It should come as no surprise that Norway is an expensive country when it comes to living costs, but there are big differences between different parts of Norway.
Certain cities are significantly more expensive than others, and living in these cities will end up costing a lot more than living in other parts of Norway.
We’re going to be looking closer at the 5 most expensive cities in Norway in this article, including the things that make these cities to expensive.
All the numbers in this article is based on the “Cost-of-Living-Index“. This is a pretty complex economic formula that you can learn more about by clicking here. The short summary is that it tells you how much you can buy for X amount of money in a place, and includes things like rent, eating at restaurants, public transportation and cost of goods.
The most expensive city in Norway: Oslo
Oslo is without a doubt the most expensive city in Norway, and it’s hardly a surprise for anyone who is familiar with Norway’s capital. The main driver that makes Oslo the most expensive city in Norway is that the rental market is out of control.
Want to rent a small 1-bedroom apartment in Oslo? Expect to pay over 10,000 NOK ($1,000 USD) per month! It’s significantly more expensive than any other city in the entire country, by a wide margin.
Read more about rental prices in Oslo here.
Other factors are not as significant, and goods, public transportation and restaurants are on-par with other cities in Norway.
Oslo in itself is a great place to live though, even if it’s very expensive. It is by far the biggest city in Norway, and it is home to multiple universities, many incredible museums, parks and cool places to visit. It’s definitely the best choice for those who want a big city feel in Norway!
Oslo scores 86.82 on the Cost-Of-Living-Index.
The “Oil city” Stavanger is the second most expensive city in Norway
The 2nd spot of the most expensive cities in Norway goes to Stavanger. This west-coast city is mostly known to be the home to industry workers in the off-shore industry, and it’s known for being the “oil capital” of Norway.
The thing about off-shore workers is that they make a lot of money, driving the living costs in Stavanger high!
This has over time lead to Stavanger being one of the most expensive cities in Norway, and it scores higher than all other cities in Norway on pretty much all categories.
The only exception is the rental market, where Oslo is significantly higher. However, Stavanger is still way above the average.
Most people consider Stavanger to be a nice place to live, and it’s a bit more laid back than Oslo.
Stavanger scores 82.42 on the Cost-Of-Living-Index.
Bergen takes the third spot
Bergen is the 2nd biggest city in Norway, so it’s probably no surprise that there’s an expensive housing market there. It’s a popular city, and considered to be the capital of the west coast, with over 250,000 inhabitants.
It’s generally pretty expensive to rent apartments in Bergen, making it more expensive than most other cities in Norway. Bergen scores pretty averagely on the living costs for goods and public transport, but it’s the housing market that drives it high up on the list of the most expensive cities in Norway.
Bergen is the go-to-city for anyone who lives on the west coast and want to move to a big city. It has a pretty young population, a big cultural scene, lots of interesting history, and many beautiful mountain hikes just a short bus ride outside the city center.
Bergen scores 82.22 on the Cost-Of-Living-Index, just a tiny bit lower than Stavanger.
Trondheim is the fourth most expensive city in Norway
Trondheim is yet another big city in Norway, and a huge student population has lead to high rental prices in the city. It takes a comfortable 4th place on the list of the most expensive cities in Norway, but it’s by far the most expensive place to live in the region.
One of the cool things about Trondheim is that it’s a major student city. There are over 33,000 students in this city that has 200,000 inhabitants, so it’s a big competition for cheap places to live.
Some people even consider Trondheim to be the tech capital of Norway, and there are many interesting teach startups in the city.
As you can probably guess, there are many more students than available cheap housing, to the rental prices in the city really drives the living cost trough the roof (even though it’s not as bad as in Oslo).
Trondheim is an overall nice city to live in, but it’s pretty expensive living costs there as well.
Trondheim scores 80.48 on the Cost-Of-Living-Index.
Tromsø is Norway’s 5th most expensive city in Norway
It’s actually a bit surprising to see a city as far north as Tromsø on the list of the most expensive cities in Norway, but it takes the spot.
Generally speaking, the cost of living in northern Norway is significantly cheaper than the rest of Norway, but Tromsø is obviously an exception.
And again, it’s the housing market and rental prices that drives it high up on the Cost-Of-Living-Index. Tromsø has a high student population, and tends to get new inhabitants from other smaller cities and towns in northern Norway.
The housing market has much fewer houses for sale than the demand, and it lacks the space to be able to increase the number of houses and apartments close to the city.
This has all lead to a pretty expensive housing market, and neither renting or buying a place to live is cheap in Tromsø. It’s a nice place to study in Norway if you want to experience the arctic, but it’s a far cry from being anything close to a cheap city for students.
Tromsø scores 78.89 on the Cost-Of-Living-Index.
Nicklas is the owner and editor of The Norway Guide, and is responsible for most of the content on the website.
He lives in Skien, Norway with his wife and two children. Nicklas is specialized in Norwegian ecology (including Norway’s geology, wildlife and flora) from his degree in Ecology And Nature Management at University of South-Eastern Norway, but has a particular interest in tourism and content creation.
His biggest hobbies are fishkeeping, going on hikes with his dog, and rooting for the local football team.