Where to Lodge in Norway for Next to Nothing

Large white cabin on cliffside in Nordic country
The best places to rest your head in Norway don't cost an arm and a leg...Marius Dalseg, DNT

Due to high taxes and gas prices, Norway has a reputation for being one of the priciest places to visit. But thanks to a Norwegian law called allemannsretten, or “every man’s right,” one can hike, ski, and even camp on virtually any uncultivated land in the country—for free. Seriously, some of the most impressive ways to lodge in Norway won’t cost you a pretty penny.

This ultimate democracy of access also applies to fishing in saltwater (ocean and fjord), and foraging for wild foods such as berries and mushrooms. The only real restrictions are a 500-foot buffer around houses, a requirement to practice Leave No Trace, a ban on campfires in summer except for already established sites, and occasional “no camping” spots in heavily touristed areas. But as long as you’re willing to provide your own tent and food, the entire country is basically your trail and campground.

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Looking for a more refined experience than sleeping on the ground? The Norwegian Trekking Association (or DNT) offers the most extensive public cabin system in the world, with 550 lodges and huts scattered around the country open to anyone who pays the annual membership fee of roughly $76. Mostly located in national parks, on mountain tops, or in other scenic areas, many locations are simple no-service cabins, offering bunks, a kitchen with cooking utensils, and living space with a fireplace for $29 a night.

Cabin structures in highlands
Tungestølen Turisthytte offers a stupefying vantage of Skyttarpiggen Mountain. Jan M. Lillebø

The next step up are self-service cabins, which have the same amenities plus a pantry stocked with fairly priced, non-perishable foods ranging from pasta and oatmeal to cured salmon and reindeer stew. Popular scenic locations even have staffed lodges that offer a choice between dormitory-style or private rooms with electricity, running water, and full-service meals ($93-$112 with dinner, breakfast and to-go lunch; $24-$43 for lodging only).

Three of the most stunning spots to lodge in Norway include self-service Rabothytta, on a mountaintop at the edge of the Okstindbreen glacier; Geitungen Fyr, a lighthouse perched on rocks surrounded by the North Sea; and Tungestølen Turisthytte, a modern architectural showpiece by famed architects Snøhetta in the shadow of Skyttarpiggen Mountain.

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