Honest Costs of Travel in Scandinavia: What I Spent in 3 Weeks

Scandinavia is known for being one of the most expensive regions in the world. The three weeks I spent in Norway, Sweden, and Denmark did not do much to dispel this notion for me, personally. To give you an idea of the costs of travel in Scandinavia, I wanted to share my personal expenses over the 22 days I spent there. I’ve broken down my expenses by individual countries, and also given a total for all of Scandinavia. I hope this helps you plan your travel budget with a little more accuracy!

Note: All prices are reflected in US Dollars. The prices listed are AFTER any split charges have been divided. (For example, if I bought a $20 bottle of wine and split it between 4 friends, I would list the price as $5 split 4 ways).

I caught a sale on the Eurail passes for 15 days that was around $637 USD, or $42/day it it ended up being cheaper for me than a typical ticket for the train from Oslo to Bergen. If you’re doing travel through multiple countries in Europe outside of Norway, the Eurail pass might be your best bet. in There are also discounts for seniors and children, so check for those when booking your tickets!

Costs of Travel in Norway (13 Days)

The first six days in Norway I was with a group of 7 others from my work organization. We stayed in an AirBNB in Fredrikstad all together and shared a rental van for the week. These two costs were covered through work. We also did some group shopping for groceries and cooked most dinners together.

Costs during this time were much lower than they would have been if I’d had to pay for accommodations and/or travel, or we’d been staying in Oslo and had the opportunity to eat out more frequently. My “per day” average in Norway without this week would have been closer to $121 a day.

Get Inspired: Norway Photos Gallery: 26 of my Favorite Photos from Norway

Accommodations: $324.12

Airbnb in Oslo for 1 night (split 5 ways)$26.55 each
Airbnb in Fredrikstad for 6 nights (covered by work)$0
Airbnb in Oslo for 1 night (split 3 ways)$49.97 each
Airbnb in Bergen for 2 nights (split 2 ways)$89.60 each
Trolltunga Hotel in Odda for 2 nights (split 2 ways)$158.00 each

*Costs listed are for queen rooms.

Eco-friendly accommodations in Bergen

Eco-friendly accommodations in Oslo

All the Thor hotels in their chain are Environmental Lighthouse Certified, a standard popular in Norway indicating they meet stringent environmental sustainability standard.

Food and Drinks: $394.54

smoked salmon with spinach and cream sauce, with black coffee - costs of travel in Scandinavia
Oslo food total: $102.30
Tacos at Los Tacos – $10.49
Brunch (smoked salmon & coffee) – $30.14
Panini at train station – $7.25
Dinner in Oslo (gnocchi appetizer & a beer) – $23.00
Panini & OJ – $11.44
Coffee & croissant at train station – $3.07
Chips on train – $4.80
Pizza Dinner – $12.11
Bergen: $114.30

Dinner (mussels appetizer & seafood plate, split 2 ways) – $37.00
Seafood Baguette – $12.30
Reindeer Sausage – $8.00
Sushi dinner (split 2 ways)- $28.5

Coffee – $5.90
Double espresso – $2.95
Glass of wine on the plaza – $12.17

Snacks/groceries – $7.48
Odda: $126.96
Burger & fries $18.81
Haddock dinner – $35.17
Groceries/food for Trolltunga hike – $20.72
Deer stew dinner and glass of wine – $52.26
Fredrikstad: $50.98
Lunch downtown (Salmon kebab lunch) – $21.75
House groceries – $26.40
Smoked Haddock Pudding in Fredrikstad- $2.83

 

a reindeer sausage with onions, mustard, and lingonberry sauce - costs of travel in Scandinavia

 

Travel: $239.83

Public transit is widely available and it’s easy to get to the city center from the Oslo airport with the tram.

If you’re not using a Eurail pass, here are a few options for buying train tickets in Norway:

  • Rail Ninja – you can purchase individual tickets here
  • Norwegian State Railways (NSB) – purchase your tickets here.
  • Rail CC – purchase your tickets here.
  • Purchase tickets at the train station. You’ll find ticketing centers around the station, which accept credit card and cash in most cases. (Norwegian currency is the Kroner, which is currently about 0.12 USD per 1 NOK.) A quick search brought up prices between $439-$939 NOK which is between $53 and $114 USD. Last minute tickets are more expensive. 

Don’t miss this post: Oslo to Bergen: A Train Ride To Remember

Train from airport into Oslo$23.45
Train from Oslo to Bergen$0 (covered with Eurail pass purchase)
Boat from Bergen to Rosendal$48
Bus from Rosendal to Odda$7.25
Taxi to Trolltunga Hotel$6.58 (split 2 ways)
Taxi to/from Trolltunga hike –$73.78 (split 2 ways)
Bus from Odda to Oslo –$80.77

 

Attractions: $6.14

The only thing we paid for attraction-wise was our Floibanen tram ticket in Bergen to get to the viewpoint on the top of the mountain. Very much worth it, though we opted to walk down for a little exercise. There’s so much to take in just walking around this breathtaking country. Here are some of your options in Norway and what you might expect to pay:

the floibanen funicular coming up the tracks - costs of travel in Scandinavia

Costs of other popular attractions in Oslo

Oslo Pass$48
Winter bike tour$58
All inclusive beer tour$95
Fram museum (Polar exploration museum)$13

Costs of other popular attractions in Bergen

Segway day tour$82
Bergen Viewpoint cruise$200
Hop on Hop off bus$40
Fish market
Bryggen Hanseatic Wharf
Walking around Mt. Floyen
FREE

Costs of other popular attractions in Norway

Northern Lights Chasing$150+
Reindeer visit & Sami Culture lesson$118
Snowmobile safari$200
Oslo Fjord Sightseeing Cruise$36

 

Miscellaneous: $25.04

Airbnb Cleaning Fees – $12.34

Public Bathroom Use – $1.23

Foreign Transaction Fees – $7.53

Postcard purchase – $1.23

Mailing postcard – $2.71

 

TOTAL NORWAY EXPENSES: $989.67 / PER DAY AVERAGE: $76.12

Views from the top of the Floibanen Funicular in Bergen - costs of travel in Scandinavia

Costs of Travel in Sweden (6 Days)

As you might notice, food and drinks were the most expensive part of this leg of the trip. Den Gyldene Freden is the world’s oldest tavern still in its original location, dating back to 1722, so we splurged on a nice dinner there. (Worth it, and highly recommended). We also spent a lot on drinks that night, and my regular coffee purchases didn’t do me any favors either. However, we didn’t hit up very many museums in spite of Stockholm being one of the most museum-dense cities in the world so we could have done worse on attraction costs.

A statue of a man riding a horse into battle - costs of travel in Scandinavia

Accommodations: $122.65

Airbnb in Karlstad for 1 night (split 2 ways) – $26.65

Interhostel in Sweden for 5 nights (paid per bunk) – $96.00

*Costs listed are for rooms with 1 full bed or queen bed.

Eco-friendly accommodations in Stockholm

Check out this website for the Ecoswan label, which lists 255 hotels in Sweden certified as sustainably by their rigid regulations.

Food and Drinks: $181.18

Stockholm: $165.01
Breakfast fruit/yogurt bowl – $9.50
Espresso and croissant – $6.49
Coffee & croissant – $9.57
Espresso house coffee – $4.09

Groceries – $9.59 (split 3 ways – covered 2 breakfasts & 2 dinners)

Dinner at Den Gyldene Freden (Herring app split 2ways, Seafood soup & glass of wine) – $59.42
Drinks at the Limerick – $45 (split three ways – oops!)
Tacos at La Neta – $11.13
Hot dog & Ice Cream – $10.22
Karlstad: $16.17
Ice cream cone – $3.78
Caprese salad lunch special – $12.39
Croissant sandwich – $4.42
Burger and fries at Phils Burgers – $11.12

Travel: $42.83

Bus from Oslo to Karlstad to visit a friend I’d met in Guatemala several years earlier – $10

Reservations on train to Karlstad and back from Stockholm w/Eurail pass – $17.29

 

Attractions: $14.76

There are a plethora of intriguing museums in Sweden. The one we settled on was the Vasa Museum, featuring a ship recovered from the ocean floor, restored and on display in the entrance. My ticket was $14.76. I’m always down for a good museum and I would definitely recommend this one to get a taste of Swedish sailing culture several hundred years ago.

The Vasa Ship in the museum in Stockholm - costs of travel in Scandinavia

 The Vasa Ship in the museum in Stockholm.

Costs of other popular attractions in Stockholm

Royal Palace$17
3-hr brunch cruise$76
ABBA Museum$26
Food walk$90

Miscellaneous: $20.28

Linens rental at hostel – $5.70

Laundry – $3.76

Postcards (purchase & mail) – $9.68

Bathroom use at fast food restaurant – $1.14

 

TOTAL SWEDEN EXPENSES: $381.70 / PER DAY AVERAGE: $63.61


Costs of Travel in Denmark (3 Days)

Again, food costs were my biggest expense here. I bought coffee everyday if not twice a day, and we splurged on a night out spending a lot on drinks. We dined at Host, a Michellin star restaurant in Copenhagen which was expensive but one of the most beautiful meals I’ve ever eaten. I highly recommend trying it out if you like fine dining and seafood! Again, we did really well hitting up free attractions and spending the bulk of our time exploring on foot and taking in the sights of the city. If you do a better job than I did keeping food costs down, you could spend a lot more on attractions and come out about the same.

the Copenhagen Botanical Gardens greenhouse - costs of travel in Scandinavia

Accommodations: $118.20

Globalhagen Hostel in Denmark for 3 nights (paid per bunk) – $118.20

Globalhagen is a super eco-friendly hostel with lots of amazing community initiatives going on as well. I even wrote a post about it: Globalhagen Hostel Review

*Costs listed are for queen rooms.

Eco-friendly accommodations in Copenhagen

Food and Drinks: $410.47

Groceries – $10
Chips – $2.85
Sandwich – $5.35
McDonalds – $4.09
Brunch – $12.20
Brunch – $24.97

Dinner at Host – $141
Dalle Valle Buffet – $36

Wine bar & Drinks – $120
Drinks – $34.94
Wine – $5.52

Coffee – $3.94
Coffee – $3.15
Coffee – $3.15
Coffee $3.31
a scallop with greens sits on a half shell with garnish on fire - costs of travel in Scandinavia

 

Travel: $8.30

Reservations on train to Copenhagen from Stockholm w/Eurail pass – $8.30

 

Attractions: $0

We also spent the majority of this trip walking around exploring on foot, taking advantage of food, summer weather, and free attractions. I also met up with a woman I’d featured in my Woman of the Week series, Kelley, who lives in Copenhagen.

Like Oslo and Stockholm, there are plenty of things to spend your money on in Copenhagen if you want. But we found walking along the waterways, taking in the tall, uniform yet unique streets, and Scandinavian quirks captivating enough.

the canals of Denmark are crowded with people at dusk - costs of travel in Scandinavia

Typical costs of other popular attractions in Copenhagen

Tivoli Gardens$20
Pub Crawl$25
Guided Walking Food Tour$35-60
Botanical Gardens (a personal fave)Free admission
Day trip city tours$60-150

 

Miscellaneous: $3.94

$3.94 razors (it was the start of a long trip and I’d forgotten mine. Who knows, maybe this is helpful for you…)

 

TOTAL DENMARK EXPENSES: $528.67 / PER DAY AVERAGE: $176.22


Total Costs of Travel in Scandinavia (22 Days)

Note: These costs do not include any pre-travel purchases (gear, travel insurance, snacks brought on the plane, etc.) and I’ve left out my flight since I’m only traveling one way. (It cost about $350 one way from Chicago to Oslo). They also exclude any expenses incurred for work purposes that I would not have made otherwise (train rides on the way back from dropping off our rental car, for example).

I also purchased a Eurail pass which allowed me to use the Eurail approved trains on any 15 days over a 2-month period. That covered my train ride from Oslo to Bergen which I would have otherwise purchased separately. It cost me $610 for the pass (which I purchased during a promotional sale). I also purchased travel insurance, which cost me around $350 as well, though this covers six months of travel rather than just the 3 weeks figured here.

GRAND TOTAL: $1900.04 ($86.37 per day)

Accommodations$564.97 (An average of $25.68 – not sure I could have beat this easily.)
Food & Drinks$986.19 (One Michellin star restaurant, one historic diner, and way too much booze and coffee.)
Travel$290.96 (Our taxi to and from Trolltunga skewed this for us.)
Attractions$20.90 (Food was our main attraction, plus other free places.)
Miscellaneous: $49.26 (only souvenirs purchased were postcards!)

All told, I spent about $400 more than I was hoping on this leg of the trip, though I can mostly trace that back to the Trolltunga Taxi and two fancy dinners we enjoyed in Stockholm and Copenhagen. All experiences that I don’t regret in the slightest, but no small sum and it kind of threw my budget off for the rest of my round-the-world trip.

Hopefully this gives you a better idea of what to expect in terms of costs. Dining out is quite expensive and traveling to and from cities isn’t particularly cheap, but there are definitely lots of ways to make this a more affordable journey.

Let me know how this compares to your experience and your favorite tips for saving money!

Honest Costs of Travel in Scandinavia: What I Spent in 3 Weeks
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18 comments

  1. This is so useful!! Thank you ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ve always wanted to travel around Scandinavia, now I have just a liiiittle more courage, hehe ๐Ÿ™‚ I definitely thought it would be more expensive for 3 weeks!

  2. Iโ€™m so glad you found it helpful! Definitely much more expensive than some other parts of the world, but not as terrible as you might think if youโ€™re prepared ๐Ÿ˜Š

  3. For someone who mostly earns Indonesian Rupiah, Scandinavia is pretty much like a fairy tale for me. It looks so beautiful from afar, but then again I always wonder whether I can actually afford to get around there without actually breaking my bank account. And from your notes here… If I rely on my current income, I could barely manage to survive for a week but it sounds like a challenge to me. Hahaha. Thanks for sharing! ๐Ÿ˜€

  4. Ah yes that makes it all the more difficult! Iโ€™m lucky the USD goes pretty far, but Iโ€™d spent a couple years living at home rent free and saving as much as I could to be able to afford it. If you could find a volunteer gig somewhere with a kitchen or youโ€™re into camping, that could cut costs a lot! But itโ€™s not cheap at all. If you ever make the trip Iโ€™d love to hear how you saved for it!

  5. This is such a great idea! Thanks for sharing! We went to Norway a few years ago (Bergen) and quickly realized that we did not have the budget to eat out all of the time. Of course, the reason we went was because the flights were the cheapest….lesson learned!!

  6. Thanks so much for reading! I loved Bergen so much, but definitely had a similar experience. So much tempting food, but so little budget ๐Ÿ˜‚

  7. I think its great that you were able to entertain yourself without spending a lot on attractions. I don’t blame you for the food and drink splurges, sounds like those were worth it

  8. Didn’t anyone tell you that the secret to not dying from sticker shock in Norway (and I suppose the rest of Scandinavia) is not to look at prices. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Not good for the pocketbook, but key to maintaining your sanity, at least for those of us who live here.

    P.S. Thanks for the restaurant recommendations! I hope to be back in Copenhagen and Stockholm within the next year.

  9. It definitely helped the budget! I feel like I generally pick one or the other. If Iโ€™m spending a ton on tours and attractions, less fancy dinners. But it was nice that there was so much to enjoy for free where we were. Definitely would repeat all the food experiences!

  10. ๐Ÿ˜‚ I missed that lesson but it would have helped my budget fears! Iโ€™d be cooking at home a lot more if I was a resident, thatโ€™s for sure. Youโ€™ll have to let me know how you find them if you get a chance to try them out!

  11. Wow I had no idea Scandinavia can be this cheap ๐Ÿ˜€ Love your effective utilization of money. I’d prefer Airbnb too, though I had no idea if Airbnb also ask for cleaning fee! Thanks for sharing ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. I’m not sure that all Airbnb’s charge a cleaning fee, and I know when they do it can vary, so something to look out for when booking. Thanks for reading, hope you found it helpful! ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. I spent a lot less staying in AirBnBs for $40ish/night and doing my own cooking (except for one meal). If you’re short on cash in the nordics, the ramen noodle is your friend. You can get the noodle cups that just require hot water from the electric kettle, which almost every hotel or guest house has! Add in some nuts, bread, and cheese (and a jar of nutella, and some cheap jam, and some pre-made pancakes and lots of smoked fish…) … Food at the grocery store is affordable, and in some cases cheaper than you would find in the US. Look for store brand jam… 1KG strawberry jam for … less than $2?

    I made up for it with two $200+ dog sledding trips… but that was totally worth it. =P

  14. Such a useful guide and so helpful for planning my future travels through Scandinavia. I’ve only been to Bergen/Trolltunga and my God, did I find it expensive too. Luckily we were camping but the food really added up! This has got me excited to one day go to Sweden or Norway though, thanks so much! ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. I admire your resolve!! I have such good intentions of cooking like that everywhere I go but get so side-tracked by all the restaurants I see walking around. Noodle cups are a great idea though. When I do cook, pasta is my go to. Dog sledding definitely sounds worth it though haha. Gotta pick your battles!!

  16. Yeah Trolltunga was the worst for us because there were so few options for grocery shopping/cooking where we were, and transit was necessary for Trolltunga but so expensive! So glad you found it helpful. ๐Ÿ˜Š

  17. Fantastic post! I loved how you showed that Scandinavia doesn’t necessarily have to be as expensive as everyone (myself included!) think it is. And it’s always important to splurge on those experiences that are worth the most to you! ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. Thank you, Maja! I appreciate it! I totally agree as well, experiences are just as worthy of your money as material purchase if theyโ€™re important to you. Happy travels! ๐Ÿ˜Š

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