Let’s start by stating the obvious: Oslo is quite expensive. Almost everything in the Norwegian capital costs more than it would cost in any other Scandinavian city (although Stockholm comes a close second). But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth visiting, or even living there. You just have to be prepared and have budgeted accordingly – and that’s where this mini guide comes in.
As a newcomer to Oslo, a supermarket is probably the first place that will shock you, price-wise. Although Norway has a plethora of fish, meat and dairy produce of its own, most fruit and vegetables are imported due to the cold climate. Hence, those items cost more due to import taxes. For example, tomatoes cost around 34-39 NOK per kg; orange juice around 29-39 NOK depending on how fresh it is (if it’s in a bottle, you should also account for 2,5 NOK for the pant system); a bowl of salad can cost around 70 NOK for a full meal. You can find bread for around 13 NOK, although a high quality loaf usually comes in at about 34 NOK.
Dairy products are more reasonable since they’re usually local, with a package of butter averaging at 25 NOK and local cheese priced around 60 NOK. You can also find single portions of local fish and meat for around 30 NOK, as well as vegetarian options at about the same price. As for drinking, soft beverages are 15-19 NOK a can (plus 1 NOK for pant), beer at the supermarket can cost anything from 24-55 NOK and a bottle of wine at a Vinmonopolet starts from 100 NOK.
Housing costs in Oslo can vary greatly depending on the neighborhood: in a posh neighborhood like Frogner or Majorstua, you’re looking at a 17,000-21,000 NOK monthly rent for a medium-sized apartment. This price usually includes internet (which costs around 400 NOK) and electricity in the summer months (as the cost of electricity can be an extra 2,000 NOK in the winter). If you’re looking at more affordable neighborhoods like Grønland and Grünerløkka, monthly rent can be around 11,000 NOK- 15,000 NOK for a medium-sized apartment. No matter the area though, it’s standard policy for the landlord to ask for a deposit of three months’ rent, along with the rent of the first month.
Taxi prices in Oslo are impossible to calculate as they are not regulated. The tariffs per kilometer vary depending on which taxi company you’re using – but there are useful apps that will help you pick the cheapest. Public transport is not exactly cheap, but the system is set-up so well, you’ll find it’s worth it. A single ticket for zone 1 (which basically covers the whole city) costs 35 NOK and is valid for one hour. If you want to travel more, you can get a 24-hour ticket for 105 NOK, a weekly pass for 249 NOK, or a monthly pass for 736 NOK, whereas 7,360 NOK will cover all your city transportation for a year. As per driving, gas is so expensive (around 16 NOK per liter) that you’ll be better off with an electric car.
Again, it really varies depending on where you go and what you buy. There are several flea markets and second-hand stores where you will find, for instance, dresses for 150 NOK. But if you go to a downtown shopping center, a dress at a high-street store like H&M can cost around 350-400 NOK (from 800 NOK and upwards if it’s a local or designer brand). A visit at the hair-salon, depending on the neighborhood and what you want done, can set you back from 1,000 NOK upwards for women and around 400-600 NOK for men. Beauty products also vary, with shampoo averaging around 30 NOK at the supermarket and 50-60 NOK at a beauty store. A roll-on deodorant can be anything from 36-46 NOK whereas you can find toilet paper at around 19 NOK. Over the counter medicine like paracetamol can cost from 35-85 NOK depending on the type, size and brand.
Perhaps you’ve figured it out by now: going out in Oslo is probably one of the most expensive things you can do. A cinema ticket costs 126-156 NOK (depending on whether it’s 3D) and it’s very difficult to find a ticket to the theater or the opera for less than 500 NOK. Eating out, depending on the area, can cost anything from 300-600 NOK per person and a nice cocktail will usually cost around 135 NOK. As for your cup of joe, offerings at major coffee chains range around 47-67 NOK and a sandwich costs anything from 70-140 NOK. It’s definitely not cheap, but Oslo’s many offerings and the high quality of products will persuade you that it’s worth your time and money in the end.