The cost of living in Norway is high, but there is some consolation for expats in that high salaries offset some of these costs, as do the public services offered by Norway's welfare state.

Oslo, Norway's capital city, was ranked 60th out of 227 countries in Mercer's Cost of Living Survey for 2023. But while many things are expensive in Norway, the social benefits such as education and healthcare make up for it.

In Norway's egalitarian social system, the margin between low and high salaries is fairly 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. 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 new arrivals have secured a good expat relocation package, they may find that they will need two incomes to get by comfortably.

Cost of food in Norway 

There is very little that is considered 'cheap' in Norway when compared to other European prices. Expats from countries with a low cost of living may be overwhelmed at first when comparing prices to their home country. On an expat stint, it's often best to compare prices against one's earnings rather than against costs elsewhere.

Fresh seafood is generally reasonably priced, but most food is imported and there is a high VAT charge 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. In fact, 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 in Norway

Housing is expensive in Norway, but gets cheaper the further one travels from the larger cities, and accommodation is certainly more affordable outside the capital. In cities such as Bergen and Fredrikstad, for example, rent is much cheaper than in Oslo. 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.

Cost of transport in Norway

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

Cost of living in Norway chart

Prices may vary depending on product and service provider. The list below shows average prices in Oslo for September 2022.

Accommodation (monthly rent)

One-bedroom apartment in the city centre

NOK 14,000

One-bedroom apartment outside the city centre

NOK 11,000

Three-bedroom apartment in the city centre

NOK 21,000

Three-bedroom apartment outside the city centre

NOK 17,000


Eggs (dozen)

NOK 39

Milk (1 litre)

NOK 19

Rice (1kg)

NOK 30

Loaf of white bread

NOK 29

Chicken breasts (1kg)

NOK 133

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)

NOK 140

Eating out

Big Mac Meal

NOK 120

Coca-Cola (330ml)

NOK 30


NOK 43

Local beer (500ml)

NOK 90

Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant 

NOK 900


Mobile-to-mobile call rate (per minute)

NOK 1.30

Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month) 

NOK 475

Basic utilities (per month for small apartment)

NOK 1,600


Taxi rate (per kilometre)

NOK 15

Bus/train fare in the city centre 

NOK 40

Petrol (per litre)

NOK 21