Oslo consistently ranks in the top 20 most expensive cities in the world, and Scandinavia is known for its high taxes and even higher prices in the travel world. So, as a recently employed graduate, I was interested to see what a trip to this gorgeous natural playground of clean lines, innovation, and efficiency would actually cost.
As I get into this, let me make it clear that I would never recommend not visiting a place simply due to cost, even though I may goodheartedly moan about expenses here. If you’re concerned about cash, you can read my blog post on budgeting a trip in Norway to find ways to cut corners on your spending.
Without further ado, here’s a breakdown. Cue the tears of my wallet.
Flights – $44.36
The deceptive lie of Scandinavia is that it costs almost nothing to get there. It’s like they draw you in with budget flights, and once you’re a captive market, they charge you $9 for a Corona (seriously).
But hey, at least my round-trip flight from London Stansted to Oslo only cost 34.66 GBP, or about $44.36.
Accommodation – $103.50
For 3 nights in Scandinavia, and two in the capital, this is a decent price point. I included a third of my night train as accommodation cost, and the other portion in my transportation, but regardless, I’d always do a night train again as it saved loads of time that we instead got to spend hiking!
Broken down, accommodation looked like this:
Night 1: Night train from Oslo to Bergen – $51.50
Night 2: Shared dorm at Flåm Campground – $30.00
Night 3: Airbnb in Oslo city centre – $21.00
Transportation – $347.79
My heart hurts just looking at this amount. Without the high transportation expense, this entire journey could have been reasonable… but we had to get around.
The largest expense? The Norway in a Nutshell tour. If I could do it again, I’d reconsider doing this formal (and very touristy) route and opt for more casual transportation without a cruise at my own pace.
Also, while I’m no longer a student, I still have a valid student ID and Norway gives major discounts for students, so I also wonder if travelling on student fares would’ve been cheaper than paying the package price…? Guess I won’t know until I visit again.
The breakdown of transport looked like this:
Round-trip train from airport to Oslo Central Station – $21.29
Night train – $100
Norway in a Nutshell tour (including 3 trains, 1 boat, & 1 bus) – $226.50
While the night train was also pretty expensive, I wouldn’t change it. 1) because it was a great experience, and 2) because it saved us so much time and allowed us to spend a night halfway through the Nutshell tour and to do some hiking instead of rushing to get back to Oslo for our return flight.
Food – $54.95
In Norway, the fjords aren’t the only thing that will make your jaw drop… just peruse any restaurant menu’s prices. As I mentioned, a Corona cost a whopping $9.00, and a small cheeseburger and fries at a restaurant about $22.
Luckily, I was travelling with two savvy friends who weren’t above eating at McDonald’s, and we did just that, spending only $5.00 on a burger. Another hack we used was shopping at grocery stores for our meals and cooking pasta dinners at our hostel to save cash.
You could easily spend $10 on breakfast, $18 on lunch, and $25 on dinner, any given day. Instead, we spent about $2.50 on breakfast, $5 on lunch, and $6 on dinner by buying our food from the shops instead of restaurants. With a bit of math, that’s a savings of about $39.50 per day.
One day, when I haven’t worked an unpaid internship for 6 months and spent loads on visas and cross-Atlantic flights, I’ll go back and eat a reindeer steak. Until then, I’m happy with my nearly-$120 savings.
Other – $31.05
We paid to have our bags held at the train station, and I spent $22 on souvenirs, but we incurred no other random/unexpected costs… whoopee!
Total cost – $581.65
While my savings have dwindled, my memories have grown, and I’m fortunate that I was able to travel with friends through such a beautiful country. But holy hell, did I mention Norway is expensive?
At least the views were worth it –
What are your thoughts on the expense of Scandinavia? Let me know!
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