It is a known fact that Norway is one of the most expensive countries in the world, but that does not mean that you can’t have a budget friendly holiday here.
I just came back from an incredible roadtrip around the southern part of Norway without spending too much money, and it made me think how some people avoid this gorgeous country because they are afraid it will cost too much… which they should absolutely not.
Today I am sharing my tips for traveling in Norway for less! Keep reading to learn how to make your fjord holiday more affordable.
A C C O M O D A T I O N
Camping is one of the cheapest ways to travel in Norway because of the ‘right to roam’. This means you can put up a tent anywhere in the countryside, forests or mountains as long as you stay at least 150 metres away from the nearest inhabited house or cabin.
If you do not wish to be in the wild, Norway is also full of campgrounds to stay in. Most of these have cabins available to rent which is quite cheap compared to most hotels. We stayed two nights in cute cabins in different locations and these had everything we needed (own bathroom, kitchen…) Just be aware that sometimes you have to rent the bedsheets and towels once you get there.
Many of the camp-sight are situated in stunning surroundings, making it an ideal place for anyone wanting to truly connect with the Norwegian nature.
Tip: plan your trip to together with your family or a group of friends. In this way, you can rent a large cabin and share expenses which can cut costs significantly.
In addition, there are many budget hotels or great Airbnbs around the country if you want to stay closer to the city centre. As soon as you book your flights, you should start researching your accommodation options and book to get the best and cheapest deals. Or if you have friends in Norway, it is worth checking if they would like to accommodate you. Norwegians are very friendly and love inviting people to their homes :-)
^ Outside our cozy cabin at Dal Gjestegaard in Skoppum, Vestfold on our first night of the roadtrip. This was our stop for the night between Oslo and Stavanger.
^ An idyllic camp-sight we spotted in Loen.
T R A N S P O R T A T I O N
We decided to rent a car for our holiday because if you want to see multiple cities, domestic flying in Norway can get expensive. Another great alternative can be to take express busses or trains, in this case be sure to book your place in advance to get the best deals.
Travelling with your own car however is great because you are free to go where you like and stop whenever you need or want to. It gives you the flexibility to travel at your own pace and enjoy the surroundings to the fullest. Driving conditions are great with good quality roads throughout the country, although be aware of speed limits and parking fines.
^ We rented a car from Hertz from the Oslo Gardermoen airport, which was ready to pick up when we arrived. Easy and quick!
F O O D & D R I N K S
I can get expensive to eat out in Norway, so my suggestion is to cook yourself as much as you can instead of going to restaurants. We brought with us a small BBQ in the car which was great for cooking a delicious salmon dinner. We also stocked up on things we needed for breakfast and snacks.
When grocery shopping shop in low cost supermarkets. Kiwi and Rema 1000 were the low cost chains we visited which both have a great selection of everything you will need.
But if you do decide to visit a restaurant, something we also did, you can find many affordable options as long as you do a bit of research. I suggest to not order alcohol because this is what usually brings the price up, and also to be sure to read the menu to avoid a big surprise as some things might be more expensive than you thought.
If you do want to enjoy a glass of wine or a beer, you can stock up at the duty free when arriving at the airport and bringing with you to enjoy in your cabin with your home cooked meal. Be aware to stick to the limit allowed per person in duty free!
And talking about food, I cannot forget to mention matpakke! This is a big tradition in Norway, and simply means pre-prepared food like smørbrød (sandwitches) which is wrapped in food paper. We ended up packing up a matpakke to enjoy on our travels most days for lunch which we all enjoyed.
There are so many idyllic and beautiful little places to stop for a bite to eat along the road or while hiking which we call rasteplasser (rest areas). Here you find tables and benches, and sometimes even barbecues, making it possible to sit down and enjoy your matpakke.
^ Eating your matpakke in nature is a great way to save money on food. Here we sat by a glacier and enjoyed our smørbrød.
Save money and the environment by bringing your own refillable water bottle on your trip. The tap water in Norway is delicious and clean, some might say much better than bottled water you buy in the shop, so why spend money on something you can find for free? I brought with me a stainless steel bottle which I used the whole trip and kept my water fresh even on the hottest days.
Remember to save and recycle plastic bottles, glass bottles and cans you purchase along the way. What you might not know is that in Norway most bottles and cans can be recycled in the food stores and you actually get money in return. Great huh?
E X P E R I E N C E S
Most people visit Norway to see the nature. And luckily the country is full of nature attractions which are free! A great way to experience the Norwegian nature, majestic fjords, waterfalls and glaciers is by foot. There are many mountains surrounding many of the cities with great hiking possibilities, and you will find maps and market tracks on the most popular ones.
If you have the time, from the city centre in Bergen it is possible to get up to Fløyen by foot for instance, which saves you the money you would spend on Fløibanen funicular. I also suggest walking up to Briksdalbreen to see one of the most accessible and best known arms of the Jostedalsbreen glacier. Or why not hike to the top of the breathtaking Pulpit Rock in Stavanger, a totally free activity which you will never forget.
Some of Norway’s museums and attractions offer free entrance on a specific day of the week or month, while others are free all year round. It is worth checking out their websites and plan your itinerary beforehand.
^ Admiring the view of Bergen at Fløyen in the evening. Remember that summertime in Norway means it is light for longer which means you have more time to explore!
^ Hiking is a great (and free) way to experience Norway. Here on the top of Dalsnuten.
So like you see, traveling to Norway can be done affordably as long as you are conscious and plan. A big tip from me is to set a daily budget before you leave and try to stick to this as much as possible. Then if you spend less one day, you can keep the money saved for a fun experience like a cruice in the fjords or a extra nice meal at a restaurant the next day.
Have you travelled to Norway and do you any other useful tips for staying on budget?
Let me know in the comments!