I knew that it was going to be expensive visiting Norway, but I didn’t realize just how expensive it was all going to be! I went to Iceland last year (2021) and thought that was going to be really expensive, but it ended up not being too bad. Norway definitely was more expensive! Having a good idea of budget would’ve been helpful. I regret not doing more research in that respect.
There are things I could’ve done differently to help cut costs, which will be useful for the next time I plan a trip to Norway 😉
Take a peak at the table of contents below, and let’s get started with my spending Breakdown for Norway in April of 2022, for a 14 day trip.
I would say this is a mid range budget, you could definitely do things for cheaper with a few tips I’ll provide. I wanted flight protection just in case anything crazy happened with the state of the world. Originally I could have purchased a plane ticket for $523.00, but adding the e-credit cancellation and protection options, I ended up paying $765.69.
We stayed in a variety of different lodgings. Some were a bit more expensive than others, just based on wanting a kitchen, washer, etc. If you wanted to stay in more budget friendly places, like a bed in a shared hostel dorm, you can very easily cut a few hundred dollars in costs, compared to what I paid here.
You might not take a domestic flight and rental car to explore Lofoten, and that will cut off several hundred dollars, too. BUT! I wouldn’t miss out on the Lofoten Islands if you’re able to make it work, that was my favorite part of Norway!
Budget Breakdown – 14 Days in Norway
|Flight SLC-Bergen Roundtrip||$765.69|
|Flight Domestic Bergen-Harstad/Narvik Roundtrip||$173.90|
|Buses & Trains||$302.56|
|Rental Car (full protection +extra driver)||$273.40 ($546.81/2)|
Roundtrip Flight $765.69
We flew roundtrip from Salt Lake City, UT, USA to Bergen, Norway. We didn’t visit Oslo on our trip, since the museum I really wanted to see was closed for renovations. Because of this, we wanted to maximize our time on the coast, so we decided to skip Oslo altogether. We found a plane ticket that ended up being cheaper, flying into Bergen, rather than Oslo.
As I mentioned, I wanted e-credit upon cancellation and trip protection, so I spent a little extra for peace of mind. Sometimes when you’re on a strict budget, you just have to take what you can get! Since I had the flexibility to add that on, I wanted to play it safe.
We had a layover each way. One in France (Paris, and their security is SO slow! We got there an hour early and still almost missed our connection!) and one in Amsterdam (which was the fastest I’ve ever been through, didn’t have to go through extra security).
We flew Delta, though it was their partner KLM on the way back. KLM is awesome! I had a great experience with them and even found their vegan meals were better than any other airline I’ve flown on before. Delta was fine, I’ve never had issues with them, so I continue to use them when I can.
Domestic Flight $173.90
We knew we wanted to explore the Lofoten Islands for a few days, so we looked into domestic flights and ferries, and found the best option for us was to fly roundtrip from Bergen to the Harstad/Narvik airport. It was over $300 cheaper to fly to this airport, rather than Svolvaer or other airports in Lofoten. I’m sure the rental car would’ve been more in Svolvaer, too.
Harstad/Narvik is just outside the islands and a much cheaper option to fly into, if you are interested in going, but don’t want to pay an arm and a leg to get there. It took us 4 1/2 hours to drive from there to Reine. Do make sure you look at the luggage options, if you have a carry on you’ll be needing, or checked baggage. Those cheap domestic flights can go up significantly when you have to add a checked bag.
We booked a cute room in The Yellow House, which was close to the airport. We got in late, so we were able to spend the night here, then take off the next morning for Lofoten. I highly recommend The Yellow House, the bed was the most comfortable one of our stay! The hosts are so freaking nice and they have two adorable dogs.
Buses & Trains $302.56
Okay things got unexpectedly expensive here! We took the bus from Bergen to Stavanger and back. We tried to purchase our tickets online, but the website didn’t like our foreign credit cards. We tried every single card we had between the two of us, and it wouldn’t accept any of them. We also couldn’t figure out how to buy them at a kiosk (maybe it isn’t possible for this company?). Because of this, we had to pay on board (thankfully that is an option). The price almost doubled from paying on board. So what we budgeted about $100 each became a few bucks short of $200 each 😬
The bus company itself was great, we didn’t have any issues and there was luggage storage underneath. We got to cross on a few ferries, too, able to get out of the bus and stretch, use the restroom, etc. There’s even a little store on the ferries.
We also used this same company to book a bus from Flam to Bergen. Luckily, my friend has a friend in Sweden that was able to buy our tickets online for us and we just paid him. Otherwise, that would’ve probably been another $100 each 😅
We used a local train to get from Bergen to Voss, though the tracks were undergoing repairs, so this ended up being a bus service (luggage storage underneath). It was around $21, not bad. But if you have the Bergen Card, according to their website, you can get there by bus for free.
We used Norway’s Best for our bus tickets from Voss to Gudvangen, and Gudvangen to Flåm. The first one had luggage storage, the one from Gudvangen to Flåm was a shuttle and there wasn’t luggage storage, so this became a very cramped situation.
Bergen was our central point as we went south, then east, then north. Bergen was where we transited through. So I didn’t stay enough days in a row to get good use out of a Bergen card. If you have the Bergen Card, the light rail is covered on it, and I believe a lot of the local buses are as well. Most things were very walkable, other things not so much. In those cases, we took the light rail, which came out to about $4.30 for 90 minutes. I like that it’s timed, we were able to buy a ticket and use it roundtrip because it lasts for 90 minutes.
The light rail was how we got to and from the airport as well. It’s a pretty cheap option. But if you’re going to be using the light rail several times throughout the day, they have a 24 hour option, or you can look into the Bergen card because there are extra perks with that, too, like free and discounted museum entrance fees. The ticket machines have an English option.
Rental Car $273.40
We booked our rental car directly at the Harstad/Narvik airport, through Sixt. I used Holiday Autos, this is my third time using them, and I’ve always had a good experience. One of the instances, I had to cancel, and everything was refunded because I canceled within the free cancellation time frame. You can set your search functions to narrow it down to exactly what you need, and it compares the local agencies for you.
Sixt was great for us, too. The rental itself was $384.05, and we opted to do full coverage insurance (I always do because I’m paranoid) and also added an extra driver, which added on $162.76 to our total rental price. Because we did full insurance, they upgraded us for free to a 4WD BMW, which was hybrid. It really helped with gas prices, having the hybrid model.
I’m also glad we got full insurance because we had a night of 30 MPH winds and the next day, there was a big chip in the windshield 😬 The deposit was minimal, I think about $250 bucks, and it was all returned to my card upon drop off.
Because there were two of us, $546.81 was the total cost we split, making my portion just $273.40. This was for a 5 day rental. Pretty good deal with all of the extra coverage and extra driver tacked on.
Because we had a hybrid, we didn’t spend nearly as much in gas as I anticipated. I had budgeted $200 for this (just for my portion) and our total was $149.08, which was then split in half. We drove up and down and all around, in the Lofoten Islands. I had really expected to pay more than this, considering gas was about $9 per gallon 🙃
Having the freedom of a rental car is beautiful. It was the most stress free part of our trip and I had so much fun! Some areas of the islands aren’t as plentiful with gas stations, so just make sure you keep an eye on that gas tank in case you come up on one and need to fill up.
We only put gas in 4 times. The last time wasn’t as much, we just needed to fill it up close by the airport before drop off.
This was our biggest cost, and as I mentioned above, you can definitely get away with cheaper prices than we did. We like to have a private bathroom, and a kitchen when possible for cooking, as well as washer/dryer, since we do carry on only. There were cheaper options in the places we stayed, but making sure we had the things we wanted, it did drive the costs up a bit.
Every place we stayed had free Wifi, except for the Rostad Retro Rorbuer. Do keep that in mind.
We stayed in a mix of hotels, hostels, apartments, bed and breakfasts and cabins.
In Bergen, we stayed at Bergen City Hostel. We stayed here more than once as we transited through, and the first two times were great! The last stay felt like we were in a different place. We didn’t have a good experience, but I think it was more due to the other unruly guests that were there at that time.
The best stay was our second stay, we had an attached bathroom and kitchen. I don’t really have complaints about it, aside from the fact if you check in after 4, they’re supposed to send you a door code. We didn’t get one and nobody was answering the phone… luckily someone was coming out and we were able to go in and talk with someone in reception.
Make sure you rent a towel at check in if you don’t have one with you and will be needing one.
We stayed at two places in Stavanger. Stavanger Bed and Breakfast, and an apartment called Central Apartment. Both were great stays. The B&B has free laundry downstairs, so that was great. The apartment was SO nice! We were supposed to stay here the full time, but altered our plans to attend a Leprous concert. The apartment is a really good deal, too, and only a few minutes walk from the train station and city center. It has everything you need, separate bedroom, a kitchen, full bathroom, washer and dryer, and the couch folds into a second bed as well.
In Gudvangen, we booked the Gudvangen Budget Hotel, you check in at the Fjordtell down the road (right at the bus stop). They were doing renovations and not fully booking the property, so they upgraded us for free to a Viking suite at the Fjordtell. The roof has a giant skylight and we were able to see so many stars one night, it was so pretty! I can’t speak for the Gudvangen budget hotel, since we didn’t end up staying there, but the Fjordtell was wonderful!
In Flåm, we stayed at the Flåm hostel. It was a very basic room with private bathroom. The shared kitchen came in handy. You can also camp here, or book a bed in a dorm room to cut costs even further. There are also paid laundry facilities available.
Make sure to rent towels and laundry tokens at check in, if you’ll need to use either while you’re here.
In Lofoten, we stayed at Rostad Retro Rorbuer. This was my favorite place! They were also doing renovations here and we got upgraded to a larger cabin with a private deck AND we were the only ones staying here. This cabin had a full kitchen with oven, stove, fridge and dishwasher. There was also a washing machine (no dryer). It was so peaceful and serene, and the views are just GORGEOUS. My last Picture Perfect post was off of the private deck. I mean this is legitimately right out of the dining room window. (I can’t recommend this place enough!!!)
Oh boy, was food expensive in Norway. I budgeted $400 for this and have never come so close to going over my food budget before. Even going to grocery stores and cooking myself, could get expensive.
A burger and fries at one restaurant cost me $37 USD. I didn’t even get a drink, either. Some places might be a bit cheaper, but it’s pretty much $25-40 any time you want to eat at a restaurant, on the cheaper side of things. It can easily and quickly go up from there.
Make sure you budget plenty for food, because it really is more expensive than any other country I’ve been to. Also look for the store brands. Instead of buying a $6 dollar loaf of bread, look for the store brand and cut the price in half. It can get tricky, though, if you have dietary restrictions. I couldn’t always opt for the cheaper option because sometimes the cheaper option had milk or egg, when I can’t eat either of those.
My friend would order beer at restaurants and it would cost her $8-15 USD. A soda was usually around $4. A chocolate bar around $3, though some specialty chocolate bars could be as much as $6. A jar of peanut butter was about $4 and jam was about $3, so PB&J’s are a cheap option if you like them 😊
Luckily, a lot of outdoor activities are free! This really helps offset the costs of other things being so expensive.
In Bergen, we purchased the ticket for Mt. Fløibanen Funicular. You can pay for it at the entrance, no need to purchase ahead of time. The roundtrip ticket cost me $17.12. It broke down one stop from the top 😅 and rather than wait for it to be fixed, we opted to hike the rest of the way, then rode it back down. It’s a pretty steep hike, but fairly smooth dirt surface, so it wasn’t too hard. Just on these lungs. If you’d like to hike the whole way, this is a free activity.
We didn’t pay for any other activities in Bergen. We did a little walking tour, checked out Bryggen, some of the cathedrals, the Stave church, and parks. Bergen is such a cute and charming city, I’m a little bummed I didn’t get to spend consecutive days there. Next time 😉
We went to a Leprous concert in Stavanger, but my friend bought my concert ticket because I altered our itinerary to make it work. So I ended up not having to pay for that!
There is no entrance fee to hike Pulpit Rock. Only if you drive, then you’ll need to pay the parking fee. Technically I did pay for the bus ride here, but I included that in my bus & train budget. The hike itself was free. For more info on that, check out my Pulpit Rock post.
Stavanger is similar to Bergen, in the sense that it’s very walkable and easy to explore on foot. We had fun exploring the old town, a few parks, and the cute shopping area along the port. We did try to go to a Museum while we were here, but Google maps led us so astray and we didn’t make it before it closed. But upon searching for it, we had a beautiful stroll through an old cemetery and got to see more of the city.
We wanted to go to the Gudvangen Viking Village, which it said was open every day in April, and lo and behold… my amazing luck struck again. They were closed, for some reason, both of the days we were there 🙃 There isn’t a lot to do in Gudvangen aside from the Viking village, a fjord tour, kayaking and hiking. We opted to do some hiking and even took a cold plunge in the fjord here. That was a rush! And completely free. We were going to do kayaking, but the weather turned sour on the day we planned to do it.
As it happened, we didn’t spend any money on activities while in Gudvangen. Free hiking and cold plunging.
We didn’t have a lot of time in Flåm. You can do fjordtours here as well. There are a lot of activities; bike rental, small electric vehicle rental, kayaking, scenic train, view points, hiking, etc.
Another activity we lucked out on was the Stegastein Viewpoint just outside of Flåm. My friend has an online friend about an hour from there who had never been up to the viewpoint and wanted to go, too, so he drove us up there. That was a huge bonus because when we got into Flåm, the tickets for that evening were all sold out. Going here in a private car, we were the only ones up there and had the view all to ourselves, it was incredible!
We also did some hiking and played at an interesting park for a bit. I do wish I had more time here as well, it was such a cute town.
Then we got to Lofoten 😍 I can’t explain how gorgeous it was. We started joking we had to be in a simulation because it was all way too beautiful. Apparently the weather had been perfect until we got there, then it started snowing again. That’s my luck! But it ended up giving off such a magical feeling, and it was breathtaking.
Unfortunately, we didn’t get to do a lot of hiking because of the fresh snow. But we toured up and down and all around in those beautiful islands. Almost everything was free. We stopped at a lot of beaches, went to check out the football field in Henningsvaer, explored the town of å, and stopped off wherever so interested us. It was awesome!
Two activities we paid for here, the Lofotr Viking Museum for $19.47 and booked a private hot tub and sauna at the end of a dock in Skårungen for $37.85. Both were great! The private hot tub and sauna rental was amazing, there was a ladder and small dock to get into the Norwegian sea, and of course we took polar plunges there, too. Especially having the sauna to run back into after! It had just snowed, so the scenery was incredible.
COVID Test $95.57
The US still requires a negative COVID test before returning to the US. You can take it at the Bergen airport. …For $200! We did not want to pay that much, and the owner of a restaurant called Dirty Vegan told us about Dr. Dropin. We scheduled the quicktest through them and within 45 minutes, my test was complete and I had a digital certificate to use to return back home. I would recommend signing up through Dr. Dropin if there are available appointments (try to sign up at least a day in advance). Our flight left at 2:15, so we scheduled our tests just after 9:00AM that same morning. Had our results by 10:30 and were good to go.
It was all super easy and our Doctor was so nice! Half the price of the airport tests, too.
Travel Insurance $78.80
I always purchase my travel insurance through World Nomads. I didn’t plan on doing anything too crazy, so I purchased the standard package.
You might have health insurance that covers travel related incidents, but my health insurance doesn’t cover things like canceled flights, natural disasters, lost luggage, etc. So I always make sure to purchase travel insurance beforehand, to be on the safe side.
And because this was so long… a very quick summary of how to lessen costs compared to mine:
-No flight protection or cancellation refunds yield cheaper flights
-Not flying to Lofoten and renting a car will eliminate domestic flight and rental car costs, along with gas
-Purchasing some bus tickets online ahead of time will significantly reduce the fare
-Staying in shared dorms or smaller budget rooms will easily save you several hundred from what I paid
-Eating sandwiches every day that you make yourself can go from $37 for one meal at a restaurant down to like, $4.
-Exploring on foot, national parks and hiking are all free activities (so is a polar plunge, but not for the faint of heart)
-Get your COVID test at Dr. Dropin, rather than the steep airport testing fees
-Travel insurance can potentially save you from unforeseen costs, if anything happens
DO NOT underestimate the size of Norway, plan carefully, and most importantly, have a blast! Any questions about expenses in Norway? Feel free to ask in the comments 😊