So we’ve talked about how Norway really isn’t as expensive as you think, and we’ve talked about how to get places in Norway on the cheap. But what about accommodation?
I’m so glad you asked!
Hotels and hostels in Norway tend not to be the best bargains (in fact on the bargain meter they probably come out closer to “worst”), but that doesn’t mean accommodation has to make a huge dent in your travel budget. In fact, if you’re willing to get a little creative and adventurous then accommodation doesn’t have to make any dent at all!
If you’re looking for the best budget accommodation options for a particular city or area of Norway, you can find all my Norway accommodation guides here.
But first, let’s run through your Norway accommodation options, shall we?
If you’re visiting Norway in the summer and can bring a tent, then this is the cheapest (ahem, it’s free) accommodation you can get, plus it means getting even closer to that gorgeous Norwegian nature.
Under Norway’s “Right to Roam” policy, you can camp on pretty much any uncultivated land, as long as you’re not pitching your tent closer than 150 meters to an inhabited house or cabin. Technically you’re also not supposed to stay for longer than 2 days, but if you aren’t disturbing the nature then you should be fine.
You can read more details about the Right to Roam here.
That could be you!
If things like indoor toilets and showers are important to you, then instead of wild camping you can pitch your tent (or park your caravan) at a campsite. You’ll have to pay, but it will still be cheaper than a hotel room.
And if you don’t have a tent then a lot of campgrounds have small cabins you can stay in. It’s generally cheaper than staying in a hotel or Airbnb, especially if you’re with a bunch of people, and it’s really cozy! Just search the name of the place your going + “camping” and you should find all the information you need.
These camping cabins are especially useful if you’re looking for accommodation along hiking trails in Norway (because hiking without a tent = a much happier back!).
You’ll generally find the best deals on campsites here
Couchsurfing is a little past its prime in a lot of Western Europe, but it’s still alive and well in Norway! Dan and I Couchsurfed for our first week in Trondheim, and I’ve met plenty of travelers who have Couchsurfed their way around the country without any problems.
I’m a huge fan of Couchsurfing as it’s such an easy way to connect with locals and get the best inside tips on a place. And of course as it’s free accommodation it’s a huge relief to your budget.
Okay so this is my secret inside tip: almost any accommodation found on Airbnb in Norway will also be listed on Booking.com for cheaper, because Booking.com charges much lower fees. In general the feeling in Norway toward Airbnb has changed a lot (post pandemic) because there have been a lot of problems for hosts here, as well as horror stories of stranded travelers with last minute canceled bookings, so I would recommend avoiding booking through Airbnb here.
Another alternative is Vrbo, which has a great reputation and a growing number of listings here for vacation rentals. Vacation rentals are especially good for budget Norway trips because they come with access to a kitchen so you’ll be able to self cater, which will be the biggest money saver of your trip. I’ve written a post about eating on a budget in Norway here, but basically if you’re on a small budget in Norway then you want to eat out as little as possible.
And this is going to make me sound like a creeper, but Norwegian homes are so, so nice inside – like, nicer than most hotels – and Vrbo gives you the perfect excuse to peek inside them. Check for Vrbo options in Norway here
If you’ve been following my blog for a while then you’ll know that I’m a huge fan of hostels. I might even have confessed some dreams of opening my own someday. They can just be so, so incredible.
Unfortunately, word on the Norwegian streets is that hostels here tend to err on the less incredible side of things. I mean, they’re perfectly fine, but not oh my goodness I’m obsessed with this place can I move here – there’s even a hostel dog! incredible.
To be fair, that’s a tough level of incredible to reach. Then again, when you’re paying $50 for a bed in a dorm room, maybe it’s not too much to ask for.
Norwegian hostels are really expensive, and while at least you can be assured of high standards, it might just be so hard to stomach forking over so much cash for a dorm bed that you’d be better off splurging for a budget hotel. Just a thought.
But if anyone has stayed at an awesome hostel in Norway please share the details in the comments, because I would so love to hear some positive news about hostel culture in Norway!
P.S. If you do book a hostel, be sure to check for added linen fees – they’ll get you every time!
You’ll find the best deals on hostels here, as this is the main booking site used in Norway.
Accommodation prices in Norway generally seem absurdly high, whereas hotels are pretty comparable to hotels in the rest of Western Europe or the U.S. Which, in a bizarre way, means that hotels might be the best bargain?
Wait, that can’t be the right wording. They’re definitely not a bargain. But nice hotels in Norway are about how much you would expect to pay for a nice hotel a lot of places, so if you’re thinking about splurging on a hotel someday, maybe consider making that a day you’re in Norway.
I’ve shared the most incredible hotels in Norway here. Take a look and see if you can stay at one of them during your trip to Norway.
I’ve also written a bunch of accommodation guides to specific cities and areas in Norway, all of which you can read here.
And last but not least, don’t forget that if you have a few long train journeys you can do them overnight and save on a night’s accommodation! I definitely don’t recommend doing this too often (night trains comprised about a third of my night sleeps during my month in Russia last year and by the end I was quite the cranky toddler) but a few times will definitely ease the strain on your budget.
As always, if you have any more Norway accommodation tips or ideas please don’t keep them to yourself – share in the comments!
Lauren Bishop says
Wild camping all the way! I love countries that have ‘right to roam’ style legislation. In the UK you can walk through most private lands but camping is more strictly controlled. I loved travelling in Hawaii because you can camp anywhere including the black sand beaches!
Right? You can stay in the most magical locations with the right to roam, I love it.
Nynke de Haas says
Ah, camping in the wild… It was magical, the one time I did it! For those who are into cabins rather than camping, though, I think there’s one option missing from the list: getting a membership to the Norwegian Tourist Association, DNT, and staying in their (often remote and scenically located, catered or self-catering) cabins. Good for trekking, from what I hear!
Of course! I haven’t used them myself yet but my family loves them.
Ashley @ Married Wanderlust Love says
Great guide! Bookmarking this one too! I’ve only camped twice in my life with horrible experiences, but I would be willing to give it ago with views like that!
Haha it’s worth it, I promise! (Or you can always stay in one of the camping cabins instead.)
Im planning a 15 days trip with my boyfriend to norway. But I need a good backpack I really like the one in that photo !
would you tell me the brand ? where did you bought it ??
Love that bag! I bought it here: http://fave.co/2oInpav and you can also find it on Amazon here: http://amzn.to/2p0WER0
What is Norway’s Right to Roam policy?
How was your experience with couchsurf? I’m very interested in doing so too someday but how can I be sure 😮
My experience has always been really good!
Valerie Wodrich says
Our family of 6 is thinking of going to Norway in August. We’ve never been. I am half Norwegian as is my husband and I have relatives there – not sure how to find them, though.
We are outdoor enthusiasts and our kids are ages 14-23. We live in Bend, Oregon and love to hike, kayak, bike, etc. We will be using air miles and would probably fly into Bergen.
Where else should we go? We have about 2 weeks (maybe 3).
How is the weather in August? Does it rain everyday? Thanks,
We are couple and arriving Bergen for 15 days on 1 August and we haven’t prebook , because it gives the felling of getting stuck and reaching some town on particular date , but now when I check online I hardly see any accommodation with less price and our budget was maximum 100 dollar per night for accommodation , so we thought we will sleep in car itself then I read your blog and I found about tent idea ( wild camping ) so , here I need ur kind advice about camping as this will be our first tent experience even have to learn how to set it up, so it’s important for us to know few things , so please guide
1: do we have to buy sleeping bags ( because of weather ) along with the tent or we can manage with the sheets and air filled pillow
2: I will be starting from Bergen reaching Trondheim via Ålesund and coming back, will it cold at night to stay in tent in those area from 1 Aug till 15 aug
Oh I think you’ll definitely want sleeping bags – it can get very cold at night (though this summer has been super warm, so maybe you will be lucky and the good weather will continue). I’d also try to get sleeping pads – I have an inflatable one that is 3/4 the length of my body that works quite well.
Thanks a lot
Thanks again , wish you lot of adventure trip in future
Hello Sylvia. Really well composed and engaging. I am planning to visit during July and was really interested in pursuing camping options in Norway for accommodation. But I am having a really hard time finding information on rentals for tents and sleeping bags from Oslo. Could you kindly advise.
Appreciate your help!!!
Siew Nai Saw says
9 of us, mostly seniors, will be visiting Norway from 3-12OCT, 2019. We would be renting a van & self drive. Would appreciate a guide on where to go. We’d like some hiking trails too.
What is couchsurf? Normally we rent Youth hostels.
25, May, 2019
Eva G Cox says
Hi Ms. Cindy,
We will be going to Norway in October 2021 however I have already been planning our trip. You DO NOT want to couch surf for your accommodation; that is where a person enters someone else’s home & sleep on their couch or extra bed, usually not a room to yourself. With the number of people that are going, I would rent from VRBO. You get the whole house to yourself & you would have a kitchen to cook your meals instead of eating out (if they have a restaurant where you are going). I’m really exited for your trip, I know you will really enjoy it!
Siew Nai SAW says
What is VRBO?
Cindy July2 2019
Eva G Cox says
VRBO is a website where you can input a city/town/village (whatever), the dates you want to stay in that location & the number of guests. After you enter this information, you can click search & it comes up with cabins, homes, farms (these are great as you can usually help in the farm work or just ask questions about what they grow), apartments & hotels. They usually include a washing machine & a kitchen. It gives you the amount of the stay per night & how much the total amount for your stay. I’ve seen as low as $70.00 a night. You can get a luxurious or as basic as you want. I’ve used this site before & have been more than happy. Here is the website: https://www.vrbo.com
Gail Muscott says
The camping sounds awesome and I love being in a tent! For camping have a tent, sleeping bags,(for pillows i usually use some towels or clothes) andapad is good too. Pick a soft level surface to put up a tent,and a tarp under it too (fold the edges of the tarp under the tent, in case of rain it will keep water away). Stake the corners down too.
Bring layers of clothing, so you can add layers or take them off as needed. Sleeping bags have temperature ratings, and you can check the weather to see what it will be like during your trip. A sleeping pad under you will keep you off the ground and warmer too.
Gail Muscott says
If you can find 2 trees, hammock camping is good too! If it is below 60 degrees F, then you will need a camping pad or “under blanket” below…. I haven’t stayed in my tent, since I discovered a camping hammock, and it packs smaller too. 🙂
I thought Couchsurfing had died a complete death! Camping would be my first choice for sure but we want to visit in winter so I guess we’ll have to take the hit on accommodation costs. We’ve wanted to visit for a long time. Hopefully 2023 will be the time for us.
Hi! Thanks for the detail blog.
Is end of September weather still ok for wild camping? And is it possible to rent camping gear in Oslo or we must pack everything from our native country?
You can rent camping gear, and end of September is fine if you have a very warm sleeping bag. People even camp in the middle of winter here!