The cost of living in Norway is undeniably high and Oslo, in particular, is recognised as one of the most expensive cities for expats. Almost everything in the Norwegian capital costs more than it would in any other Scandinavian city (second only to Copenhagen). Mercer’s Cost of Living Survey for 2020 ranked Oslo as the 76th most expensive city in the world (out of 209 cities surveyed), ranking higher than other European cities such as Brussels and Berlin.

One consolation for expats is that high salaries offset some of these costs. Salaries in Oslo tend to be higher than what is offered in other Norwegian cities. Expats should carefully calculate their budget when planning a move to Oslo.


Cost of food in Oslo

The supermarket is probably the first place that will shock any newcomers in Oslo. Because of the cold climate, most fruit and vegetables are imported. This makes fresh produce much more expensive owing to import taxes. Norway does have fish, meat and dairy produce of its own, which makes these products slightly less expensive.

Because of the exorbitant prices, many Norwegians drive over the border to Sweden when they need to stock up on food supplies.


Cost of housing and transport in Oslo

Housing is the biggest expense a foreigner will have in Oslo. Prices are high, but get cheaper the further one travels from the city centre. Costs vary greatly depending on the neighbourhood. An apartment in more stylish areas such as Frogner and Majorstuen will be much more expensive than one in more affordable neighbourhoods such as Grønland and Grünerløkka. It is standard policy to pay a deposit along with the first month’s rent when signing a lease. Electricity bills in the winter months can push the cost of housing up significantly.

Taxi rates aren’t regulated in Oslo, and therefore tariffs per kilometre vary depending on the taxi company. Public transport is expensive, but extremely efficient. Because of the high gasoline (petrol) prices, most expats in the city choose to use public transport over driving.


Cost of entertainment in Oslo

Predictably, going out in Oslo is one of the most expensive things an expat can do. Cinema and theatre tickets are incredibly costly. Eating out can also have a major impact on one’s monthly budget, but if one is open to doing some research and venturing out to cheaper neighbourhoods, there are more budget-friendly options to be found. Though the prices of cocktails, coffee and fast-food meals often make foreigners cringe, the high quality of products may persuade them that, ultimately, it’s worth the money.


Cost of living in Oslo chart 

Prices may vary depending on product and service provider. The list below shows average prices in September 2020.

Accommodation (monthly rent)

One-bedroom apartment in the city 

NOK 12,900

One-bedroom apartment outside of the city

NOK 9,800

Three-bedroom apartment in the city

NOK 20,700

Three-bedroom apartment outside of the city

NOK 16,100

Shopping

Eggs (dozen)

NOK 38

Milk (1 litre)

NOK 18

Rice (1kg)

NOK 25.80

Loaf of white bread

NOK 29.40

Chicken breasts (1kg)

NOK 125.75

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)

NOK 129

Eating out

Big Mac Meal

NOK 110

Coca-Cola (330ml)

NOK 30.20

Cappuccino 

NOK 42.50

Local beer (500ml)

NOK 90

Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant 

NOK 800

Utilities

Mobile-to-mobile call rate (per minute)

NOK 0.97

Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month) 

NOK 450

Basic utilities (per month for small apartment)

NOK 1,460

Transportation

Taxi rate (per kilometre)

NOK 14

Bus/train fare in the city centre 

NOK 37

Petrol (per litre)

NOK 16.30

Expat Health Insurance

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