During our reaserch before the trip we read that it’s not true that Scandinavia is expensive. Somewhere we read that prices in Sweden are 1,5x higher than in Poland. Well, 1,5x might be true, but only if you compare it to UK. So – is Scandinavia that expensive? And, can you still do it on a budget?
Is Scandinavia really that expensive?
First of all, by a budget trip we mean having a decent place to stay at decent price – for this we allowed up to 50 pounds. Also we included at least one hot meal a day up to 15 pounds per person. In countries like Romania we were spending a maximum of half of this. Even in Venice we spent less than we thought we would. Scandinavia was a different story. To be able to visit Scandinavia on a budget we had to cook every meal for ourselves with ingredients that we took from home – if you want to go without cooking then we think that a typical budget for a trip like this would be around £130 per day for two people.
Myth 1 – “Nature is free”
Ok, this is partly true, you don’t have to pay to hike to places like Preikestolen, but you have to get there somehow. We stayed in Stavanger which meant we had to take a ferry both ways (for around 170 NOK one way) and also had to pay for parking which was 200 NOK.
If it’s worth it, however….
It is true that you can just wander off into the forest for free and set up camp and gather some food (if you know what you’re picking up!), but that isn’t what we were looking for from our trip.
Myth 2 – “Its easy to camp”
This depends on where you go. Once we reached the far north we started to see nice spots to set up your tent. Around touristy places ,like Preikestolen, the closest free ($0) spot next to the road is around 15km from the main parking. Sometimes you just have signs saying ‘no camping’ or no campers over night. Even if you find a free spot for your tent then you will still have a problem with finding somewhere to have a shower. You also have to remember that you won’t be the only one looking for a free place to stay in high season.
There were lots of places like this, but not next to touristy places
Myth 3 – “You can find cheap places to eat”
Well, even McDonald’s is double the normal price, but compared to the rest it’s still cheap. You can also find some Asian take-away or buffets for 10-15 pounds per person, but you won’t get to try any local cuisine. During our stay in Stockholm we decided to go to the pub for some meatballs and herring. That pleasure cost us around 50 pounds for both of us, but only because the place had -30% if you book in advance.
Other than that sandwiches in the fish market in Bergen were 10 euros for half a roll with seafood (crayfish, salmon, even smoked whale). Luckly, if you are planning a round trip then in Finland it will get better.
Smoked whale – bottom right
There are also some street food places every now and then which serve pretty good hot dogs and the sort. If you are driving then the food from service stations is also surprisingly good…not something I ever thought that I’d say.
From a food van in Copenhagen
Myth 4 – Scandinavia is not THAT cold!
If you are going to visit the capitals, and you are doing it in the middle of their summer (mid June to mid August), then you can take what you usually would take with you to London. When we were hiking Preikestolen it was 12 degrees around the main parking and max. 8 at the top.
We reached North Cape 10 days later. It was 8 degrees celsius in the daytime, but the wind from North Pole makes you feel it’s more like -8oC .
Adam was laughing when we were buying jackets suitable for winter mountain climbing. He wasn’t laughing when we got there.
Hoods up because the wind gave us both a headache!
Why am i telling you that while writing about budget trip to Scandinavia?
Well, you dont want to wake up in your tent when its less than 10 degrees celsius outside. And raining. Constantly. So make sure that you go and buy the proper equipment!
Have you been shocked by the prices in Scandinavia, or did they seem okay to you? Let us know your opinion in the comment section below!