Norway: Crazy Beautiful, Insanely Expensive

We just returned from a vacation to Norway.  It was amazing.  The entire time I felt like I was driving through Yosemite.  We were constantly going through tunnels and driving along fjords.  On both sides there were dozens of waterfalls.  It was a really great drive going along some narrow roads, hairpin turns, and even through the longest tunnel in the world!

Flight

There are probably ways to get to Norway affordably on Norwegian Air.  However, I had $1,000 in free flights from my Merrill+ card, so you can’t beat free.  We booked the flights on KLM and Wideroe from Lisbon to Molde and returned from Bergen.  Since it was under $1,000 I was able to use my points and pay nothing.

Car

There was no cheap option for renting a car.  However, we did get lucky.  I booked the car and later found that I could get 10% off if I booked through Expedia.  That brought the cheapest option to $464.  I ended up choosing the $496 option for an Elite vehicle.  We got a manual Passat TDI Alltrack, my new favorite car.  It worked out really well because it is Diesel and gets over 40 MPG.  Diesel is cheaper than gas, but still $7 a gallon.  The fuel totaled to around $120.

We did not need to pay for insurance as we used a card that protects us.  However, to lower the cost further we could have returned the car to the same location.  The cost was $50 a day (5 days) and $240 extra to return at a different location.

Trip

We flew to Trondheim, spent the night and then flew to Molde then next morning and began driving from there.  It was a series of tiny towns until Bergen, which was a city, but still fairly small.  The entire way there was nature to see.  We got to see a glacier, snow-topped mountains, fjords, and more.  There were a couple of road tolls and 6 ferries.  A ferry ride cost from $15 to $20 so we tried to avoid when possible.  There was a time we managed to switch our route from three ferries to just one and it only took 30 more minutes.

Hotel

For four of the five nights we stayed modestly for a $100 a night.  However, there was one place I really wanted to go.  The Juvet Landscape Hotel is where Ex Machina was filmed and looked really cool in the movie.  We paid $250 for the Birdhouse, the cheapest room, and enjoyed the experience.  The site was beautiful and apparently they didn’t remove any plants to make the hotel.  There were glimpses of scenes from the movie, but not as much as I had hoped.  It was a cool experience, but once was enough for me.

Food

In five nights and five days we managed to eat only two meals out!  Food was so expensive and we weren’t in very populated areas so we got stuff from grocery stores.  I’m sure this saved us $100 a day.  Our first meal we ate at the Juvet Landscape Hotel.  It cost about $100 per person.  The other meal was a reindeer and lamb hot dog for $18 in Bergen.  There was a Thai restaurant in Bergen and I am always wanting Thai food, but $30 for the cheapest dish meant I wasn’t going in.

Conclusion

If you love nature I would recommend Norway.  It is crazy expensive, so buyer beware.  Even though we got got our flights for free, we spent around $2,000 for 5 nights for two people.  Skipping the Juvet Landscape Hotel would have brought the total down to $1,600, but I can’t imagine it getting much lower if you want to do a road trip.

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