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Travel to Norway on a Budget

Sunday, July 26th, 2009

How to save money when on holiday in Norway?

The Nordic social security system is the envy of much of the world, it is comprehensive, generous and competently run. However, it comes at an enormous cost which is recouped through high taxes on most products and services. This can make travelling in Norway an extremely expensive undertaking, but there are ways to see the country for less.

Norway’s natural heritage

One of the main attractions of Norway is its beautiful landscape, where mountains and fjords meet there are tumbling and verdant valley sides to explore and lush greenery all around. Many people chose to combine exploring the Norwegian countryside with an opportunity to get even closer to nature and camp for a few nights between hotel stays. German visitors have a reputation for adapting this and using camper vans to explore the country and provide a home away from home. Some visitors take this to extremes, however, and pack their camper with as much food as it can carry so that they have to buy almost nothing in the country whatsoever. This does not endear them to the locals.

Food and Restaurants in Norway

The social security system is also responsible for making labour more expensive in Norway and this means that any service is expensive. Travellers can reduce this by cutting down the number of times they eat in restaurants and going self-catering for some of the time. Thankfully the cost of eating in restaurants is not so high as to be completely prohibitive except for those on the very leanest budget.

Norway Public Transportation Network

Unless visitors are staying in only one part of the country, transport around Norway can be another high spending area. This is partly to do with taxes again but also because the country is very large and the cities spread far apart. Thankfully, there are a range of rail and even air passes that can save you a lot of money and are very useful. Enquire at any station or airport or even buy online before you travel. There is also a comprehensive bus network across Norway but the distances and journey time involved may make this an unattractive option to many.

Alcohol and cigarettes in Norway

Most people will enjoy the occasional drink on holiday and this can cause problems in Norway. The taxes on alcohol and tobacco mean that consumption of these goods can eat a serious hole in your budget. Smokers are in the worse situation as they will find it more difficult to cut down or go without while drinkers should be able to simply enjoy drinks less frequently without any major problems.

Although Norway can be an expensive proposition, the most important point of this blog post is to point out that no one should let that put them off. The breathtaking scenery, friendly locals and varied culture more than make up for some higher prices than visitors are usually used to.

Budget Accommodation in Oslo, Norway:

Photo of Olso Map and Norwegian Krones by Mallol

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About the author

Venere Travel Blog writer will joce

Will Joce is a recent graduate from the London School of Economics who has a morbid fear of working in an office. As well as travelling and writing he has worked in the UK Parliament and as a press monitor. Refusing to follow advice and get a real job he will soon be beginning a Masters degree at St Petersburg State University

5 responses to “Travel to Norway on a Budget”

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  1. Indonesia Vacations says:
    July 27th, 2009 at 21:40

    Thank you for sharing the info about Norway.
    I love traveling and would love to visit Norway when I have a chance. I have a friend from Norway who visited me in Indonesia 2 years ago. Would love to visit him and his country to surprise him :)

  2. Europe Travel Guide says:
    July 29th, 2009 at 02:27

    I couldn’t agree more with what you have written. Norway is so expensive as a traveler but is well worth the visit. Save money by buying your food in a supermarket and then having a picnic in the park. Also, try to avoid the expensive alcohol in Norway and Scandinavia.

  3. Carol Ferndale says:
    July 31st, 2009 at 13:44

    Well done, Will, at avoiding the boring jobs! Well done too on getting the place on a Master’s at St Petersburg – it’s a lovely place.

    I managed to save money in Norway by getting a rail pass and doing all my travelling by train. I also stayed in Youth Hostels, which saves an arm and a leg.

    It’s a beautiful place, and I want to go there again. I particularly like Trondheim – the rows of houses there remind me of a box of paints, and you are never far from verdant countryside.

    In fact the whole of Scandinavia truly rocks!

  4. Rob says:
    April 29th, 2010 at 19:46

    Norway is one of the most expensive and worst countries to live in. Average income for an engineer is 230000 NOK /year after taxes (36% income tax, 28 % VAT) (35K USD). Rent is about 10.000 NOK/month for a small one bedroom apartment in Oslo. Food Costs 7000Nok /month.
    The people are shy, distant, and don’t like to answer if you don’t speak perfect Norwegian. Not a friendly bunch at all. If you are not family, you basically don’t exist for them. As a travel destination, spend the same money in a sunny country, that has the same kind of beauty, with nice people to hang our with. The country has nice Fjords, but do you want to spend 6000 USD on a week-long round-trip, where you barely get to talk to anyone? On the other hand, if you’re a lone-wolf, enoying being alone, and if you have tons of cash to spare, Norway is a clean and safe destination.

  5. Carol Ferndale says:
    April 30th, 2010 at 10:41

    Interesting points there from Rob.

    In relation to the the friendliness, or lack of it, of Norwegians – people tend to say the same thing about Swedish people. I lived in Stockholm for almost two years and loved it. But having said that, my friends there were predominantly non-Swedes. The Swedish people I taught and worked with were rather cold, if not downright hostile in some cases.

    However, I did make one or two good Swedish friends, and loved the libertarianism of Swedish society, which made Britain look positively medieval and reactionary.

    I also liked the Swedish love of the outdoors and healthy living. Plus Stockholm has to be one of the best cities on the planet.


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