Where a single meal for two costs $350

OSLO: The Gravadlax has been delicate, the reindeer steaks in cranberry sauce tender and juicy, and you are looking forward to round off the evening over a pint. But then the painful truth hits. On this single meal for two, you have spent well over $350. Half of it on the wine alone.

Welcome to Oslo, the most expensive city in the world, where a pint costs between $9 and $13 and a packet of cigarettes $11.

A night out in Norway means spending as little money as possible in bars. Locals usually meet for a pre-drinkparty at home before hitting the town — and you had better bring your own booze because no one will offer you a drink. Then, you head out for a swift glass or two. Buying a round is frowned upon as a crass gesture of showing off how much cash you have.

One of the main topics of conversation in the city is where to get bargain beer and how. People exchange bar addresses where the alcohol is marginally cheaper as if they were gold dust.

Buying a car here is almost twice as expensive as in Britain. At around $2 a litre, filling the tank will also break the bank, despite the country’s status as the world’s third-largest oil exporter.

However, living in Oslo is not all bad news.

One can rent a flat in the centre of town for less than half of what it would be in central London and even young people can afford to buy their own apartments. Public services work: it is still very rare for people to go private.

Finally, if you take the tube for 20 minutes, you can go cross-country skiing deep into the forest, even at night because some tracks are lit. And that is priceless.