Hello, after starting to plan our 3 week trip to Iceland and Norway I'm getting concerned about the overall cost of everything as I know these are two of the most expensive places to visit. Wondering if anyone had any ideas about how much on average it costs to eat out in Norway? I can figure out our accomodations and our train travel costs relatively easily but the only other major cost we will have will be food and being that we will be moving around a bunch via public transport and that I don't want to be home cooking every meal, our usual meals include breakfast at home and then lunch and dinner out. Any insight into this would be greatly appreciated.
We found Scandinavia very expensive to travel around. Cokes and coffee in a 7-11 was $4.50, for example.
We took a cruise out of Copenhagen that hit all the big Scandinavian cities (including St. Petersburg). Then we flew over to Oslo and took the Norway in a Nutshell trip ending in Bergen. We flew to Oslo and back to the U.S. from there.
A cruise is by far the most reasonable way to experience Scandinavia.
I look up a few menus at restaurants from TripAdvisor to check out typical foods served but also to find out the general prices for items I would likely order.
Labor costs in Norway are very high, so you'll usually pay quite a bit more than in France, Spain, Italy, etc., for a basic restaurant meal in Norway. I believe Rick has said (probably in the Scandinavia guide) that you will usually benefit by opting for a more expensive meal in Norway, that there will be a perceptible difference in quality. I think there's a lot of truth in that comment, but I have to say that my go-to option for upgraded meals, seafood, didn't always work so well for me in Norway. A lot of Norwegian fish preparations were bland to me. I did like the smoked-fish chowder I had a couple of times, and toast Skagen. The latter is an open-faced sandwich piled with a salad made with baby shrimp and dill.
I'll take a wild stab at estimating the cost difference between Norwegian meals and those in most other countries of western Europe and say I seemed to be paying about 40% more than usual (equivalent to $35-$40 rather than my more typical $25-$30) at a relatively basic sit-down restaurant. My beverage of choice is water. Alcohol is highly taxed in Norway and can really explode a restaurant tab.
In addition to the obvious option of buying food at supermarkets, you can consider Middle Eastern kebab joints. Pizzerias are another affordable option, though you'll be paying more than elsewhere.
Hotel breakfasts tend to be feasts that include herring, vegetable salads, good whole-grain breads, multiple cheeses and deli meats, cooked eggs, yogurt with toppings (fruit, nuts, muesli), cereals, etc. If you're staying in apartments, you won't benefit from those.
Keep your eyes peeled for good, inexpensive options. I found that supermarkets sold little single-serving (50- to 55-gram) packets of nuts (almonds and cashews) for not much more than the equivalent of $1. Peanuts were usually available in larger packages at a lower cost per serving. They were a handy, portable snack.
In Bergen I ate lunch twice at the little cafe inside one of the branches of the KODE art museum. It had a very limited menu plus one special each day. I don't remember what I paid, but it was less than usual in Norway, and the food was good.
It hurts a little to eat out in Norway. It’s like losing an arm and leg in the Punic Wars to get a proper alcoholic buzz on. It’s the only country I’ve been to that has a duty free liquor shop on the way INTO the country! And believe me nobody was missing the opportunity to max out on their import allotment before crossing officially into Norway. It was the craziest thing I’d seen. Norwegians doing their Costco run for alcohol coming into the country.
A Big Mac, as of a few months ago was $10 or $10.90 to go. According to www.numbeo.com, an inexpensive restaurant meal will run about $20; a mid-range meal for two about $91 and a beer about $9.50 which seems about right. Eat hearty at breakfast which is usually included in your room price.
We were really glad we saw a good deal of the country on a Havila cruise up the Hurtigurten route which included our meals. It made the cruise a bargain for us and something I’d recommend. Norway is gorgeous and beautiful. Once I’m over the financial pain of the Norway trip, I can’t wait to see Iceland! Trip report please.
and then lunch and dinner out
We spent five weeks in Scandinavia in August/September 2022. We saved money on lunch by buying bread, ham and cheese and making sandwiches most days. A piece of fruit and some dried apricots and that was lunch.
For dinners we found that eating at our hotels was often less expensive than eating out.
As others have said alcohol, other than beer, is a real luxury item.
Whatever you do don't be tempted to eat in an Egon restaurant in Norway. It's a chain seen in many towns and we had a terrible meal at the Egon in Trondheim. Greasy pizza and soggy pasta and the worst house wine we have ever tasted.
Alcohol is expensive in Norway and your restaurant bill will be a lot lower if you stick to the non-alcoholic options. It not a coincidence
But even a fast food meal can be around 150 kr or so. Premade sandwiches or salads can be a good alternative for a cheaper meal.
We did an 11 day Norway cruise all the way to the North Cape in 2019 visiting 6 ports.
The best way to see the amazing fjords are on a ship.
Also, you have your meals and lodging already paid for, instead of having to pay Norway's expensive prices.