What’s the first word that comes to mind when you think of Norway? It seems that for many people it’s ‘expensive’.
We all heard that Norway is expensive. The question I had before our trip was HOW expensive is Norway? I mean, what’s expensive to someone coming from Asia or Eastern Europe, might seem very reasonable to someone coming from Belgium or the UK…
Hence this post with real-life examples of how much everything costs in Norway. This should help you to get a better idea of how expensive Norway actually is, so that you can estimate how much money you need to visit Norway.
How expensive are the flights to Norway
Unless you come from the other side of the globe, flying to Norway might actually be rather cheap compared to the rest of the trip. There are several budget carriers flying to Norway, including Norwegian that sometimes offers transatlantic tickets for 200-300 EUR each way.
If you fly to Oslo, you might find cheaper tickets than if you would fly to the smaller, regional airports. However, take everything into account, not just the flight price. You might save 50 EUR on a flight, but then spend two days to get where you need to get, and it will cost you hundreds more…
Traveling to Norway from Europe – should you fly or should you drive
It really depends. Our first idea was that going by car to Norway would be cheaper than flying. But – in our case – it wasn’t. So you really have to make calculations for yourself and see what works best.
We flew to Norway with KLM from Amsterdam and paid 260 EUR per person for a return flight to smaller regional airports (luggage and other extras included). It’s not cheap, and on top of that, we still needed to rent a car.
It’s actually quite easy to drive to Norway from Belgium by car, and we met many people who did that. But when we calculated how many days extra that would add to our trip, added the fuel costs, the ferry, the extra nights hotel, and the food we would need, it turned out that it was still cheaper to fly and rent a car in Norway. Even with five people.
How expensive is it to rent a car in Norway
Norway is probably the most expensive country for car rental from all our trips. We rented a comfortable car for 5 people, an estate, VW Passat. It cost us about 155 EUR per day (130 EUR car rental + 25 EUR zero liability insurance).
TIP: The way to save some money is not to rent a car for the days when you don’t absolutely need it. Parking is very expensive in Norway, just as car ferries and toll roads. So only rent a car when you really need it, and use public transport for the rest of the trip.
How expensive is petrol in Norway
When we visited Norway (August 2017), petrol prices were around 13 – 16 NOK/ 1.4 – 1.8 EUR per liter, depending on the area. It’s comparable to Switzerland, and about 10-15% more expensive than in most Western European countries.
How expensive are toll roads in Norway
Luckily, there weren’t that many toll roads on our route in Norway. After the trip, we received the bill from our car rental company and we had to pay just 32 EUR for toll roads in total. Not too bad for 8 days and 1600 km. We paid a lot more for toll roads in Portugal or France.
How expensive is car parking in Norway
If you have to park your car in a city, it will cost you around 15-25 EUR per 24 hours.
How expensive is public transport and car ferry in Norway
We used public transport a couple of times in Norway. While not cheap, the prices were reasonable. Here are some examples.
Bus prices in Norway:
- Airport transfer by bus from Stavanger airport to Stavanger city center cost 234 NOK/ 26 EUR for 2 adults (kids travel free if you choose a family ticket). The taxi would have been more than three times that amount.
- Bus from Stavanger to Bergen costs 600 NOK/66 EUR per adult. But if you book a family ticket, you pay the same price for one adult and one child. For the five of us, we bought two family tickets (2×600 NOK) and one extra child ticket (300 NOK/ 33 EUR).
- Airport transfer in Trondheim cost us 260 NOK/ 29 EUR. Kids travel free with adults (but require a ticket).
How expensive is taxi in Norway
Taxi is really expensive in Norway. We only took a taxi once when we had to get to our car rental with our suitcases and three kids on a rainy morning in Bergen. For a distance of just 2km we paid 150 NOK/ 18 EUR. So if you can avoid taking a taxi in Norway, do.
Ferry and car ferry prices:
- Ferry from Tau to Stavanger (on the way back from the Pulpit Rock hike) costs 56 NOK/ 6 EUR per adult and 28 NOK/ 3 EUR for the kids.
- Car ferry prices in Norway varied on different routes. Most 20-40min ferry crossings cost around 150-200 NOK/ 18-22 EUR for a car including a driver, and around 40-70 NOK/ 5-8 EUR per adult and 20-35 NOK/ 2-4 EUR per child. Some ferries are a bit cheaper, some – more expensive. If I recall well, the cheapest car ferry we took was 160 NOK/ 18 EUR for a car and our family of 5.
- The longer car ferry route, e.g. Geirangerfjord from Geiranger to Hellesylt had an option to pay for the car including the driver and up to 4 additional passengers. This trip cost us 1,040 NOK/ 115 EUR.
How expensive is dining out in Norway: food, drinks, alcohol
Food prices in Norway vary a lot depending on the place (big town, remote hotel), the shop, café, or restaurant. Here are some examples to give you an idea how much food costs in Norway. Note that these are café and restaurant prices, and even when we went to a supermarket, most supermarkets were in rather touristy areas, so prices might be a bit lower in less touristy places.
Food prices in Norway
- Sandwiches cost around 60-100 NOK/ 7-11 EUR. Similar prices everywhere: on a ferry, at a petrol station, in 7-11 shops, etc.
- Hot dog costs 40-50 NOK/ 5-6 EUR.
- A pack of grapes (0,5kg – 1 pound) costs around 30 NOK/ 3,5 EUR in a shop and 50 NOK/ 6 EUR at a petrol station.
- 1kg (2 pounds) of bananas cost around 19-25 NOK/ 2-3 EUR at a supermarket.
- A loaf of bread costs about 25-40 NOK/ 3-5 EUR.
- Ice cream costs 25-30 NOK/ 3-4 EUR. Or you can get a pack of 6 for the same price at a supermarket. Soft ice is very popular and even more expensive.
- Hamburger menu at the McDonald’s or Burger King costs around 70-110 NOK/ 8-12 EUR.
- A hamburger, a pizza, or a sandwich meal at a café costs around 150-220 NOK/ 17-25 EUR.
- Pasta dish costs from 170 to 250 NOK/ 19-28 EUR.
- The main fish or meat course at a restaurant will quickly cost 300 NOK/ 33 EUR.
- Dessert prices at a restaurant start at around 110 NOK/ 12 EUR, often up to 180 NOK/ 20 EUR.
Here are some examples of how much we paid for food in Norway. In Florli we had a salmon dish for just 190 NOK/ 21 EUR, while at Preikestolen Lodge at the trailhead of the Pulpit Rock hike, the cheapest bowl of soup costs 98 NOK/ 11 EUR. Probably the cheapest meal we had (apart from McDonald’s) was pizza buffet for lunch in Bergen; it cost 110 NOK/12 EUR for adults and 60 NOK/ 7 EUR for kids.
Drink prices in Norway
- Tap water is delicious in Norway and all restaurants serve water for free.
- Soft drinks cost around 35-50 NOK/ 4-6 EUR.
- Coffee or tea costs 25-30 NOK/ 3-4 EUR.
- Cappuccino or late costs 40-50 NOK / 5-6 EUR.
- Beer prices at a café usually start around 70-80 NOK/ 8-9 EUR.
- Non-alcoholic beer costs around 60 NOK/ 7 EUR.
- The cheapest bottle of wine at a restaurant costs from around 400 NOK/ 45 EUR.
Here is an example of minibar price list from Radisson Blu Royal Garden Hotel in Trondheim.
Tipping in Norway
From what I understand, it’s not expected that you tip in Norway, but people tend to round up the bill. Cleaning staff and taxi drivers don’t expect a tip. However, almost every restaurant bill we received in Norway had some space foreseen for tips.
I read on some internet forums that while not obligatory, it’s becoming more common to leave a tip of 5-15% if you are satisfied with the service. So honestly, I am not sure.
With such high prices and salary levels, I would think it’s not necessary to tip in Norway, but if you feel like it, it will certainly be appreciated.
How expensive are museums and other activities in Norway
Here are several examples of how much we paid for various activities in Norway:
- We visited several museums in Norway (Norwegian Canning Museum in Stavanger was one of our favourites) and most museums cost around 90-100 NOK/ 10-11 EUR for adults, half price for the kids, and free for kids under 6. There are cheaper tickets for families, students, or seniors. On top of that, many museums offer combination tickets with other activities or museums in town, so it’s worth looking into that.
- A 3hr fjord cruise in Lysefjord or Naeroyfjord costs around 400-450 NOK/ 45-50 EUR for adults, usually about half price for the kids. Sometimes you can get family tickets that give really good discount.
- Bergen Floyen funicular costs 90 NOK/ 10 EUR for adults, half the price for kids.
- A half day kayak trip can easily cost 700-900 NOK/ 80-100 EUR per adult, a day trip around 1000-1200 NOK/ 110-125 EUR.
How expensive are hotels in Norway
The price of the hotels highly depends on the place and on the period when you are visiting. Just to give you some idea, most hotels we stayed at cost us anywhere from 1100 to 2500 NOK/ 125 – 280 EUR per night for a family of 5. Sometimes we had a big family room or two connecting rooms, sometimes a suite, sometimes an apartment. In most cases, it was not the size of the room that determined the price the most, but the location of the hotel.
Should you consider renting a cabin or staying at a private apartment or Airbnb instead of a hotel?
If you are staying at one location for a longer time, then it might be worth considering renting a cabin or an apartment. However, if you are just staying somewhere for one or two nights, don’t get fooled by the seemingly lower price of private accommodations. Usually, there are lots of extra fees, like bed linen, towels, cleaning, etc.
In most cases, it is not worth the hassle for a short stay, as it costs just as much as a hotel. On top of that, hotel prices usually include breakfast, and it’s another big cost to consider if staying in self-catering accommodation in Norway.
TIP: The best way to save on accommodation costs in Norway is to book well in advance, especially if traveling in high season. You can find best deals for Norway accommodation here.
Do you need cash in Norway
I received so many questions about paying by credit cards vs. cash in Norway, that I decided to update the article to include this information.
In principle, you don’t need any cash in Norway and should be able to pay by credit card pretty much everywhere. Ideally, you should have a card with a chip and a PIN code, rather than just a signature as those type of cards aren’t that widely accepted in Europe anymore.
We took some cash from an ATM upon arrival in Norway, but the only time it was really necessary was when we decided to buy some fruit and raspberries from a farmer next to the road. For the rest, we kept it till the last few days of the trip and used it for our last dinner, paying the difference by card.
In short, no, you don’t really need cash in Norway as credit cards are accepted everywhere.
So, this is our money guide for traveling to Norway. I hope it will help you have a better idea of what to expect and how much to budget for your trip to Norway.
**Planning a trip to Norway and not sure where to start? Take a look at our detailed 2 week Norway road trip itinerary for some inspiration.**
** Traveling soon? Don’t forget your travel insurance!**
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