I won’t lie to you, Norway’s very expensive. Scandinavia as a whole is famed for ripping your wallet out and stomping all over it (though despite that, the people couldn’t be friendlier), but after having returned from Sweden just a few months before heading out to Oslo I can confirm that Norway takes the crown when it comes to making your eyes water every time you work out monetary conversations in your head when stood in line at everything from a fancy coffee shop in the centre of Oslo station to a large supermarkets nearby. You will end up reaching further and further into your pocket, swearing you had more silver coins with holes in them somewhere.
In fact, I was told during my visit than many Swedes living near the Norwegian border actually choose to work in Norway so they can benefit from the higher wage while spending said wage in the slightly cheaper environment of their home country.
But I digress. Aside from being expensive as hell, Norway is a stunningly beautiful country that deserves to be seen by all. When deciding to visit Norway back in late 2010 I winced every time I looked up hostel prices online, hoping if I checked back the next day maybe I would find a cheaper price.
I never did, and I had to suck it up and book a couple of nights in an Oslo hostel towards the end of my trip, but I soon found out through some research that the train I was planning to take overland to Bergen (Norway’s second largest city on the country’s west coast) at the start of the journey was significantly cheaper to take overnight, cheaper than one night in an Oslo hostel, in fact. Not only that, due to it being an overnight train journey they offered me a free overnight pack consisting of a blanket, super sexy eye mask, ear plugs, and a blow-up window pillow to make your journey that extra bit more comfortable.
I was sold.
Due to Norway being, to put it lightly, fecking freezing, it’s true to say that although it’s overnight railway network is both glorious in it’s price and comfort, it halves in size during the winter months as due to it becoming dangerous to take trains too far north in the country due to snow and ice, the railway network chooses simply to close it down during certain months of the year for passenger safety.
That said, Oslo and Bergen are in the south of the country and you should be able to accommodate yourself onto one of their overnight trains at any time of the year. Consider taking the same journey I did, paying less than the price of a night in a hostel to travel eight hours overland, at night, with all the modern comforts to arrive in stunning Bergen just as the sun’s coming up, knowing you have a full sixteen hours to spend in this beautiful city before you return overnight train will be taking you back to the hustle, and expensive bustle, of Norway’s busy capital.
CC: Visit Norway