An ode to Oslo. I love this city. Whether in the depths of Winter or the height of Summer, Oslo is a city that I like to be in. But visiting Oslo on a Budget, is it possible? Is Oslo really worth visiting if you’re on a budget?
It is packed with museums, art and interesting architecture. This is contrasted with the vast parks and outdoor spaces. The city is surrounded by water, which makes it feel open, as if its perched on the edge of a natural infinity pool. Oslo is also an introvert’s dream, it’s a quiet city, safe to be out alone and with lots of places to sit and be still.
- Budget Tips – visiting Oslo on a budget
- How to eat, drink and stay in Oslo on a budget?
- What to do in Oslo on a budget?
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Is Oslo expensive?
Oslo is generally accepted to be an expensive city. In fact, in the last worldwide cost of living survey, it ranked the 11th most expensive city in the world. Some of the most expensive aspects of your trip to Oslo will be accommodation and eating and drinking out. You can expect to pay around 8 Euros for the cheapest pint of beer in Oslo. However, food in supermarkets and public transport are both really reasonable in Oslo, comparative to other things.
Budget Tips – visiting Oslo on a budget
Despite my love for it, there’s no denying that Scandinavia is expensive. Oslo in particular. But it is possible to enjoy what this city has to offer whilst sticking to a budget. Here are our top tips for visiting Oslo on a budget.
How to eat, drink and stay in Oslo on a budget?
#1 Eat on the go when visiting Oslo on a budget
Eating in restaurants in Oslo is one of the most expensive things in the city. I saved money by buying most snacks and meals to go. Baker Hansen is a reasonably priced Norwegian bakery which makes a fabulous Skillingsboller (Cinnamon Roll) bonus it sells gluten free versions too!
Perhaps not as glamorous, are the takeout hot dogs available in all the convenience stores. These cost around $2, around 20 NOK. Cover them in mustard and away you go. (There are also some kiosks selling Gluten Free versions). They’re also a little bit of a Norway speciality. Locals and tourists alike can’t get enough of these saucy little dogs in buns. If you’re looking for the ULTIMATE in Oslo hot dog legend, head to Syverkiosken. This is one of the oldest hot dog stands in Oslo. A little out of town, but well worth it for the traditional hot dog served in a flat bread.
Are there cheap restaurants in Oslo?
It really depends on how much you’re willing to spend and your definition of cheap. We did find some fast food pizza restaurants as well as Asian restaurants that served meals for around $20, so if you want to eat in, these would be good options. Mamma Pizza is a great option for a reasonably authentic Italian pizza in nice surroundings. For Asian, try Rice Bowl, with it’s great central location.
The other option for cheap restaurants in Oslo is sushi. Whilst sushi is never really cheap, it did seem inexpensive in comparison to other restaurants in Oslo. Many of the sushi places are small and a little out of town – try Roll Sushi as one example.
If you want something a little different, then head to Trondheimsgate. Here you can find many Turkish restaurants which offer reasonably priced kebabs and other delicious foods. Istanbul Kebab is a crowd pleaser – website here.
# 2 Accommodation – book in advance
If you want to get a good deal on accommodation in Oslo, we recommend booking in advance. Booking in advance, will get you the best rates. I stayed at City Box, small but centrally located and around £50 per night. The bonus of this place is the communal hangout space where you can play ping pong and other games, meeting other travellers if you wish too. This is one of the best ways visiting Oslo on a budget.
# 3 Drinking & Alcohol – buy before you arrive
If you want alcohol, consider buying it at at the airport before arriving – alcohol is expensive in Oslo due the the tax applied to it. Think about buying a couple of bottles of your favourite tipple in duty free before you board the plane.
Are there cheap bars in Oslo?
I hesitate to say that any bars in Oslo are cheap. But if it’s not your style to bring alcohol with you on your trip and you’d rather enjoy a pint or two in a bar, then there are some bars in Oslo offering less expensive drinks. Trondsheimgate has some of the best options, with pints costing around $8 to $10.
We also found that Oslo street food market had drinks for around the same price. Check out their Facebook page for the latest events.
The other area of Oslo to explore for cheaper bars, is trendy Grunkerlokka. The brewdog bar here is one of the cheapest. You might not be able to order as many pints as you are used to if on a smaller budget, but you can certainly take your time and enjoy a few craft beers whilst taking in the scenery.
# 4 Get the Oslo Pass – great item to visit on a budget
Is the Oslo pass worth buying? Absolutely. Especially if you want to see some of the museums in Oslo.
The Oslo pass is available in 24hr, 48hr or 72hr options. This pass starts at 444 NOK (around $45). Not cheap, but gets you access to all public transport (except the airport train!) And museums across the city, of which there are many. Children’s and senior rates are also available. Word of caution, check that all the attractions and transport links are open before buying your pass. Info here on the Visit Oslo site.
Is the Oslo pass good for students?
If you’re a student, take advantage of the discounts offered on Museum admissions and public transport (including the airport train) when you buy the tickets directly, rather than with the Oslo pass. It may work out cheaper for you than the Oslo Pass unless you plan to visit lots of sights.
What to do in Oslo on a budget?
# 1 Tobogganing in Oslo on a budget
If you’re in Oslo in the winter, take a scenic train ride through the snowy hills up to Frogneresteren and hire a sled. Clothing and safety equipment can also be rented. Hours of fun in the snow as you career down the 2km corkscrew track. Rental details here.
# 2 Visit a Sauna in Oslo if you’re on a budget
A Scandinavian staple is the sauna. There are a fair few of these in Oslo now. You can spend a few hours in the sauna taking your time. Many people even eat and drink in there!
Book in advance for a session and enjoy the cosy sauna followed by a dunk in the cold water. Costs around 150 NOK ($15) for the pleasure. Try this one at sunrise or sunset for the ultimate experience
# 3 Explore the city on foot – cheap travel around the city
Oslo is really walkable and there is lots to see. Walk through the famous sculpture park (the vigeland park), along the river from the centre to the suburbs or through the hipster area of Grunerlokka. Whether visiting Oslo in the winter or the summer, there’s so much to explore on foot.
# 4 Take a boat trip
For a similar price to a subway ticket (or included in the Oslo Pass) you can take a boat across the water and explore the Fjords. Chilly but fun in the winter and joyful in the summer. You can get off at one of the Islands and explore. Info about the ferries here.
# 5 Munch Museum – loads of spaces to hang out
If you’ve got the Oslo Pass, then entry into this Museum dedicated to famous Norweigan artist Edvard Munch will be included with your card. If not, I’d recommend this as one activity to spend a little money on. The museum is well curated, set over a number of floors and really informative. A visit here will easily fill half a day. It is perhaps one of the best ways visiting Oslo on a Budget.
# 6 A long drink with board games -a budget afternoon with friends
The ultimate in Hygge. Find a cosy spot with a friend in one of Oslo’s bars or cafes, many of which offer free board games to play. The cheapest beer or glass of wine I found was around $8 (80 NOK) but if you make it last over a few hours with some games, then it can be budget friendly.
# 7 Visit the public library
The public library is great people watching spot, free to get in and stay a while. There are magazines to read and comfy chairs all around. Its close to the Opera House too.
Looking for our other city budget guides? You can find them here.
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