Cost of Living in Norway

Purchase the Expat Arrivals Norway Guide in PDF format.


Market in Norway depicting the high cost of living in NorwayThe cost of living in Norway is known to be one of the highest in the world. Oslo is specifically recognised in a variety of surveys as being one of the most expensive cities in the world. Mercer’s Cost of Living Survey for 2016 ranked Oslo as the 59th most expensive city in the world (out of 209 cities surveyed), ranking higher than other European cities such as Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Madrid. 

High salaries offset some of these costs, as do the public services offered by Norway's welfare state. It is a good idea for expats to carefully calculate their budget for Norway, and to look at a cost of living index in order to gain a better idea of comparative costs of specific goods and services.

Due to the egalitarian social system in Norway, the margin between low and high salaries is narrow. Executive-level expats may find that, due to the tax structure, they won’t have much more disposable income than someone working in a trade, such as plumbing. Making more money is not necessarily as advantageous when someone ends up paying higher taxes on that income. It is also challenging to save money in the short-term, and unless they have secured a good expat relocation package, new arrivals may find that they will need two incomes to survive.

Cost of food in Norway 

There is very little that is considered “cheap” in Norway when compared to European prices. Fresh fish and shrimp is reasonable, but most food is imported into the country and there is a 14 percent VAT on food items. That is why many Norwegians drive over the border to Sweden on a harrytur, which is basically a shopping trip to stock up on food staples at a much lower cost. This cross-border industry is so big that several shopping centres have been built just over the border to accommodate Norwegian consumers.

Cost of housing and transport in Norway

Housing is expensive in Oslo, but gets cheaper the further one travels from the city. Housing is affordable outside of the capital, if that is any consolation. Owning a home provides several tax benefits, so if someone can afford it, and they plan to stay in Norway long-term, this is the way to go.

Cars are very expensive as well, as is entertainment, eating out and travel inside the country. However, it can be very cheap to fly out of Norway on charter trips, so Norwegians take advantage of this opportunity and can be found at any sunny and warm destination in the world, especially during the cold months from October through to April.

Cost of living in Norway chart 

Prices may vary depending on product and service provider. The list below shows average prices for May 2017.


One-bedroom apartment in the city  NOK 14,000
One-bedroom apartment outside of the city NOK 9,000
Three-bedroom apartment in the city NOK 20,000
Three-bedroom apartment outside of the city NOK 15,000


Eggs (dozen) NOK 35
Milk (1 litre) NOK 20
Rice (1kg) NOK 23
Loaf of white bread NOK 33
Chicken breasts (1kg) NOK 110
Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro) NOK 110

Eating out

Big Mac Meal NOK 100
Coca-Cola (330ml) NOK 30 
Cappuccino  NOK 38
Bottle of beer (local) NOK 75
Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant  NOK 800


Mobile to mobile call rate (per minute) NOK 0.90
Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)  NOK 340
Basic utilities (per month for small apartment) NOK 1,700


Taxi rate (per kilometre) NOK 16
Bus/train fare in the city centre  NOK 34
Petrol/gasoline (per litre) NOK 15.38

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