While looking for cheap accommodation in Oslo I came across this website that is great if you are on a tight budget and visiting this expensive city.
I e-mailed them and soon they replied with a three-page document filled with addresses and phone numbers of affordable private accommodation options and cheap hotels. (Well, there's no thing like cheap hotel in Oslo, but at least they were cheaper than the rest.)
Fondest memory: They have their office in central Oslo, close to Karl Johans gata and you can go there if you need accommodation or just some general info about Oslo that you'll find in their free brochure "Streetwise".
Tel. (+47) 24 14 98 20
Fax: (+47) 24 14 98 21
July and August:
Mon-Fri 9am - 6pm
Rest of the year:
Mon-Wed, Fri 11am-5pm
The first area I visited after my arrival in Oslo was the harbour. The atmosphere of ships and the Scandinavian evening sun gave me a certain holiday feeling. In the harbour both old sailing boats and modern cruise ships can be found.
Some famous ships are based in Oslo harbour. Among them are:
- Christian Radich, full-rigged ship, built in 1937
- M314 Alta, a wooden minesweeper (museum ship)
You want to discover Oslo easily and don't want to spend that much money? Buy an Oslo Pass! There is no cheaper and easier way to see Oslo.
It offers unlimited free travel by bus, tram, subway, boat and local trains within Oslo, free access to a lot of museums and attractions as well as free entrance into two swimming pools. Furthermore you get discounts for several shops, restaurants, car rentals etc.
For further information see www.visitoslo.com
Norway is a very expencive country! But there is no need to make it more expencive than you have to. Here are a few advices on how to keep the costs down:
- Alcohol and tobacco:
Don't buy it here! Bring it with you if you can. One packet with 20 cigarettes costs more here than a carton with 200 in Spain, and in other countries it's even cheaper, so bringing it along will save you lots of money. You could even sell and make a bit of money... ;)
There are many different kinds of supermarkets, but there is one general rule; big chains like Ica, Kiwi, Rimi, Rema 1000, Coop, Bunnpris and so on, are normally cheapest. Kiosks like Narvesen, Mix, 7-eleven and many others are more expencive, but open longer.
Check out the many foreign stores too. They are many places around the city, and especially in Grønland and Grünerløkka. Here you find lots of more exotic things, and most of them are a lot cheaper than in other places. Especially fruits and vegetables!
There are many attractions in the city which are free. Some of these places are: Akershus fortress, Vigelandspark (a must-see anyway!), Astrup Fearnley Museum of modern art, Armed Forces museum, Botanical garden, Medievalruins (Gamlebyen), National Gallery, Oslo Cathedral, Parliament and many more.
First of all; buy your ticket before going on board, as it costs more from the driver. You can save lots of money on buying one of the many cards (read more on my transportation-tips) or an "Oslopass" which gives you free transportation, free entrance to museums and much more. Also remember that a ticket is valid for one hour after you bought or stamped it. In this hour you can travel as much as you like. Tickets are valid on all buses, trams, metros and ferries in Oslo.
- Eating and drinking:
You can find everything in the city; from the cheapest to the most expencive. More expencive don't necessarily mean better quality... Read more on another tip.
If you plan on visiting some of the attractions and taking public transportation, you should consider buying the Oslo-pass. You might save a good deal of money on that.
It gives you free entrance to all museums and attractions, free rides on all the public transportations and free parking on all parkingplaces (except the private ones).
You also get discounts on sightseeing, carrental, Tusenfryd, restaurants, shops and much more.
Prices in NOK, adult:
24 hours - 195,-
48 hours - 285,-
72 hours - 375,-
Prices in NOK, children:
24 hours - 75,-
48 hours - 95,-
72 hours - 125,-
You can also buy a familypass, valied for 2 adults and 2 children for 24 hours, NOK 395,-
If you want to organise everything before you come, you can buy the cards online and get them mailed to your home.
For more information, check out:
Going to a restaurant or going out in Oslo can empty your pockets quite quickly! But you can find many cheap places too. Very generally you can say that the westside is more expencive than the eastside, but of course there are exceptions to the rule.
Aker Brygge, Bogstadveien and Majorstua are the most expencive areas in the city. They are definetly worth checking out, but eat and drink somewhere else if you are on a budget.
Grønland is one of the cheapest places, and it's close to the bus- and trainstation. There are lots of small and charming places here, and also many exotic. This area is getting more and more popular though, so some more fancy (and expencive) restaurants and bars have opened here the last years.
All over the city you can find small kebabshops which normally are very cheap. Check a bit around and you might get a meal for about 5 USD.
In most of the big discos and nightclubs you have to pay an entrance fee, and it does not give you a free drink (or anything). Normally the fee is about 10 USD or more. Some places you are also required to leave your jacket in the wardrobe, and prices are from 1 to 4 USD. But there are many good places where you can enter for free, so if you don't have so much money to spend it might be better going to these places. Especially if you want to go to more than one place.
Oslo is an expensive city, no doubt, so here are some tips that might help you cut down the costs while there:
- If you don't mind sleeping in a dorm-like room with strangers, this will decrease your accommodation costs. Another idea would be to bring your own tent and sleeping bag and use one of the many camping sites. Check out Visit Oslo for more information about camping sites.
- Supermarkets like ICA have stations where you make your own salad and pay by the weight, which makes for a cheap and filling lunch that you can eat at any of the parks or by Akershus Fortress. If you have access to a fridge, buying breakfast foods will also cut down the costs, as you can store your bread, ham, cheese and milk in it.
- Try and group several sights that are located close to each other and allow enough time to visit all of them for the price of one tram/subway/bus ticket there and back.
- See if the sights you're planning to visit are included in the Oslo Pass or if this pass will give you any discount. The pass usually pays itself if you visit 3 of the museums that charge an admission fee, and it will include public transportation up to zone 4 (see my separate tip about it).
- One card that we found to give value for the money is the Flexikort, if you're not visiting many sights covered by the Oslo Pass. Several people can use it, and you can take unlimited trips in all bus, ferries (not sightseeing ferries), trams and subways within 1 hour from the time stamp.
- It's cheaper to buy transport tickets before you get on the vehicle of your choice rather than buying it from the driver.
- Check out Visit Oslo for information on free museums and activities.
Oslo Tourist Office has two main Tourist Information centres. One is situated at the Central Train Station (Jernbanetorget 2) and the main one just opposite the City Hall (Fridtjof Nansens Plass 5).
Here you can get free maps of Oslo, a yearly official tourist guide to Oslo and a monthly brochure "What's on Oslo".
Their friendly staff will answer all your questions and you can also book your accommodation using their services.
It is also possible to buy the "Oslo Pass" (covering public transport and free admission to most museums) and the "Oslo Package" that includes accommodation in one of hotels and the Oslo Pass.
At the price of 280 NOK for 2 days I did not opt for the Oslo Pass: I didn't visit many museums and most of Oslo's attractions are within the walking distance anyway so I simply paid only few individual tram tickets which was cheaper.
Fondest memory: Check their very useful website for general info on Oslo before you go:
Fridtjof Nansens Plass 5
tel. +47 23 11 78 80
fax. +47 22 83 81 50
Most of the mainattractions in the city are located very centrally downtown. There is no need to rent a car to see these, in fact it's much easier to go walking or take public transportation.
Driving is no problem in the city, but the problem can be finding a parkingplace downtown. If you are lucky enough to find one, it will cost you a fortune to park there.
If you want to see places in the outskirts of the city, or other cities around Oslo it may be worthwhile to rent a car. Just try to avoid the rushhours on the mainroads, 7-9 and 15-17, or else you could get stuck in the queue for a while.
Here are some car-rental companies in Oslo:
Tel: (+47) 815 33 0 44
Tel: (+47) 22 60 12 12
Tel: (+47) 22 10 00 00
RENT A WRECK:
Tel: (+47) 23 37 59 49
Tel: (+47) 22 60 00 00
In Oslo there is one 24 hours open pharmacy ( 'apotek' in norwegian). It is located down town at Jernbanetorget (across from main railway station and shopping centers 'Oslo City' and 'Byporten').
In 2004 shops, kiosks and petrol stations was given permition to sell painkillers (not the strongest ones) and a few other "light" medical stuff, othervise we norwgians have to go to the pharmacy.
If the door is closed when you visit outside normal opening hours, ring the door bell (at least it was one there when I had to visit at 0700 some years ago).
Here are some links to pages where you can find more info about Oslo:
Lots of information about Oslo; attractions, tourorganisers, transportation, hotelbooking etc.
Official travel guide to Norway in many different languages.
Great site with lots of info about skiing in Norway.
Very useful budget guide to Oslo.
The official site of Hurtigruten, the ship that goes along the coast from Bergen in the south to Kirkenes in the north.
Norwegian expressbuses, plan and book your trip online.
Good information about Norway, but it's just in norwegian.
Events and things that are happening in Oslo, but unfortunately just in norwegian.
The site of the norwegian railways. Plan and book your trip online, but it's just in norwegian.
Information about the public transport, also just in norwegian...
Police lost property office: 22 66 90 50
To block lost creditcards:
- American Express: 800 33244
- Diner's club: 23 00 10 00
- Eurocard: 800 30250
- Visa: 800 30350
First aid (24hrs): 22 11 80 80
Dental emergency service: 22 67 30 00
- 24 hour service: 22 41 24 82
- Sentrum apotek: 22 39 63 60
- Vikatorvet apotek: 24 13 20 80
- Oslo taxi: 02323
- Norgestaxi: 08000
- Airport taxi: 23 23 23 23
When going to Oslo, think about buying the Oslo pass. It allows you to use the public
- transportation (which is very good in Oslo),
- free entrance in the most museums (we never paid)
- reduction in restaurants (we never were in these restaurants)
- other reductions
Depending on how long you will stay there, it is a fantastic thing to have this Oslo pass. We got it with our hotel booking, so we had not to pay. You just have to fill out the date and the time you start to use it. It is available for 24h/48h/72h/96h.
With the Oslo pass, you get a little booklet where all the museums and other reductions are described.
Fondest memory: For more informations, have a look at
I have been to Oslo twice, and came back pretty skint after each visit. I would say if you plan to go there, take lots of money with you, as it can be an exceedingly expensive city, its known to be one of the most expensive cities in Europe, but still dont let that put you off visiting it.
Fondest memory: I loved Oslo so much I had to visit it twice. The waterfront (Akerbrygge) is also worth visiting, there are nice restaurants and bars, that offer a wide variety of tastes.
I would also recommend going on a ferry boat to one of the smaller islands to have a walk on them, if you have a travel card, you need not pay extra for the boat trip.
Did you think you could just come to Norway and buy alcohol whenever and wherever you want? Well, think again... ;) In normal supermarkets you can only buy beer and cider. No matter when the store close you can just buy alcohol until 20.00 at weekdays, 18.00 on saturdays and sundays you can't buy alcohol at all.
If you want something stronger you have to go to a place called Vinmonopolet. Many of the big shoppingmalls have one, and there are more than 20 located around the city. Normally they close at 17-18 on the weekdays, and 15 on saturdays.
The assortment varies from place to place. Some are small with just the most 'normal' drinks, while others are bigger and have a wide range of selections. Just a few years ago you had to make the order at a counter. You could not go around and look at the different things, but had to talk to the salesperson in the counter and they would get you what you wanted. But today they are making more and more 'normal stores' - where you can walk around and look at the selection.