Should you visit Norway or Finland?
Norway and Finland are both part of Scandinavia. This northern region in Europe is a popular tourist destination, but it is also a notoriously expensive area to visit.
Norway is a very stunning country with a lot of impressive and beautiful areas. The country is famous for its dramatic fjords and interesting landscape. It is larger than you might realize, and having access to a car will really enhance your trip and let you see the country in depth. Norway also has several interesting cities, including Oslo, the capital and largest city in the country, and Bergen, the second largest city. Norway is a very expensive country to visit, but if you have the money, it is well worth the trip.
Finland is also a Scandinavian country, and is relatively expensive when compared to the rest of Europe. It is generally more affordable than Norway though, so if you're short on funds, Finland may be a better option. Helsinki is the capital city, and it is a fun place to spend some time. In general, Finland is flatter than Norway, and while it is a beautiful and impressive country, it doesn't have the dramatic scenery that you find in Norway. Finland does have many beautiful lakes that provide excellent fishing and outdoor opportunities, and Finland is known for its outdoor sports year around. Skiing, snowmobiling, and ice diving are all popular activities. Finland also has a slightly better transportation system than Norway, so if you don't have access to a car, it's an easier country to explore.
Which country is cheaper, Finland or Norway?
Should I visit Norway or Finland? This is a popular question for many travelers. By figuring out which country is more expensive, you'll understand where you'll get more bang for your buck. A week in Finland can cost you about $920 (per person), while a week in Norway may cost you around $770. These differences become even more noticable if you plan to spend a longer time in the country. 10 days, two weeks, or even one month of travel to Finland or Norway can really add to your travel budget.
Accommodation is often cheaper in Norway compared to Finland ($57 vs. $62). Budget travelers often stay in cheaper hostels and guest houses, while nicer hotels usually appeal to families and upscale travelers.
Compare hostel, B&B, and guesthouse prices between Finland and Norway to find the cheapest accommodation here: Finland hostels and Norway hostels.
When comparing food in Norway vs. Finland they are not just different in cuisine, but also in price. Meal and restaurant costs in Norway ($30) are often cheaper than Finland ($30).
When is the best time to visit Norway and Finland?
A fishing village in the Lofoten Islands, Norway
Summer is the peak season for travel to Norway. This is when the temperatures are the warmest and the buses, ferries, and trains are most frequent. The days are longer and as you reach the areas in the farthest north, the sun won't even set. The summer season is short in Norway and runs from June to August, with transportation and amenities decreasing their hours by early September.
The spring months are a nice time to visit as well because this is when you can enjoy the Sami festivals. Waterfalls are full from the melting snow and wild flowers are in bloom.
Winter is a unique time to visit Norway. It's a beautiful time of year, but there is very limited sunlight and very cold temperatures. This is the the best time to see the northern lights, or aurora borealis.
Like Norway, the best time to visit Finland is during the summer months between June and August. This is when the temperatures are at their warmest and the tourist facilities are open and operating at full capacity. Do note that many residents take a holiday during the month of August and head to the countryside. Prices can be a bit higher during this time and some places get a bit more crowded.
Fall is a nice time to visit the country as well, although temperatures start to drop as early as the beginning of September. Lapland is a beautiful area during these months as the colors turn to gold and orange. Many attractions do reduce their hours starting in September.
Winters are actually a bit milder in Finland than in other parts of Scandinavia, but temperatures are still very cold. This is an interesting time to visit the country because there are plenty of winter sports that you can enjoy including cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, and ice diving.
Why is Norway more expensive than Finland?
Norway is one of the most expensive countries to visit in Europe (and the world). It has a high cost of living and residents make high salaries, so visitors can expect to pay a premium when they visit. Hotels, food, entertainment, and transportation are all very expensive when you visit Norway. In particular, transportation is very expensive because you really need to have access to a vehicle to explore the country in depth. Not only is renting a car expensive, but so is gas. Although Norway is very expensive, it has a high standard of living and is a very beautiful country to visit. Most visitors feel it is worth the high price tag.
What are the most expensive and cheapest cities and regions in Norway and Finland?
Olavinlinna Castle in Savonlinna, Finland
It's really hard, or impossible, to find an affordable place to go in Norway. The cities are very expensive with even the most budget hotels and hostels costing more than you'd pay in most other cities. The countryside can be equally as expensive, in part because you typically must have a car to access these areas. Gas is expensive and restaurant prices are quite high.
Finland is also an expensive country to visit, but more affordable than Norway. Helsinki is a relatively expensive city, but it is possible to find some reasonably priced hostels and budget hotels. In particular, Lapland is an expensive area, in part because visitors often book organized activities and excursions before they arrive. These activities and excursions can be very expensive and raise your overall daily budget. If you're hoping to save some money, do some research and figure out what you can do independently, which is often the cheaper way to go.
How you can save money when visiting Norway and Finland?
Look into discount cards for specific cities to see if they'll save you any money. Also check out the Fjord Pass in Norway to see how beneficial it is for your specific trip.
Make reservations well in advance, particularly for trains. Prices tend to climb as the date approaches.
Research all of your rental car options. There are often some local places that offer more affordable rental cars.
Taxis can be very expensive, so look into public transportation whenever possible.
Plan to cook some of your own food, as eating out is also a very expensive experience.