Norway On A Budget – Best Travel Hacks For Holidays In This Beautiful Country

We would not have gone to Norway if it hadn’t been for the house sit we found near Lillehammer for two weeks. Cutting out on a big chunk of accommodation costs we were able to find out more about, how to travel Norway without breaking the bank and seeing Norway in a nutshell.

It's a challenge but possible to travel Norway on a budget. Get our firsthand budget travel tips for traveling Norway in a nutshell without breaking the bank.

Yes, we are cheapies, when it’s about our travels. To be able to travel as world nomads without breaking the bank, needs either to narrow down our travels to the cheapest travel destinations or otherwise to do some intense research, how to travel the most expensive places of the world on a tight budget. Learn how to travel Norway on a budget!

Norway on a budget – Is that possible?

Yes, it is! Keep in mind though, that it depends more on what you want to see in this rather large country and what amount of time you can spend than about money.

Norwegian Scenic Route Aurlandfjellets is one of the worlds most beautiful roads. The snow road in Norway reveals most spectacular views over Norwegian fjords.
Stegastein viewpoint of Aurlandfjorden

If you want to find yourself enjoying the UNESCO heritage sites in the Norwegian Fjords with a brief visit to Bergen’s old Hanseatic wharf and buildings, get on the historic train of Flåm and don’t want to miss out on the gorgeous northern towns like Trondheim or even more exciting, head for dogs sledding in Tromsø while having the once of a lifetime experience to see the arctic light, all this within your yearly holiday of less than a months time, you are in trouble. No ways to do it all!

Checkout the website of the Norwegian Tourist information.

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Hanseatic commercial buildings, Bryggen, UNESCO heritage site in Bergen

Relax, you can always return for another visit in the next year.

How To Travel Norway On A Budget

If you live in Europe and own a car or even a camper van (and you’ve enough time at your hand) – and you need to travel Norway on a budget – consider to drive to Norway. Wild camping is allowed almost everywhere and what better way than to explore the remote places which are not accessible by public transport other than by car?

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Flåm, Norway

We envied campers watching the rising sun at a fjord with a coffee mug in front of their comfortable camper vans.

Affordable car or camper hire in Norway

Norway was the first place we experienced which had run out of rental cars when we arrived at the airport. The demand is often higher than the offer which makes for expensive prices.

Norway on a budget is a challenge, now doubt! Check out the distances you want to negotiate and keep in mind that at the west coast the streets are winded up and down the steep slopes of the fjords. You don’t want to miss out on taking in the scenery and drive till you are exhausted.

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Little town along Sognefjord

We made the experience during our extensive travels around the world and after many car hires that we often got better deals from small local dealers for a whole month or more. Try to negotiate a price well in advance if possible and if it has to be, with limited kilometers. We rented a car in Lillehammer with Rent a Wreck. Cheaper than it would have been in Oslo and very good service. (They even returned by post our wallet to France which we’d forgotten in the car!)

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Maihaugen Open-Air Museum, Lillehammer

Unfortunately the prices of camper hires were well over our budget. In our opinion the best way to travel Norway! But maybe you can find a deal in off-season. Good luck!

Public Transport in Norway

Depending on the distances you want to travel within Norway, check if it’s cheaper to take public transport (or even fly) and rent a car locally. Public transport is expensive but can be worthwhile for comfort, scenery and if you’re traveling alone.

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Public Transport on Sognefjord

One important rule: Book your public transport in advance!

You can book by internet and apps or in tourist offices, depending where you go. Even ferries, express boats, buses and trams can be booked in advance usually with discounts.

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Express Boat from Flåm to Bergen (ca. five hours)

Affordable Accommodation In Norway

House Sitting Or House Swap

We wouldn’t get around the world like we did the last five years if we wouldn’t house sit. House Sitting comes with caring for somebody else house, garden and pets, usually when the owner is on holiday. In a previous post House Sitting and House Swap – Explore a country from a citizens perspective, I wrote about house sitting and how you can get such assignments.

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Arriving in the outskirts of Bergen by boat

The downside is, that you can’t do more than day trips or even just a few hours of exploring the surroundings, depending how much time the care taking of the animals needs.

A rental car is needed anyway, as often the places are remote and the use of the owner’s car isn’t included in the house sit agreement in most of the cases.

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Islands turning from Sognefjord into Atlantic

Camping and huts in Norway

Don’t consider to camp in Norway with your tent if it’s not only for a couple of days! Even in July, August you’ll get your fair share of rain and it can get uncomfortably cold at night.

Norwegian Scenic Route Aurlandfjellets is one of the worlds most beautiful roads. The snow road in Norway reveals most spectacular views over Norwegian fjords.
Our hut and rental car at Vindedalen Camping

Opt for a hut on a camping or in Norway’s National Parks. You need to take your own bedding – yes, also your pillow and blanket – but it’s around 50 € a night for two to four people and often in beautiful, wild places.

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Remote house on a cliff at Sognefjord – How is it possible to get there?!

If you are on the way with a camper van, don’t even bother to park on a camping, provided you don’t need the comfort of a toilet and shower. There are safe and beautiful viewpoints to park off for the night all over the place.

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View from our house sit at Follebu near Lillehammer

Let us know about your travels in Norway

We spend about a month in Norway and saw only a fraction of the country during this time, predominantly Lillehammer, Sognefjorden and Bergen by car and one of the most beautiful boat and train rides. Please let us know your experiences and tips which we’ll be happy to add to these tips.

For more information about Norway see our additional posts:

Norwegians Snow Road – The Worlds Most Beautiful Road
Farewell To Winter In Norway | Abschied vom Winter In Norwegen

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Author: Marcelle Simone Heller

I’m searching for natural beauty and wilderness, while I’m travelling relentlessly to find delightful places and encounters with wildlife. I try to capture the thrill of the moments in photography and words, hoping to inspire others with the love for animals and nature.

31 thoughts on “Norway On A Budget – Best Travel Hacks For Holidays In This Beautiful Country”

  1. I think I paid £10 for 2 bottles of water from a hotel reception before I was about to embark on a long car journey through the Fjords. So my tip would be refill your water bottles from the tap.

  2. Fabulous information! We are budget travellers – as we hope to travel indefinitely with little work! I am going to pin this am hope I get to Norway soon! Cheers.

  3. Norway is an enchanting place and like most destinations in Europe quite expensive to get to. You have used some smart techniques to cut costs and enjoy the beauty of this lovely place.

    1. The northern European countries and Switzerland are expensive but it would be a shame to skip them on travels through Europe. It’s challenging but there are always ways to explore on a budget. Maybe not always that comfortable …

  4. I’ve only been to Oslo so far and agree, it can certainly burn a hole in your pocket. I’d love to see more of Norway so I’ll pin this for future reference. Thanks for the details. 🙂

    1. We were first thinking of skipping our tour to the Fjords and Bergen with the boat trip because of the price. But at the end, combining rental car, boat and train, it was affordable. We wouldn’t have want to miss this experience!

  5. I agree that Norway is super expensive so these traveling tips are very useful. I was in the north of Norway last year and traveled by bus which was also expensive. I think I paid about 35 Euros for a 4 hour bus journey from Tromso to Narvik. They do have unlimited passes, I don’t know if it’s possible to buy one for the entire country though. I’ll have to check out Rent a Wreck.

    1. We’d love to travel to the uttermost north of Norway, too. To see the north light and guiding some sled dogs would be amazing. If we happen to do the trip before you and find a cheaper option to travel Norway with a unlimited pass, we’ll get in touch.

  6. We had put Norway on the backburner because of the transport costs. Camper vans can be pretty pricey. Good to know that you got a good deal on a rental car. Hope we can make it soon.

  7. A super useful post – I always thought of Norway as a place that I wouldn’t be able to do on a budget so your tips are definitely welcome! Staying in a hut overlooking a fjord would be absolutely magical – even if I have to lug pillows around! Thanks for sharing

  8. I have to say Norway’s one of the most expensive countries I have visited. Still it’s possible to do it on the cheap and you have got some good tips in the post. Housesitting and Couchsurfing are certainly good options to check out if you’re trying to save some travel costs.

    1. Thank you for stopping by. As I’m from Switzerland originally I’m quite used to expensive countries and know, there is always a way to make it work anyway (almost always …).

  9. My husband had a nursing placement in Laerdal a few years ago – I was so pleased to visit him as the beauty of Norway had stuck in my head from my first visit aged 11! So 35 years later I returned with a suitcase full of food for my husband! We had a wonderful week – found the public transport to be excellent! It is just so expensive you do have to plan! (We spent 3 days in Bergen eating macdonalds!)

    1. Ha-ha, I can imagine that very well. I did the same visiting Paris with my family many years ago – shame 😉 Laerdal is very beautiful and romantic, a good place to warm up memories.

  10. Thanks for all the ideas! I visited Iceland this year and almost cried when I experienced the prices. And, I have hear Norway is more expensive! We went to Iceland for three days. We wanted to test the waters before exploring more. I think it was a great idea because, like you mentioned, sometimes it is not possible to see everything you want (from a budget perspective). I want to see countries like Norway but I think I will combine it with cheaper destinations in Europe. I can’t be there two weeks (for now). House sitting is a great idea. Also, I have hear Germany is the cheapest place to rent a caravan in Europe. People rent them there and then move to Scandinavia (using ferries, I assume).

    1. Germany is fairly cheap in general compared with the northern European countries and it’s easy to take the ferry to Sweden / Norway from Germany. Many people do during holiday season, so better go off season.

  11. Visiting a notoriously expensive country such as Norway can often put people off, but this guide will show that it can be done! Excellent suggestions and tips, pinned for when we visit our friend in the north of Norway! #feetdotravel

  12. Norway is such a gorgeous country, but ridiculously expensive – and I’m Danish.! I have considered doing a ferry trip on the Hurtigruten ferry, which goes as an example from Bergen to Kirkenes and docks at a ton of places. It can be fairly inexpensive if you go on the right dates and don’t mind a windowless cabin, and you get to experience a lot of Norway in a relatively short amount of time 🙂

    1. It is ridiculously expensive considering the wealth of Norway. Why can’t they give cheap petrol, gas, salmon etc. to their own people, having it all at the doorstep? I also read about the trip from Bergen to Kirkenes which must be stunning! I’m not sure about the windowless cabin though. I did that on a Mediterranean cruise and it was very claustrophobic!

What do you think? Your comment is most appreciated.