Oslo On A Budget: Detailed City Guide to the Norwegian Capital
Oslo is one of the most expensive cities in the world, yet many tourists seek to visit this wonderful Norwegian capital. Even if you don’t have a great stash of cash for your next visit, it is possible for you to enjoy your time in Oslo. As you will see from this page, visiting Oslo on a budget is possible – you should just know some tips and tricks on how to do it.
Flying to Oslo
Indeed, the first thing you should plan when thinking about visiting Oslo on a budget is actually getting there. If you are flying from the European continent, the quickest and cheapest way is usually to fly RyanAir or WizzAir.
In case you are coming from the U.S., Norwegian, the largest Norwegian airline, offers some pretty good flights to Norway via London. Sometimes, the price of a flight from New York or Miami to London can be as cheap as $200. Besides, this Norwegian airline also operates a number of flights to Spain. Below, you can see more details about these airlines.
RyanAir. The Europe’s largest low-cost carrier has flights from Bergamo (Italy), Vienna, Hamburg, Malta, London, Manchester, and a dozen of cities in Spain and Poland. Flights from Krakow to Oslo Torp can be as low as $20.
WizzAir. The Hungarian low-cost carrier is the closest competitor of RyanAir. This airline offers regular flights from Poland (7 cities), as well as Bucharest, Skopje, Vilnius, Riga, Vienna, Budapest, and London. Flights can cost as little as $15.
Norwegian. The largest Norwegian low-cost airline is especially popular with the tourists who travel from or to the United States. Keep in mind that there can be flights from New York, Los Angeles, or Miami to London that would cost as low as $200 (one-way ticket), while the price will be raised significantly for, for instance, direct New York to Oslo flights. In that case, we recommend you to have a stopover in London and/or book the tickets from London to Oslo separately. Perhaps, you might wish to book a cruise?
Another thing to keep in mind is that Norwegian offers both regular and charter flights from many European destinations to Oslo. In particular, that includes such cities like Madrid, Malaga, Barcelona, Alicante, Rome, Paris, Helsinki, Dublin. Of course, it also has flights from Stockholm, Gothenburg, Copenhagen, and the largest Norwegian cities. Besides, there is even a direct flight from Bangkok to Oslo.
SAS. Scandinavian Airlines, known simply as SAS, is an airline, owned by Sweden, Denmark, and Norway. This airline is noticeably more expensive than Norwegian, but it offers flights to Oslo from the farthest parts of the world (such as, for example, Auckland, New Zealand).
Keep in mind: low-cost carriers may fly either to Oslo Gardermoen, the largest airport in Oslo, or Oslo Torp, which is located much farther. From Oslo Gardenmoen, you can reach the city on a 25-minute train ride that is available every hour and costs somewhere from $13 to $15. From Oslo Torp, you can reach the city on a shuttle bus, whereas the ride takes about 1.5 hours and costs around $35.
Cheap Hotels in Oslo
Of course, another thing to consider is where you will stay in Oslo. When it comes to this matter, there are several ways how you can visit Olso on a budget. Yet, a large chunk of your money is likely to be spent on accommodation anyway. Here, we have collected the most popular options.
Hotels in the city center. There are plenty many Oslo hotels in the city center, which cost around 100 Euro per day – you can see these options on our website. The location of such hotels and complimentary breakfast ensure that the price is really worth it – don’t forget that the cost of public transport is around $5 per ride in Oslo. There are also some less expensive and less known hotels (also in the city center) that cost around $70 or $75 per day, but you need to research them and book in advance.
Hotels beyond the city center. Thankfully, Oslo is not such a large city as Stockholm. So, if you like wandering through the city streets, you may find a hotel room that would cost around $50 per day and would be within 20-25 minutes of walking from the center. Indeed, in some cases that may not be such a great idea – especially if you have got just a bit of time in Oslo.
AirBnB. In many instances, AirBnB is likely to turn out to be more expensive than hotels in Oslo. But there is an advantage, too: you get access to the kitchen where you can cook (restaurants are expensive in Oslo, too). If you don’t plan to cook anything, you may rent just a separate room that would oftentimes be cheaper than a room in a hotel.
Couchsurfing. If you are an active user of this service, it would make sense to take advantage of it. But it comes with all pros and cons that are inherent to such services (for instance, the lack of privacy).
Camping. You are going to visit Oslo during the summer season? In that case, staying in a camping might be a great idea! If you go on to trekking to Trolltunga or Preikestolen later, you are definitely going to have a tent. In that case, your stay may cost as little as $10 or $15 per day. Also, don’t forget that you can wild camp for free on Langoyene island (read more about it here), which can be reached by ferry for around $4-$5.
Plan your stay in Oslo (opens in a new window).
Food in Oslo
Same as anything else, Oslo is an expensive city when it comes to food. So, if you are traveling to Oslo on a budget, there are just a few options for how you can save your money on food. Here, we will disclose such options.
Groceries. That’s usually a student option by default. Even though the grocery products are noticeably more expensive than in other European capitals, you will find that it will be cheaper this way than eating out at fast-foods or some cafés. The most affordable and typically low-cost groceries include REMI1000 and Kiwi.
Deli de Luca. These deli shops are scattered throughout Oslo, and many of them are open 24/7. So, if you would like to grab a sandwich in one of these shops, that’s more than welcome! Most of the sandwiches cost from $5 to $7, which is really affordable for Oslo.
Peppe’s Pizza. This is just another affordable fast-food chain in Oslo, offering salads for around $8 and large pizzas for $17-$25.
Vippa. This is a fast-food shop, located in the city center. Here, you can enjoy Eritrean, Chinese, Syrian, or Thai meals – anything your imagination may wish. And the meal prices usually vary between 65 and 100 NOK, which means your meal won’t cost you more than $11.
Mathallen Oslo. Once an industrial space, this popular food hall is dedicated to the Norwegian food and is popular among the Norwegians and locals alike. There are dozens of food stalls, so you will definitely find something delicious and affordable.
Fiskeriet. If you would like to taste the authentic Norwegian seafood at an affordable place, this is the place to go! Locals visit this place to pick up the market-fresh produce, but you can enjoy seafood casserole or salted cod here. Main meals usually come with a price tag from $18 to $27.
Getting Around Oslo
Oslo is not such a large city as, for example, Stockholm, where getting around on foot may be problematic. This means that you can enjoy wandering through the streets of Oslo. But if you have scarce time in Oslo or you would like to visit many places, here you can see the best means of getting around in Oslo.
Bike rentals. Considering that Oslo is not that big city, getting around on a bike may be especially convenient and comfortable. The Oslo City Bike has plenty of locations, which means it is really extremely convenient to get around Oslo on a bike. A single-day pass costs just around $6.20, while a three-day pass would come at a price of around $12.5. Considering that the public transport tickets cost $4, that’s a pretty good bargain.
Public transport. In Oslo, you never need a car. The public transport is extremely convenient and works even late in night (the subway is open until 2:00 A.M.). The tickets cost $4 and include a free transfer or return within 1 hour. If you are going to buy a ticket from a driver, however, it will cost $6. So, we recommend you to install the app and buy your tickets on your smartphone – that’s easy and extremely convenient.
Likewise, you can buy single-day or multi-day public transport tickets. A single-day ticket costs around $12, while a seven-day ticket comes with a price tag of $31-$32.
Buy Oslo Pass
In fact, buying an Oslo Pass may be a great idea for many tourists! Basically, this pass provides you with free access to the many of the city’s attractions, free public transport, and discounts in some restaurants, shops, and attractions. In many cases, this is a pretty good bargain – especially if you are good at planning.
There are three types of Oslo Pass: 24-hour, 48-hour, and 72-hour, which cost around 46 Euro, 68 Euro, and 85 Euro respectively. From my own experience, we paid around $50 for a daily Oslo Pass but spent much above the top of that (we counted that we would have paid around $150 otherwise).
In particular, getting this Oslo Pass is a must if you are going to visit museums on Bygdøy. Then, the ferry to the island and back, visits to the Fram, Kon-Tiki, Viking Ships, and Norsk Folkemuseum would cost more than a one-day Oslo Pass. A pretty good bargain, isn’t it? Discover more about what to see in Oslo with this list of top 10 things to do in Oslo.
Things To See In Oslo On A Budget
If you are visiting the Norwegian capital on a budget, this doesn’t mean that you have got nothing to do except of strolling around. In fact, the situation is exactly the opposite: there are many attractions you can access free of charge or at a low cost. Here, we will list such attractions. Enjoy.
Ekeberg Park. This park opened as recently as 2013 and, then, sparked much of controversy. Yet, the opening of this park has also cemented the status of Oslo as the cultural capital. Exactly at the top of this park (where you can get a breathtaking view), Edvard Munch got the inspiration for his famous work “The Scream.” In this park, you can see the sculptures of both contemporary and traditional masters, including the works of Vigeland.
Vigeland Park. This park is, perhaps, the largest and most famous open-air exhibition in the world, featuring the lifetime work of Gustav Vigeland. Admission is free, and you are able to wander through and look at the 212 granite and bronze sculptures, made by the renowned artist.
Oslo Opera House. Perhaps, Operahuset is the city’s most famous edifice and is definitely its iconic landmark. Built just back in 2008, this opera house resembles a glacier that floats in the waters of Oslofjord. You should definitely climb to the roof of this edifice, as you will get a wonderful view of the city and the fjord. Besides, you can also access the foyer for free (free Wi-Fi and toilets are available there).
Oslo National Gallery. This gallery houses, perhaps, one of the most impressive art collections in the northern Europe, including the works of Edvard Munch (especially the famous “The Scream”), El Greco, Picasso, Renoir, and many other renowned masters. And while the admission is 50 NOK for adults, there is free admission for everyone on Thursdays.
Oslo Cathedral. Domkirke, simply known among locals as Dom, is another prominent edifice in Oslo, dating back to 1697. Admission is free, and you can admire the cathedral’s elaborate stained-glass windows that are the work of Emmanuel Vigeland, the brother of Gustav Vigeland.
Oslo City Hall. There is, perhaps, no other edifice in the city that describes the entire history of Oslo. Visit this monumental red-brick building to discover the history of the Norwegians and their state, from the Viking times until the present. Admission is free.
Tjuvholmen Sculpture Park. Located right near the eccentric Astrup Fearnley Museum, this sculpture park (yes, another one) was designed by Renzo Piano. It is dedicated solely to contemporary art and features the works of famous present-day artists.
Slottsparken. Enjoy a stroll in the royal park, situated right in the city center.
Stroll across Karl Johan’s gate. The city’s vibrant central street runs from the main railway station to the Royal Palace of Oslo, and you should do your best to discover it. This street houses famous Norwegian landmarks like the Oslo Cathedral, the Royal Palace of Oslo, the Oslo Theater (where Henrik Ibsen once had been present), the Grand Hotel, Storting (the Norwegian Parliament), the University of Oslo, and much more!
Do you want to discover this city in an easy, yet affordable way? You can have a look at our Oslo city tours! Oslo City Highlands Walking Tour, for instance, costs just 400 NOK for adults, and it will acquaint you with Norway’s capital.
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