Tourist Scams in Norway: How to Avoid Norway’s Few Tourist Scams

Whenever you leave the comfort of your own country, it’s worth keeping an eye out for potential tourist scams. Many countries across the world has different versions of tourist scams where local scam artists prey on tourists simply not knowing better, and take advantage of them. 

But what’s the deal with tourist scams in Norway like? Let’s take a closer look!

There are generally very few tourist scams in Norway, and you are very unlikely to encounter any scam artists who are looking to cheat you out of money. However, there are certain situation that will attract scammers, so you should keep your guard up in the big cities like Oslo and Bergen.

While 99 % of the people visiting Norway won’t ever meet a scam artist, this article is going to take a closer look at what type of tourist scams you might encounter in Norway, and how you can easily avoid them.

Types of tourist scams in Norway and how to avoid them

You are highly unlikely to ever encounter any scam artist on the streets of Norway, even in the big cities. There are no scam artists who will approach you to sell you fake watches, set up unwinnable games where you lose money, or any of those things in Norway. I have never seen any of these in over 30 years now.

But there are a few exceptions; shady businesses such as strip clubs and illegal activities such as drug trades, as well as a taxi “scam”. The taxi scam is not technically a scam, but I know that many tourists feel scammed by outdated taxi regulations, so I will include it to make life easier for anyone visiting Norway.

The taxi “scam”

The taxi scam has to do with the fact that taxi companies are free to set their own prices. This has lead to certain taxi companies having extremely high prices, and preying on tourists getting in the taxi without agreeing to the price beforehand.

This allows them to start the taximeter to determine the price, and this will run very high very quickly. Keep in mind that taxis are generally super expensive in Norway, but certain companies charges astronomical prices.

This “scam” is often seen at Gardermoen airport outside Oslo. If you’re arriving there and want to grab a taxi to Oslo city, make sure to agree to a price with the driver beforehand. They all offer fixed prices that are far cheaper than if you just get in and let the taximeter run!

A Norwegian taxi
A Norwegian taxi. The taxi on the photo is just for illustrative purposes, and does not have anything to do with a taxi scam. Photo published with permission.

I urge everyone to ask the prices from a few different taxis, preferably from two or three different taxi companies. You are not required to use the one who’s first in line, and can enter any taxi you want to. So just chat up the drivers to find out which one can offer you the best price to your destination.

With all that said, it’s far cheaper and even faster to ride the train between Oslo airport Gardermoen and Oslo city. There is absolutely no need to ride a taxi unless you are comfortable spending a few thousand Norwegian kroner to make life just a tad bit easier.

The Airport Express Train arriving at Lillestrøm station
The Airport Express Train arriving at Lillestrøm station. This goes between Oslo airport Gardermoen and the great Oslo area. Photo by: Trond Strandsberg / CC BY-SA 3.0

This taxi “scam” is not common anywhere other than Oslo. But taxis in Norway as so expensive that you might think that you got scammed!

Scams are to be expected for illegal activities

If you’re coming to Norway to partake in illegal activities such as drug trades or prostitution and things like that, then you are obviously going to be a big target for scammers. Any activity where you yourself partake in anything illegal is likely to attract scammers, simply because this prevents the victim from reporting it to the police.

We obviously do not recommend any tourist to do anything illegal when in Norway, but just keep in mind that this is definitely an area where you might get scammed if you do end up doing it.

Strip clubs are another example, even though they are completely legal. Certain strip clubs in the major cities are known to trick their customers into buying highly overpriced bottles of champagne without telling you the cost, then getting aggressive if you try to leave without paying.

Beggars are somewhat common in Norway

Begging on the street is perfectly legal in Norway, so you will see beggars asking you for money in both big cities as well as in smaller towns.

Begging is not a scam in itself, but there will be a some beggars who make up sob stories in hopes of trying to get you to feel sorry for them and give them money. Some classic stories are things like not being able to afford buying food for their babies or not having a place to live.

These stories are often completely false, making some beggars borderline scammers. Investigative journalists from Brennpunkt have found out that most beggars in Norway are part of organized crime leagues, so you should absolutely keep your guard up when interacting when them if you choose to do so.

Can you call the police if you get scammed in Norway?

You should absolutely call the police if you feel like you got scammed in Norway. The police in Norway are generally safe, and will not do things like trick tourists or extort them. Call the police if you ever feel unsafe, threatened or feel like you got scammed. They might not always be able to get you your money back, but they will generally help you out to the extent they are able to.

Dressing up as a police officer is a serious crime in Norway, and it’s a crime that is taken very seriously. This means that you can be sure that any potential police officer you meat are in fact a real police officer.

Norwegian police cars
Norwegian police cars. Photo by Wolfmann / CC BY-SA 4.0.

Tourist scams are not the same as tourist traps

It’s worth keeping in mind that even though Norway does not have many tourist scams, you will find some classic tourist traps here. A typical example is the fish market in Bergen; they sell overpriced fish that is average quality at best. You will get much more value for your money if you buy fresh fish from an actual fish monger in the city.

Tourist shop at the Fish Market in Bergen
Tourist shop at the Fish Market in Bergen. Photo by Hajotthu / CC BY 3.0.

These tourist traps are in no ways a scam, but they do have a much higher price point than if you buy the same things from other places.

1 thought on “Tourist Scams in Norway: How to Avoid Norway’s Few Tourist Scams”

  1. I visited the Fish market in Bergen (the last time) in 2013. Even as a native Norwegian I considered the price level to be horrendous and disgusting. I left without buying a single item. An obvious tourist trap, if there ever was one.
    As a side note, the same can be said for “Feskkörka” or the “Fish church” in Gothenburg, Sweden, visited by yours truly in October of 2018.


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