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Scandinavia is EXPENSIVE!

Bergen, Hordaland, Norway
3 Kudos
We had been warned by other travelers and the group of Finns we met on the Transsib that this area was extremely expensive. I somewhat wrote off the warnings: Moscow is consistently ranked with London and Tokyo as the most expensive cities in the world to live, and it would certainly cost a lot of you stay at Western-standards hotels, eat at restaurants, drink in nice bars, have a car, etc. But if you buy food from old women on train platforms, beers for a dollar from kiosks, take mass transit, and stay in hostels, it can be quite cheap.

The same is not true in Scandinavia. A McDonald's milkshake in Bergen is nearly $5 for a small. Few museums or other attractions we went to were less than $10.

What makes this hard to understand is that incomes here don't seem to be similarly inflated. The guide of our Stockholm bike tour mentioned medical doctors make around $70,000 after completing residency. Plus those incomes get taxed at rates higher than the US.

We look forward to a return-to-affordability celebration drink in Scotland...
Story Details


Bergen Station
Bergen Station
The 6 hour train journey from Oslo to Bergen is considered one of the most beautiful train rides in the world for good reason.


Intermission Hostel
Dozens of beds (in the form of triple-decker bunks) in one huge room sounds overwhelming, but the common areas are separated, so nights were peaceful. This hostel was also unusual in that it's run by some sort of Christian youth group, staffed by Brits and a few Ukrainians somehow recruited. Other than a Bible or two sitting around, and the logo being the Iwo Jima image with the flag replaced by a cross, no religious messaging. The age range is probably the least diverse of any hostel yet -- no families, no senior citizens -- but the language mix is huge -- Chinese, Russian, Italian, French, German, etc. The day we arrived was the famous twice-weekly waffle night, where the staff make Norwegian waffles served with jam and a weird cheese.

Points of interest

Haakon's Hall
a 13th century royal hall that was the seat of the Norwegian monarchy before the union with Denmark

On The Map