Oslo is not exactly known to be a ‘bargain city’. However, that shouldn’t prevent you from travelling to the Norwegian capital – even when you only have a small budget at hand. Here are some tips on what to do and see in the city with hardly any costs involved.
Probably your biggest expense will be staying at a hotel or hostel. The easiest way to not pay for a room is to look for a host on couchsurfing.org. However, as Oslo is a popular travelling spot, don’t wait until the last minute to write your potential hosts. And be prepared that you don’t end up finding someone offering you a couch. Another relatively cheap option is then the Anker Hostel, claiming to be the cheapest hostel in town. It is located in walking distance from the train station and has dorm beds available from 220 NOK (30 Euro) a night.
Food & Drinks
I might sound repetitive, but prices are crazy in Norway. A draft beer in a bar will cost you no less than 70 NOK (almost 10 Euro). In the supermarket you can find bargains. Beer, however, will still be expensive – even in the supermarkets. That has to do with the special tax that Norway has on alcohol and tobacco. If your hostel or couchsurfer host has a kitchen, always go shopping and cook yourself. Prices for meals in restaurants can be massively overpriced. Spaghetti with pesto or tomato sauce will do the deed and not leave you hungry.
What to do on a low budget?
Oslo can keep you busy for a day without spending any money. Start your day in the morning after breakfast with a walk to the Opera House. The astonishing architecture will leave you impressed. You can walk up on the roof of this fantastic white building and enjoy a view over Oslo and it’s surroundings. Most inspiring is the little artwork that looks like an iceberg in the sea.
Continue your way towards the Akershus Fortress and Castle. Before you will reach it, you can walk alongside the harbor and watch some people fishing. When you reach the medieval castle, it will take you back in time and you can pose for some pictures behind the old canons. It had been build in order to protect Oslo and also served as a prison. Akershus fortress is still a military area, but is open to the public daily until 21h. The Norwegian Armed Forces Museum and Norway’s Resistance Museum can be visited on these grounds as well. This will however cost you some Kroners.
So instead of spending a lot of money and time on the museums, continue your walk towards the city centre for a quick stroll through the main pedestrian shopping street Karl Johans gate. Window shopping indeed can be an option.
Ready for lunch yet? Then a close-by supermarket or a 7-Eleven can provide you with a quick snack. Grab something small like a slice of pizza or a hotdog and on you go. This way will lead you towards the Royal Palace, located at the end of Karl Johans gate.
The Royal Palace is one of the country’s most important buildings, and a concrete symbol of the course of Norwegian history since 1814. It is also a popular tourist attraction and especially in summer you can find many people relaxing in the sun in the park surrounding the palace. A must-see is the change of the guardsmen, that are all youngsters from the national army. Definitely worth a watch!
Another park worth visiting is the Vigeland Park with statues from artist Gustav Vigeland. The many different figures made out of bronze and granite tell the story of the circle of human life. It was build from 1923 to 1943 and contains more than 50 bronze statues. Climb to the top of the monument and you will be rewarded with a fantastic view over the whole park. This is something you can also do in winter as long as the statues are not all covered in snow – and it is, of course, for free!
Your day isn’t over yet and you still have some time to spend? Then take the train (day ticket for 80 NOK) to Holmenkollbakken and visit the famous ski jumping hill that already was part of the Olympic games 1952 and many other important winter sports competitions. Even if there is no jumping going on, it is still worth a visit and it will leave you impressed with how tall and steep a ski jump actually is. You can walk up to the museum and the middle part for free, going all the way up to the Jump tower will cost you some Kroners (adult 110 NOK, children 55 NOK). But already the middle part gives you a pretty astonishing view. Besides, the ride with the train up to the mountain is rewarding itself!
Enjoy your low-cost visit in Oslo!