Best Places To Live In Norway

Best places to live in Norway: Your essential guide on where to live in Norway

Finding the best places to live in Norway is crucial if you’re thinking of moving to Scandinavia. For decades, a number of benefits have made life in Norway for foreigners an appealing concept.

Not only does Norway rank first in terms of personal security, but it’s above the average in the quality of life index for a host of different factors.

Living in Norway means you can expect exceptional job opportunities and earnings, great educational facilities, a good work-life balance, and a fantastic range of housing choices. Plus, Norway is also among the most beautiful locations in the world, packed with amazing sights to explore.

But where exactly should you be exploring if you’re thinking of moving to Norway?

Let’s explores some of the top places to live in Norway, from the most affordable destinations to the locations with the best opportunities for expats.

Where is the best place to live in Norway?

As you might expect, there’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to choosing the best city for life in Norway. When deciding where to live, you’ll need to consider a number of factors, from which regions offer the most job opportunities to where the rent might be particularly high.

For instance, job opportunities in Norway can be somewhat slim in the more picturesque and remote regions of the country. Unless you already have a job lined up, you may need to focus on locations where job offers are everywhere, such as Oslo.

It’s also worth thinking about your family.

The University of Oslo is one of the top locations for education both in Norway and the world. However, you can also explore the University of Bergen, or the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.

Where do most foreigners live in Norway?

If you’re looking for an international community of people just like you, looking to start a new life in a distant land, Oslo is your best pick. Although you can find English speakers and various unique communities all over Norway, Oslo is the place with the largest share of immigrants (30.4%).

Second to Oslo is Drammen, followed by Lørenskog and Skien. We do recommend learning how to speak Norwegian regardless of where you move.

Where is the safest place to live in Norway?

All of Norway is widely regarded to be safe for travellers, locals, and expats. Oslo, the capital city, is one of the safest capitals in the world. However, you will also find extremely low crime rates in regions like Bergen, Trondheim, and Stavanger.

It’s hard to go wrong from a safety perspective.

Where are the cheapest places to live in Norway?

Norway isn’t exactly the cheapest location for expats moving into Scandinavia. However, you can usually offset the costs of living with the high wages and income opportunities.

The most expensive cities are Oslo, Bergen, and Stavanger. However, the most affordable cities are Oppland, Hedmark, Telemark, and rural Østfold.

Where to live in Norway

Norway is home to a truly incredible selection of cities and towns well-worth exploring. In fact, we would definitely recommend visiting the country and learning as much as you can about each city before you decide where you want to move.

So where are the best places to live in Norway? Let’s take a look at some of the most popular options for life in Norway…

Best Places To Live In Norway

1. Oslo

Population: 634,293

Famous for: The capital of Norway, a Viking history, amazing seafood, eco-friendly living, and a wide range of museums. It also has some fantastic architecture.

Cost of living: Around $1,265 (without rent)

Starting with the most obvious choice for where to live in Norway, Oslo is the capital city, and home to the widest selection of opportunities for expats.

Oslo is not as crowded as some capital cities and it’s one of the healthiest locations in the world, with extra-clean water and air, and a fantastic approach to sustainability.

If you’re looking for an urban lifestyle, where you’ll still have easy connections to some of the most beautiful sights and experiences in Norway, Oslo is the place for you. Wages are high, job opportunities are plenty, and you can enjoy a great work-life balance.

While the weather can be a little unpredictable in Oslo, you’ll get used to the changeable seasons over time. You’ll also find Oslo to be a compelling destination for younger people who are still finding their way in life.

The University of Oslo is the oldest in the country, and one of the best. It also teaches intensive Norwegian courses for expats.

In Oslo, you’ll spend your free time exploring locations like the Akershus Fortress, hitting up local ski parks, or learning at the Viking Ship Museum.

Find things to do and places to stay in Oslo.

Best Places To Live In Norway

2. Bergen

Population: 271,949

Famous for: World-renowned university, VilVite Bergen Science Centre, Bergen Cathedral, Lisøy Island, The Royal Residence, and the market square.

Cost of living: Around $1,266 (without rent)

Alongside Oslo, Bergen is one of the largest cities in Norway, with the biggest community of locals to build friendships with. The region is a gateway to some of the most beautiful fjords in Norway, which can be seen easily from the top of Mount Floyen.

The city is also excellent for anyone who loves art, music, and culture, thanks to the wide selection of places to visit.

The Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra is situated here, along with a range of excellent museums and art galleries. Bergen is one of the top student cities in the country, with a range of universities to choose from. This makes it a good pick if you’re moving to Norway with older kids.

From a weather perspective, Bergen can get a lot of rainfall. However, if you can get used to the weather, you can benefit from everything from low crime rates to excellent diversity, Bergen also won the “European City of Culture” in the year 2000 too.

In terms of the cost of living, Bergen is about as expensive as Oslo, depending on where you choose to set up your home.

Find things to do and places to stay in Bergen.

Best Places To Live In Norway

3. Arendal

Population: 37,815

Famous for: Water sports, a stunning archipelago, maritime national park access, fantastic local architecture, and a buzzing city center.

Cost of living: Around $1832 (with rent)

Arendal is significantly smaller than many of the top cities worldwide, but that doesn’t make it any less appealing. If you’re looking for a laidback life in Norway for foreigners, Arendal could be just the city you’re searching for, located towards the southern side of Norway.

The region is full of history, with amazing wooden houses dating back to the 17th century.

Arendal is one of the safest locations to live in if you’re moving to Norway, and it’s great for enjoying time with your family in a beautiful, friendly home. Arendal is also particularly popular for its music scene during the summer months, with the Hove Festival as one of the larger events in the country.

Canal Street is another place you’ll enjoy visiting on a regular basis, with a vibe capable of attracting blues and jazz lovers on an almost constant basis. Though this region can be wonderfully relaxed when it needs to be, it’s also lively enough for younger people moving to Norway too.

As an extra bonus, this diverse town is full of English speakers, so it could be the best city in Norway to live in while you’re developing your knowledge of the language.

Find places to stay in Arendal.

Best Places To Live In Norway

4. Trondheim

Population: 182,035

Famous for: Norway’s capital of knowledge (Norwegian University of Science and Technology), jazz and music scene, excellent Nidaros Cathedral, and Tyholt Tower.

Cost of living: Around $1,222 (without rent)

Trondheim is a stunning city in Norway, perfect if you want to explore the beautiful Nordic landscape. Due to its location in the North of the country, the winters in Trondheim can be a little severe for those who aren’t used to the cold.

However, the summers can be surprisingly warm.

Trondheim is great for families, with an excellent ranking for safety and quality of life. There are lots of opportunities for education and work, and Trondheim has even built a name for itself as the capital of knowledge.

The Norwegian University of Science and Technology offers some of the best education in the world for technology enthusiasts.

There are lots of developer jobs available if you’re an IT-savvy individual too, as well as plenty of natural landscapes to check out in your free time. The community in the region is also wonderfully appealing, with most people acting friendly towards all kinds of visitors and expats.

Trondheim is one of the top cities in the world for low crime rates, so you can stroll through the city at any time during the day without having to worry about putting your family at risk.

However, the cost of living can be quite high.

Find things to do and places to stay in Trondheim.

Best Places To Live In Norway

5. Stavanger

Population: 130,754

Famous for: Stunning natural beauty, including access to fjords. Pulpit Rock, the Norwegian petroleum museum, Stavanger cathedral and the Valberg tower.

Cost of living: Around $1,291 (without rent)

Widely regarded as one of the best places to live in Norway, Stavanger is brimming with beautiful things to see. Located on the western coast of the country, Stavanger is best known for its vibrant nightlife, amazing festivals, and fantastic fjords.

It’s also ideal if you’re looking for a home with lots of job and education opportunities.

The architecture in Stavanger is phenomenal, with history located all over the city. Plus, when you’re tired of looking at man-made creations, there’s no shortage of phenomenal natural sites to visit, like Pulpit Rock.

If you’re a fan of hiking, you’re going to love it here.

Though the cost of living can be a little high in Stavanger, the advantages of living here far outweigh those costs. There’s a culinary institute, which backs the idea of Stavanger becoming one of the main food centres in the region.

There is quite a lot of rain however, which can make exploring local food festivals a little less appealing.

Find things to do and places to stay in Staganger.

Best Places To Live In Norway

6. Ålesund

Population: 45,747

Famous for: Art Nouveau architecture, Ålesund Harbor, a town park, the Atlantic Sea-Park, amazing fjord cruises and the Sunnmøre Museum

Cost of living: Around $1,292 (without rent)

Another of the most popular places to live in Norway right now, Ålesund is a beautiful and welcoming city and fishing harbor in Norway. As you might expect, you’ll have no trouble finding restaurants and cafes selling fresh fish in this location.

Known around the world for a large concentration of Art Nouveau architecture, Ålesund attracts all kinds of Norwegians and immigrants alike. There’s also a lot of surrounding villages where you can find a range of job opportunities too.

Ålesund City is home to a sub-division of Norwegian’s Science and Technology University, so if you’re looking to get your degree, you can easily do so here. There’s also plenty of things to do and see during your spare time, such as visiting the Atlanterhavsparken Aquarium.

If you’re a big fan of architecture, and you want to be reasonably close to the fjords, Ålesund could be the ultimate Norwegian city for you.

Find things to do and places to stay in Ålesund.

Best Places To Live In Norway
Credit: Stephen Downes

7. Fredrikstad

Population: 77,591

Famous for: Gamlebyen (Old Town), Isegran, Kongsten Fort, the Old Town Model Train Centre, Hankø Island and the Hvaler Islands

Cost of living: Around $1,851 (with rent)

Relatively small compared to some other major cities throughout Norway, Fredrikstad offers a cosy and welcoming location to potential expats. Because you’re situated near to Oslo, you’ll have no trouble finding potential jobs and things to do during your free time.

The longest river in Norway is located here (Glomma), and there’s also plenty of history and culture to soak up if you’re looking to explore. The Fredrikstad Fortress, for instance, comes from the 17th century.

You’ll also be quite close to the amazing Hvaler archipelago, where you can find an amazing environment for hiking and adventuring with loved ones.

One of the reasons Fredrikstad is so appealing to people who want to move into Norway is it’s surprisingly affordable. This could be the best place for you if you want all the benefits of living in Oslo without the additional costs.

Find places to stay in Fredikstad.

Best Places To Live In Norway

8. Drammen

Population: 66,214

Famous for: Kjøsterudjuvet Gorge, Bragernes Kirke, Drammens Museum, Austad Gård, Ypsilon Bridge and a host of museums.

Cost of living: Around $1,421 (without rent)

Compared to some locations in Norway, Drammen is far from the least-expensive place to live. However, the region can be an excellent opportunity to live close to Oslo, while still enjoying a huge amount of beautiful nature and history.

Drammen is located near to the Drammen river, around half an hour from Oslo. The city is home to the amazing Ypsilon Bridge, and an amazing helix-shaped tunnel called the Spiralen, which takes you to a fantastic vantage point for views over the city.

There’s also countless amazing churches, towers, and museums to explore in your spare time too.

Because it’s one of the smaller cities in Norway, Drammen isn’t quite as expensive as some other regions throughout Norway for rent.

However, you may still spend quite a bit on additional amenities and necessities, like food.

Find places to stay in Drammen.

Best Places To Live In Norway

9. Tromsø

Population: 71,590

Famous for: The Northern Lights, fishing, and plenty of amazing Arctic destinations. The Polar Museum, and the Arctic Cathedral. 

Cost of living: Around $1,231 (without rent)

If you’re looking for one of the most unique places to live in Norway, it’s hard to go wrong with Tromsø. Not only is this one of the best places in Norway to soak up culture and art, but it’s also one of the top places to spot the Northern Lights.

The Tromsø region is beautiful, and packed with things to do and see, from the Tromsø perspective museum to the Arctic University Museum.

However, it’s not the least expensive city to settle down in, perhaps thanks to its close connection with the Arctic region, and the beauty of the surrounding nature.

It’s also worth noting life in Tromsø can take some getting used to, thanks to the summer sun, and the 24-hour darkness you might experience in winter.

It might be worth spending a week or two in Tromsø during different seasons in the year to get a taste of what it’s like.

Find things to do and places to stay in Tromsø.

Best Places To Live In Norway

10. Lillehammer

Population: 27,028

Famous for: Maihaugen Open Air Museum, Vigelandsparken, the Hunderfossen Familiepark, and the Lysgardbakkene Ski Jumping Resort.

Cost of living: Around $1,946 (without rent)

As one of the more expensive places to live in Norway, Lillhammer might not immediately appeal to everyone. The region is excellent if you’re looking for a beautiful, small village vibe, with minimal stress and urban fuss, however.

Of course, this also means you’re not going to have as many job opportunities to choose from when living here.

Lillehammer might be the top place to live in Norway for you if you want to get involved with a ski resort for your career or explore lots of art and culture in your free time.

It’s a fantastic place for those who want to retire and live the life of luxury for a while.

Lillehammer is home to a range of ski resorts where you can spend your holidays, as well as beautiful natural scenery. However, it can be quite cold here during the winter months, and public transportation isn’t always easy to access.

Find places to stay in Lillehammer.

Is it very expensive to live in Norway?

Keep in mind, aside from the best places to live in Norway mentioned above, there are a wide selection of other locations you can consider when you’re moving to Norway.

Norwegian village life can be a little less expensive than city life, but you won’t have as many job opportunities, and you may find it hard to integrate with the local community, as there aren’t as many English speakers.

If you’re approaching retirement age, or you’re working remotely, you can consider a wider range of destinations in Norway, like the beautiful Henningsvær landscape, which might not be ideal for jobs, but does offer a picturesque region for life away from the hustle and bustle.

In general, you can expect to spend a lot more on average for everything from rent to food when living in Norway. However, you might find the cost of living is more manageable when you consider the wages available in some parts of the country too.

Make sure you do your research before you choose the right place for you.

Is Norway a good place to live?

Norway, like many locations across the Scandinavian region, can be an excellent place to start your new life. The location is notoriously safe, making it ideal for families, and it can pay significantly higher wages than you’ll find elsewhere in the Nordic landscape, or around the world.

If you can get used to the unpredictable weather of Norway, and you’re comfortable with things like slightly higher taxes and a high cost of living, life in Norway could be ideal for you.

As always, we recommend visiting the places you’re thinking about moving to in advance, so you can get a taste for the region before making any final decisions.

Scandification: Discovering Scandinavia.

Scandification explores and celebrates the magic of Scandinavia. Stay tuned and we’ll bring the essence of Scandinavia to you.

Advertising enquiries

Scandification explores and celebrates the magic of Scandinavia. To advertise your brand to a global audience, contact our advertising team below.

advertising@scandification.com