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Planning a 3-Week Budget-Friendly Itinerary Around South-Norway

Rykandfossen waterfall

South Norway is renowned for its breathtaking fjords, picturesque villages, and stunning natural beauty. While the country is known for being on the expensive side, planning a budget-friendly trip to this region is entirely feasible. In this article, I will guide you through a 3-week itinerary to South Norway on a budget, covering accommodation options, cost-effective food choices, transportation considerations, and budgeting for activities!

south norway itinerary

The Importance of an Itinerary in Your Budget-Friendly Exploration of Southern Norway

Planning an itinerary before embarking on a budget-friendly journey through Southern Norway is crucial for several reasons. Firstly, it provides a strategic approach to cost control, allowing you to secure affordable accommodations through platforms like Airbnb and Booking and find the most budget-friendly transportation options. Knowing where you'll stay and how you'll get around contributes to efficient budget management. Having a pre-arranged plan helps avoid last-minute expenses by enabling you to budget for attractions, activities, and meals in advance !

Månafossen waterfall

On top of that, a well-organised itinerary contributes to time optimisation, reducing unnecessary detours and allowing you to cover more ground efficiently. The peace of mind that comes with knowing where you'll stay and what activities are on the agenda also significantly reduces travel-related stress, something we went through due to the unexpected bad weather ! I'm not saying that you should have everything planned out and thought through beforehand, I'm a firm believer in spontaniety when travelling, but consider an itinerary as a comprehensive tool that not only assists in budget management but also enhances the overall travel experience in an expensive destination like Norway !

Planning a 3-Week Budget-Friendly Itinerary Around South-Norway The Benefits of Group Travel When on a Budget :

Travelling to Norway, on any other country, with a group of friends can be a savvy strategy if you're on a budget. The shared expenses, including petrol, accommodation, and food, can be significantly reduced when divided among group members. It also allows for the division of driving responsibilities, particularly essential for navigating the extensive distances Norway presents ! Splitting driving time not only ensures safer travel but also allows everyone to enjoy the scenic journey without the exhaustion of long solo drives. Plus, it forces everyone to listen to your playlist, I can guarantee that the boys were thrilled to listen to three hours of Kpop. This goes without mentioning the unforgettable memories, laughs and shared experiences that come with groupe travel !

Accommodation Options on a Budget:

Wild Camping in South Norway: A Way to Embrace Nature on a Budget

When it comes to planning a 3-week budget friendly itinerary around South Norway, wild camping is one of the first things that should come to mind. It's not just a cost-effective option; it allows you to immerse yourself in the untouched beauty of the Norwegian wilderness. However, it's essential to understand the regulations and etiquettes associated with wild camping to ensure a respectful and enjoyable experience.

wild camping in Norway

Understanding Wild Camping Regulations:

  1. The Right to Roam (Allemannsretten): Norway's "Allemannsretten" or the Right to Roam is a unique legal concept that allows people to camp freely in nature. It's a fantastic opportunity to connect with the environment. However, this right comes with responsibilities, such as respecting private property, wildlife, and the environment!

  2. Leave No Trace: When practicing wild camping, remember the Leave No Trace principles. This means carrying out all your waste, leaving the campsite as you found it, and minimising your impact on the environment. Norway takes its pristine landscapes seriously, and visitors are expected to do the same.

If wild camping isn't your thing, South Norway (and Norway in general) boasts numerous beautiful campsites that are both affordable and surrounded by stunning landscapes. Some popular campsites include Preikestolen Camping near Stavanger and Lysefjorden Camping near Forsand. The benefits of staying at campsite are that you get electricity to charge your phones and cameras and most importantly, a hot shower!

Due to the bad an unpredictable weather, we didn't end up camping as much as we would have liked. We often had to book a room somewhere last minute because the weather changed rapidly and we got a lot of rain, making it unpleasant and unsafe to sleep outdoors.  We were unlucky though as locals told us that it was the wettest August they had had in a long time and as if that wasn't enough, we all got Covid (woohoo!).

Airbnb and Booking

Both sites offer an array of budget-friendly accommodation options in South Norway. Consider booking a room in a local's home or renting a small apartment for an authentic and affordable experience. Staying with locals can also provide valuable insights into the region's culture and hidden gems! Like I said , due to the bad weather we often had to book somewhere last minute and surprisingly we managed to find quite cheap options! Bear in mind that there were four of us so that inevitably cut costs. For those embarking on the Flørli 4444 Hike and the Preikestolen Hike, consider lodging at Songesand Camp. This family-run campsite provides affordable cabins, apartments, and camping spaces. Conveniently located just a three-minute drive from the ferry stop to Flørli and roughly an hour's drive to Preikestolen, it serves as an excellent base for both adventures. However, it's essential to note that the camp is situated in a secluded area with a one-way road leading to the ferry stop. Be sure to plan ahead for your provisions as there are no food shopping options nearby. For a deeper dive into our Lysefjord adventures, check out my detailed guide: Three Iconic Hikes of Lysefjord

Songesand camp
Songesand Camp

If you're gearing up for the Kjeragbolten hike and crave a truly authentic and distinctive lodging experience, look no further than this cabin in Tjørhom. This accommodation, once a hunting lodge dating back to 1912, offers an enchanting stay devoid of modern conveniences like electricity or running water. While the cabin can comfortably accommodate six people, rest assured that clean, hot showers, and toilets are conveniently located nearby. Although a little rustic, this cabin promises a one-of-a-kind experience, providing the perfect opportunity to disconnect for a night and enjoy a rejuvenating sleep before the challenging hike!

Buying Food in Norway:

Extra and Kiwi:

Grocery stores like Extra and Kiwi were our best friends, and will be yours, when it comes to saving money on food in Norway. While dining out can be pricey, buying groceries and cooking your meals is a cost-effective option. Norway is famous for its fresh seafood, so make sure to try locally sourced products like salmon if you can but otherwise you can find most basic products in supermarkets. Most towns have a Kiwi and an Extra. There are other supermarkets but we found these two to be the most budget friendly.

Planning a 3-Week Budget-Friendly Itinerary Around South-Norway : Transportation Considerations

  1. Renting a Car Outside of Norway or Taking Your Own: Opting to rent a car outside of Norway or bringing your own vehicle has its advantages and considerations. Renting a car from neighbouring countries may offer competitive rates and greater flexibility in terms of vehicle selection. For example, we rented a car in Italy and drove up to Norway. We thought we'd make a roadtrip out of it! However, it's essential to research potential restrictions, such as mileage limitations and cross-border fees. Bringing your own vehicle can provide a familiar driving experience and eliminate the hassle of adjusting to a new car. Yet, it requires thorough planning to ensure compliance with international driving regulations, including proper documentation and vehicle suitability for Norwegian roads. Ultimately, the choice depends on individual preferences, budget, and convenience. To drive in Norway and access its toll roads, it's essential to register your car for tolls through the AutoPASS system. This registration enables seamless navigation through the country's extensive road network while ensuring compliance with toll payment requirements, this includes some ferry crossings. Through the AutoPASS website (, you can conveniently register your car, manage toll payments, and access essential information regarding toll roads and rates in Norway.

  2. Use Local Ferries Instead of Tourist Ones: Exploring Norway's stunning landscapes often involves traversing its intricate network of fjords and waterways, making ferry travel an integral part of the journey. Opting for local ferries over tourist-oriented services offers travelers an authentic and cost-effective way to experience Norway's maritime beauty. Local ferries not only provide essential transportation between coastal towns and islands but also offer a glimpse into the daily lives of locals. They are generally more budget-friendly than tourist ferries and operate on regular schedules, ensuring reliable connections throughout the region. Depending on the regularity, size and type of crossing, you can either book online (which is the case if you wish to go to Flørli from Songesand : or pay directly on board by card (someone will come over and ask you to pay). In certain cases, your fare is automatically charged with your numberplate, in which case you just have to get on and off.

Budgeting for Activities:

Museums, Saunas, and Parking for Hikes: South Norway has plenty of activities to offer, and it's important to budget for these experiences. Museums, such as the Norwegian Petroleum Museum in Stavanger or the Iron Age Farm in Ullandhaug, often have entrance fees. Saunas can also come at a price, but they're a unique Norwegian experience you won't want to miss. Additionally, some hiking trailheads, especially the most famous ones, may require parking fees, so be prepared for those expenses when planning your 3-week itinerary around south Norway (we weren't lol).

Exploring Southern Norway on a budget is not only feasible but also an excellent way to experience the region's stunning natural beauty and rich culture without exceeding your financial limits. I hope this article about planning a 3-week budget-friendly itinerary around South Norway has been helpful and will enable you to fully enjoy the beauty of this remarkable destination!

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