You know how they say Norway is expensive? Well, it is not exactly wrong but it is not completely true either. Norway might be known for its steep alcohol prices and tax rates, but this is not the full picture. The salaries in Norway are relatively high compared to the rest of Europe, and the median salary at the time of writing is around NOK 600 000 (numbers from SSB, 2021). In addition, public transport is reasonably priced, and in some cases even cheaper than many other capitals around the world.
Ranked 60th in the world!
According to the Mercer Cost of Living Ranking (2023), Oslo now ranks 60th in the world, surpassed by cities such as Copenhagen (5th expensive), London (17th expensive), Helsinki (34th expensive) and Berlin (37th expensive). Oslo is not the most expensive city in the world anymore.
Experience Oslo for free!
Many cultural institutions and museums have free admission or low priced tickets, such as Deichman Bjørvika Library, the Opera, the Botanical Garden, the Oslo City Hall, Akershus Fortress, 22 July Center, Vigeland Sculpture Park in the Frogner Park, and the Ekebergparken Sculpture Park.
If you would like to learn more about Norwegian arts, culture and events, please have a look at our “Social Life & Culture” section.
Tips for your budget in Oslo
When considering a move to Oslo, it's essential to understand the living costs in Norway. Here are some facts and statistics to help you plan your budget:
- Housing: Oslo is notorious for its high housing prices. Rental costs are particularly steep, whether you're looking for a city center apartment or something on the outskirts. On average, a one-bedroom apartment in the city center can range from 14,000 to 20,000 NOK (Norwegian Krone) per month.
- Groceries: The cost of groceries in Oslo can be quite high compared to many other countries. A basic shopping trip for essentials can easily add up to around 50 NOK for a single person. It's advisable to compare prices and opt for budget-friendly options whenever possible.
- Dining out: Oslo has a vibrant culinary scene, but dining out can strain your wallet. Eating at mid-range restaurants may cost around 300 NOK per person for a meal, excluding drinks. High-end establishments can be significantly more expensive.
- Transportation: Public transportation in Oslo is efficient but can be costly. A single ticket for the metro, bus, or tram typically costs around 40 NOK, but you will now get discounted tickets based on how often you take the tram/metro. A monthly pass can set you back around 853 NOK. Owning a car is even more expensive due to fuel prices, tolls, and parking fees.
- Healthcare and education: Norway offers high-quality healthcare and education, which are mostly subsidized by the government. However, be prepared to pay for certain medical services, dental care, and prescription medications. Higher education is generally tuition-free for Norwegian and EU/EEA students, but international students may have to pay tuition fees.
- Taxes: Norway is known for its high taxes. Income tax rates can be quite substantial, reaching up to 22% for low-income earners and 45% for high-income earners. However, these taxes contribute to the country's robust social welfare system.
While Oslo's living costs are undeniably high, Norway offers excellent quality of life, social benefits, and stunning natural landscapes. It's important to plan your finances carefully and explore opportunities to save money without compromising your overall experience.