Insider tips for your (first) trip - save money in Norway

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Refueling, shopping, groceries, discount cards and extremely helpful apps - these are the topics and much more in this article, with lots of insider tips, tricks and gimmicks that have partly revealed to us friends from Norway ...

Saving money in Norway is often easier and better possible than generally thought. Therefore, we have collected all experiences, tips and hints in this separate article in our guide series Norway.

It is undisputed and well known: A tour through Norway is not exactly cheap travel. We can not and will not change that with this article. Point. But, our extensive tips on saving in Norway and a lot of background information will certainly help you to save a considerable amount during your stay in the country.

Regardless of that, we would like to say one thing in advance: Norway is such a beautiful country with a breathtaking landscape and incredibly friendly as well as open-minded people. To experience, enjoy and get to know it all costs nothing ... Get involved, discover this fascinating kingdom in the north and enjoy the land and its people. If you want to save some of the holiday budget or have to go long with your holiday fund, you should read this article until the end ...

Jump quickly to the area that interests you:

Traveling in the country
(Refueling, toll, parking, public transport, Norwegian Explorer ticket, domestic ferry)
to eat and drink
(Food, food, water, coffee, alcohol)
Shopping in Norway
(Outlet Center, Price Comparison, TaxFree)
Out and about in the cities
(Oslo, Trondheim)
Special: student rates and offers

The breathtaking landscape in the north is free ...

Traveling in the country

On the journey we do not want to go back here explicitly. As we already explain this topic in detail in the first part of our series of guidebooks , for the sake of completeness we would like to refer to the four most important points:

  • Book the ferry crossing to Norway or Sweden, regardless of the ferry company, necessarily on the Norwegian website of the respective shipping company ( more on this in the contribution to the journey ).
  • If you can, try not to use the ferry on a Saturday. Play through the different days on the booking pages and you will see how big the price differences are from day to day.
  • Try to book in advance as long as possible, as ferry prices will increase until the date of the crossing and in general you will not expect a last minute offer.
  • If you arrive by land, then get one of the electronic chips / transponders of the toll companies (BroBizz or AutoPass), as it gives very high discounts, especially if you then enter into an agreement with the bridge company and the BroPas including the BroBizz can use. Also more about this in our article about the departure possibilities to Norway.
State-of-the-art Color Line ferry - which shuttles from Hirtshals (DK) to Larvik (NO)

Norway is the oil and gas producer in Europe. Who now assumes that you get fuel there cheap, is bad advice. The gasoline and diesel prices are generally well above the German level. But how can you still save some euros? In the following, we would like to give you some tips for this:

Refueling is not cheap in Norway
  • If you arrive by car or motorhome via Denmark, then refuel before you leave Germany. We always leave shortly before the German border from the A7 motorway and refuel at a car yard or a small gas station off the highway. Another time we refuel before the car ferry or before we leave Denmark to arrive with a full tank in Norway. We are happy to use the large petrol station at the entrance to Hirtshals (ferry port Denmark) or Frederikshavn (the other ferry port in Denmark). Alternatively, you can refuel in Kiel (Germany) if you can take the ferry to Scandinavia from there. EXCEPTION: In winter, however, we drive to the north with an almost empty tank to refuel there the Polardiesel which is more suitable for extreme temperatures.
  • Even more than in Germany, it depends on when you refuel in Norway. Thank God, our Norwegian friends have given us an early introduction to these "Norwegian secrets". Although these times and days vary regionally as well as between the country and the cities, there is a tendency that even the Norwegian Consumer Council confirms. The cheapest way is to refuel from late (!!) Friday evening to Monday afternoon and Thursday morning. On the other hand, Thursday afternoon and Friday are particularly expensive. Taking these times into account, you can save between 0.50 and 1.50 Norwegian kroner / liter!
  • The Android version (!) Free APP "BensinPris", which we like to use and intensively, shows you the prices at the Norwegian gas stations in the area and helps to find the cheapest price in the region. ( LINK to the APP in the Google Play Store / LINK paid version (44 NOK) APP in the Apple App Store )
  • If you are traveling to one of the offshore islands or to a remote region, it is essential to first refuel on the mainland or in a more densely populated area. It is often much cheaper, because the supply and the competition, the prices there, in contrast to the only gas station on an island, are much cheaper.
Typical Fjord ferry in Norway

Those who travel in Fjord Norway or close to the coast will not be able to avoid the frequent use of one of the many inland ferries across the inlets. On a longer route and especially with a larger motorhome comes as quickly together again a three-digit amount together. It only helps to drive around, or even save ...:

  • The ferries are calculated according to the length of the vehicle and the number of passengers except the driver. A crucial point is the vehicle length of 6 meters. If you exceed these, it will be significantly more expensive for most ferry companies. So, if you're renting a camper, see if it does not make a smaller, not so long model ... Also, think about whether a roof box is not cheaper than a trailer and also sufficient for the holiday.
  • Since January 2019, there is a new system, which saves 50% of the price of the vehicle and 17% for the passengers at many ferry companies: The AutoPass Ferjekort is a really great discount system, which saves a lot of money on longer round trips in the country leaves. Since the AutoPass Ferjekort with all conditions and conditions is very complex to explain, we will detail in this special guide article to the domestic ferry. On the other hand, you can directly access the Norwegian provider of this discount card via this link .
  • If you have already decided to order the Ferjekort, our detailed step by step guide will help you with screenshots to order the Ferjekort card.

The Norwegian Explorer Ticket of the Norwegian airline Widerøe is a reasonably priced and attractive way to travel around the country quickly and independently of the car. Especially because of the large extent of Norway, it is often even the only inexpensive option to see much of the country in two weeks. According to the motto "Fly in two weeks as much as you can" you can reach up to 42 locations with the company's flights from 01.07.2019 to 31.08.2019. Norway is divided into three zones and you can buy the ticket for one zone, two zones or all of Norway, then fly as many and as many times as you like during the two weeks. The prices 2019:

  • One zone = 370 euros
  • Two zones = 435 euros
  • Norway complete = 498 euros
  • Extension week = 215 euros
  • All further details, the map of the zones and the booking possibility can be found on the homepage of the airline Widerøe.
One of the typical machines of the Norwegian airline Widerøe

Here it is advisable to get the transponder / chip of the Norwegian car company AutoPass or at least register with the service provider EPC PLC with an account. In our guide to the topics of car, traffic and toll , we go into a very detailed. Here are just some of the important aspects to save money:

  • In Oslo and in future also in other parts of the country the toll is charged with a so-called environmental differentiation. If you have no chip or are not registered with EPC PLC, you automatically pay the maximum amount. How else should the system know which values ​​your vehicle actually has, if you have not previously registered with this information?
  • Motorhomes pay regardless of their weight only the cheap car tariff, if they are traveling with the chip of AutoPass in the country.
  • At many automated toll collection stations, you can get up to a 10% discount if you pass them with the AutoPass chip.

If you want to order the AutoPass chip (also called Brikke), then you are welcome to use our detailed instructions , which will answer you further questions and explain the ordering process in detail.

This camping card simplifies check-in on many Norwegian campsites and brings you many advantages or conditions at many acceptance points. The card costs you currently 16.- Euro per year or as an ADAC member only 12.- Euro, if you order them at the ADAC. All benefits and benefits can be found here, directly on the homepage of the Camping Key Europe map.

What do you have from the map while traveling through Scandinavia? Here is a brief overview:

  • 3 000+ campsites registered
  • Valid throughout Europe
  • Effortless check-in and check-out at the campsites. You do not need an ID card or passport to check in and out.
  • Accident insurance for the holidays is included (pay close attention to the conditions)
  • Up to 20% discount in high season on more than 2200 campsites across Europe and on or for ferries, bridges, tolls, museums, amusement parks, parks, zoos, food and drink, shopping, car repairs, insurance, gasoline and much more.
Camping in Norway - a cheap and relaxed travel option

When you arrive by plane in one of Norway's larger cities, the question often arises of how to get from the airport to the city cheaply. Almost everywhere attract popular offers such as the "Flybuss" or in Oslo the "Flytoget Airport Express". It often seems like the obvious, easy, quick and cheap option to get into the center of the city.

From experience, we can say that it is often just as fast and significantly cheaper, if you use the regular train or buses. In Oslo, for example, you can buy trains from the NSB (Norwegian State Railways) at almost half the price of the "Flytoget Airport Express" (currently around 10 euros). So compare the offers carefully before deciding on a variant.

Also on this topic we have already published a comprehensive article with many tips and information . Nevertheless, we would like to point out the following points so that you can also save in this context:

  • The cheapest opportunity to stay in Norway is still camping in the great outdoors. Due to the right of everyman, there are perfect conditions for this and the possibility to set up a tent in many beautiful places in the country. What you still have to pay attention to, we tell you in this post by us, which deals with all the details and rules of the right of everyman .
  • A very good opportunity to travel in Norway, to stay overnight and to immerse yourself in the country, is the very popular Couchsurfing. Through a great Norwegian portal you have the opportunity to choose your Norwegian host in advance and make the visit or the overnight stay clear. You can contact 295,133 hosts from all over Norway for this couchsurfing adventure .
  • We've already written a lot about the benefits and details of being a member of the Norwegian Touring and Hiking Association in this post. If you are planning many hikes, want to discover the unique nature of Norway and are planning some nights in mountain huts or mountain hotels, then membership is most likely worthwhile for you. There are many discounts and discounts for DNT members all over Norway, so that the annual subscription in the DNT will pay for itself after just three nights in the mountains.
Berghotel Glitterheim - for DNT members much cheaper

Book this in advance with the reputed and known providers. Then a reasonable vehicle can be gotten for an acceptable price. But avoids in any case one-way rentals / renting "One way", as this variant is incredibly expensive in Norway. The price then quickly doubles, as the expensive service of repatriating the car is calculated. Without knowing that, we had already booked our flights to Trondheim and Bodø and therefore had to accept this expensive variant of a one-way rental. You can learn from it in any case ....

One of our rental cars

In the meantime, parking in the cities is almost only possible in Norway for a fee and is correspondingly expensive. Similarly, the popular parking lots at the well-known attractions (for example Trollzunge and Preikestolen) meanwhile cost a lot. Here you can certainly improvise and save a lot more money by a more distant parking lot.

In the Scandinavian cities, and especially in Norway, it is now common to pay the high fees to the minute. You do not have to pay a flat rate for two or three hours, which you do not use at all, but you also do not risk an expensive punishment ticket if you pull over. For the (German speaking) APP EasyPark is used.

EasyPark app

You enter the zone of the respective parking space (is available at the car park) in the app and can then at any time adjust the end time of the parking process. We have already used this very often and gladly, because you only pay for the real parking time. The app EasyPark you can download here for free: LINK for the Android version in the Google Play Store / LINK for the IOS version in the Apple App Store

If you want to explore one of Norway's unique fjords on the water, there are plenty of offers for tourists. Round trips, mini cruises and much more is offered at prices and many visitors from all over the world like to use it. Especially on the two most popular routes in Norway, Geirangerfjord and Nærøyfjord, you can also use the much cheaper ferry.

A few years ago Norwegians gave us this tip and it is sensational: you park your car for free at the ferry terminal, you board the plane as a passenger and book the round trip. Over a coffee and a sandwich, you can enjoy the beauties of the fjord on your very personal tour for significantly less money and often much quieter.

View from Gudvangen (ferry port to Kaupanger) in the Nærøyfjord

to eat and drink

Even if the Norwegians do not have a classic coffee culture, as is known from southern Europe, they love coffee and seem to drink tons of it. Whether prepared in the north over the campfire or in the mountains from the pump can and in the cities from the modern espresso machine: Almost always coffee is available - but often not cheap. Therefore, pay attention to the following savings options:

  • PÅFYLL (pronounced "Pofüll" / too well German "refill") is widely used in Norway and means that you can refill your coffee cup either free of charge or for a symbolic amount over and over again if you have regularly paid the first cup. For example, if this costs 5.- €, this price is halved in half with the second free cup you receive this way. Therefore pay attention to the offers and the price tables on "Påfyll" and the price next to it. If there is the self-explanatory word "free", the world is fine 😉
  • KAFFEEAVTALE (too good German "coffee agreement") is also extremely popular in Norway and if you make a larger round trip by car, a great way to save money, often and regularly get cheap coffee. All filling station companies offer this system: One buys in the year once the so-called "Kaffeeavtalekoppen" - a kind of thermo mug - at a petrol station chain. This costs around the 20.- Euro or a little more. With this mug, you can get coffee for FREE all year and as often as you like at the gas stations of this chain. Just show the cup with the printed EAN code at the cash register, take coffee and drive on. Great and already worth about 6 cups of coffee.
Some of the popular coffee shops of Norwegian petrol stations (© Photo: Ole Petter Baugerød Stokke / Homepage: www.dinside.no)

If you really want to save a lot of money during your tour through Norway, you should generally refrain from visiting restaurants, even if these often offer an incredibly good quality. Food prices are simply higher in Norway than in Germany. Then comes a service / work, as in a restaurant, it is again significantly more expensive and the increase of these are only the alcohol prices in the country. In this respect, one should know just in this segment some tips to save money in Norway and heed ...

Really cheap and often very good food you can eat at the so-called pizza buffets. You have to know that pizza in Norway is almost a national dish. That's why almost all pizza restaurants in the country outside of the popular meal times attract with sensational prices according to the motto "All you can eat ..." Where and when do you find great offers in the country?

  • EGON - is a popular restaurant chain in Norway and can be found in almost all medium and large cities. At EGON you can serve yourself at the buffet at the following times and eat as much pizza and salad (!) As you like for 117 NOK (about 12 Euro) per adult and 70 NOK (about 8 Euro) per child and Monday = all day / all other days = until 18.00
  • PEPPES PIZZA - is the leading pizza chain in the country and currently has nearly 100 restaurants throughout Norway. There we often stop ourselves and love the pizza buffet there, especially in the restaurant in Tromsø. A few restaurants do not take the pizza buffet action. For everyone else: "Eat as much pizza and salad as you want" from the buffet for 134 NOK (about 15 euros) / adults or 89 NOK (about 10 euros) / children from 4 to 12 years. Children under 4 eat for free. For 10 NOK (about 1.20 Euro) additional / adults you can drink as much coffee as you like. The offer is valid in all participating restaurants on Monday all day and from Tuesday - Friday only until 15.00 clock.
  • PEPPES PIZZA - also offers a student discount of 25% if you can legitimize yourself with a valid student card.
  • PEPPES PIZZA - offers yet another action / savings option: Every Monday you can use the "meat-free action" and eat vegetarian and vegan pizza from NOK 98 (about 12 €). Look in the restaurant for the action "MEAT FREE MONDAY VEG VEGAN"
  • OTHER PIZZA RESTAURANTS - offer these pizza buffets locally and almost as much as the big chains. Often there are these especially in the afternoon to attract customers or as "Lunsj" at lunchtime. A great example is the delicious pizza buffet in a cozy branch of the famous bakery "Trygstad Bakeri" in Røros. In this post we have reported from our visit there.
Pizza is a kind of national dish in Norway

Always happy and emotionally discussed: Should take food to Norway, if so, which and how much ...? To anticipate: With a few exceptions, we advise against it. On the one hand, we would like to get to know the country-specific products available in another country. On the other hand, there are many opportunities in Norway to buy food cheaply. In addition, it should be noted that many products, such as potatoes, may not be imported to Norway.

Below we share our experiences and tips on cheap grocery shopping in Norway:

  • Whenever possible, just on your way to a remote cabin or vacation home on a barrier island, buy all the supplies in a large supermarket on the heavily populated mainland before you approach your destination. On the islands or in the sparsely populated areas in the north, it is often much more expensive in the small local shops .
  • In Norway, food close to the expiration date is significantly reduced and sold one to two days earlier in a separate area, up to 40% (sometimes even 60%) cheaper. We prefer the already reasonably priced and well-stocked branches of REMA 1000. There are in the cooling rack (usually on the left or bottom right) an area with this product, where you can make real bargains. So the menu stays flexible ... 😉
  • Watch out for the promotional offers! Also in Norway the market is contested in some areas, so that every Monday attractive special offers should lure the people into the supermarkets.
  • The price differences between the individual supermarket chains in Norway are enormous. Compare well and like to orient yourself on the result of the Norwegian price test 2018: In addition the renowned daily paper "VG" bought the same one hundred articles on a Tuesday with all large offerers. The result: 1st place KIWI (3760.95 NOK) 2nd place REMA 1000 (3764.95 NOK) 3rd place EXTRA (3792.41 NOK) and the most expensive provider was SPAR with a total price of 4222.01 NOK. For the same shopping cart you had to pay around 50 euros more than at the competitor KIWI SPAR.

Helpful APPS:

APP TOO GOOD TO GO

Another way to dramatically save money is to use this APP, which informs you at certain times when food should be destroyed, sold off or otherwise marketed. Hotels and restaurants are also participating in the system as well as the food chains. This is to avoid that so many foods end up in the garbage. You can reach the website via this link . The APP is available for free for the different systems here:

LINK to the ANDROID version in the Google Play Store / LINK to the IOS version in the Apple App Store

APP MATTILBUD

We use this app very intensively, as it constantly gives a great overview of the special offers, promotions and advertisements of the major Norwegian supermarket chains. In this respect, you can buy very targeted and therefore inexpensive. The APP is available for free for the different systems here:

Mattilbud LINK to the ANDROID version in the Google Play Store / LINK to the IOS version in the Apple App Store

Water is available in Norway almost everywhere in the best quality. You can safely drink the water from the pipes. Therefore, there are hardly any tidy offers for still water in the supermarket, as the Norwegians just would not buy it. So you do not have to worry about that.

At the beginning of our travels, we usually buy a few bottles of water to drink and refill them during the tour to campsites, petrol stations, cabins or hotels, before returning the bottles as empties on the return journey.

Incidentally, in the restaurants, almost always (over 90%) water is included, so you do not have to order (expensive) drinks for dinner - as long as you do not have an appetite for a delicious and sinfully expensive wine ... 😉

On the subject of alcohol, there is really no real savings tip when it comes to buying this in Norway. In this respect, we actually take appropriate supplies on our travels in order to avoid having to buy beer or wine in Norway. But keep to the so-called customs quota - ie the specifications, what you may introduce in what quantity to Norway. These are explained in detail in our article "Norway from A - Z" . There are some massive checks even at night, and we were once again intensively checked at 1.30 in the morning after leaving the ferry. Also overland over Sweden is to reckon again and again with controls.

However, you can take more alcohol than the customs quota suggests. These quantities must then be declared, that is specified and duty paid. This is very convenient with the Toll App (Customs App), about which you can do everything in advance and easily regulate. The trick here: Even if you properly duly and customs cleared your excesses of alcohol from Germany, but you often save against the purchase in Norway. Incidentally, this APP also helps to keep track of the allowable quantities of the customs quota. A very good overview of the customs duties, the customs quota and all provisions can be found here on the German->

Link to the Norwegian Customs App for the different systems:

TOLL APP LINK to the ANDROID version in the Google Play Store / LINK to the IOS version in the Apple App Store

Shopping in Norway

In connection with an article about saving opportunities in Norway, one can hardly make any recommendations for shopping in Norway. But exceptions rule the rule and if many products are usually much more expensive than in Germany, so there are some areas in which you can literally make a good deal.

These include mainly outdoor items from the many Norwegian suppliers (such as Jotunheimen, Strømberg, Brynje, Asmundsen) or really warm winter clothing, as the market is simply bigger in the north. So there are regularly in the action / advertising at EUROPRIS extremely great and warm overalls for children and adults (about 100 € / piece) at super prices.

Otherwise, as always and everywhere - in case of doubt prices compare. For this we recommend the following APPS:

Shopgun - constantly provides an overview of all advertisements and promotions as well as special offers in Norway that have NOTHING to do with food. So when it comes to gear or apparel and the like, then you can use this app for bargain hunting. You can download the two versions here via the links in the stores:

LINK to the ANDROID version in the Google Play Store / LINK to the IOS version in the Apple App Store

Prisjakt - is more comparable to Idealo or other portals for price comparison. So if you are not sure in the store if the offer or the price is ok, then you can quickly check it using the free APP and check the prices of the item in the rest of Norway. You can download the respective version in one of the shops via the following links:

  LINK to the ANDROID version in the Google Play Store / LINK to the IOS version in the Apple App Store

In the outlet of SWIX

Anyone who likes Norwegian brands and products often has the opportunity to make a bargain in one of the Norwegian factory sales, regardless of special offers. There are two large outlet centers in Norway, where from Bergan to Helly Hansen all well-known suppliers are represented. We were already shopping in the center not far from Oslo and have summarized our experiences as well as some information in a separate article (LINK) .

The two large centers can be found near Oslo and / or Stavanger, so getting on or off the ferry can often be combined with a visit to one of these outlets. All other information, such as directions, opening hours, providers and shops can be found on the respective homepage: Link (German) for the Outlet Center Stavanger / Link (English) for the Outlet Center Oslo

For winter sports fans, there is another highlight: The large outlet center of the Norwegian winter sports manufacturer SWIX directly on the European road E6 at Lillehammer. There you can make real bargains ... More about this factory outlet and concept store via this link.

Norway does not belong to the EU. Therefore, the Norwegian VAT can be refunded on export of the products. It is extremely worthwhile and often either forgotten or not known at all. Das betrifft alle Produkte, die einzeln mehr als 350 NOK kosten und für die ihr euch beim Händler (!!) einen TaxFree Beleg geben lasst. Achtet daher im Zweifelsfall und auch beim Preisvergleich darauf, ob der Händler diese TaxFree Belege (Logo Bild links) ausstellt. Gegen Vorlage diesen Beleges, des Kassenbons und meist auch euren Ausweises erhaltet ihr auf den Fähren an der Rezeption, auf den Flughäfen an den TaxFree Schaltern oder auch an der Grenze direkt euer Geld in Höhe der norwegischen Mehrwertsteuer zurück.

Unterwegs in den großen Städten