Norway Explained For Members

Seven things that are cheaper in Norway than in other countries

Robin-Ivan Capar
Robin-Ivan Capar - [email protected]
Seven things that are cheaper in Norway than in other countries
While some expenses in Norway - such as housing, eating out, and alcohol - can be high, some goods and services are reasonably priced and sometimes even free. Photo by shepherd on Unsplash

Norway has a reputation for being an extremely pricey country. However, you can find some essential services and goods for free or with a small contribution.


Norway often finds itself in the spotlight as one of the world's most expensive countries to live in or visit.

Due to this perception, many people assume that every aspect of life in Norway comes with a hefty price tag.

However, while certain expenses - such as housing, eating out, and alcohol - can be high, some goods and services are reasonably priced and sometimes even free.

This is particularly the case in some of the country's core services, but there are also other areas of life in Norway where affordability defies the conventional wisdom of its reputation as a costly country.

Accessible healthcare

Under the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme, most healthcare expenses are covered, with residents only required to pay a small service charge.

For instance, a consultation with a general practitioner will typically cost you around 160 kroner.

READERS REVEAL: What do foreigners think of the Norwegian healthcare system?

However, the system is designed to ensure that healthcare remains accessible, with provisions in place to protect people from excessive costs.

You'll receive an exemption card once you have paid more than 2,460 kroner in approved fees.

With this card, all subsequent treatments covered by the national insurance scheme will be free of charge.

Compared to many other countries, this safeguard ensures that healthcare remains accessible to virtually everyone.


Subsidised childcare

The Nordic countries, including Norway, prioritise public funding for childcare.

READ MORE: How does the cost of childcare in Norway compare to other Nordic countries?

This heavy reliance on public funding ensures that childcare remains affordable for families while maintaining high quality standards.

Parents in Norway typically spend an average of 3,106 kroner per month (with some differences between different municipalities) on preschool/kindergarten for their children aged 1 to 5.

The low childcare costs are due to kindergarten places, at both private and public providers, being capped. Given the average monthly wage in Norway is around 56,360 kroner, it's no surprise that almost all parents can afford to have their children in childcare. 



If you're looking for affordable seafood, avoid fish markets such as the one in Bergen, which tend to be somewhat of a tourist trap. Pictured is various seafood on display in Bergen. Photo by Georg Eiermann on Unsplash

Affordable seafood

While salmon remains a star attraction (it can often be found at a better price than in many European countries to which it is exported), Norway also has other fresh and affordable seafood options.

From cod and haddock to shrimp and mussels, Norway's seafood markets and stores have an excellent seasonal offer, and if you do your seafood shopping at grocery chains (REMA 1000 is a good example) instead of markets, you'll often be able to find seafood at bargain prices.

Free state-run education (for most people)

At the primary and lower secondary levels, state-run education is entirely free of charge and funded by municipalities. Additionally, private options are available.

Moving to higher education, most universities in Norway are state-run.

READ MORE: Everything you need to know if you want to study in Norway in 2024

Public universities typically offer tuition-free education for Norwegian citizens and residents, although some specialised programs may require tuition fees.

Conversely, private universities do charge fees for their programs.

Starting from autumn 2023, students from outside the EU/EEA and Switzerland are subject to tuition fees at Norwegian universities, although certain exemptions may apply.

Even private and international schools in Norway can be considered cheap. This is because the vast majority receive government funding. The funding means that fees are typically around 30,000 - 40,000 kroner per year.  



You can access free kayaking equipment through BUA. Photo by Gatis Vilaks on Unsplash

Equipment for recreational activities

Friluftsliv, the Norwegian concept of embracing the outdoors, is made more accessible through initiatives offering free or low-cost outdoor gear rental.

BUA is a prime example of such an initiative. It offers a wide array of items for borrowing, including skis, bicycles, kayaks, hammocks, and more.

With locations spanning the country, BUA allows you to borrow equipment for up to one week.

To access their inventory, you'll need to create an online account on their website.

Making use of Norway's great outdoors

The concept of Allemannsretten is a big one when it comes to the Norwegian way of life. Perhaps the most apt translation would be "the right of public access" or simply "the right to roam."

In essence, these regulations dictate how people can relish the vast Norwegian outdoors.

Allemannsretten specifies the guidelines for unrestricted access to public spaces in Norway. This encompasses the freedom to hike, walk, ski, swim, camp, and forage.

It grants people the liberty to use open land irrespective of ownership. This privilege extends to uncultivated areas, including much of the coastline, marshlands, forests, and mountains. However, there are some exceptions.

Overall, exploring the great outdoors in Norway can be relatively cost-effective, as entry to national parks is often free or accompanied by a modest fee.


Diapers and newborn essentials

After the Kiwi supermarket chain 20 years ago started to heavily discount nappies to draw in families, an on-and-off price war between the chains has led to some of the lowest nappy prices in Europe, and today, you can find incredible deals on diapers (often 50 percent off) in multiple grocery chains.

Furthermore, many stores and pharmacies in Norway offer free baby packs containing samples and essential products for newborns. Major grocery stores, such as REMA 1000 and Kiwi, offer them, as does Apotek 1.

Most years, several major stores focused on baby items will also have special gift packs.

READ MORE: Four tips to help the parents of newborns in Norway save money on essentials



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