Are you researching how much you’ll spend in Oslo? If you’re wondering how expensive Oslo is, there’s a simple answer.
I’m not going to lie. Very.
Before I went to Oslo I did the usual research to see what other travel bloggers were saying about Norway’s capital city and it irked me that all they could talk about was how expensive it was.
But, wow, it was expensive…
We spent £400 all in all, for four days, each. We really didn’t skimp though and as usual got caught up in the joyous moment of being away from work and having the ‘f*ck it, we’re on holiday’ mentality. You could do it for half, maybe, but you’d be eating bread and drinking water.
‘Oslo’ and ‘budget’ are not two words you hear together very often. Norway is the most expensive city in the world and as the capital, Oslo will cost you even more Krone. But, please don’t let this put you off. I went to Oslo in May and was genuinely amazed at how beautiful the city was, and how much there was to do there for free.
You could happily entertain yourself on a sunny day for free in Oslo with all the parks, free museums and free galleries.
But, for the purposes of this article on the cost of Oslo, let me introduce you to some of the costs of Oslo to consider.
We arrived around 2pm and we’d left the house at 4:15am and apart from a croissant at Pret a Manger at Stansted Airport we hadn’t eaten. So as soon as we found Muchos Mas round the corner from our Anker Hotel in Grunnerlokka we sat down and quickly ordered a chicken burrito and a beer each. It was a generous portion and absolutely delicious, and we shared another beer to wash it down.
The bill came. It was 526 Norwegian Krone, £56. Yikes. And that was just lunch.
On the last night we wanted something authentic so went to The Albertine Bar on the Akker Brygge front. I had herring and potatoes and Waiels had Norwegian stew. We had a pint each and a cheese platter between us for dessert. This came to around 800kr = £85.
During the 4 days we also had a kebab to share – without a doubt the worst kebab I’ve ever had, but we drunk and trying to be cheap – that was around £10. Another time we ate pizza, which were around £15 each and then another day we had elk burgers which were about the same.
Apart from the kebab and some dodgy pizza wrap Waiel got from Deli de Luca all the food we had in Oslo was incredible and delicious – some of the best I’ve ever had.
My trip to Oslo was the first holiday I’ve ever been on where I didn’t drink wine. At around 90kr (£9) a pop you didn’t get much liquid for your cash so I was on pints at 7okr (£7) each. We went to a bar near the House of Literature on the first night where we paid 150kr (£15) for a pint. We didn’t have another one and from the on in, we stuck to Grunerlokka where it was more like £7.
We had a 72-hour Oslo pass, which was brilliant for travelling around the city as all trams were included in the price. Otherwise you’re looking at around £5 a go although day passes are available. You don’t have to get the tram in Oslo though. Most of the sites are in the centre of the city and are definitely walkable, but if like me you want to see how the real Oslobergers lived in the city suburbs you might enjoy taking a tram ride out.
The Oslo Pass is a great option for budget travellers. You get free entry to more than 30 museums and attractions, free travel on all public transport, free parking, and discounts on many other activities and restaurants.
Cost: 24 hours = 270NOK (€36) | 48 hours = 395 NOK (€52) | 72 hours = 495NOK (€65)
We stayed at the amazing Anker Hotel where a double room starts from 890kr (£95) per night. Bearing in mind the top location it’s great value for the area and if you stayed here you wouldn’t have to fork out for any transport. There was a huge breakfast included the price too and it was really clean and modern.
I booked about three months in advance with Ryanair and got the flight (no baggage) for £35 each. Bargain, especially as we went on May Day Bank Holiday.
Things to Do in Oslo on a budget
Oslo is an incredible city for free entertainment. The Vigeland Sculpture Park, The Film Museum, City Hall, The Armed Forces Museum and a look in and on top of the Oslo Opera House were all free.
Within the 72-hour Oslo pass we got free entry to the Nobel Peace Centre, a brilliant hop-on, hop-off tour around the marina and the opportunity to visit tens more things if we’d had the time.
We paid around 35kr each for the incredible Mini Bottle Gallery – although it was only that cheap because the till was down – usually it’s about 85kr (£9) each.
Even though we had the hop on hop off tour included in the Oslo pass we also paid 250kr for a trip around the fjords, although I actually enjoyed the hop on hop off more.
There are plenty of cool junk shops around Grunnerlokka and they were fairly priced. I couldn’t help but wonder around the high street shops asking Waiel to ‘guess how much this is?!’ I definitely couldn’t afford to buy anything.
Here are my top 7 things to do in Oslo on a budget…
1. Go on a cruise around the fjords
Take a two-hour guided cruise around the fjords and back along the Aker Brygge harbour. You’ll learn all about the little houses on the islands, where the royal family live and how the Oslobergers spend their time in this beautiful area. You’ll also learn what exactly a fjord is. Refreshments are served on board and there are plenty of blankets to go round. This is the most expensive thing on the list, but well worth it.
Cost: 250NOK (€33). If you have an Oslo Pass you can get 15% off the price.
2. Visit the Armed Forces Museum
The Armed Forces Museum in Oslo (the Forsvarsmuseet) is incredible. It’s free to enter and there are thousands of exhibits to enjoy and learn from. See how backpacking was done just a few years ago with the wooden structures they’d carry on their backs during the war and all the crazy utensils they had to carry with them.
You can also see a real Tiger Moth plane, life-size exhibits, interactive shows and cabinets full of guns, weapons and other war memorabilia.
3. Check out the Nobel Peace Centre
The Nobel Peace Centre in Oslo houses dedications and memorials to all the Nobel Peace Prize Winners of days gone by. The Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded 92 times to 124 Nobel Laureates between 1901 and 2011 – 99 times to individuals and 23 times to organisations.
The award is given out every year at City Hall just a few steps away from the Centre above. At the Centre you can watch videos dedicated to the current prize winners – in 2012
it’s Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee and Tawakkol Karman – learn about past ones, and offer your wishes for peace and unity by writing on a card and sending it down the wire loop.
Cost: 80 kr (€10.66) or free with the Oslo Pass.
4. Stroll along Aker Brygge
Aker Brygge is the most expensive part of the most expensive city in the most expensive country in the world. This is where you’ll have to start flashing the cash if you want to eat in the restaurants. There is a TGI Friday serving the usual suspects where you can get a meal for around €15, or there’s a pub called Rorbua where I had a delicious elk burger for around €12 (small, but tasty!). I also enjoyed a delicious meal at D/S Louise Restaurant & Bar where I had a salted herring and potato dinner and my friend enjoyed an incredible traditional Norwegian stew.
Strolling along the harbour front doesn’t cost you anything though. You can admire the boats, buy an ice cream (oops, there I go spending again), imagine yourself living in one of the apartments and check out how the developments are coming along for the Museum of Modern Art. You can also look out onto the beautiful Oslo fjords and enjoy the views of Akershus Castle as you walk back.
Cost: Free (unless you buy that ice cream)
5. Visit the Vigeland Sculpture Park
In 1939 Mr Gustav Vigeland carefully modelled 212 naked life-size figures out of bronze, granite and wrought iron – along with a team of carvers and casters to finish them off.
The result is the incredible Vigeland Sculpture Park. It’s the largest sculpture park in the world and took Gustav 10 years to craft and place everything.
The central fountain you see above shows off the circle of life: from cradle to grave and back to cradle again. There are clusters of trees as you can see in the background which represent a different stage of life. There’s an amazing 100m bridge in the centre of the park with 58 sculptures flanking it – including the famous ‘Little Angry Boy’ – people rub his fist for good luck and its now gold where the colour’s worn off.
6. Shop in Grünerløkka
Grünerløkka is the ‘cool’ part of Oslo. It’s where all the bohemian trendies hang out and houses the coolest Oslo nightlife. Top places include Parkteatret, Fru Hagen and Bar Boca for a (relatively) cheap pint. Make sure you have a good walk around and even though the boutique shops are probably out of your price range there are loads of fun junk and second hand shops that had cool stuff. I was flying with Ryanair though – so no chance they would’ve fit in my backpack.
While you’re in Grünerløkka make sure you visit the cool weekend Bla Market. It’s quite small but there are plenty of cute things to buy and you can stick around and enjoy the bar by the river too.
Cost: Free (unless you get spending)
7. Explore the Mini Bottle Gallery
I know it sounds a bit random, but this was one of the coolest things I did in Oslo. The Mini Bottle Gallery houses thousands of mini booze bottles in every shape you can imagine. There’s a whole section dedicated to bottles from different countries and there are even bottles shaped like pretzels, clowns and footballs. Make sure you don’t miss the ‘sexy room’ on the tops floor. It’s so weird.
There’s also a fun game on the second floor where have to guess what alcohol it is you’re sniffing in different boxes. Very entertaining. There’s a bar inside where you can order a real drink and you’ll also get a few samples to try on the way in too.
Cost: 85 NOK (€11)
How much is Oslo?
I love Oslo. I’d love to go back and I will do, but only when I have a truck load of money and I don’t cry a little inside at paying £7 for a pint.
*BOOK YOUR OSLO TRIPS HERE TO HELP WITH BUDGETING*