10 Tips to Visit Norway on a Budget

A Frog in the Fjord: One Year in Norway Book

Many foreigners coming to visit Norway get a little surprised, or shocked is probably the best word, when realising the price of things in this country. From transportation to food in restaurants, everything except maybe for smoked salmon is more expensive in Norway than most Western countries. The kroners (NOK), Norway’s currency, confuse you at first and then when you convert it to euros or dollars it’s like “Whhaatt? That was the price of a single beer? Not the whole pack?”. Yes Norway is damn expensive. There are a few tips to get around it and have a cheaper stay in Norway. And remember, looking at the country’s many beautiful sceneries is always free (if you manage to get there in the first place).

1. To drink cheaply, I suggest to all of those who want to live or travel in Norway on a budget to stop drinking alcohol. Your liver will be jolly, and your purse will be happy. A beer costs around 60 NOK in a bar out.
2. If you cannot live without alcohol you can try to make it yourself, learning from locals living in the countryside of Northern Norway. The risk here is 1- jail, 2- getting blind and/or 3- dying from the explosion in the learning process.
3. Another alternative to drinking cheaply is to travel only on Norway’s border with Sweden or even move there. You will be able to cross the border as often as necessary to get your authorized quota of alcohol (which, by the way, was just raised to 6 bottles of wine instead of 4!). Depending on your level of alcoholism you can also decide to live in the boat between Denmark and Norway where you will travel with fellow drinkers from Norway.

4. Get train tickets a little in advance, it is called Minipris and can go as low as 199 NOK to go as far as you like. It used to be that price but now the minimum seems to be 249 NOK. Still, for a trip lasting 17 hours or more it’s worth it. For a train ride all over Europe Interrail passes are always an option.
5. Challenge yourself by going on a trip such as cycling from Bergen to the North Cape or hitch hiking accross Norway. I met people doing such things while traveling around the country. One of them was cycling from North Cape to Brittany in one month and slept in barns and old farms in villages (she asked every evening where she could sleep). It is tiring but definitely cheap!

6. Couchsurfing involves maybe having to sleep on a smelly couch in a flat full of strange people, or maybe meeting amazing people who will feed and entertain and host you for free. In any case it is mostly a great experience to learn to meet people who live in the country. Couchsurfing is a platform where people become members (also for free) and host travelers and/or sleep at peoples’ houses around the world. Be aware that many people, seeing the crazy prices of hotels in Norway, become instant members on CS. But CS is not only to get a free bed it is about the exchange and the experience so if your only aim is to Norway is to spare some cash you won’t find many people to host you. The key is to spend some time writing requests to get locals to open their house to you (and host people yourself in your home country).
7. Camping will lead to some costs such as buying a tent. However the costs stop there, because while staying one night in a hotel can be very expensive, it is legal in Norway to camp in any forest (except those which are privately owned). You can drink in rivers and also swim in them instead of taking showers. You will smell a little after a while, which isn’t so good for social life. But this post is about traveling on a budget, not finding a friend or your soulmate. Note that the latter usually involves a small investment in soap and hygiene facilities.
8. Wwoofing is a system where you work in a farm and in exchange you will get food and a place to sleep. This costs nothing but your time and will lead you to stay in mostly very beautiful areas of remote Norway.

9. To eat cheaply, the main option is to buy food in supermarkets. Do not go out in restaurants, your budget will melt faster than snow. There are a few restaurants which are cheap, such as Asian restaurants in Grønland in Oslo where a meal will cost around 80 NOK.
10. A trip to Norway can be a great opportunity to start a new diet based on knekkebrød and mild cheese. And muesli and berries. If you are hiking across Norway you will have access to all sorts of wild fruits: blueberries, blackberries, Strawberries, multer and rasberries which are also, by the way, very good for your health, and are also free if you are the one to pick them. Fishing yourself from lakes and rivers can also be a way to eat for little money. Potatoes usually cost nothing as well as cabbage (local products). There you go, a meal full of calories to continue your trip!

If you are looking for a little more serious, you can go on the official link of Visit Norway with their page on traveling on a budget. Also remember to bring clothes for all sorts of weather because in Norway you never know what is coming your way: sun, wind, snow or rain. Checking Norway’s weather forecast website can be an option and also the Trekking Association which will have good tips on where to go at what time of the year. If you want to read more about traveling in Norwegian cottages in the middle of nowhere there is more here.

Finally, if you are on a very tight budget I suggest you go somewhere else than Norway. It is, after all, an expensive destination so you might want to wait until you have a bigger budget to come here. Tents and berry picking will take you so far, especially if it rains every day and the moose eats the roof of your tent. If your host on CS is a sexual predator and the farmers in the wwoofing place give you rotten food to eat (this is a true story of one wwoofing farm in Norway). But if you are full of courage and still want to come over to this beautiful country, all I can say is welcome and god tur!

15 thoughts on “10 Tips to Visit Norway on a Budget

  1. hello . I planned to study undergraduate in nanotechnology in university of oslo. but my budget is only 10 lakhs rupee ( Indian currency ) for all 4 years. how could I get scholarship and how to manage my living cost within the budget. can u help me ?

    1. Hi Raj
      I have no idea how many euros or NOK is 10 Lakhs rupees…but you should contact your university and ask what they recommend as a minimum amount to have per month to live in Oslo. Also I believe you will need to have some Money on your account to get your visa (but not sure about that you can check on
      good luck!

    2. As fare as I understand, 10 lakhs rupee is about 103.258 NOK. I would be really surprised if you could live in Norway for four years, with that amount. Norwegian student founding is 96.000 NOK a year, and most of us need to work extra to get by. My guess is that your money could last you maybe a year and a half, if you live carefully. The school/education it self is free, except from the books you need. The real costs lies in housing, and food. I do not know about scholarships, the student founding is managed by “Lånekassen”, and here is some information about Financial support for foreign students:

      Good luck!

  2. If you are that poor that you find these tips useful and practical, please just dont go to Norway. There are many other countries where you will feel like a big wheel. Is it a blog for students only ?

  3. Hi,
    Love your blog!

    But I found one wrong thing, under number 7. People are allowed to camp in privately owned forests, as long as it is in “utmark”. This means uncultivated land. Uncultivated land in Norway includes lakes, beaches, marshes, forests and mountains. So as long as the land is uncultivated, and the tent is not placed within 150 meters of a building/cabin/house, and not disturbing the peace or being an inconveniance to others, you are allowed to pitch a tent and up to two days in the same spot without the owners approval.

    Here is the lawparagraf on allemannsretten in norwegian:

    Friluftsloven § 9.(Rasting og telting.)
    Plass til rasting, solbad, overnatting eller liknende må ikke tas i innmark uten eierens eller brukerens samtykke.

    I utmark må plass som nevnt i foregående ledd ikke tas til utilbørlig fortrengsel eller ulempe for andre. Rasting eller telting må ikke skje når det kan medføre nevneverdig skade på ungskog, eller skogforyngelsesfelt. Telt må ikke settes opp så nær bebodd hus (hytte) at det forstyrrer beboernes fred og i hvert fall ikke nærmere enn 150 meter. Reglene om avstand fra bebyggelse gjelder likevel ikke på område som særskilt er innredet for telting. Departementet kan gi forskrift om å tillate telting nærmere enn 150 meter fra bebodd hus (hytte) i kystnære områder.

    Telting eller annet opphold er ikke tillatt i mer enn 2 døgn om gangen uten eierens eller brukerens samtykke. Samtykke til lengre opphold trengs likevel ikke på høgfjellet eller på område fjernt fra bebyggelse, medmindre det må regnes med at oppholdet kan medføre nevneverdig skade eller ulempe.

    For tidsrommet umiddelbart før og under villreinjakten kan departementet på nærmere avgrenset høgfjellsområde forby eller regulere teltslåing som kan være til ulempe for villreinjakten.

    Telting og ferdsel må skje på eget ansvar for skade som dyr kan påføre personer, telt og andre eiendeler.

    Have a great time visiting Norway!


  4. We’ve cycled and travelled in Denmark. He’s been to Sweden for a few days. Admittedly I guess I tend to view Sweden, Finland and Norway as expensive countries from a traveller’s perspective.

    I’m not going to kid myself: I bet cycling in Norway is only good in late spring to early fall. With some mosquitoes probably in certain areas, right?

  5. Just remember if you want to fish in Norway you usually have to have a fishing card or buy the right to fish in a river from the land owner. Exemption is if you are under 20 years old or over 67 then you can fish for free in lakes and rivers that is not private property. It’s possible to buy fishing cards for a day or a week, to be able to fish in those areas as well, even if yo’re between 20 and 67.

    1. Hi Unni
      thank you for this information, I am getting inspired for a next blogpost. What about hunting? One needs a permit for that too right?
      Best, the frog

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