The cost of living in Norway is undeniably high, and Oslo, in particular, is recognised as one of the region’s most expensive cities for expats. Mercer’s Cost of Living Survey for 2024 ranked Oslo as the 52nd most expensive city in the world (out of 226 cities surveyed).

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 groceries in Oslo

Expats moving to Oslo will likely experience what is known as ‘sticker shock’ when it comes to grocery shopping in Norway.

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, though, which makes these products slightly less expensive. As a result of the exorbitant prices, many Norwegians drive over the border to Sweden when they need to stock up on food supplies.

Cost of accommodation in Oslo

Accommodation is the most considerable expense a foreigner will have in Oslo. Prices are high, but get cheaper the further one lives 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. Electricity bills in the winter months can push the cost of housing up significantly.

Cost of transportation in Oslo

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

Cost of entertainment in Oslo

Predictably, going out in Oslo is not a cheap affair. Cinema and theatre tickets are incredibly costly. Eating out frequently can put a significant dent in one’s budget, but those who are open to doing some research and venturing out to cheaper neighbourhoods will be able to find more budget-friendly options.

Though the prices of cocktails, coffee and fast-food meals often make foreigners cringe, but the high quality of products may persuade them that, ultimately, it’s worth the money.

Cost of healthcare in Oslo

Public healthcare in Oslo is affordable, accessible and of excellent quality. Expats who are legal Norwegian residents will have access to the country’s highly subsidised healthcare and will only need to pay a nominal fee after each doctor’s visit. Fortunately, Norway caps the amount that residents pay for GP visits annually, and patients who exceed it will receive an exemption card that allows them to continue accessing basic healthcare at no additional cost.

As is the case in most major cities, waiting times for specialist appointments may be long in Oslo. With that in mind, some expats and locals purchase a private health insurance policy to supplement the national health insurance. This can be costly if one chooses the most comprehensive coverage. 

Cost of education in Oslo

Education and schools in Oslo are high-quality and are freely available to local and expat children alike. The main drawback of public schools is that the primary language of instruction is Norwegian, with a compulsory foreign language, which is usually English. This makes it difficult for older expat children to flourish in public schools; therefore, parents who are not planning on staying in Oslo long-term typically send their children to international schools

While these schools offer international curricula and a more comprehensive range of extracurricular activities, parents must be prepared to carefully manage their budgets to pay for the hefty fees associated with these institutions. If possible, parents are encouraged to negotiate an education allowance with their employers. 

Cost of living in Oslo chart 

Prices may vary depending on the product and service provider. The list below shows average prices in September 2023.

Accommodation (monthly rent)
One-bedroom apartment in the city centreNOK 14,150
One-bedroom apartment outside the city centreNOK 12,000
Three-bedroom apartment in the city centreNOK 22,400
Three-bedroom apartment outside the city centreNOK 17,800
Eggs (dozen)NOK 41.80
Milk (1 litre)NOK 21.92
Rice (1kg)NOK 31.20
Loaf of white breadNOK 36
Chicken breasts (1kg)NOK 141
Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)NOK 150
Eating out
Big Mac MealNOK 125
Coca-Cola (330ml)NOK 31
Cappuccino NOK 44
Local beer (500ml)NOK 100
Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant NOK 1,100
Mobile phone monthly plan with calls and dataNOK 426
Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month) NOK 465
Basic utilities (per month for a small apartment)NOK 2,231
Taxi rate (per kilometre)NOK 15
Bus/train fare in the city centre NOK 40
Petrol (per litre)NOK 22.45

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