Norway On A Budget -Locals’ Secret Tips For Cheap Travel in Norway

Is it possible to travel to Norway on a budget? Is Norway expensive? After living and travelling in Norway for over 2 years, I know how to travel Norway on a shoestring and I share with you all of my tips.

Norway on a budget cover

“Norway is expensive. It’s one of the most expensive countries in Europe. Scandinavia is too pricey. Can I even travel Norway on a budget? You need to have a lot of money to travel to Norway. How can I travel Norway on the cheap? I will visit you in Norway when I have some more money. The Norway budget, that I need for the trip will ruin me financially!”

I keep hearing those sentences and questions, more and more even since I moved to Norway. Every time I go abroad and people find out I live in Norway, the first thing they say is – Ah nice. Norway is very expensive, right?

IS IT POSSIBLE TO TRAVEL NORWAY ON A BUDGET?

Well, Norway is expensive. I am not going to deny that. But there are ways that you can have amazing Norway holidays without breaking the bank. And I made sure to find the best tricks on how to travel Norway cheaply.

Below, I prepared for you some tips on how you can travel Norway on a budget. I’ve used similar tips when I was travelling in Iceland on a budget, but because I’ve been living in Norway for almost 2 years now, I have learnt even more tricks and tips applicable specifically to Norway, that can be easily used to lower your spending. I group them into the sections for cheap accommodation in Norway, what and where to eat in Norway on a budget, and how to travel cheaply around Norway. For specific tips about Oslo accommodation head to the link.

I also list the current prices in Norway for the general items, that a traveler would spend money on when travelling in Norway. They are as up to date as possible – I do shopping here every day 😉

Hopefully, this will give you more understanding about the Norway prices and the ways of minimizing the expenses.

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Top Norway budget travel tips

# Where to stay in Norway on a budget – budget accommodation in Norway

Accommodation in Norway will probably be one of your biggest expenses in this country. There are, however, a few options for cheap hotels in Norway and budget stays.

Cheap hostels in Norway

Normally, in every country that I visit, hostels are the cheapest accommodation choices. Unfortunately, in Norway, even the hostels can be painfully expensive. However, they are still good places for socializing and usually have a good standard. And comparing to the normal hotels, yes, they are cheap(er).

In Oslo, many people choose to stay in the Anker Hostel. I often look for the cheapest accommodation in Norway on Booking.com, where you can filter per price and type of accommodation.

Airbnb

I love using Airbnb especially for staying in unique and unusual places. In Jordan, we stayed in a 2500-year-old cave in Little Petra, in Scotland in the treehouse and in Senja island, Norway in a mini house by the lake. You can find different types of Airbnbs around the country and they are typically less expensive than the hotels. As a bonus, you can interact with local people.

If you don’t have an account yet (it’s easy to create – you just need an email address!), you can get up to £36 off for your first trip and experience when you sign up to Airbnb with this link.


Read more: Where to stay in Oslo on a budget + Oslo districts explained


Houses in Bergen, Norway
Can you find budget accommodation in Norway?

Couchsurfing

Couchsurfing is a great concept that allows for crashing the strangers’ couches and creating meaningful interactions. I’ve used it multiple times all around the world. It also works in Norway. You have a better chance of finding a Couchsurfing hostin the bigger Norwegian cities like Oslo or Bergen, but you can also try in the smaller areas. I stayed through Couchsurfing in Stavanger and Lofoten and I made great friends that way.

Cabins (hytte)

If you are travelling in Norway and want to explore nature, staying in the cabin in Norway is the best (and relatively cheap) idea. The prices vary depending on the standard, but the cheapest ”hytte” can be found for around 200 NOK per person when sharing with more people. It’s my favourite accommodation during Norway winter. But, in some cases, expect the outdoor toilet and no running water. 

You can find good deals for hytte in Norway on Booking.com, or finn.no.

Another popular way is using one of the DNT cabins dotted around the country. They are often located on the hiking and skiing trails, so are a perfect stop after a long day of trekking. You can find the locations of the cabins and hiking trails here. Watch out: for the unmanned cabins, you (or someone from your group) need to be a DNT member in order to get a key. 

Mountain cabin in Norway in the winter
Mountain cabin in Norway in the winter

Campsites

Norwegians love camping, so the country is full of campsites. They are normally located in very picturesque locations – by the lake or at the edge of the fjord. Never camped before? Find some useful camping equipment tips here.

Apart from the spots for pitching your tent, the campsites also offer small cabins to rent and places for the caravans. One of my favourite campsites near Oslo is in Rjukan, located just by the lake with available sauna in winter and kayaks in the summer. Check prices and availability here. 

If you want to look for campsites in a particular area of Norway, you can usually find them on Booking.com by typing the name of the place and selecting the type of accommodation. 

Camping in Georgia

Wild camping

This is my favourite way of budget accommodation in the summer in Norway. Thanks to the “Allemansretten” law (Right of access), everyone is free to roam and enjoy the nature.

Wild camping is allowed in most of the outdoor places. You need to make sure to follow a few rules – show respect to nature, do not pitch your tent on the private property and keep a distance from the buildings. Always take all the rubbish with you and leave no trace. You can find more tips for wild camping and camping equipment here.

 

# What to eat in Norway on a budget – how to eat cheaply in Norway

Everyone needs to eat, so even though you could minimize your accommodation cost by wild camping, you would probably still need to spend something on the food. How to find cheap food in Norway?

Bring food with you

This is probably the easiest way of minimizing the food cost in Norway – just bring it from a cheaper country ;-). For that to work you need to have some space in your luggage and also follow the custom regulations, as not everything and not in any amount is permitted without the tax fee. More information about customs for food in Norway here and customs for alcohol here.

Don’t eat out, cook by yourself

Another important advice for cheap food in Norway is to not to eat out or not to buy prepared food. Even sandwiches in the shops are very expensive, so you are better off buying ingredients separately and making them yourself. Eating in restaurants is also quite pricey, however, the food there is usually of good quality and the prices don’t vary a lot from the high-end London prices.

You can have a main dish for around 150-300 NOK. Starters are from 55-200 NOK in mid-range priced restaurants. Deserts are around 100 NOK.

Find cheap eats

If you decide to eat out, you can still find food places on a budget. There are plenty of cheap eats in Oslo, Bergen, and other bigger cities. Outside of the main cities, they are harder to find.

In Oslo, I especially like falafel places, where they can make you a filling falafel wrap for 60 NOK.

The cheapest supermarket in Norway 

Rema 1000 and Kiwi are the cheapest supermarkets in Norway for any type of food.

Even cheaper are the Asian food stores. They also have a much bigger choice of products imported from abroad and the freshest vegetables. You will recognize them by outside stalls full of fresh fruit and veg. The popular one in Oslo is Grønland Frukt Og Grønt.

A shop called Meny is a bit more expensive, but it has a bigger choice. The same goes for Coop. Very often, you can find items that are close to the expiry date and are on discount.

Prices of items sold on petrol stations or in small convenience stores are much higher, so avoid those.

Don’t buy bottled water

Tap water in Norway is perfectly drinkable and also very tasty. Bring a reusable water bottle (help the environment at the same time) and save money! You can fill it up at any tap. Make sure the water is cold – let it run for a bit, then it has the best taste, yum.

reusable water bottle

Avoid alcohol in Norway

Alcohol is extremely expensive in Norway, especially in pubs and restaurants. Even in the shops, alcohol prices in Norway are crazy compared to other countries. In a restaurant or a bar expect to pay from 60-120 NOK for a small beer and more for a glass of wine. In a shop, the beers start from around 30 NOK.

Wine and stronger alcohol can only be bought in the special liquor shops. The alcohol buying times also are regulated – you cannot buy alcohol any time you want.

Skip the booze, or buy it on duty-free after you land – it’s much cheaper.

Norwegian gifts and souvenirs - local craft Norwegian beer from Svalbard
If you want to splurge, try some local beers in Norway. This one is from the most northern brewery in the world in Svalbard. And remember to remind them to not to put a straw in your drink if possible 🙂

Tips to find cheap food in Norway

When you try to find cheap food products in Norway there are a few tips that you can follow.

  • Store-brand food is normally the cheapest. So if you go to one of the grocery stores like Coop, the Coop branded food is the cheapest and so on. In other shops, you will see products marked the “First price” brand that is also very cheap. They are normally located at the very bottom shelves, so look out for them.
  • A very useful app for finding good food deals is “Too good to go”. It shows you the deals on food that is leftover from cafes or restaurants. Very often you can get perfectly fine food for a very cheap price. For example, a bag of sandwiches, tortillas, or even some leftover food from the Indian restaurant can be bought for around 35 NOK.
  • For coffee drinkers – the coffee from small Narvesen shops is normally the cheapest, and not that bad as for filter coffee. Narvesen also often has an offer for a sweet bun for 10 NOK when you buy coffee for 20 NOK. If you install the Narvesen app, you will get every 5th coffee for free, and a free coffee on your birthday.
  • Do not throw away plastic bottles and cans – in the shops, you can get money back for them in the special machines.
  • When you shop, look out for “Tilbud” – it means “discount”
Cheap food in Norway can be found in Asian shop. Here is my grocery shopping for 177 NOK.
Cheap food in Norway can be found in Asian shop. Here is my grocery shopping for 177 NOK.
coffee
Coffee from Narvesen

 

# How to travel cheap in Norway – cheap transport in Norway

The cheapest transport in Norway is… to walk. Unfortunately with the huge distances in Norway, this might not take you very far. Although, it’s perfectly doable in the smaller cities and even in Oslo.

Hitch-hiking in Norway

For the adventurous ones, I can recommend hitch-hiking. It worked for me many times. Unfortunately in the more remote areas, you might have a problem with finding any passing car.

Public transport in Norway

Public transport in Norway is good in some areas and very bad in others. In the cities, you can easily hop on the bus, tram or train (especially in Oslo). The tickets, however, are not the cheapest. 

  • City transport – For city transport, it usually makes more sense to get a daily or weekly pass. In Oslo, a weekly pass for zone 1 is 285 NOK (it includes all types of transport – buses, trams, trains, metro and ferries). DO NOT buy tickets from the driver as they are much more expensive. The best way to buy tickets in Oslo is on your phone with Ruter Billett app.
  • Trains – For longer journeys, a budget travel tip in Norway is to book trains well in advance. Trains can be very expensive, but when you book in advance, you can often find something called “Mini Pris”. It is a cheaper price for the train journey. You can check the train prices and search for Mini Pris ticket on Train in Norway website. Another alternative is to try Interrail Norway pass or Eurail Norway Pass. It allows you to travel by any number of trains in Norway during the specific day limit.
  • Buses – there are local buses in every city in Norway. For international travel, cheap tickets can be found on Flixbus.
norway winter travel road trip itinerary - Norway in a nutshell Flam railway
This is the most famous train in Norway – Flamsbana.

Budget car rental in Norway

Car rental in Norway is my favourite way of transport and it usually turns out the cheapest if you share the car with other people. There’s always costs of petrol and tolls involved, but it usually works better on the long distances rather than taking public transport. For the cheapest car rentals in Norway, I use the comparison tools like Rentalcars.

  • Tolls – annoying part of driving in Norway are tolls. They are common on the main roads, as well as on tiny roads in the middle of nowhere. They can cost anywhere from 20 NOK to even 150 NOK. I recommend checking in advance if the route you decide to take, has any tolls. You can check it on the map here.
  • Ferries – another problem with driving in Norway is that to get to some of the popular places in the fjords, you need to take a ferry. And those are more expensive for the car than just for the passengers.

norway winter travel road trip itinerary - winter driving in Norway

Flights in Norway

Flights within Norway are not as cheap as I would like them to. Often, it’s cheaper to fly out of Norway or to Norway from abroad rather than within the country. The cheapest airlines to travel to Norway is Norwegian, Ryanair and Wizzair.

You can find very good deals from most of the European countries, as well as America. For the best prices, check flight comparison tools like Skyscanner.net or kiwi.com. 

norwegian plane

#Cheapest time to fly to Norway

I’ve been asked several times when it’s the cheapest time to visit Norway. I am not sure if there really is one, but for sure, the prices of accommodation and tours go up in the high season (summer). I  love Norway in the winter, so you can also visit many places then and avoid the crowds. One recommendation would be this unique Norway winter travel road trip.

#What to do in Norway – budget activities in Norway

Most of the guided tours or activities in Norway are quite expensive. Luckily, the best things to do in Norway are free! Norway is famous for its nature and nature is free and accessible to everyone (the Allemange law). So just go for a walk or a hike and explore.

In some cases, it is worth taking a guided tour to experience something unusual and amazing, like dog sledding in Norway, snowmobile tour or Northern Lights chasing. You can compare prices and find the best ones on Get your Guide or Viator (a Trip Advisor company). 

# Current prices in Norway

I will soon share with you the average cost of a trip to Norway. In the meantime, here are the current prices in Norway, to help you calculate how much daily spending money in Norway you might need.

Food prices in Norway

Bread – from 8 NOK (usually only available in the morning) to 40 NOK

Water – free in the tap

Can of beer – 30-40 NOK

Tube of cheap fish/kaviar paste – 25-30nok

Can of chickpeas – 15-20 NOK

1L milk – 17 NOK

12 eggs – 28 NOK

Tomatoes – 35 NOK per kg

Pasta 0,5 kg – 20 NOK

Eating/drinking out in Norway

0,4l beer in a restaurant/bar – 60-100 NOK

A glass of wine – 120 NOK

Good Italian pizza – 180 NOK

The main dish in a restaurant – 250-350 NOK

Coffee in a coffee shop – from 30 NOK

Public transport prices in Norway

One journey ticket in Oslo (valid for 1 hour in one zone and increased time for additional zones, and valid for all transport within Oslo, including buses, trams, metro and train) – 36 NOK

Train Oslo Bergen – from 300-1000 NOK

Ticket Oslo Gardermoen – Oslo city centre – 105 NOK

 

Read more about Norway:


Here you have it – the local’s tips on how to travel Norway on a budget! Is it possible? Yes! I hope I showed you how you can make your trip to Norway happen sooner than later. Let me know in the comments if you have any other ideas for cheap traveling in Norway.



 

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Top tips on how to travel Norway on a budget from a local and frequent traveler. How to find cheap accommodation in Norway, where to eat cheaply in Norway, how to travel around Norway on a budget, secret tricks on how to minimize costs in Norway, as well as Norway expenses and Norway prices. #Norway #budget #budgettravel #Scandinavia #cheap #travel #backpacking

 

 

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