Is Oslo the most expensive world capital?

Our site may contain affiliate links. Read Advertiser Disclosure policy here.

I have absolutely loved my time here in Oslo, Norway. However, I am having a hard time grasping how unbelievably expensive everything is. I am VERY fortunate to eliminate the costs of flights and hotels using United Miles and Club Carlson points but still…..this is crazy! Here is a peak into the receipts in my wallet.

  • Single ride on the Metro – 6USD
  • Short 10 minute one-way ferry ride – 8.50USD
  • Cheapest draft beer I found all trip at a low key sports bar – 10USD
  • Local Chicago Beer I found in a 12 oz. bottle – 18USD
  • Baguette with Chicken and a 7Up – 25USD
  • Pulled Pork Sandwich and a Beer – 35USD

And now to my favorite. I found this gem at a middle of the road restaurant and this was actually one of the cheapest items on the menu!

Convert your Norwegian Kroners to USD and add in the 25% VAT and you are enjoying a 40USD cheeseburger!

That burger was not made of Kobe beef!

I experienced the very pricey Tokyo in February but that was nothing compared to Oslo. Does it get any worse than this? I would love to know (and laugh about it)!

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or suggestions expressed on this site are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed.

About alex

Alex loves to travel and does so a lot. Logging 100,000 flight miles each year over the past 4 years, Alex uses points and miles to power his passion. Alex is continuously striving to experience the far reaches of the globe. In his day job, Alex is a Management Consultant frequently on the road advising Technology organizations. I love thinking about, reading about, and talking about all things travel. Feel free to reach me at

Sign up for Email || Twitter || Facebook |Tips & Tricks
Hotel Offers || Airline Offers || Bank Offers || Cash Back Offers


  1. I went to Copenhagen and Stockholm two summers ago and the prices were similar. It is crazy!! Eating out there is a luxury rather than a norm. This is when platinum status was a HUGE perk as I had access to the concierge lounges, which were great! My family of 5 enjoyed many free meals at the hotel!

  2. I am not sure I even understand how that conversion is even possible. What justifies their cost of living?

  3. Ouuuuchhhhh. I have seen a standard mixed drink go for 35 Euros in Ibiza and a coffee + an ice cream go for 50 Euros in St. Mark’s Square in Venice.

  4. I love Norway and the Norwegians and would live there in a heartbeat. Yes, way overpriced and this goes from hotels, to trams to a burger.
    My dear Norwegian friends pay hefty taxes and they tell me “everyone thinks we are rich, in reality, we have debt like many around the world”.
    I will always love Norway and A-ha 🙂 but it is expensive.
    I lived in Tokyo for over a decade and find it is cheaper than most countries like over-priced Canada (PST GST) and EU countries (VAT).

  5. i am living in bergen (tends to be even more expensive than oslo city). it is not that expensive if you work in norway get paid in NOK. the services sectors are indeed more expensive. one of the reasons is that we don’t have underpaid workers like in the US who can only just survive with tips. (btw i am not norwegian…)

  6. My family was in Oslo and Bergen in the beginning of May and boy is that country ridiculously expensive. It is unbelievable!

  7. Oslo is far more expensive for most day to day expenses on food and beverage and transport than Stockholm or Copenhagen. Zurich is cheaper than Oslo too in that regard.

    No continental nation or large island nation is as generally expensive as Oslo/Norway for these items.

  8. Food and bev are taxed at astronomical rates in Norway. Norwegians frequently journey to surrounding countries to stock up on groceries.

  9. Just did a trip to Reykjavik, Oslo, Stockholm…prices were all killers. I ate a lot of hot dogs at gas stations as they were cheapest food going. Oslo did seem to be the most expensive, but a speeding ticketing Iceland will set you back $300US

  10. insane. What kind of salaries do they make there? Is this a factor of a dismal exchange rate because the dollar is weak or have things been this crazy expense for a long time?

  11. Oslo is much more expensive than Copenhagen which is more expensive the Stockholm. Salaries in Norway are at least x3 USA, free health insurance to all, a lot of benefits such as free education all the way to the highest college degrees, I was in Norway too many times, a beautiful country.

  12. Could it be that we are not the richest citizens in the world? Could it also be that Norwegians eat at home and not at hamburger joints as often as we? Could it be that food here is ridiculously subsidized and we overeat as a result? And, we are obese (see many fat Scandinavians?)?

  13. The Russian ruble would crush the Norwegian Kroner in a fight. Try staying at a Marriott in Moscow where they use “points” instead of $$ or rubles for everything. Then they use some absurd conversation rate to take as many $$ from you as possible.

  14. I am not sure if this is common for every one or only to some executives but they get one or two months of all expenses paid family vacation to any where in EU or world. I was told about it 10 yrs back so fuzzy on the details.

    About the free education until post doctoral degree I believe few other EU countries also provide that. A German seatmate on a flight once told me that.

    Whether it is socialism or capitalism what difference does it make how much taxes you pay if your basic needs are taken care of and still have enough to live happily?

    I am curious what the minimum wage is in Norway.

  15. There is no minimum wage in Norway, but entry level jobs pay about 130NOK an hour or about $21-22 an hour. Base tax is about 36-40% but that includes healthcare, everyone gets 5-6 weeks of paid vacation by law, and both parents get up to 2 years of maternity/paternity leave at anywhere between 50-100% of wages depending on how long your leave period is. Vat is upwards of 17% last time I checked.

    Taxes on gasoline are very expensive and it averages about $10/U.S. Gallon. Taxes on cars pretty much add 50% to the price, and taxes on alcohol and tobacco are very high.

    I am usually there on an expense account, but I still don’t eat out very much. I tend to buy readimade sandwiches and snack foods in conveinence and grocery stores, which tend to be reasonable.

    Crime and poverty levels are very low in Norway, but remember they only have a population of 4+ million people. They are not part of the EU and don’t have to abide by any EU rules.

    When my Norwegian directs come to the US they generally go on spending sprees for things like clothes, shoes, and small electronics.

  16. Haven’t you learned from the more experienced travelers to pack a suitcase full of peanuts and boxed wine to save money?

  17. I’ve just returned (June 2013) from spending 10 days in Oslo, Bergen, Alesund and western Norway and 4 days in Copenhagen. Food is two to three times more expensive in Oslo than in Philadelphia, my home. Wine is even more expensive — an $80 bottle is “normal” in a restaurant. One day in Alesund, we went up to the hill and I was saying to my friend: “Oh, maybe wine is expensive because there is no demand.” A young Norwegian lady heard my comment and said in English: “There is demand! But the government discourages wine drinking with high taxes. That’s why wine is so expensive”

    Back in Philadelphia, we went out yesterday to buy two weeks’ supplies of vegetables, fruits and miscellaneous groceries and plants. The total cost was less than one dinner for two in Oslo.

    I am glad, though, that I saw Norway. It is a beautiful country. Copenhagen is slightly less expensive than Norway for food.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.