This trip came about from our dream to see the Northern Lights. We didn’t really care where we would see the spectacle, as long as we saw it. After much research, Norway was the chosen place as it was the place that kept cropping up everywhere.
The trip was amazing, from the quality of transports, sights, landscapes and the towns we visited, and not forgetting the amazing and breathtaking Northern Lights. However there was one thing which completely blew me away in Norway, and not in a positive way: Cost of travelling.
I knew a trip to any Scandinavian country was not going to be cheap, but was literally blown away with the cost of everything, from food to accommodation. When I bought my Lonely Planet guide book in order to get an idea of the cost, I was dumbfounded when they suggested budgeting 120 euros a day. Keep in mind that backpacking in the UK usually cost around the 100 euro a day mark, so it’s even more expensive than the UK. Transport isn’t even the worst culprit, its meals and accommodation that were stupidly expensive.
Accommodation is expensive, but if the quality was good I wouldn’t even make too much noise about it, but the fact is that you are paying for hotel prices in hostels and that I have a problem with. The only place I thought was worth every penny we spent was the hotel we stayed at in Oslo, the Comfort Express, which not only by far the best place we stayed at but also the cheapest (but quite a margin). The most expensive hostel we stayed at we even had to pay extra for sheets!
Food is expensive as well, especially if you plan on eating out. However, we got some good advice, from the Travelettes travel blog, which we used to good effect and basically saved half of what we would on food if we had gone to restaurants. We ended going to supermarkets where we would buy bread, spreads, cold meats etc. which would be more than enough for several meals. Another great way to save money on food is kebab houses in Norway, which unlike in the UK, are actually very good and much cheaper than any restaurant.
The Hurtigruten ferry was basically our best bargain, as we had transport, accommodation, breakfast and awesome landscapes included for 80 pounds a day! It was simple, but the quality never in doubt and worth every penny we paid.
Despite the expensive nature of the trip, it was fantastic, and this is not even including the fact we saw the Northern Lights, which definitely made the trip a once in lifetime experience.