Home to Norway's longest fjord whose natural beauty is rivalled by the seven mountains surrounding it, Bergen offers its residents an excellent quality of life, but this comes at a cost. The cost of living in Bergen is fairly steep, as is generally the case in Norway’s big cities. 

That said, the country offers extensive healthcare and education social benefits, which helps to ease some costs. Salaries in Norway are also typically lucrative – further offsetting the high living costs.

Cost of accommodation in Bergen

Accommodation in Bergen is likely to cost expats an arm and a leg. As the second-largest city in Norway, Bergen's housing market is expensive. In fact, rental prices in Bergen continue to rise annually, largely due to a discrepancy in supply and demand. Expats looking to reduce their monthly expenses should look for accommodation in the areas and suburbs further out of the city centre.

As a university city, Bergen has a strong house- and apartment-sharing culture. This is another fantastic way to save money while building local connections. New arrivals must also get accustomed to the steep utility costs in Bergen.

Cost of transport in Bergen

Getting around in Bergen is straightforward and painless thanks to the city's reliable and efficient public transport network. That said, transport in the city is also pricey. Tourists can purchase a Bergen Card, which allows free travel on the Bybanen (light rail) and buses for a limited period. Price-conscious new arrivals will have access to weekly and monthly passes for the bus and light rail services to help reduce their travel expenses. 

Car ownership is largely unnecessary and expensive in Bergen. Expats looking to drive must budget for petrol, maintenance and parking costs, which can all be high in Norway. 

Cost of groceries in Bergen

While food prices in Bergen may be steeper than what most expats are used to due to a hefty VAT on food items, there are still some ways to find bargains and reduce the total monthly grocery bill.

Local markets and international supermarkets such as Mango Supermarked offer reasonably priced fresh produce. Most locals prefer shopping at discount stores such as Kiwi and Rema 1000, while there are also apps that can direct shoppers to the lowest priced option.

Cost of entertainment and eating out in Bergen

Bergen boasts a multicultural local community, which translates into a vibrant culinary scene. Eating out in Bergen is by no means cheap, but there are plenty of student watering holes and restaurants that are easier on the wallet.

The Bergen Card provides considerable discounts for museums, restaurants, and other lifestyle attractions in the city, making it more affordable for expats to visit Bergen's attractions. There are also many opportunities to explore Bergen's striking natural beauty for free or at little cost. Expats can go hiking, swimming, and mountain biking in one of Bergen's mountains and fjords. 

Cost of education in Bergen

Expat parents will be delighted to find that education in Bergen is free of charge and compulsory for children between the ages of 6 and 16. Parents only have to pay mandatory building fees and cover transport, textbooks, and stationery costs. Norway also subsidises daycare (barnehage), allowing parents with young children to access childcare at a reasonable price.

Parents who are in Bergen on a short assignment or those who would prefer for their children to learn English as a first language usually choose to enrol their children in an international school. These schools typically offer the International Baccalaureate programme. If possible, expat parents should negotiate for a school allowance in their relocation package, as international school fees can be high.

Cost of healthcare in Bergen

The healthcare in Bergen, as in the rest of Norway, is excellent and heavily subsidised for all legal citizens. Patients must pay a small fee after doctor's visits, but this amount is capped annually. Thereafter, expats are given an exemption card that enables them to access general practitioners at no cost. 

Expats looking to avoid potentially long waiting times for more specialised care can purchase private health insurance. The cost of this is quite steep, though, so expats must be prepared for this.

Cost of living in Bergen chart

Prices may vary depending on product and service provider. The list below shows average prices in Bergen for April 2024.

Accommodation (monthly rent)
One-bedroom apartment in the city centreNOK 12,700
One-bedroom apartment outside the city centreNOK 9,810
Three-bedroom apartment in the city centreNOK 20,362
Three-bedroom apartment outside the city centreNOK 16,270
Eggs (dozen)NOK 41
Milk (1 litre)NOK 22.40
Rice (1kg)NOK 33
Loaf of white breadNOK 31.20
Chicken breasts (1kg)NOK 159
Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)NOK 150
Eating out
Big Mac MealNOK 151
Coca-Cola (330ml)NOK 32
Cappuccino NOK 50.15
Local beer (500ml)NOK 110
Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant NOK 1,000
Mobile phone monthly plan with calls and dataNOK 400.30
Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month) NOK 541
Basic utilities (per month for small apartment)NOK 2,426
Taxi rate (per kilometre)NOK 17.50
Bus/train fare in the city centre NOK 40
Petrol (per litre)NOK 21.55

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