Just How Expensive is Oslo? 7 Things to Do in Oslo on a Budget

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.

how much to spend in oslo

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.


cost of oslo

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.

Just how expensive is Oslo?
Beautiful Oslo from the hop on hop off tour boat

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.

Cost: Free

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.

spends in oslo

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.

Cost: Free

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.



  1. Pingback: VickyFlipFlopTravels » Travel and Festival BloggerMy 2012 Travels in 12 Photos and 12 Trips | VickyFlipFlopTravels
  2. How many people did you go with? like if the burritos and beer came to £56 for two people that is insanely expensive and I wouldn’t go there till I saved up much more money. Great read though 🙂

  3. Hi Vicky, I should have read your blog earlier.I went to Oslo and emptied my wallet…At the end I was eating only apples and banana’s ( each Apple and banana costed 10Nor ( 1 pound each)……..

    1. Yesssh, it’s expensive isn’t it?! Probably one of the most expensive places I’ve been. Interesting though. Hope you felt like it was worth the money :).

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  5. I am a Swedish national who is living in Oslo. Oslo is a nice place, but I would recommend people to go to other places in Norway. The west coast in Norway is really amazing. Just try to Google Flåm, Flekke or any other place on the west coast. They are fantastic if you are traveling to Norway in June, July or August. One great thing about Norway is that it is legal to put up a tent more or less anywhere in the nature http://www.visitnorway.com/en/about-norway/travel-facts/when-you-arrive/right-of-access/

    I would however have to say that if you would like to experience city life in Scandinavia, you should go to Copenhagen, Cheap beer compared to their neighbor countries up north, pretty good food as well as a nice atmosphere and they are the happiest head capitol in Europe. http://www.theguardian.com/travel/2014/jan/24/copenhagen-denmark-happy-capital-holiday

    1. Thank you for your trips Erik. I’d love to see more of Norway, and Copenhagen, so it’s good to get a few tips in the bank. Let me know if you have any more!

  6. Yikes. After the Grunnerloka post I read I was thinking I fancied a little trip there, but, err, maybe not right now. Need to save up my pennies first, obvioulsy.

    1. Ha, yeah, it is pretty expensive there! Worth it, and I definitely want to go back, but yeah, I’ll be saving my pennies too.

  7. Great article, but as a local I see that it would absolutely be possible to eat and drink cheaper –
    but I know its not easy to find the good and cheap places when you stay for a short time….
    Will get some good and cheap(er) suggestions up on the blog once I get back to Oslo in october!

    1. I’d love to read them Elin! I definitely want to come back to Oslo one day and any tips on how to make it cheaper will be gratefully received!

  8. I remember the £60 burrito story when you came back from Oslo… Really nice to read the whole story and OH MY GOD, I wanted to go to Oslo but I’ll have to save up first !

    1. Haha, it did upset me quite a bit :). I definitely want to go back to Oslo, but yeah, we need a 100% raise first…

    1. Yes, think I need to invest in a ticket there. Probably could’ve spent two weeks there for how much I spent in Oslo. Oops.

  9. A dear friend lived in Northern Europe for a few years and thought the travel and tourism slogan for both Sweden and Norway should be: “It’s beautiful! but don’t forget your wallet!” /funny but sad

    1. That should definitely be the slogan Laura! It was just so expensive – I’m surprised this week at all the news about London being more expensive, definitely don’t believe that!

  10. Are there are any types of accommodations closer to the traditional budget level? 7 euros for a beer is just scandalous.

    1. Next to the Anker Hotel where we stayed there was an Anker Hostel – I’ve just had a look and it starts at around £22pppn for a shared room. Or you could camp – that was something we looked at, but it was too cold in May.

  11. Definitely think I’ll be skipping Oslo…..until I win the lottery! Even WITH friends in the city – You’d still spend 50$ a day on snacks and the like. Those costs really help encourage a national no drinking policy eh? haha

    1. Yeah definitely! We thought we’d save money by buying a few drinks in a shop, but couldn’t find it anywhere. Ah well, plenty more to do in Oslo than drink 🙂 It definitely felt weird though compared to the ease of drinking in London.

    1. I think we got a bit carried away and swept up in the four days. On the first day we were shocked and horrified at how much everything was, by day four as soon as we found a place selling a beer for ‘just’ £7 we decided it was a bargain. Definitely not a place for budget backpackers!

      1. 1. Yes, it’s VERY expensive. Food, in pcatiaulrr, will shock you if you’re coming from the US. A meal at a TGI Friday’s type place will run about $50 per person, if that gives you an idea.Outside of Japan, Norway is one of the most expensive places in the world.2. Is Oslo, there are a few shopping malls, but you want to focus more on simply exploring the city. It’s not a large city, so start at Radhusplassen (sp?) and work you way from there. Bryggen is an obvious shopping location.3. Akershus, Radhuss, Royal Palace are commonly seen landmarks. Plan on spending time at Bogdoy island, seeing the various museums there. I recommend getting an Olso Card, which lets you get into most places for free (once you buy the card) and gives you free transportation.If you can, you should leave Oslo, perhaps for a day. Take a fjord cruise or travel inland or north. I went to Bergen, on the other coast, and the trip there was well worth it.Olso, in the end, is a small European city. It’s nice, but the real beauty of Norway is elsewhere.

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