Cost of living in Norway: Your guide

Zorica Lončar
12.10.20
6 minute read

The stunning scenery, high standard of living, and rich cultural heritage are just a couple of reasons people choose Norway as their home. This majestic Scandinavian monarchy prides itself on both natural and cultural diversity. Those factors make the quality of life there top-notch.

If you want to spend a part of your life there or move for good, you should be aware of the cost of living in Norway. This guide should cover all you need to know, from monthly expenses to education fees and average salaries. We’ll also point out a smart way to lower the costs of currency exchange with the help of TransferWise.

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The currency in Norway

Norway uses the Norwegian krone as its official currency. It’s abbreviated as kr or NOK. To help you get a grasp of how much it’s worth, we’ve prepared a useful comparison.

Here are a few major world currencies and the krone, side by side, at the time of writing.

$1000 = 9,336 kr

£1000 = 11,966 kr

€1000 = 10,942 kr

A$1000 = 6,638 kr

The value of currencies changes constantly, so it’s good to stay in the loop. We always suggest using a reliable currency converter that will show you the real, mid-market exchange rate.

Dealing with money in Norway can be tricky if you just moved there or you’re in the process of moving. If you don’t have a Norwegian bank account yet, you can pay all your expenses via TransferWise while still in your home country. This can even help you cut down on relocation costs, since you’ll get the mid-market exchange rate.

Get the real, mid-market exchange rate with TransferWise

The mid-market exchange rate is the fairest rate that exists. Banks and money exchange services use it when trading among themselves. But, when doing business with clients, they add a markup in order to make profits. Sending, receiving, and managing money with TransferWise has no secret costs.

TransferWise’s Borderless multi-currency account gives you the possibility to use up to 50 different currencies at once. While staying in Norway, you can easily convert to the local currency with low fees.

Get Borderless for free

Cost of living in Norway compared to the UK

London expats might get the feeling that the prices in Norway are steeper than back home. But, Oslo is located much lower than London on Mercer’s cost of living list.¹ Some prices do make it seem like the situation is the opposite.

For example, the cost of food in Norway is higher than in the UK, at least when it comes to eating at restaurants. That mostly has to do with the difference in salaries, but we’ll get into that later.

Let’s glance over some major costs in Norway, compared to those in the UK.

Comparing basic cost of living1 bedroom flat in city centre (monthly rent)Meal for 2 (mid-range restaurant, three courses)Transportation (monthly pass)
London, UK²20,627 kr716 kr1,789 kr
Manchester, UK³9,823 kr716 kr823 kr
Edinburgh, UK⁴9,603 kr716 kr668 kr
Oslo, Norway⁵12,760 kr800 kr770 kr
Bergen, Norway⁶9,615 kr800 kr800 kr
Trondheim, Norway⁷11,025 kr751 kr800 kr

Major cities in Norway

Oslo has that perfect combination of being a metropolis and having untouched nature. Some of the best museums in this part of the world are here, such as the National Gallery and the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History. Along with a growing food and nightlife scene, it has everything an expat might need.

It’s enough to say that Bergen is known as the “heart of the fjords” or “the city between the seven mountains”. This UNESCO World Heritage city is great for those that want an idyllic lifestyle and can handle the cold. It’s particularly popular among expats who want to experience its picturesque streets and famous railway.

Trondheim is Norway’s oldest city, but it has a vibrant, youthful feel to it. Students are a big part of its population, so there’s always a bunch of interesting events and activities. Also, the cultural diversity and outdoor-oriented lifestyle make it pleasant to live in.

What are general living expenses like in Norway?

Total living expenses in Oslo⁵Average cost
1 person, per month (without rent)10,706 kr
4 person family, per month (without rent)38,990 kr
Utilities, basic, for 85m² apartment1,442 kr
Total living expenses in Bergen⁶Average cost
1 person, per month (without rent)10,746 kr
4 person family, per month (without rent)38,837 kr
Utilities, basic, for 85m² apartment1,679 kr
Total living expenses in Trondheim⁷Average cost
1 person, per month (without rent)10,884 kr
4 person family, per month (without rent)39,474 kr
Utilities, basic, for 85m² apartment1,526 kr

What are the average salaries in Norway?

Norway is known to be one of the wealthiest countries in the world, although the living expenses are high. The whole country, especially Oslo, is great for those looking to advance their careers and boost their earnings.

Here’s an overview of the average yearly salaries⁸ in some Norwegian cities.

Salary averages for OsloAverage salary
Software engineer629,994 kr
Cashier238,860 kr
Customer support279,125 kr
Financial analyst489,185 kr
Accountant619,314 kr
Dentist840,755 kr
Copywriter474,911 kr
Salary averages for BergenAverage salary
Software engineer449,210 kr
Cashier231,766 kr
Customer support261,864 kr
Financial analyst489,185 kr
Accountant595,032 kr
Dentist538,944 kr
Copywriter465,417 kr

How expensive is housing and accommodation in Norway?

When it comes to accommodation, the priciest apartments are those in the capital. This is in line with the fact that the Oslo cost of living is the highest. Landlords often demand a couple of months of advance in rent.

Let’s look at some average rent costs.

Rental cost in Oslo⁸Average monthly cost
Large apartment20,538 kr
Medium apartment17,738 kr
Small apartment14,937 kr
Rental cost in Bergen⁸Average monthly cost
Large apartment16,804 kr
Medium apartment14,003 kr
Small apartment11,203 kr
Rental cost in Trondheim⁷Average monthly cost
Large apartment17,500 kr
Small apartment11,025 kr

What about healthcare and dental costs in Norway?

Each citizen, resident and student that’s been there for over a year can use Norwegian healthcare.⁹ It’s not free for everyone, but it ensures that everyone gets the care they need.

For example, people have to pay around 180 kr for an appointment with a GP. But, once they reach 2,000 kr in appointment fees, they’re exempt from all charges until the end of that year.¹⁰ This way everyone contributes a little bit, but those that have many health issues are not strained by their medication bills. People under 16 and pregnant women don’t have to pay anything.¹¹

Dental treatments are free of charge for children.¹¹ But, the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration (NAV) makes sure that those in need also don’t have to pay. Some of them are people with financial difficulties and elderly people in institutions.

How much are travel and transportation costs in Norway?

The public transport in Norway is very modern and punctual, so getting around is pretty easy. You should be able to get all the info about timetables on Ruter’s webpage. You can choose between buses, trains, trams and the underground. Monthly transportation passes in most cities cost from 750 to 800 kr.¹²

Cross country travel is just as organized. The best way to find departures and buy tickets is through the main operator, Entur. If you’re traveling long distances, you might want to consider air travel. When looking in advance, it’s possible to find pretty affordable tickets. Norwegian, SAS, and Widerøe are the three domestic airlines.

Study costs in Norway

There’s a couple of Norwegian universities on the Shanghai ranking of world universities list. The University of Oslo is highly placed, followed by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, University of Bergen, and a few more.¹³

Norway state universities are free for all, no matter where they come from. The only thing students pay is an administrative or student union fee.¹⁴ When it comes to program diversity, the University of Oslo, for example, offers 72 masters programs in English.

Private universities are surprisingly cheaper than in many other European countries. Still, keep in mind that the cost of living in Norway is high.

Send money to and from Norway with the real, mid-market exchange rate

Norway is one of the most stable countries in Europe and the world. It’s also very expensive, so you should try to cut costs where possible.

With TransferWise, it’s easy to get the most of your money. Top up your account in pounds and convert to NOR using the mid-market exchange rate. It’s time to ditch any hidden fees and unfair rates.

Join TransferWise for free

Sources:

  1. Mercer’s 2020 cost of living survey
  2. Numbeo - cost of living in London
  3. Numbeo - cost of living in Manchester
  4. Numbeo - cost of living in Edinburgh
  5. Numbeo - cost of living in Oslo
  6. Numbeo - cost of living in Bergen
  7. Numbeo - cost of living in Trondheim
  8. Teleport - cost of living Oslo vs. Bergen
  9. Expat arrivals - healthcare in Norway
  10. Expat.com - healthcare in Norway
  11. Life in Norway - healthcare in Norway
  12. Numbeo
  13. Shanghai ranking of world universities
  14. Masters portal - tuition fees in Norway

All sources checked on October 12, 2020


This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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