A lot of people skip visiting Norway since it’s known to be an expensive country and a hard place to travel on a budget. This is unfortunate, as Norway is among the most beautiful countries in the world.
Even though it’s an expensive country to travel in, it’s not impossible to explore Norway on a budget. You don’t need to empty your wallet as long as you consider and stay aware of certain elements.
Many tourists visit Norway due to its spectacular landscapes and natural attractions. The outdoors is very important to the Norwegians and part of the reason we spend as much time in nature is that we may go just about anywhere we desire. In Norway, we have unrestricted right of free access to the countryside, including the national parks.
So, what does this mean for you? This means that you can explore the majority of Norway without needing to worry about entrance fees. It also means that you can set up a tent and don’t need to spend a night at a hotel.
Let’s look into how you can save money on accommodations, transportation, food and adventures, and explore Norway on a budget:
Cheap Accommodations in Norway
Hotels can be pricey, especially when booking close to the arrival dates. However, spending a night at a good hotel doesn’t need to be the major expense of your vacation.
Book in Advance
Typically, the closer to your arrival date you book, the more expensive it will be. Make sure to make your reservations in advance and avoid last minute bookings. Another reason to reserve the accommodation in advance is due to the high demand in high season. If you’re traveling in summer it can be hard to find a place to stay unless you’ve already reserved it. Of course, this depends on where you are staying but popular areas fill up quickly.
Stay Outside of Town
Hotels close to major attractions tend to be more expensive than hotels that are located slightly further away. Spending the night in the city center can often be expensive and not particularly attractive if you’re traveling on a budget. If you choose to stay outside of town make sure that it's close to public transportation if you haven't rented a car.
Taking a taxi is very expensive.
Stay at a Campsite
If you’re on an outdoors vacation and the plan is to spend time hiking, staying at a campsite is an affordable option. Most campsites rent out cabins of different sizes that can be perfect when traveling alone or in a small group.
Be aware that you might have to pay extra for bed sheets, cleaning, and other services when staying at a campsite. This is normally listed on their websites but if it’s not, be sure to ask.
Sleep in a Tent
There are not many experiences greater than waking up with a breathtaking view. Sleeping in a tent is the best option for the outdoors people who shape their vacation around hiking.
In Norway, you have the right to camp on public land and in the national parks. Just make sure that you don’t leave trash behind or damage the nature.
Travel Off Season
Summer is the busiest months in Norway and also the most expensive. Traveling outside of the high season is a good option if you want to find affordable accommodation.
Note that attractions change from season to season and some areas actually become more expensive during winter than summer. This is due to the winter activities in the area, typically found around ski resorts.
Other places, such as Trolltunga, is only reachable during summer. Therefore, you should make sure that the attractions and places you wish to visit are open during your stay.
Transportation on a Budget
Just because there are only 5.5 million people living in Norway, it doesn’t mean that it’s a small country. Norway is the 68th largest country in the world by area with 323,802 square kilometers.
Even though distances are far, bus or train connect most places. However, if you’re traveling from one side of Norway to the other, catching a flight will be the better option.
Traveling Norway by Car
Renting a car is by far the most flexible method of traveling in Norway. If you’re traveling between cities and aim to see many attractions that are located far away from your accommodation, renting a car is the best option.
Norway is full of stunning roads, so traveling by car will be an experience you won’t forget.
Be sure to get a gas-efficient car, though, as fuel prices can be very high!
Using public transportation is another popular way of traveling around Norway.
Express buses connect most major cities and national parks and if you book tickets in advance you can get some good deals. The prices of bus and trains depend on how far you’re going but normally the price lays between 300-650 NOK for trains and 290-700 NOK for a bus (even though you can get tickets for as low as 80 NOK).
The train from Oslo to Bergen is known for the incredible scenery and is for many the highlight of their stay in Norway.
Hitchhike Across Norway
It’s not uncommon to see hitchhikers during summer months in Norway. This is becoming an increasingly popular way to explore the country and most hitchhikers don’t need to wait for long until they get a ride.
It’s pretty safe to hitchhike in Norway and most Norwegians are willing to pick someone up if they are headed the same direction. This is also a good way to get some local history!
Eating out is expensive (yet delicious) but by choosing where you have your meals you can save a lot of money.
Restaurants are rarely cheaper 300 NOK per person for the main course. Junk food is also relatively expensive and a burger normally costs around 80 NOK.
Purchasing groceries from the supermarket and prepare it yourself will save a lot of money. If you’re hungry and on the go, gas stations have affordable hot dogs and burgers that are just as good as any fast food chain.
Adventures on a Budget
As mentioned earlier, exploring Norway's nature is free. You can walk mostly anywhere you want without having to pay an entrance fee. That means that you’re able to explore Norway’s nature without spending a lot of money.
There are also many guided day and multi-day tours that typically cost 400NOK and up. Fjord tours and northern light tours are the most popular tours in Norway and are something that should be experienced when you’re visiting.