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Planning a trip to Europe? While the continent offers many beautiful destinations, there’s one spectacular spot that many overlook: Norway.
This Nordic European country is situated on the northern and westernmost reaches of the Scandinavian Peninsula. With a remote location, breathtaking scenery, magical fjords, wonderful cathedrals, historic sites, and lively culture, the Kingdom of Norway is an amazing country that attracts travelers from all walks of life.
Still, with friendly people and endless activities, it’s one of the most welcoming countries in all of Europe. With so much to offer, if you’re in search of a real adventure and memories that will last a lifetime, Norway should be on your bucket list of places to visit.
While there’s no denying that Norwegians are friendly and the scenery is among the most beautiful in the world, there is one downside that prevents many people from planning a trip to Norway: the expense.
We’d be remiss if we tried to tell you that Norway is a budget-friendly travel destination because the truth is, it isn’t; however, don’t let that scare you away. With some handy tips and proper planning, you can plan a trip to this incredible Scandinavian country without draining your bank account.
With the information presented below, a thrilling, memorable, cost-effective trip that you will remember forever is possible.
- How Much Does It Cost to Travel to Norway?
- How To Find The Cheapest Flights To Norway
- When is the Best Time to Visit Norway?
- How Much is a Trip to Norway? Money-Saving Tips
- 1. Prepare your own food
- 2. Secure a tourism card
- 3. Book ahead of time.
- 4. Limit adult libations.
- 5. Purchase alcohol at the Duty-Free Store.
- 6. Stay where you play
- 7. Take public transportation
- Where Should You Stay in Norway?
- What Should I Do In Norway?
- 1. Take a Fjord Cruise
- 2. The “Norway in a Nutshell” Train from Oslo to Bergen
- 3. Hit the Trails
- 4. Take A Northern Lights Tour
- 5. Go Dog Sledding. Mush!
- Budget For Norway: One Week Trip
How Much Does It Cost to Travel to Norway?
First, before we offer some sample budget ideas, it’s crucial to note that Norway has its own currency. Norwegian currency does not operate on the American dollar, nor does it operate on the Euro; instead, the national currency of Norway is called the Norwegian Krone (NOK for short). As with any other type of currency, conversion rates change regularly.
There are lots of currency converters that you can use; do a quick search online to find the latest conversion rates. It’s useful to convert some cash before leaving for your trip, but you can often avoid conversion fees by waiting until you land to change over your money.
With the above information in mind, calculating how much a trip to Norway will cost varies and does depend on how you plan on traveling.
Because Norway is one of the most expensive countries in the world, you’re going to have to accept that this will not be a cheap vacation. That being said, if you’re willing to put in the time, you can shave off a few dollars here and there. Every little bit counts!
The plane ticket is going to be one of your biggest expenses, and the only way to get around this is by visiting Norway during the shoulder seasons. June through August are the most popular times to visit Norway, so you can expect the prices to reflect that.
How To Find The Cheapest Flights To Norway
Plane tickets to Norway from the United States during peak season can be anywhere from $800+, and it’s not uncommon for that price tag to get over $1,000. There are a lot of ways you can look for cheap flights. We recommend checking for the best flights using Skyscanner, Momondo, and signing up for Going.com, and keeping your eyes peeled for deals.
On the flip side, visiting Norway in the spring or fall can save you some money on your plane ticket. May, June, September, and October are all off-season months, and you stand a great chance of snagging a cheap plane ticket during those months. The average price for a flight during the shoulder season can be significantly cheaper, we’re talking $400-$600. Of course, prices can vary depending on your departure airport and how long you’re willing to deal with a layover, but this will give you a rough idea of what to expect.
No matter when you decide to visit Norway, the earlier you can book your ticket, the cheaper it will be. We recommend buying your plane tickets and hotel accommodations 4-6 months in advance to get the best deal. Don’t forget to get travel insurance for your trip, especially with how unpredictable flights and weather can be.
The best way to save money on your trip to Norway is to follow the deal, not the dates. If you have the flexibility, this can really help keep costs down. With the freedom to book flights based solely on price, not specific dates, you’ll not only be saving money, but you may even find yourself visiting Norway during a season you wouldn’t have thought to otherwise!
Truly, this country is beautiful year-round, but you’d be surprised at how much you can easily save just by opening up your calendar. This method works best when you’re booking in advance, so you can have the time to book lodging, transportation, and any adventures you want to take.
Once you’ve secured your plane ticket, the next biggest expense you’ll incur is lodging. There are so many beautiful hotels in Norway, it may be worth your while to become a member of a chain and accrue points.
Airbnbs are another option, and though you may find these slightly more expensive, you’ll end up saving money in the long run if you plan on cooking your own meals. That’s the great advantage of booking an Airbnb instead of a hotel… when you have your own kitchen, you can make a grocery run and cook your own food instead of going out to eat every night.
See Related: Best Travel Credit Cards to Use
When is the Best Time to Visit Norway?
Because Norway is a northern country that’s right next to the Arctic and surrounded by water, the weather changes dramatically with the seasons. With that said, if you’ve never been to Norway, you’re probably wondering when you should plan your trip.
The majority of travelers agree that the best time to travel to the Nordic country is during the early summer, the months of June and July. This is the high season for tourism in Norway, so you can expect for prices to reflect that.
During this time of the year, not only is the weather pleasant, with mild temperatures and relatively clear skies, which is great for all of those outdoor activities.
While the summer is a great time of year to travel to Norway, it’s important to note that it also tends to be the busiest. Due to beautiful weather and 24-hour sunlight, June and July are the height of the tourist season in Norway.
Another perk of visiting Norway during the summer is the extended hours of daylight! Northern Norway experiences Midnight Sun, where the sun never sets so you’ll have ample hours of sunlight to explore.
If you’re the type of traveler that thinks there are just not enough hours in the day, then visiting Norway during this time of year is right up your alley. Don’t worry, the vast majority of hotels and accommodation choices have blackout curtains so you can still trick your brain into getting some much-needed shut-eye.
So if you plan on traveling at this time of year, you want to make sure that you start planning early; otherwise, you might have a hard time finding a place to stay and experience long lines.
If you prefer a more laid-back experience, consider traveling to Norway in the early fall, when most tourists have gone home.
October is the quietest time to travel, the weather is chillier but still pleasant, and the changing foliage adds to the beauty of the scenery.
It’s also a lot easier to find hostel/hotel rooms, and the rates on accommodations and airfare tend to be lower. Even better, during this time of the year, you may have the chance to see an awe-inspiring natural phenomenon: the Northern Lights.
If seeing the Northern Lights is on your bucket list, then you’ll want to visit Norway in the winter. Late September to early April are the best months to view the Aurora Borealis, and the further north you travel, the better your luck will be. Located 217 miles above the Arctic Circle, Tromso is considered the Northern Lights Capital of the World, and it’s one of the best places on Earth to see this natural phenomenon.
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How Much is a Trip to Norway? Money-Saving Tips
Norway is an expensive country, and while it may not be the most budget-friendly place to visit, with some careful planning and travel safety measures there are ways that you can travel without draining your pockets.
Here are a few money-saving tips to keep in mind:
1. Prepare your own food
In Norway, food is one of the biggest expenses. Eating out every day – even at hole-in-the-wall restaurants, fast food joints, or food trucks – will eat into your budget. To save some money, try preparing your own meals. Print out recipes for traditional Norwegian dishes hit the grocery store, and cook your own food.
I still suggest including local restaurants in your budget. Not only will you have an opportunity to enjoy authentic Norwegian food, but you’ll be supporting local businesses. But not every meal needs to be at a sit-down restaurant.
2. Secure a tourism card
To see the sites and attractions that Norway’s cities have to offer without spending a fortune, get yourself a tourism card.
Both Bergen and Oslo (two of the biggest cities in the country) offer tourism cards, and they can really help you save a great deal of money on major destinations. The vast majority of these tourism cards include admission to some of Norway’s popular attractions, including museums and even public transportation. These cards have some of the best deals and really help drive down those costs as you explore this wonderful country.
3. Book ahead of time.
Don’t delay; start planning your trip to Norway way ahead of your travel dates. By reserving your transportation – airfare, rental cars, and accommodations – well in advance you’ll save quite a bit – in some cases, up to 50 percent!
The longer you wait to seal the deal, the more expensive it gets. While there’s no definitive answer here, the general rule is to book everything 4-6 months in advance. This gives you the best deals on car rental prices, accommodation choices, and flights.
4. Limit adult libations.
A beer here or a glass of wine there probably won’t put a big dent in your pocket, but if you knock back the alcoholic drinks, your wallet is going to get really light, really fast.
On average, it costs about 90 NOK per beverage, so as you can imagine, so by having a night on the town with lots of liquid refreshments, you’ll literally pour your money down the drain. You don’t have to imbibe to have a great time! Plus, skipping the drinks will keep your head clearer, and you won’t have to miss any time sleeping off a hangover.
5. Purchase alcohol at the Duty-Free Store.
The Duty-Free store at the Oslo Airport is the cheapest place to purchase alcohol, so remember to stock up when you arrive. If your supply starts to run low, you’ve got a few options.
By shopping at the Vinmonopolet (state-run stores that sell alcoholic beverages), you’ll save 50 percent or more on your drinks. Just keep in mind that these locations have limited hours.
6. Stay where you play
You can save money on your trip to Norway by planning out your itinerary ahead of time and then choosing your hotel. A high-end hotel sounds nice in theory, but are you getting the most value for what you want your experience to be?
If you’re relying on public transportation, then it makes sense to find a place close to the train station, but if you’re renting a car, then you might want to explore options on the edge of town. Not only will it be easier for you to find a parking spot, but it can cut your travel expenses significantly, leaving more room in the budget for restaurants, tours, or any other Norway adventures you’ve got on your radar.
Take a look at a map and find out where your must-see attractions are, and then choose your accommodation based on that. Even on a tight budget, you can find a hotel or an Airbnb close to where you’ll be spending the majority of your time.
I personally enjoy a nice, mid-range hotel that’s a little further from the city center, and I always like to make sure the hotel includes a breakfast buffet. A good, free meal is a wonderful way to start the day! Especially since we know how expensive food can be in Norway.
7. Take public transportation
I’ve always found public transportation in Norway to be very easy to navigate, and it’s super cheap compared to renting a car or relying on taxi drivers. Norway’s extensive train network will get you to just about anywhere you need to go, and the bus system in the city center is very cheap.
While it may be tempting to rent a car and embark on an epic road trip, keep in mind that car rental prices average $110/day, and that’s before you fill up. Of course, prices can vary depending on when you’re reading this, but as of July 2023, a gallon of gas in Norway is about $8.
Take toll roads into consideration, and this can easily put a dent in your budget if you’re not careful! As a comparison, a single bus ticket in Oslo to get around the city center is under $4.00. And if you buy the Oslo Pass, it includes free public transport to the majority of the areas in Oslo you’ll want to visit.
See Related: Things To Do In Tromso, Norway
Where Should You Stay in Norway?
Below, you’ll find a list of some beautiful cities and regions that offer amazing sites and attractions and showcase the dynamic Norwegian culture. You can go wrong centering your trip around any of these Norweigan places.
The capital and the most populous city of Norway, Oslo, offers an assortment of accommodations, with everything from hostels to luxury hotels available.
There is also plenty to see in Oslo, like museums, walking tours, gardens, and cruises. The architecture is so cool, and the nightlife is amazing, too! You’ll want to plan time to visit the best historical landmarks in and around the city, so you won’t spend a minute wondering what to do.
- Best Place To Stay In Oslo: The Grand Hotel
If the fjords are high on your list of things to see, then Bergen is the spot you’re going to want to stay for at least part of your trip.
It’s one of the most colorful cities in all of Europe, and it’s the stage for some of the most stunning scenery. As the gateway to the fjords, you’ll be able to easily access these majestic geological wonders, which will honestly make your jaw drop.
- Best Place To Stay In Bergen: Det Hanseatiske Hotel
The most northern point in all of Europe, Svalbard may be a remote location, but it offers plenty of things to do. It’s also the only place you can see polar bears in Norway!
It’s not only one of the prime spots to see wildlife in its natural setting (like seals sunbathing on rocky beaches), but it also offers great views of glaciers.
Since it’s so far north, this spot offers prime views of the Northern Lights and the summer’s 24-hour sun.
- Best Place To Stay In Svalbard: Mary-Ann’s Polarrig
Situated in the center of Norway, Trondheim is most famous for its brightly colored buildings and an incredible music scene.
The pedestrian center is a great spot to meander and meet locals in addition to fellow travelers. There’s a Gothic Cathedral you’ll want to check out too, as well as ample natural sites and attractions. This walking tour of Trondheim City is ideal for first-time visitors.
- Best Place To Stay In Trondheim: Britannia Hotel
Lofoten is an archipelago in Norway that’s known for its dramatic landscape, charming fishing villages, and colorful buildings. The natural beauty of the Lofoten Islands is unparalleled and the area has become a popular tourist destination in the past decade.
Lofoten also has a storied history that dates back at least 11,000 years. Walking tours are one way to see the sights, but for the ultimate adventure, consider taking a kayak tour or even seeing Lofoten on horseback!
What Should I Do In Norway?
The options are limitless! While Norway is known for its beautiful natural scenery, the country also has a strong cultural history as well as many thriving downtown scenes to enjoy. You can make your Norway adventure as relaxing or raging as you want, and that’s the beauty of it!
To help you get inspired, here are some of my favorite things to do in Norway.
1. Take a Fjord Cruise
Norway’s fjords are known all across the globe, and a fjord cruise is one of the most popular ways to explore Norway and soak in these breathtaking landscapes. You can take a tour from many of the popular cities in Norway, including Oslo, Bergen, and Tromso. I’ve personally done fjord tours in Bergen and Tromso and instantly fell in love with them.
The boats have both indoor and outdoor areas, so you have a place to escape when you need a break from the weather/wind, there are restrooms on board, and many of these boats also have a cafe so you can purchase snacks and beverages. Many of these tours also combine waterfalls and whale-watching experiences, and we love a good combo tour. Vacation smarter, not harder!
2. The “Norway in a Nutshell” Train from Oslo to Bergen
This scenic train ride will take you from Oslo to Bergen, giving you a front-row seat to some of the most incredible scenery along the way. It’s known to be one of the most scenic train rides in the world! The train makes a few stops along the way, and you customize your trip to jump off and stay in one of the charming villages for a night or two, too.
I took this train ride and decided to stay for a night in Flam and Voss, and I’m glad I did! The train ride to Flam is one of the steepest train rides in Northern Europe, and the views are out-of-this-world. If you want to go straight from Oslo to Bergen, it’ll be about a seven-hour ride. There are bathrooms and a cafe on board, and the seats are very comfortable.
3. Hit the Trails
Norwegians are some of the most physically-fit, active people on the planet, and hiking and biking are both extremely popular. Norway has an endless amount of hiking trails to explore, and since trails are free, this is an extremely budget-friendly activity.
It’s also one of the best ways to see this beautiful country while saving money. For the ultimate Norway adventure, lace up your boots and hike to Norway’s iconic landmark, Preikestolen. Also known as Pulpit Rock, this spot stands 604 meters above the Lysefjord and offers a remarkable view of the area.
4. Take A Northern Lights Tour
If you visit Norway in the winter, then the Northern Lights are probably on your radar. While it is possible to see them on your own, taking a Northern Lights tour has a few advantages.
First, you’ll have a knowledgeable local who does this for a living and knows the ins and outs of seeing them. While it’s never a guarantee, these guides can drive out to remote areas and observe the clouds to find the best clear skies to give you the best view. Another huge perk is many of these tours will take photos for you, so you can be present and not have to worry about the complicated camera settings.
Many guides will even give you a few pointers to help you get the perfect shot! These tours can last anywhere from 3-6 hours and last well into the night, so be sure you get a nap beforehand and bring some coffee with you. It’s also important to note that you’ll have to travel to northern Norway to see them, you won’t be able to see them from southern cities like Oslo or Bergen.
5. Go Dog Sledding. Mush!
Dog sledding has been a part of Norwegian culture for hundreds of years, especially in the Sami culture. These tours give you the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to drive your own team of huskies across the Arctic wilderness, enjoying the breathtaking landscape every step of the way.
You’ll learn how to control the sled beforehand and meet the huskies before gearing up to ride down the trail. Afterward, you’ll cozy up by the fire with some hot drinks and snacks, swap stories with fellow travelers, and learn more about the Sami culture.
As a frequent artic traveler, I’m always looking for deals and budgeting for my next trip to Scandinavia, because where else can you go dog sledding, spy the Northern Lights, and cruise in a Fjord?!
Budget For Norway: One Week Trip
Now that we’ve covered what a Norway trip cost would cover, let’s crunch some numbers. Below we’ve included a table to give you an estimate of what your grand total will be. Of course, prices vary and your Norway costs could be well above or below this, depending on how and when you travel.
This is an average price of what you can expect for a seven-day trip if you choose to rent a car and take some tours along the way. The prices reflected below are for solo travelers, so keep that in mind. If you’re traveling with others, then costs like accommodations and car rentals will be shared expenses and help drive your Norway cost down.
Even though Norway is an expensive country to visit, it doesn’t have to blow your budget. If you decide to stay in a mid-range hotel or even a hostel outside of the city center, then your costs will be significantly cheaper.
If you cook your own food more than you dine at local restaurants, your savings will be greater. If you choose to use public transportation over renting a car, well that’s even more money in your pocket! I realize that many of these options are a deal breaker for most travelers, so I’ve tried to cast a wide net here.
- About the Author
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Kyle Kroeger is the Founder and Owner of ViaTravelers.com. He is a full-time traveler and entrepreneur. Kyle started ViaTravelers.com to help travelers experience a fully immersive cultural experience as he did initially living in Italy. He’s a converted finance nerd and Excel jockey turned world wanderer (and may try to get lost on purpose). After visiting 12 countries and 13 national parks in a year, he was devoted to creating and telling stories like he’d heard.
Plus, after spending more time on airplanes and packing, he’s learned some incredible travel hacks over time as he earned over 1 million Chase Ultimate Rewards points in under a year, helping him maximize experiences as much as possible to discover the true meaning of travel.
He loves listening to local stories from around the world and sharing his experiences traveling the globe. He loves travel so much that he moved from his hometown of Minneapolis to Amsterdam with his small family to travel Europe full-time.