Eating on a budget in Norway
When you think of Norway, you immediately think of spending a lot both for the accomodation and for the food. It’s in fact true that in Norway you will spend a lot especially comparing with the prices you probably spend in your country (a dinner for two people with burgers, fries and a beer costs no less than that 550NK which are equivalent to 60 euro!) but it is also true that you can eat on a budget in Norway. By following a few precautions and some advices that I report below but also being very very flexible because sometimes also finding a supermarket or a place where you can eat something, especially if you go out sightseeing, can be difficult.
1. Stock up at the supermarket
The Norwegian supermarkets are equipped and even if prices are higher than the ones you’re probably used to they’re still acceptable. For a cheap lunch you can resort to the prepared salads which come out sauces and cutleries as well or to sandwiches without forgetting the opportunity to take bread and meats and make the sandwiches yourself. The supermarkets to be monitored are Kiwi and REMA 1000 but forget about Coop and Spar because there the prices are prohibitive. The “do the shopping and cook” is not covered by this blog, but if you like that sort of thing when you’re on vacation then I suggest you do not buy exotic vegetables and fruits and prefer local products such as potatoes, carrots and salmon. Another thing to remember about supermarkets in Norway is that you can recycle your empty bottles and cans there and get moneys back!
2. The hotel’s breakfast
If you have opted, like myself, for hotels with breakfast included it is a good idea that you consume a gargantuan breakfast to be covered for a lot. And if you are ahead you can prepare sandwiches for breakfast and lunch and bring them with you: as in Norway it’s a common practice many hotels charge a sum from 40 to 75 NK for 2-3 sandwiches per person, a sum quite acceptable if you think about the cost of food in the country. And if you have to climb as I did then, the sandwich made at the hotel is the ideal solution to avoid hanging around without finding anything.
Norway is dotted with kiosks where you can eat burgers and the famous hot dogs, the pølse. Do not expect dirt cheap meals but put in mind an average cost of 10 Euros per person for a burger without fries. If you can find kiosks away from the throngs of tourists you will eat very well and the cost will be even reduced.
4. Fish markets
Aside from the fish market in Bergen which is just for the consumption of the average tourists visiting Norway on the cruises and which is a real joke, all the remote villages of Norway are usually equipped with banquet-fish market where to buy fresh fish cooked in a simple and fast way (mostly grilled). Amazing taste, reduced cost!
Coffee in Norway is a serious matter and cafés can be good surprises to those who do not want to spend too much on food. And you can almost always find amazing combinations of coffee + sweet at about 50NK while an open sandwich costs no more than 50/60NK.
Other tips for eating on a budget in Norway
1. The tap water is always drinkable so don’t waste your moneys buying bottled one!Even water that is found in hotel rooms and in the bathrooms is drinkable!
2. On summer do not miss a lunch with a Softis, a soft vanilla ice cream covered with chocolate, crisps or sweets! It’s so big that if you have abounded at breakfast it is an excellent substitute for lunch and coast even “less” (35 to 45NK) than a normal meal… even better if eaten by the sea!
3. You can save money by going vegetarian, eating pizza and doner kebabs in one of the many places around Norway; it’s quite expensive for our standards but it’s still less expensive than going to a restaurant.