I’ve been to a few expensive places in which to travel over the past couple of years (Zurich, I’m looking at you), but nothing really prepared me for the cost of eating in Norway. In other costly cities – Paris, New York, Milan, I’ve had no trouble finding great economical places to eat where I felt I got a taste of the location. Not so in Norway. Seth Kugel, the New York Times “Frugal Traveler” put it best when he recently wrote:
Norway is the extreme Scandinavian case, though — the only country I’ve ever been in where I suffered from constant, low-grade budget anxiety. On the opposite end is Sweden, which, if you come directly from Norway, feels like you’ve entered a 173,300-square-mile Costco.
Traveling is about the memories – being a couple of accountants, we budget for trips so we’re not thinking about money while away. With that planning we saved our travel dollars for the cuisine of Iceland laying ahead in our travels and quickly labeled Norway as a place where we’d live off of grocery store food for a few days. This was our first supper in Bergen, and still clocked in at around $20:
After our day trip to the fjords, we really wanted to eat out (our hotel room, great for the price but cramped, just didn’t hold much charm that night). We stumbled across a pizza joint with gluten-free items. That plus a beautiful view over Bergen lured us to their patio and this $30 12″ pizza. We were actually going to order two of these, but our waitress left before I could get my order out (yay for the extra $30 for me!). In the top right of the picture is a $7 Fanta:
With a pretty decent brewing culture (something that I didn’t find much of in Sweden), I had to try a few of Norway’s pilsners. Here’s about $18 worth of beer – all of it pretty tasty, especially the Aass (all guffaws aside, this was a nice crisp European lager):
Even in a budget-busting place like Norway, you can’t miss a traditional treat. At more than $12, it was a pricey way to start the day, but surprisingly delicious with a great double espresso. Here’s a skillingsboller, a traditional Norwegian cinnamon bun: