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Norway has a reputation for being super expensive, and there is some truth to that, but actually, after spending 3 weeks roadtripping throughout the entire country, I can tell you it’s totally possibly to visit Norway on a budget!
Yes, there are some expensive items in relation to the rest of Europe, and that’s because the wages are much higher. But don’t fret, below I will take you through my best tips for visiting Norway on a budget.
Our budget: in Norway we spent around £40-50 per day.
When it comes to visiting Norway, it’s actually super cheap to get there from mainland Europe. The low cost carrier, Ryanair even do deals to Oslo for 4,99! But, surely there is a catch to flights being so cheap...yes, it’s expensive when you get there!
Anyway, you can use Skyscanner to compare the best deals for visiting Norway on a budget.
Once you land, you’ll need to decide what is the best way to get around Norway. You have a few different options available to you…
When Brad and I road tripped through Norway, we had our own vehicle thanks to our awesome collaboration with Tinggly. We could NEVER have seen all the amazing things we got to see in Norway without having our own vehicle. We got to explore so much and the views when driving through Norway are amazing.
I totally suggest you rent a car to get the most out of your Norway adventures. Fuel in Norway actually changes throughout the country. It ranges from around 1.3 euro to 1.6 euro depending on where you are!
Norway is also famous for its road tolls. So there are a few things to know to help you with your road tolls and managing Norway on a budget:
There are a variety of great train networks in Norway and actually some of the train routes are regarded as some of the most beautiful train journeys in the world.
Brad and I did a journey in Flan and it brought some beautiful views. Popular routes include Oslo to Flan and Bergen to Flan, so it’s totally possible to see some of the most amazing landscapes in Norway with train travel.
There are quite a few airports all across Norway that connect the country very well. We have seen some TINY airports when driving, so it’s totally possible to fly yourself around Norway. However I can’t say that’s going to be budget friendly, but certainly is convenient.
You can book flights on Skyscanner and prices vary, but for example, a flight to Kirkenes from Oslo is around $90.
There is no denying it, eating out in Norway is expensive if you’re trying to visit on a budget. But, in some places, it’s actually pretty average for Europe. For example, in Northern Norway you can get food for around 120-180 nok (which is around 12-18 euro), whereas in typical tourist areas, you’re looking at over 200 nok.
The cheapest place you can eat in Norway is probably McDonalds. So if you’re looking for cheap, fast food then opt opt for that, especially in busy cities.
Before going to Norway, I was warned a cup of coffee would cost me around 7 euro, other than possibly some places in Oslo, that’s not the case. Espresso coffee is more expensive, coming in at around 35-50 nok.
Filter coffee is cheaper, a couple of Euro and you can get cheap or free refills.
Top Tip: If you’re looking for a cheap (free) coffee, then when you shop in a supermarket, there is often complementary filter coffee on offer, (sometimes cookies if you’re lucky!).
So, if you’re wondering how much a cup of coffee is in Norway, then I’d average at 2 euro for filter coffee and 4 euro for espresso style (cappuccino, latte).
If you plan on making your own food whilst backpacking Norway, or road tripping Norway, then you will cut costs dramatically. We found cooking our own food the best way to visit Norway on a budget.
Mexican food in Norway is weirdly the cheapest I’ve seen it anywhere in the world, I’ll never know why! But basically all your pastas, potatoes, vegetables, etc are all normal priced and if you stick to own brands it’s even cheaper.
Meats are more expensive, but the cheapest thing to buy is sausages. There is a range of frozen vegetarian and vegan cuisine too, and these are more expensive than other parts of Europe.
The most common supermarkets in Norway are
My favourite is Rema 1000 and that’s the major one we used.
Smaller shops like Joker and Circle K are more expensive, but Circle Ks often have good value hot food and drinks deals for when your on the road.
Alcohol in Norway is expensive, there is NO escaping that.
You can buy booze that’s under a certain percentage in supermarkets, so basic ciders and beers. If you want anything stronger than that you have to go to one of the state run liquor stores.
In order to save yourself some money, I suggest you bring in your 1 litre allowance from the duty free airport. Since Norway isn’t in the EU, you’re subject to non EU prices, which makes the alcohol cheaper!
Drinking in bars or restaurants is very expensive, and there is no real way to do this on a budget, unless you catch a happy hour deal, (Which won’t be happy hour deals you normally expect!). So avoid drinking alcohol out if attempting to visit Norway on a budget.
If you’re wondering why Norway is so expensive, then you’ve got to consider the wages. People get paid more here, so they’ve got more to spend, so it’s all relative. But, because they get paid more, it kind of means their activities and tours tend to be a little on the more expensive side….
BUT a lot of the amazing things to see and do in Norway can be achieved completely free, if you’ve got a car with you.
Some of these activities include:
Norway uses the NOK and basically if you divide any number by 10 you’ll get the equivalent in euros. EVERYWHERE in Norway accepts card, after 3 weeks of travelling, I never found one single place that didn't.
The best way to get a good exchange rate is to use the likes of Starling, Monzo and Revolut. All free travel cards to order, and you get the best exchange rate that’s on the market (it’s constantly changing in line with the official exchange rates). So you will always get a good deal, no fees, and you if you do want to withdraw money, it won’t charge you for up to £200.
Tip: Starling has no limit on withdrawal for free, but we found the exchange rate a bit “worse”, (not that you would even notice, we are talking pennies of difference) and if you get a Monzo and Revolut you can use both and get £400 a month free withdrawals!
Don’t change your money before you enter Norway. Just withdraw from an ATM there. They don’t charge! If you want to visit Norway on a budget, avoid the terrible exchange rate in your home country and wait until you arrive to Norway.
One good thing about buying souvenirs in Norway is it’s actually tax free shopping. When it comes to shopping, generally items are more expensive than they are elsewhere in Europe.
If you want to buy gifts for families and friends, then you can get fridge magnets, shot glasses, tea towels etc for around 40-60 nok.
Okay, so I’ll be straight with you and say that Bradley and I didn’t pay for hotels in Norway because we lived in your campervan.
But there are ways to save money on hotels in Norway.
If you’re travelling via campervan/caravan/tent, then there are lots of campsites throughout Norway. Prices vary, but on average a campsite with electricity and access to shower/toilets is around 200-250 nok per night.
If you’re looking for wild camping spots in Norway, I suggest the app CamperContact. It was fantastic for finding camp spots in Norway that were free to stay!
So there you go, my guide to visiting Norway on a budget. It’s totally possible to visit Norway and not splash the cash. Of course it all depends on what you are doing, but basically slow travel is the best way to spend less on a Norway holiday.
Shop around, plan ahead and don’t spend frivolously and you can see all that this amazing country has to offer, without worrying about spending too much money.
If you’ve got any other tips for seeing Norway on a budget, then drop a comment below!