Norway’s extensive fjords, famous islands, and stunning beauty earn it a place on many travelers’ wish lists. Its reputation for being an expensive locale, however, have many of those same travelers putting it off, not knowing how to organize Norway budget travel.
We’ve recently discovered, however, that traveling Norway can be quite affordable, as long as you do your homework and plan carefully. Here are some of the best strategies and Norway travel advice we’ve found for affordable accommodation, food, and transportation in this beautiful country.
Decide on your daily budget
Figure out how much you plan to spend each day and hold yourself to it. Some ways to keep your daily spending down include staying in a hostel, camping, couchsurfing, and preparing your own meals.
There are those who believe it’s impossible to find hotels for under $400 per night, but we found plenty for under $100. Restaurant fare, however, can be quite expensive. Go to the grocery store for lunch supplies to keep your food spending down.
Avoid tourist season
Tourist season in Norway hits its peak from May to August, when the weather is warm, but in areas where the Northern lights are visible, tourist season runs from December to March. April and October are the most affordable months and the best time to travel to Norwaytimes to travel to Norway.
Accommodations are limited in Norway, and the less expensive hotels are typically booked solid well in advance. Be sure to start planning and booking your accommodations as soon as you book your flight.
Many hotels include breakfast, but not all of them. When booking your hotel, find out if breakfast is included. Eating a big complimentary breakfast means you won’t need more than a snack for lunch, which will help keep your food spending down. Try Booking.com to find some of the best values on accommodations.
Avoid staying in hotels with Airbnb, Couchsurfing and more
Airbnb can save you quite a bit over staying in a hotel, and may offer kitchen facilities, allowing you to avoid eating out for every meal, but most likely will not offer breakfast. If you aren’t already a member of Airbnb, sign up right now, you’ll thank us later.
If you’re not averse to sharing a living space, Couchsurfing is another good option. Many travelers like to have their own space, and finding a couchsurfing host can be difficult, but can be a great option for travelers sticking to a tight budget.
Camping can be another inexpensive option during your stay. Provided you pitch your tent at least 150 meters (almost 500 feet) from houses, keep your stay to no more than two nights in one location, carry out your trash, and don’t light a campfire, your campsite is free.
Camping gear, on the other hand, can be very expensive in Norway, so if you plan to camp, you’ll want to take your own gear with you. Look into a tiny camping stove, mini cookware, warm sleeping bag, lightweight tent, sleeping pads, and a backpack with an internal frame.
Transportation: renting a car for Norway budget travel
Car rental in Norway is a good option, though rental insurance can be expensive, but critical. Check your credit card’s perks, as many credit cards offer car rental coverage.
If you decide not to rent a car, you’ll want to make your transportations as far in advance as you can.
Eating your way through Norway
Restaurants in Norway are so expensive that even the locals are reputed to avoid them. Stop by the nearest supermarket and stock up on healthy snacks to take with you on your adventures. Rema 1000 and Kiwi are discount supermarkets that will save you quite a bit on food and drinks, including alcohol. But be aware that supermarkets in Norway are not allowed to sell alcohol with alcohol content over 4.7%.
Wine, spirits, and stronger beers can only be found at the Vinmonopolet, sometimes shortened to polet and translated as “Wine Monopoly”. Outlets can be found across the country, but their prices are very high.
If you like hard alcohol, you may want to consider packing a bottle in your checked luggage. The TSA allows you to check up to five liters of 24-70% alcohol in your checked luggage, provided it’s packaged in a sealable bottle or flask. Over 70% alcohol content is not allowed, and under 24% is not subject to the five liter limit.
When you do choose to eat out, look for Asian and family owned restaurants, as these tend to be less expensive. Tips are not required, but may be included in your bill. If you are impressed with your service, a tip of 5-10% is acceptable and appreciated.
No need to spend a lot of money on bottled water or other beverages, as tap water in Norway tastes better than tap water in many other places.
Things to do
Norway is home to some of the most beautiful scenery you can hope to see, and hiking is free.
Jotunheimen National Park, which literally translates to “Home of the Giants” is a fantastic hiking destination. Take a hike down Geirangerfjord or Sognefjord. If you’re up for a bit of a challenge, get up early and climb the 418 steps from the park to Aksla Viewpoint for a sunrise view of the archipelago.
For a more leisurely day, pack the camera and ride the ferry down Geirangerfjord. You’ll get to enjoy sights that literally cannot be seen any other way. The islands of Norway are connected by bridges, making it easy to explore by car, bus, or bike. You can rent a bike for about $13 per day.
If you have a little money to spend, consider reserving tickets on the Oslo-Bergen Railway. You’ll enjoy the scenery of the Southern Norway before traveling into the beauty of the Hardangervidda Plateau and down through the country around Voss. Along the way, you’ll pass through the fjords.
Throughout Southern and Central Norway, you’ll find a variety of wooden stave churches. At one time, Norway boasted around 1,000 of these stave churches, but today only about 28 remain. Some are large and monumental, others smaller and quaint. All of them are reminiscent of fairy tale churches, especially the Heddal Stave Church.
Photographing your travels
Norway may well be one of the best travel destinations for capturing stunning photographs, so plan ahead and buy some great photography gear. And you will shoot a lot, so make sure you’ve got some storage with you or sign up for cloud storage like Google Drive or Box.com to upload your photos.
That’s it for our 8 tips for Norway budget travel so that don’t blow out your money. Of course, there’s always more. Do you have something to add to our tips? Share your knowledge in the comments below and help fellow travelers to see the most of Norway. Also, check out 8 Instagram travel photographers you must follow right now.