I'm in the VERY preliminary phase of planning a trip to Norway for next Summer (perhaps May?). Looking at doing a cruise vs the traditional driving/B&B route. Two of us (my wife and I). Focus would be southwest/west rural Norway. Obviously, there will be stops in some very touristy areas, eg Flam. Can anyone give me a very general idea of how expensive it is for meals, basic lodging, gas, etc. We're definitely not 5 star hotel, Michelin restaurant people, but we are also beyond the hostel phase. I'm very familiar with expensive Switzerland as well as US prices - so maybe a comparison is the best way to answer this question? I'm not a fan of cruising, so I would much prefer a traditional trip, but I also don't have an offshore bank account in the Caymans!
Hi Marcus, a quick question: how many people ? You say "we", is that a couple, a family of five, etc ?
Sorry Kim, Important little detail. Two of us (just my wife and I).
It has been 25 years since I was in Norway, so I cannot answer the question from current experience. But one way to find out is to look at actual prices on menus and hotel,websites.
Here is a menu from an Italian restaurant in Bergen—-in Norwegian, but you can understand the dishes on offer because they are in Italian.
Some quick examples—-asparagus risotto and salad with chicken and pancetta are both 239 NOK. That is about $22, but I don’t know what that would be in Swiss francs.
I will be back with a hotel or two after I finish watching the US Open tennis finals!
You might look at the Hurtigruten website, for their itineraries along the western coast. My last trip before Covid, I flew to Oslo (two days there) and the usual "NIN" per RS to Bergen. 1.5 days there, and then boarded the Hurtigruten. I absolutely loved it. It was expensive but was inclusive (except for the Internet pkg should you want that) and the excursions they offered. I am NOT a cruise person, but because it also is a ferry did not feel at all like a cruise ship- but the meals were delicious with local ingredients and white tablecloths with passengers wearing very casual hiking-style clothes. My cabin was the cheapest option with no porthole but very comfortable. Periodically in the middle of the night it was really noisy as they stopped to load and unload cargo on the other side of my wall! It's not clear if you want to be on land for the SW and W as a priority.
I went all the way to their northern terminus because I wanted to spend time in Finland. Personally I thought the round trip would have been long, 3-4 days was perfect.
One cost saving strategy, mentioned here previously by others, is to stay in hotels where there is a good breakfast buffet. Many if not most hotels will offer that as it is a feature of Norwegian hotels, but the quality may vary. It is usually part of the price of staying at a hotel and a good way to fill up for several hours and perhaps have a lighter, less expensive lunch.
We spent twelve nights in Norway, June 2023. We like to stay in interesting, preferably historic hotels. Rooms with a view averaged about $300 a night, all hotels included a large buffet breakfast. We usually prefer to picnic for lunch, probably $15 for groceries each day. Dinners were expensive - they tended to be pricier than elsewhere in Europe, except for Iceland. Petrol is expensive but since the cars get good mileage, driving actually costs about the same as in the USA. The rental car with zero deductible insurance was about $100 a day. Our entertainment was the driving, so not much expense in that category except for the Gundvegan - Flam boat cruise. You will see a lot more driving than cruising.
Similar to the above, we were in Norway for 10 nights in July 2023.
My preference for hotel is what many RS fans would consider a non-starter. I book places where I have "status" and maximize points where possible. So, we stayed at the Radisson Blu when in Oslo and Bergen. I just checked - Oslo averaged $250 a night, Bergen average was $290. I booked those places with cancellable rates in November 2022 for July 2023 stays. I remember being delighted with the rates - I'm sure they went up closer to the stay dates. Breakfast included - huge buffets.
We were averaging $38 - 45 for a main course (without drinks, starter, or desert) at restaurants that I would consider "nice, but not a special treat". I am sure neither of us gravitated to the more expensive dishes on the menu. I think in Chicago at similar strata restaurants I would have expected to pay more like $28 - 35 for the same or similar main course. The seafood places I saw were higher than the above, but since my companion won't eat fish or seafood, the temptation didn't arise! Indian and Italian restaurants seemed to be popular - at least with tourists. They were often less expensive than other places. I don't think we ever wanted anything for lunch the entire time we traveled in Norway thanks to the breakfast buffet.
The mention of Hurtigruten above is great. Also, in Bergen there is Rodne cruises of 3.5 hours or a full day. If you do Norway in a Nutshell, that may satisfy your cruise thoughts. We took only public transport, but we didn't try to access any of the smaller villages.
It is appr. Switzerland plus 10-30%, depending on destination and date of travel.
Main driver is travelling date and availability then.
Stay a few kms away from Flam and Geiranger from overnight, also along official scenic roads it is expensive.
Also fish at harbor restaurant in Bergen has a good quality but is fully overprized. It is still possible to find restaurant pearls such as Senja by Heart. Simple meals in areas without any competition end up in 60-70 USD for 2 people (example Hellesylt).
Hotels: use the loyalty programs of Scandic and Thon hotels, also for booking. Book directly, not via Expedia, Booking, ... Be aware that even the hotels of the chains have very different quality which drives your traveller experience. If you travel early in year (until May) use flexible room tariffs in mountain areas. Travelling end of June to mid of August book asap.
Rental car: avoid one way rentals. If you plan weeks and also Denmark rent the car there, not in Norway (factor 2-3). Follow traffic rules precisely - very high fines. Fuel and food is cheaper close to main ports and around fjords (not lakes). Closer to inner land means more expensive transport which end up in high prices.
Ferries: Regular ferries do not need pre-booking, summer and tourist ferries such als Hellesylt - Geiranger need it.
Hurtigruten can save time, personal energy (e. g. Alesund to Lofoten) and money if you use port-to-port voyages with car - long before pre-booking needed for summer travels. Also unique locations such as Trollfjord can be reached - at good weather ships drive into it. You can sleep and move on while sleeping or enjoying landscapes. What you need to know for travelling Hurtigruten with car I summarized in an article.
I did 5 road trips through Norway - last one over 3 weeks in May / June 2023.
Your post confused me. You start off saying you want a cruise and then ask for pricing for a driving vacation. What type of vacation are you looking at really?
Cruise- You can hope for bargains ( I had a fabulous deal on a 15 dayNorway cruise last summer) or you can price out an 8 day Fjord cruise at regular prices. A balcony cabin would cost the two of you around $4000, but that includes food, lodging, transportation. You can do better than that by carefully watching for sales.
If you take individual segments on a Hurtigruten or Havila coastal ferry, you can book just the cabin (assuming an overnight is involved) without meals. It will still be pricey, but I think surely a much better deal, per person, than I got on my single cabin.
Everything I read pre-trip suggested that the food on Hurtigruten is really good; I never ate it myself for reasons of economy. Havila is new and I don't know anything about it.
I agree with what the others have said about costs. For hotel costs I'd go to booking.com and enter dates as close as possible to what you'll do. Bergen's rather pricey. Flam is both pricey and subject to early sellouts. I don't know about May, but I had a hard time finding something for June in 2022 when I started looking in December. I have the strong impression a lot more people are traveling now. This summer I revisited some of the same Swedish and Finnish cities I went to last summer, and hotel rates were a lot higher--maybe up about 20% or so.
Joining a hotel chain's affinity group will probably get you at least a 5% discount, and sometimes also a better cancellation policy. Be aware there are some chains that have reduced service to the bare minimum--no staffed reception desk, no cleaning of the room mid-visit. You can save a good bit of money choosing places like that if they meet your needs.
Lunch and dinner on Hurtigruten is manifold, excellent and with tasty peaks - even for higher German ambition levels. Menu is changing daily. Lunch is buffet - daily changing. Dinner will offer you 3 courses with 3 options for every course; you can choose at the table before dinner. There are also a few buffet days. The day / leg to Trondheim (southbound) offers you the captain's dinner which is also excellent. It is absolutely worth the money - especially if you remember where you are on the planet.
Again: Book hotels directly, no booking engines in between because you have n negotiation option if something is not OK. At Norwegian hotels these companies have really no power. The discount on loyalty programs is much higher than 5% only.
My wife and I are headed to Norway next week for a 14 day trip exploring southern Norway. As retired teacher we are definitely not 5-star/Michelin travelers.
Our first 3 days are in Oslo to explore and settle the time difference.. Staying at the Radisson Blu downtown Oslo
Then taking the train to Flam and staying the night at Heimly Pensjonat
From there we will ferry-bus-train to Bergen for 3 nights at the Thon Rosenkrantz which is pretty centrally located in the downtown area.
We will be renting a car in Bergen for the remainder of our trip as we head down to coast to Flekkefjord for two nights at the Grand Hotel.
Next we will visit and stay with some extended family around Arendal for two nights then make our way up to Klofta and the Lily Country Club for our final two nights (closer to airport for 6:00am departing flight).
I have looked at several dining options and most appear to be similar (a little more) in price to US.
There are several dining options within this one location and there is one in Oslo and one in Bergen. https://mathallenoslo.no/en/shops/
Hope this helps some with your planning.
Ten days ago, on August 31 , we completed 11 days in Norway staying in Oslo, Bergen, Alesund and Eidsdal.
It turned out to be hugely economical to pre-book apartments with kitchens where we could cook and self-cater. This substantially cut the cost of eating at restaurants and take-outs. Our apartments/cabins ran about $1,340 for 11 nights. Norway allows visitors to bring 22 pounds of nuts and dried fruit into the country so we threw cashews, pecans, trek mix and dried fruit into our checked luggage. We found regular restaurants ( not fast-food) charged at least $25 per person for breakfast or lunch without beverages; and at least $35 per person for dinner (without beverages). By buying $50 in groceries every other day, we cut meal costs by about 80%.
Transportation costs are very high even when renting cars and taking buses. A two-day hybrid car rental was $190 plus $60 in gasoline at $10 per gallon. Liability and fire coverage for the car rental was picked up by the rental agency as Norwegian law mandates. Collision damage waiver and theft protection was picked up as a benefit under my credit card when I used that card to pay for the rental.
One rule of thumb is never, never, ever take a taxi. The fares may require a home equity loan to pay!
Other Transportation costs— buses, trains and one flight within Norway— were significant and ran about $650. This does not include the $340 cost for two to go on an all-day Geiranger fjord catamaran trip that was a highlight.
Norway is pricey— no doubt about it. But when you realize that most tourism travel in the country is jammed into a three-month period, it’s clear that Norway’s tourism industry is forced to charge more because of that limited travel season.
Hi Marcus, we’ve visited Norway three times in recent years with a Viking ocean cruise. A cruise isn’t cheap but you have your hotel and food expenses covered. On various trips, we’ve arrived in Bergen a few days early, took the scenic train to Oslo, and stayed a few more days.
We like the Thon hotel chain (all locations include breakfast and some also include dinner). If you sign up for their free loyalty program, you can get a few more dollars off. Not super fancy but they are perfectly fine, modern, and clean.
We are on day 11 of an 18 day driving trip in Norway. Our lodging will average $169 a night. Last night for dinner we had a pizza, a large beer and a mule for $48. That's not much different than what we would pay at home. Our car is getting 45 mpg. I bought a new beanie for $11.
I’ve seen reindeer on the menu in Norway but have never seen mule.
Tonght we had a 3 course meal for Nor 480 at our hotel in Granvin. We are doing 2 or 3 of these type meals during our trip. It included deer meat, but my husband hunted for years, so venison isn't uncommon for us to eat.
I would just like to note that the OP has never returned to this thread or clarified the question……..
I hope you haven't already been to Norway as my response will outdated!
My daughter and her family lived in Norway for almost two years. We went to visit twice. Norway is a lovely country.
May is a great time but can also be rainy.
As far as food costs it can be quite high in the two major cities (Oslo and Bergen). But, people don't go to Norway for the food! At least we didn't. Some of our worst dining experiences were in upscale pricey places.
We found (surprisingly) that coffee and bakeries were a great place to have coffee and small meals and baked goods.
We found Norway to be the most expensive country in Europe. More than Switzerland.
Still, we loved it.
The last time we did an 11 day cruise on Royal Caribbean that visited 6 ports in Norway, going up to the North Cape.
I highly recommend doing a cruise. The cruise ships go up the fjords which are amazing. Our cruise ship did a 360 in front of an amazing waterfall in one fjord.
By staying on the ship your meals and lodging are covered. We took private tours at the ports and saved on touring.