Currency and Exchange. The Norwegian krone (plural: kroner) translates as "crown," written officially as NOK. Price tags are seldom marked this way, but instead read "Kr" followed by the amount, such as Kr 10. (In this book, the Norwegian krone is abbreviated NKr.) One krone is divided into 100 øre, and coins of 50 øre and 1, 5, 10, and 20 kroner are in circulation. Bills are issued in denominations of 50, 100, 200, 500, and 1,000 kroner. At this writing, the rate of exchange was NKr 5.82 to the U.S. dollar and NKr 8.33 to the euro.
Pricing and Taxes. Costs are high in Norway, and so is the value-added tax VAT (aka moms) of 25% (generally included in the prices of goods). Residents of countries outside the EU can recover some of this tax with the Global Refund scheme.
You can buy liquor and strong beer (over 3% alcohol) only in state-owned shops, at very high prices, during weekday business hours, usually 9:30 to 6 and in some areas on Saturday until mid-afternoon. (When you visit people in Norway, a bottle of liquor or fine wine bought duty-free on the trip over is much appreciated.) Weaker beers and ciders are usually available in grocery stores, except in certain rural areas.
Sample Prices. Cup of coffee, NKr 20–NKr 30; a half liter of beer, NKr 50–NKr 60; the smallest hot dog (with bun plus lompe—a flat Norwegian potato bread—mustard, ketchup, and fried onions) at a convenience store, NKr 20–NKr 30; bottle of wine, from NKr 80; urban transit fare in Oslo, NKr 34; soft drink, NKr 25–NKr 35; sandwich, NKr 40–NKr 50; 1½-km (1-mi) taxi ride, NKr 50–NKr 70.
Tipping. Tipping is kept to a minimum in Norway because service charges are added to most bills. It is, however, handy to have a supply of NKr 5 or NKr 10 coins for less formal service. Tip only in local currency. Room service usually includes a service charge in the bill, so tipping is discretionary. Round up a taxi fare to the next round digit, or tip anywhere from NKr 5 to NKr 10, a little more if the driver has been helpful. All restaurants include a service charge, ranging from 12% to 15%, in the bill. It's customary, but not obligatory, to add up to 10% for exceptional service.
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