So you are planning to go to Norway and you wonder how to save money on your trip and not return home pennyless. Of course, Norway is not the cheapest place on Earth to be (spoiler alert: one of the most expensive) but there are ways how to do it on a budget. The tips I give here are fully based on my own experience (I went to Oslo and Bergen a month ago). Let’s start our Oslo on a budget guide!
RULE №1: Book ALL Tickets in Advance
By tickets I mean plane tickets to get to Norway and train/plain tickets if you plan to travel in Norway.
Getting to Norway
Ryanair gives you great deals on getting to Oslo (Mine ticket was 25 EUR). But be careful – Ryanair flies to Rygge and Torp, the airport outside Oslo (in fact Rygge is 60 km and Torp is 110 km from Oslo) so count in also the transfers:
- From Torp – https://torpekspressen.no/ – 440 NOK (~46 EUR) return
- From Rygge – http://ryggeekspressen.no/ – 300 NOK (31 EUR) return
Getting around Norway itself can be quite costly. There are few ways to getting to your destinations:
Norwegian flies to many cities in the country and sometimes they offer very good deals.
b) Railway (!)
In my opinion and from my experience the BEST way to see Norway. And there are ways to economize here. And route Oslo-Bergen is considered as one of the most beautiful train routes of the world.
Norwegian Rail has a type of train tickets called minipris . This is the non-refundable ticket at the lowest price you can get for the rail. For example, I had a 7-hour journey Oslo-Bergen for 249 NOK (~26 EUR) which is by Norwegian standards very cheap.
To catch the minipris tickets you should book well in advance (and be a bit lucky).
Norway has great bus connection and the thing to understand is that there are different bus companies operating in different regions. Here is a good list for you of which company operates where: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_bus_companies_of_Norway
The biggest operator is Nettbus which sometimes offers good deals on tickets.
So the rule is that if you go to Oslo you check the bus operators for Oslo, if Bergen you look for the companies that operate in Hordaland. Don’t forget also to check Nettbus offers.
IMPORTANT TIP: If you are a student (regardless of university or country) check always for a student discount while buying tickets. Rail, buses and airport transfers, for example, have it.
RULE №2: Buy Food in the Supermarkets
Eating out in Norway can be VERY expensive. The prices in the bars and restaurant can be crazy (for foreigners with limited monetary funds). For you to better understand the situation check this list with average prices: https://www.expatistan.com/cost-of-living/oslo/
That’s why buying food in supermarket can save you money and prevent you from going bankrupt. That’s why you should remember this logo:
REMA 1000 is a discount supermarket which is considered by many to be the cheapest in Norway. And there you can find everything you need to exist as a human being. And to make a decent breakfast/lunch/dinner. Also some supermarkets can have already prepared food.
The other discount stores are Coop Prix and Bunnpris:
Here is a list of all the Norwegian supermarket chains: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_supermarket_chains_in_Norway
However more expensive supermarket chains can also have good deals. Personal example, Meny in CC Vest (Lilleakerveien 16, 0283 Oslo) had the half of a grilled checken for 3.50 EUR (which in itself is a ridiculous price for Oslo).
RULE №3 Buy Yourself an Unlimited Travel Ticket in Oslo
Oslo public transportation system is great and pre-bought single ticket costs 32 NOK (~3.3 EUR (!) ). But to save money you should go for 24-hour unlimited ticket (if you have one day in Oslo) or 7-day ticket (if more days). Prices are:
24-hour – 90 NOK (~9.4 EUR)
7-days – 240 NOK (~25 EUR) and 120 NOK (12 EUR) for youth
This will allow you to freely move around Oslo and save money.
Of course the best way to save would be to go around on foot (and hypothetically you could do it as Oslo is quite small) but it’s quite an extreme.
RULE №4 Live in Hostels or Couchsurfing
Accommodation in Oslo is a money drain. Prices for a single room start from 60 EUR per night. That’s why you should choose hostels to save money.
I recommend using booking.com for search and booking. Be aware that in some hostels you will have to pay extra for linen and towels, always carefully go through all the details of booking.
23 EUR per night is probably the cheapest option you would get.
If you want to try something different and not to pay at all, – couchsurfing is the way for you to go. This is a site which functions as a sort of travel social network where you contact the person that lives in the city where you’re going and offers a place to stay — you make a request stating the date you’ll be there — person accepts and you have a night for free.
The main idea of couchsurfing is to get to know people from around the world, exchange experience and have a good time. There is a system of reviews which allows you to check what the people that previously stayed at your host’s place wrote about it.
It is quite a specific experience but it is a great way to save the money on accommodation in Oslo and to get to know local people.
RULE №5 Profit from FREE things Oslo has to offer
The good news for you is that Oslo has a number of free things to do. Museums, natural attractions, exhibitions and concerts:
- Here you can find free attractions and museums: http://www.visitoslo.com/en/your-oslo/on-a-budget/attractions/
- Here are the events with free entrance: http://www.visitoslo.com/en/your-oslo/on-a-budget/events/
Also a great way to see the city, walk around with a guide and have it for free it the Free Walking Tour. It operates on a tip basis. You can pay the guide in the end if you liked the tour. Or you can decide not to pay. It’s a tip basis, you know.
So this is my little survival guide for you how to save money in Norway and have fun. Hope it will be useful. Don’t forget to share your experience in the comments.
Travel blog posts about my time in Oslo, Bergen and the ways how to reach fjords will be out soon.
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