Cheapest Places To Live in Norway for Expats and International Students

Cheapest Places To Live in Norway for Expats and International Students titlecard

Are you an expat eyeing Northern Norway’s charm but hesitant about the high cost of living? Perhaps you’re an international student seeking affordability in the midst of Norway’s fifth-largest urban area. Fret not, as we discuss the cheapest places to live in Norway.

The cheapest places to live in Norway:

  • Alesund
  • Sarpsborg
  • Harstad
  • Volda

We’ve got your back, from budget-friendly city center options to lesser-known corners that won’t break the bank. Discover how to make the most of your average salary while immersing yourself in this breathtaking land while avoiding the bustling crowds of popular tourist destinations.


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Let’s talk about Norway’s cost-effectiveness together.

Also Read: Living in Norway vs Sweden: Which Is Better?

What Is the Least Expensive Place to Reside in Norway? – Alesund

Summer night in Alesund

Alesund might be your best bet if you’re looking for the cheapest place to live in Norway. This picturesque city offers affordable living compared to larger cities in the expensive country.

It’s nestled along the coast, just outside the Arctic Circle, which means you can expect cold winters, but the area’s stunning natural beauty more than makes up for it.

While Norway is known for its high living expenses, Alesund stands out as a budget-friendly option for single individuals and families looking to save on their expenses.

Alesund, Norway Cost of Living

Norwegian food

The cost of living in Ålesund, Norway, is known for its relative affordability compared to other major cities in the country.

The average cost of living in Ålesund is estimated to be around $1,670 per month, according to This figure encompasses various expenses, including housing, food, utilities, transportation, and entertainment.

Here’s a breakdown of some key expenses in Ålesund compared to other cities like Oslo, Bergen, and Stavanger:


  • The average meal cost in an inexpensive restaurant in Ålesund is 160 kr, based on a report by Numbeo. It is comparable to prices in Oslo, Bergen, and Stavanger (200 kr).
  • The average cost of a liter of milk is 16.85 kr in Ålesund, slightly lower than in Oslo and Bergen but similar to Stavanger.


  • Ålesund utilities for 85 m2 apartment average 2,383.33 kr, competitive with Oslo, Bergen, and Stavanger.
  • The average cost of internet (60+ Mbps, unlimited, cable/ADSL) is 529.25 kr, higher than Stavanger but comparable to Oslo and Bergen.


  • The average cost of a one-way ticket on local transport in Ålesund is 50 kr, consistent with prices in other major cities.
  • The average cost of a liter of gasoline is 19.5 kr in Ålesund, similar to prices in Oslo, Bergen, and Stavanger.

Related article: What Are The Costs of Owning a Car in Norway?


  • The average cost of a cinema ticket for an international release in Ålesund is 155 kr, which is par with prices in Oslo, Bergen, and Stavanger.
  • The average cost of a 0.5-liter beer in a pub in Ålesund is 85 kr, which is more affordable than in Oslo but comparable to Bergen and Stavanger.

Housing Cost in Alesund

House in Alesund

The average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center is around 9,000 NOK($1,019), while outside the city center, it is approximately 7,000 NOK ($791). This makes Alesund one of the most affordable places to rent in Norway.

Alesund also boasts easily accessible public transport, reducing the need for a car and contributing to the overall savings. The city offers unique natural landscapes and uncultivated land, perfect for budget-friendly exploration.

Compared to other Norwegian towns and cities, Alesund has a lower cost of living, attracting budget-minded individuals and families.

Also read: House Prices in Norway [2023 Guide]

My Take

Overall, Ålesund’s affordable cost of living makes it a desirable choice for singles and families seeking a comfortable lifestyle in Norway. The city also boasts a vibrant community and plenty of opportunities to spend leisure time and explore the beautiful surroundings.

Related article: What Is A Good Salary in Norway? [2023]

Sarpsborg: Fifth Largest Urban Area in Norway

Sarpsborg Norway

In Norway, Sarpsborg stands out as one of the most affordable places to reside, making it an attractive choice for many. With a population of 51,942, Sarpsborg is the fifth-largest urban area in the country.

The average cost of living here is notably reasonable, estimated at approximately $1,401.99 per month, according to This figure, encompassing housing, food, transportation, and other essentials, provides a comprehensive view of Sarpsborg’s average living cost.

Sarpsborg’s affordability draws residents, offering a good quality of life without breaking the bank. Moreover, affordable living makes Norway appealing for budget-conscious individuals and families.

Related Article: Top In-Demand Jobs in Norway in 2023

Housing Prices in Sarpsborg

Apartment in Sarpsborg

Housing prices in Sarpsborg are appealing for people living in or moving to Norway. The average cost of purchasing a property is approximately $4,035 per square meter, according to Numbeo. In contrast, Oslo’s housing market tends to command significantly higher rates.

For those looking to rent in Sarpsborg, the average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment is around $760 within the city center. This cost decreases to approximately $627 per month for similar accommodation outside the city center, providing options for various budget preferences.

Comparing the housing landscape of Oslo, Sarpsborg offers cheaper house prices. Sarpsborg’s affordability attracts locals, expatriates, and especially international students seeking reasonable living expenses.

Also Read: House Prices in Norway [2023 Guide]

Housing Options in Sarpsborg

Expats and international students have several housing options in Sarpsborg, catering to different needs and preferences. Here are some available houses or accommodations:

  • Apartments in the city center
  • Houses in residential neighborhoods
  • Studio apartments for single occupants
  • Shared accommodations for cost-effective living
  • Rental units outside the city center

These options provide flexibility for individuals or families, enabling them to find suitable housing arrangements based on their requirements and budget constraints. With the cost advantages and diverse housing choices, Sarpsborg is an inviting city for short-term visitors and those looking for long-term residence in Norway.

Related article: Cheapest Place To Live in Norway

My Opinion

Sarpsborg at night

The affordability of Sarpsborg also lends itself to enjoyable activities. During summer, residents and visitors can save money while hiking, a popular pastime in this scenic region.

Additionally, renting a place in Sarpsborg is a viable option for international students, as living costs are reasonable. This allows them to allocate their finances more flexibly and enjoy the beauty and offerings of this Norwegian urban area.

Also read: Food and Drink Prices in Norway: What To Expect

Cheapest Places to Live in Northern Norway

Midnight sun in Northern Norway

Renowned for the midnight sun, Northern Norway attracts expats and international students due to its stunning landscapes and affordable living. Despite Norway’s reputation for high living costs, this region offers the cheapest living options, with relatively lower house prices and living expenses than the entire country.

The area’s picturesque port towns, mining museums, and proximity to shopping centers make it appealing. International students flock to Northern Norway for its moderate cost of living, embracing the midnight sun and managing finances efficiently.


Aerial shot of Harstad near the sea

Harstad, a small town in Northern Norway, stands out as the cheapest place to live in the region. According to WhyThisPlace, its cost of living is significantly lower than Oslo, the most expensive city in Norway, at only $1,505.

The average price of houses in Harstad is also relatively affordable, making it an attractive option for residents and newcomers. This affordability is particularly appealing for international students or anyone looking to manage expenses in Norway, where the overall cost of living can be quite high.

Harstad offers competitive salaries despite the low cost of living, making it an economical and appealing place to live in Northern Norway.


A small village in Volda

Volda, a small town in Norway, is widely recognized as one of the cheapest places to live for both local and international students.

The town offers international students a cost-effective living experience, with lower living costs than larger cities like Bergen, Trondheim, and Oslo. The average cost of living in Volda is more affordable, making it great for people who want to manage their expenses while studying in Norway.

Average Salary in Volda

In terms of average salary, Volda generally has a slightly lower average salary than the national average of 29,300 kr (approximately $3,320 USD) per month, according to Numbeo. Despite this, the affordability of living in Volda and the lower house prices contribute to a balanced lifestyle.

Best Choice for Expats Who Like Outdoor Activities

Moreover, Volda is renowned for its surrounding nature, providing residents and international students access to beautiful landscapes and outdoor activities. This adds to the overall appeal of the town, making it an even more enticing destination for tourists.

Tips on How To Live Comfortably in Norway Without Breaking The Bank

Living comfortably in Norway, especially for expats and international students, can be achieved without straining your finances. Here are some valuable tips to make the most of your experience in this beautiful country without breaking the bank:

1. Cost-Effective Housing

  • Consider living in smaller towns or rural areas, where rent and living expenses are lower.
  • Opt for shared accommodations or seek out housing options slightly away from the city center to save on rent.

2. Utilize Public Transportation

  • Leverage public transit in cities and towns to reduce costs and minimize car use.
  • Take advantage of discounted transportation passes for students or expats.

3. Explore Nature for Free

  • Norway offers stunning natural landscapes, which you can explore for free. Hiking year-round in Norway is a popular and affordable way to enjoy its stunning scenery.

4. Budget-Friendly Entertainment

  • Look for free or low-cost events and activities, such as outdoor concerts, public festivals, or visits to local attractions like mining museums or old towns.
  • Many museums and attractions have specific days or times when entry is free or at a reduced cost.

5. Manage Food Expenses

  • Cook at home and purchase groceries from affordable supermarkets to save on dining expenses.
  • Be mindful of the average prices of food items and opt for local produce or budget-friendly alternatives.

6. Budget for Winter Expenses

  • Prepare financially for higher costs during the winter, especially heating and warm clothing. Utilize second-hand stores for winter attire.

7. Part-Time Work Opportunities

  • Expats and international students can explore part-time job opportunities to supplement their income levels and manage expenses.

8. Discover Affordable Destinations

  • Explore the beauty of Norway’s lesser-known destinations and small towns, which often offer a charming experience at a fraction of the cost compared to larger cities.

9. Collaborate with Fellow Expats

  • Connect with other expats or international students for shared activities, meals, and experiences, allowing you to split costs and make new friends.

10. Cross-Border Adventures

  • Take advantage of Norway’s proximity to other countries like Sweden and plan cost-effective trips for a change of scenery without traveling a long distance.

Living in Norway requires financial planning and savvy spending, but you can enjoy a comfortable lifestyle with careful consideration and budgeting. Embrace the beauty of the country, its rich history, like the silver mining heritage, and the local communities while being mindful of your budget.

Related article: Buying a Car in Norway: Full Guide

Final Thoughts About The Cheapest Places to Live in Norway

In conclusion, Norway is a country that offers many opportunities for expats and international students who want to live and work there. However, it is also a country with a high cost of living, which can be challenging for some people.

Fortunately, there are some places in Norway that are more affordable than others, such as Alesund, Sarpsborg, Harstad, and Volda. These places offer a lower cost of living, as well as a high quality of life, a rich culture, and a beautiful nature.

If you want to know more about the cheapest places to live in Norway, please click the links in the article. It will help you find more information and resources to help you plan your move and budget.

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