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How To Travel Norway On A Budget: Save Money On Hotels & More!


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Raf Marchand



Norway is a stunning country known for its breathtaking landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and vibrant cities. However, exploring this Nordic paradise can come with a hefty price tag, making it challenging for budget-conscious travelers to experience all that Norway has to offer.


But fear not! With careful planning and some insider tips, it is absolutely possible to travel to Norway on a budget and make the most of your trip without breaking the bank. In this article, we’ll explore various ways to save money on transportation, accommodation, food, sightseeing, and more.


Traveling on a budget requires a strategic approach, and Norway is no exception. By understanding the cost-saving options available, you can stretch your budget further and have an incredible adventure in this beautiful country.


So, whether you’re a backpacker looking to explore the famous fjords or a family seeking an affordable vacation, this guide will provide you with valuable insights and practical advice for making your dream trip to Norway a reality.


Let’s dive into the details and discover how you can travel Norway on a budget!



Getting around in Norway can be expensive, but there are several ways to save money on transportation while exploring this beautiful country.


1. Public Transportation: Norway has an efficient and well-connected public transportation system, including trains, buses, and ferries. Opting for public transportation instead of taxis or private transfers can significantly cut down your transportation costs. Consider getting a transportation pass or card, such as the Oslo Pass, which offers unlimited travel on public transport and discounts on attractions.


2. Train Travel: Trains are a popular mode of transportation in Norway, especially on longer journeys. Booking train tickets in advance or opting for slower regional trains can help you save money. Additionally, consider using the NSB Minipris tickets, which offer discounted fares when purchased early.


3. Bus Travel: Buses are another cost-effective option for traveling within and between cities. Companies like Nor-Way Bussekspress and Nettbuss offer affordable intercity and regional bus services. Look out for discounted fares and advance booking options.


4. Carpooling and Ride-Sharing: If you prefer more flexibility and convenience, consider carpooling or ride-sharing services like BlaBlaCar or Uber. This can be a cheaper alternative to renting a car, especially if you’re traveling with a group.


5. Renting a Car: Renting a car can be a great option if you plan to explore the scenic countryside or venture off the beaten path. However, it can be expensive. To save money, compare prices from different rental companies, book in advance, and consider sharing the cost with fellow travelers.


6. Cycling: Norway is known for its picturesque landscapes, and what better way to explore it than on a bike? Cycling is not only budget-friendly but also allows you to immerse yourself in the stunning scenery up close. Many cities and towns have bike rental services, or you can even bring your own bike if traveling by ferry or train.


Remember to plan your routes in advance, make use of travel apps for real-time information, and take advantage of any available discounts or promotions. By being strategic with your transportation choices, you can save money and have a hassle-free journey throughout Norway.



Accommodation can often be one of the biggest expenses when traveling, but there are several ways to find affordable options in Norway without comprising on comfort.


1. Hostels: Hostels are a popular choice for budget travelers, offering dormitory-style rooms or private rooms at lower prices compared to hotels. Norway has a good network of hostels, especially in major cities and tourist destinations. Look for hostels that offer communal kitchen facilities, as this can help you save money on dining out.


2. Camping: Norway has a strong outdoor culture, and camping is a fantastic way to experience the country’s natural beauty while keeping costs low. Public campsites, known as “turisthytter,” are available throughout the country and usually provide basic amenities like toilets, showers, and cooking facilities. Wild camping is also allowed in many areas, providing you follow the guidelines and respect the environment.


3. Guesthouses and Farm Stays: Guesthouses and farm stays are an excellent option for experiencing Norwegian culture and hospitality at a more affordable price. These accommodations often offer a cozy and authentic experience, and some may even provide meals using locally sourced ingredients.


4. Airbnb: Airbnb has a wide range of accommodation options in Norway, from private rooms to entire apartments or houses. This can be a cost-effective alternative to hotels, especially for groups or families who can split the cost. Look for accommodation in less touristy areas for better deals.


5. Hotels: If you prefer staying in hotels, look for budget or economy options that offer competitive rates. Consider staying in the outskirts of cities or smaller towns where prices tend to be lower. Booking in advance and comparing prices across different websites can also help you secure the best deals.


6. Couchsurfing: For adventurous travelers looking to connect with locals, Couchsurfing is a great option. It allows you to stay with locals for free and provides an opportunity to learn about Norwegian culture firsthand. Be sure to read reviews and take necessary precautions for safety.


Remember to consider the location of your accommodation and its proximity to public transportation, attractions, and amenities. This will help you save both time and money on transportation costs. Lastly, be flexible with your travel dates, as prices can vary depending on the season and demand.


By exploring these accommodation options and being open to different experiences, you can find budget-friendly places to stay while exploring the wonders of Norway.



Food is an essential part of any travel experience, and Norway offers a unique culinary scene that can be enjoyed even on a budget. Here are some tips for saving money on food while exploring the country:


1. Grocery Shopping: One of the best ways to save money on meals is by shopping for groceries and cooking your own meals. Visit local supermarkets or farmers markets to purchase fresh produce, bread, cheese, and other essentials. Not only is this cost-effective, but it also allows you to experience Norwegian ingredients and flavors.


2. Self-Catering Accommodation: If you’re staying in a hostel, guesthouse, or Airbnb with kitchen facilities, take advantage of this by preparing your own meals. This can significantly lower your food expenses, especially for breakfast and dinner.


3. Cheap Eats: Look out for affordable food options such as food trucks, street vendors, and small local eateries. These places often offer delicious and inexpensive meals, including traditional Norwegian dishes. Don’t be afraid to try traditional street food like pølse (hotdogs) or fish cakes!


4. Lunch Specials: Many restaurants in Norway offer lunch specials that are more budget-friendly compared to their dinner menus. Take advantage of these deals and enjoy a satisfying meal at a fraction of the price.


5. Food Hall and Markets: Norway has a growing food hall and market culture. Visit places like Mathallen Oslo or Bergen Fish Market, where you can sample local delicacies and enjoy reasonably priced meals in a vibrant atmosphere.


6. Drink Tap Water: Norway has some of the cleanest tap water in the world, so there’s no need to spend money on buying bottled water. Carry a reusable water bottle and refill it throughout the day to stay hydrated without additional cost.


7. BYOB (Bring Your Own Bottle): Alcohol in Norway can be expensive due to high taxes. If you enjoy a drink with your meal, consider purchasing from the duty-free shop at the airport and bring your own bottle to enjoy in your accommodation.


8. Take Advantage of Freebies: Keep an eye out for complimentary breakfasts offered by accommodations or events that provide free samples or tastings. This can help you save money on one meal and allow you to try local products.


Remember to also indulge in some local treats and specialties. Sample traditional Norwegian pastries, like krumkake or skillingsbolle, and try the various types of fish available, such as gravlaks or lutefisk. Balancing homemade meals with occasional dining out experiences will help you discover the flavors of Norway while staying within your budget.


Sightseeing and Activities

Norway offers a wide range of captivating sights and exciting activities, but participating in all of them can quickly add up. However, with careful planning and prioritization, you can make the most of your sightseeing experiences in Norway without breaking the bank. Here are some tips:


1. Free Attractions: Norway is blessed with breathtaking natural beauty that can be enjoyed for free. Explore national parks, hiking trails, and scenic viewpoints that don’t require an entrance fee. Some popular free attractions include Trolltunga, Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock), and Geirangerfjord.


2. City Explorations: Norway’s cities have a wealth of attractions and landmarks that can be explored for free or at a low cost. Take a self-guided walking tour to discover architectural marvels, street art, historical sites, and vibrant neighborhoods. Many cities also offer free or discounted admission to museums and galleries on certain days or times.


3. Outdoor Activities: Take advantage of Norway’s natural playground by engaging in outdoor activities that are budget-friendly. Go hiking, cycling, kayaking, or fishing in the fjords, mountains, and rivers. Renting equipment or joining guided tours can be more affordable than organized tourist activities.


4. Museums and Cultural Sites: While some museums and cultural sites may have an entrance fee, many offer discounted or free admission for certain groups, such as students, seniors, or children. Plan your visit accordingly and take advantage of any available discounts.


5. Guided Tours and Excursions: If you’re interested in guided tours or excursions, compare prices from different operators and book in advance to secure better deals. Look for group tours or shared experiences, as these are often less expensive than private tours.


6. Tourism Cards and Passes: Destination-specific tourist cards or passes can provide discounted or free access to a range of attractions, public transportation, and guided tours. Examples include the Oslo Pass, Bergen Card, and Tromsø Pass. Calculate the cost of individual tickets against the value of the card to determine if it is worth the investment for your planned activities.


7. Off the Beaten Path: Venture away from the main tourist areas and explore lesser-known towns and villages. These hidden gems often offer unique cultural experiences, stunning landscapes, and lower prices for food and accommodations.


Remember to check the opening hours and availability of attractions or activities in advance, especially if you’re traveling during the off-season. By prioritizing free or low-cost activities and making informed choices, you can create memorable experiences without overspending.


Free and Low-cost Attractions

Exploring Norway doesn’t have to be expensive. There are several free and low-cost attractions that allow you to immerse yourself in the country’s natural beauty and cultural heritage without breaking the bank. Here are some options to consider:


1. National Parks: Norway is home to numerous national parks, showcasing its diverse landscapes. Many of these parks have designated hiking trails and offer stunning vistas of mountains, fjords, waterfalls, and wildlife. Some popular national parks include Jotunheimen National Park, Rondane National Park, and Hardangervidda National Park.


2. Scenic Drives: Norway’s scenic roads and routes are a feast for the eyes. Take a road trip along iconic routes like the Atlantic Road, Trollstigen (Troll’s Path), or the Lofoten Islands. As you drive, enjoy picturesque views of mountains, winding roads, and coastal scenery.


3. Free Museums and Galleries: Several museums and galleries in Norway offer free admission or discounted prices on certain days or during specific hours. Use this opportunity to explore cultural and historical exhibits, art collections, and interactive displays. Historical sites like the historical Hanseatic Wharf in Bergen also offer free access.


4. Architecture Appreciation: Marvel at Norway’s architectural wonders, from medieval stave churches to modern masterpieces. Take a self-guided tour of iconic landmarks like the Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim, the Opera House in Oslo, or the Arctic Cathedral in Tromsø. Admire the unique blend of traditional and contemporary architecture throughout the country.


5. Coastal Exploration: Norway’s long coastline is dotted with picturesque towns and villages. Take a leisurely walk along the harbor, explore colorful wooden houses, and soak in the maritime atmosphere. Places like Ålesund, Stavanger, and Tromsø offer beautiful coastal scenery and vibrant cultural scenes.


6. Street Art and Sculptures: Discover the vibrant street art scene in cities like Oslo, Bergen, and Stavanger. Wander through colorful neighborhoods and seek out murals, graffiti, and urban installations. In Oslo, don’t miss the Vigeland Sculpture Park, where you can admire a collection of incredible sculptures created by Gustav Vigeland.


7. Botanical Gardens: Visit the botanical gardens in major cities like Oslo, Bergen, and Tromsø. These well-manicured green spaces offer a tranquil escape from the bustling city and showcase a variety of native and international plants. Entrance to many of these gardens is free of charge.


8. Cultural Events and Festivals: Keep an eye out for local cultural events and festivals happening throughout Norway. These events often offer free or low-cost entertainment, food stalls, music performances, and cultural exhibits. Check local listings and tourist information centers for upcoming events during your visit.


Remember to check the opening hours and any specific guidelines or restrictions for each attraction. By taking advantage of these free and low-cost options, you can create unforgettable memories and fully experience Norway’s natural and cultural wonders without straining your budget.


Travel Passes and Discounts

When traveling in Norway, consider purchasing travel passes and taking advantage of discounts to save money on transportation and attractions. These options can help you make the most of your trip without breaking the bank. Here are some popular travel passes and discounts to consider:


1. Norway in a Nutshell: The Norway in a Nutshell package combines scenic train rides, bus journeys, and fjord cruises, allowing you to experience some of the country’s most iconic sights. This packaged tour offers a convenient way to explore Norway’s fjords, mountains, and charming villages while benefiting from discounted rates compared to purchasing individual tickets.


2. Oslo Pass: The Oslo Pass provides free entry to over 30 museums and attractions in Oslo, including the famous Vigeland Sculpture Park and the Viking Ship Museum. It also includes free public transportation and discounts on various tours, restaurants, and shops. The pass is available for 24, 48, or 72 hours, and can help you save a significant amount of money, especially if you plan on visiting multiple attractions.


3. Bergen Card: The Bergen Card offers free admission to several museums and attractions in Bergen, along with discounted prices for various activities, transportation, and dining. It also includes free travel on the local light rail, bus, and ferry services. The card is available for 24, 48, or 72 hours, making it an excellent choice for exploring the charming city of Bergen.


4. Trondheim Pass: The Trondheim Pass provides free access to many of the city’s popular attractions, including the Nidaros Cathedral, Rockheim (The National Museum of Popular Music), and the Ringve Museum. It also offers discounted rates on tours, activities, and local transportation. Choose between 24 or 48-hour passes to make the most of your time in Trondheim.


5. Northern Lights Discounts: If you’re visiting Norway in search of the magical Northern Lights, look for discounts and packages that include Northern Lights tours or experiences. Many operators offer discounts or special promotions during the winter season, allowing you to witness this natural phenomenon without breaking your budget.


6. Student and Youth Discounts: If you’re a student or under 26 years old, don’t forget to bring your student card or proof of age. Many museums, attractions, and transportation services offer discounted rates for students and young travelers. Take advantage of these discounts to save money while enjoying the best of Norway.


7. Group Discounts: Traveling with a group? Inquire about group discounts for attractions, tours, and transportation services. Many providers offer discounted rates for larger groups, allowing you to save money and enjoy shared experiences together.


Keep in mind that each pass and discount may have specific terms and conditions, so be sure to read the details and check if they align with your travel plans. By utilizing travel passes and taking advantage of discounts, you can make your journey in Norway more affordable and enriching.


Traveling Off-Season

Traveling to Norway during the off-season can be a smart strategy for budget-conscious travelers. The off-season, typically occurring outside of peak tourist months, offers several advantages, including lower prices, fewer crowds, and a more authentic experience. Here are some reasons to consider traveling off-season in Norway:


1. Reduced Prices: One of the main benefits of traveling off-season is lower prices for accommodations, activities, and transportation. Many hotels and airlines offer discounted rates during the shoulder and off-peak seasons to attract travelers. This means you can find great deals on lodging and save money on flights or train tickets.


2. Availability: Traveling during the off-season means you’ll have a better chance of securing accommodations and activities of your choice. Popular attractions and hotels are often fully booked during peak months, but during off-season, you can enjoy more flexibility in your travel plans and have a wider range of options available.


3. Smaller Crowds: If you prefer to explore Norway’s famous sights without battling large crowds, the off-season is the perfect time to visit. Landmarks and attractions will be less crowded, allowing you to fully appreciate and enjoy your experiences. This also means shorter queues, more personal attention, and a quieter, more peaceful atmosphere.


4. Authentic Experiences: Traveling during the off-season offers a chance to experience Norway’s culture and traditions in a more genuine way. With fewer tourists around, you’ll have more opportunities to interact with locals, delve into local customs, and discover hidden gems that are often overlooked during peak travel times.


5. Atmospheric Landscapes: Norway is known for its stunning landscapes, which take on a different charm during the off-season. Whether it’s the snow-covered landscapes of winter or the autumn foliage, the off-season showcases the country’s natural beauty in a unique way. You can capture breathtaking photos and enjoy serene moments in picturesque surroundings.


6. Northern Lights: If you’re hoping to witness the mesmerizing Northern Lights, traveling off-season in the winter months offers the best chances. The darker nights and clearer skies increase the likelihood of seeing this natural phenomenon, and you may also find discounted packages and tours dedicated to Northern Lights experiences.


7. Local Festivals and Events: Off-season travel often aligns with local festivals and events, providing a chance to immerse yourself in Norwegian culture. Experience winter sports competitions, Christmas markets, traditional celebrations, and other seasonal events that highlight the country’s rich heritage.


It’s worth noting that while there are benefits to traveling off-season, some attractions and services may have reduced operating hours or limited availability. It’s important to research and plan accordingly to ensure that your desired experiences will be accessible during your visit.


By choosing to travel off-season, you can save money, enjoy a more relaxed atmosphere, and have a more authentic and memorable experience in beautiful Norway.


Money-saving Tips

When traveling to Norway on a budget, it’s important to be mindful of your expenses and look for ways to save money. Here are some money-saving tips to help you make the most of your trip:


1. Plan and Research: Planning ahead is key to saving money. Research the best time to visit, compare prices for accommodations and transportation, and create a budget for your trip. Look for deals, promotions, and discounts to lower your expenses.


2. Travel Light: Pack light to avoid extra baggage fees on flights or trains. Norway has plenty of laundry facilities, so consider doing laundry during your trip instead of overpacking. Additionally, carrying a reusable water bottle and a picnic set can save money on drinks and meals on-the-go.


3. Eat Like a Local: Embrace local food traditions and eateries. Opt for affordable local dishes, street food, and small eateries that offer authentic flavors at lower prices. Visit supermarkets and prepare your own meals occasionally to save on dining costs.


4. Limit Alcohol Consumption: Alcohol in Norway can be expensive due to high taxes. Consider setting a limit on alcohol consumption or buying from duty-free stores at the airport before arriving in Norway. This can help you maintain your budget without compromising on the occasional treat.


5. Use Public Transportation: Utilize Norway’s efficient public transportation network instead of taxis or private transfers. Trains, buses, and ferries offer cost-effective options for getting around the country, and many cities have excellent public transportation systems. Look for travel passes or cards that offer unlimited travel within a certain period.


6. Stay in Budget Accommodations: Choose budget-friendly accommodations such as hostels, guesthouses, or campsites. These options are not only cheaper but also often offer unique experiences and opportunities to meet other travelers. Consider staying in smaller towns or on the outskirts of cities for better rates.


7. Seek Free and Low-cost Activities: Take advantage of the numerous free attractions, parks, and museums throughout Norway. Enjoy hiking, cycling, or exploring the natural wonders of the country. Look for discounted or free admissions to museums and cultural sites on certain days or times.


8. Travel Off-Season: Consider traveling during the shoulder or off-peak season to take advantage of lower prices on accommodations, activities, and transportation. This also means fewer crowds and a more authentic experience.


9. Stay Hydrated with Tap Water: Norway has some of the cleanest tap water in the world, so there’s no need to buy bottled water. Carry a reusable water bottle and fill it up with tap water to stay hydrated without extra cost.


10. Be Mindful of Souvenirs: Souvenir shopping can quickly add up, so be selective and mindful of your purchases. Look for locally made products or unique items that truly represent Norwegian culture. Consider buying from local artisans or markets for authentic and often more affordable options.


Remember, it’s essential to strike a balance between managing your expenses and enjoying your trip. By following these money-saving tips, you can make your budget stretch further while savoring all that Norway has to offer.



Traveling to Norway on a budget is not only possible but also a rewarding experience. By implementing the right strategies and utilizing the numerous money-saving tips available, you can explore the stunning landscapes, immerse yourself in the rich culture, and create unforgettable memories without breaking the bank.


From saving money on transportation through public transport and carpooling to finding budget-friendly accommodation options such as hostels, camping, or guesthouses, there are several ways to cut down on expenses while still enjoying comfortable and convenient travel.


When it comes to food, exploring local markets, cooking your own meals, and indulging in affordable local eateries and street food can provide a taste of Norwegian cuisine without straining your budget. Additionally, taking advantage of free and low-cost attractions, such as national parks, street art, and cultural events, allows you to experience the best of Norway without spending a fortune.


Consider the benefits of traveling off-season, such as reduced prices, fewer crowds, and unique experiences. Taking advantage of travel passes, discounts, and group rates can further enhance your cost savings while exploring the beauty and wonders of Norway.


Ultimately, by being strategic, flexible, and open to new experiences, you can create a memorable and budget-friendly trip to Norway. Don’t forget to plan ahead, research your options, and set a realistic budget to help you make the most of your journey.


So pack your bags, embrace the breathtaking landscapes, embrace the local culture, and embark on a budget-friendly adventure in Norway. With proper planning and these money-saving tips, you can explore Norway’s beauty and charm without worrying about your wallet.