels, restaurants, cafes, and public spaces offer free Wi-Fi access. With Wi-Fi, you can use communication apps like WhatsApp, Skype, or FaceTime to make voice and video calls without incurring roaming charges.

If you prefer to have a local phone number and access to mobile data, you can purchase a prepaid SIM card from one of the local providers. This allows you to have a Norwegian phone number and enjoy local rates for calls, messages, and data. Make sure your phone is unlocked before purchasing a local SIM card.

Internet access in Norway is widely available, with many hotels, cafes, and public spaces offering free Wi-Fi for customers. However, it’s important to note that some accommodations or remote areas may have limited or paid internet access. Always check with your hotel or accommodation provider about the availability and any potential internet charges.

If you require a more reliable and high-speed internet connection during your stay in Norway, consider portable Wi-Fi devices or pocket Wi-Fi. These devices can be rented and provide you with your own internet hotspot, allowing you to connect multiple devices and stay connected wherever you go.

It’s important to note that public payphones are not as common in Norway as they once were, and using them can be quite expensive. It’s advisable to rely on your mobile phone or internet-based communication methods.

Lastly, keep in mind that downloading or streaming large amounts of data while connected to mobile networks may lead to additional charges. It’s best to be mindful of your data usage to avoid any unexpected costs.

By taking advantage of free Wi-Fi, purchasing a local SIM card, or using portable Wi-Fi devices, you can manage your communication and internet expenses while staying connected during your visit to Norway.


Tips for Saving Money in Norway

While Norway is known for its higher cost of living, there are still ways to save money during your visit. By following these tips, you can make the most of your trip without draining your wallet:

  • Travel during the off-peak season: Visiting Norway during the shoulder seasons, such as spring or fall, can help you save money on accommodation, transportation, and tourist activities. Prices tend to be lower, and popular tourist destinations are less crowded.
  • Plan and book in advance: By planning your trip ahead of time, you can take advantage of early booking discounts on flights, accommodation, and activities. Research and compare prices to find the best deals and avoid last-minute price surges.
  • Opt for alternative accommodation: Consider staying in hostels, guesthouses, or vacation rentals like Airbnb instead of expensive hotels. These options often offer more affordable rates and the possibility of cooking your own meals, saving you money on dining out.
  • Eat like a local: Venture away from touristy areas and explore local markets and supermarkets for affordable food options. Pack a picnic and enjoy beautiful outdoor spaces while saving on restaurant expenses.
  • Use public transportation: Public transportation in Norway may seem expensive, but it is still cheaper compared to renting a car or taking taxis everywhere. Take advantage of travel passes or cards that offer unlimited travel within a certain period, and use apps or websites to plan your journeys efficiently.
  • Look for free or discounted attractions: Many museums and attractions in Norway offer discounted or free admission on specific days or times. Research ahead of time to take advantage of these opportunities and save money while still experiencing the country’s cultural and historical sites.
  • Explore nature for free: Norway’s stunning natural landscapes, including its fjords, forests, and mountains, can be enjoyed without spending a lot of money. Hike in national parks, visit scenic viewpoints, and take advantage of the country’s “right of access” policy, which allows you to explore public lands for free.
  • Stay hydrated with tap water: Norway has an excellent tap water quality, so there’s no need to spend money on bottled water. Bring a reusable water bottle and refill it at taps or public fountains throughout your trip.
  • Consider local transportation alternatives: Instead of taking organized tours or private taxis, explore alternative transportation options like bike rentals, local buses, or ferry services. Not only will you save money, but you’ll also have a chance to experience the local way of getting around.
  • Take advantage of student and senior discounts: If applicable, don’t forget to ask for student or senior discounts at attractions, museums, and transportation services. These discounts can significantly reduce your expenses.

Remember, saving money doesn’t mean compromising on experiences. With careful planning, smart choices, and a willingness to explore affordable options, you can enjoy all that Norway has to offer without stretching your budget too thin.



In conclusion, Norway is undeniably a beautiful and captivating country to visit, but it’s important to be aware of the potential expenses involved. Understanding the currency and exchange rate, as well as the costs of accommodation, transportation, food, tourist attractions, shopping, healthcare, and communication, can help you plan and budget for your trip.

While Norway is known for its higher living costs, there are still opportunities to save money and make your visit more affordable. By following tips such as traveling during the off-peak season, booking in advance, opting for alternative accommodation, eating like a local, and utilizing public transportation, you can manage your expenses while still enjoying all that Norway has to offer.

Additionally, being mindful of entrance fees, exploring free or discounted attractions, and taking advantage of student or senior discounts can further help you save money on tourist activities. And don’t forget to plan ahead for potential healthcare costs, considering travel insurance and bringing necessary medications.

Norway’s natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and friendly people make it a worthwhile destination, and with some careful planning and budgeting, you can create unforgettable memories without breaking the bank.

So, pack your bags, embrace the breathtaking landscapes, delve into Norwegian culture, and enjoy the wonders of Norway while keeping your budget intact. Safe travels!


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