Oslo, Expensive? Yes, but worth it? Totally. From its quirky sculpture parks, magnificent scenery and rich history of Vikings and ski jumpers, Oslo is a destination that you won’t want to overlook. And yes, I’m pretty sure you already know about Norway and any Scandinavian city for that matter is its expensive.
But you can get super cheap flights and accommodation, yes the high cost of living bumps up the budget you’ll need for spending, but don’t let people’s constant mutterings of “it’s SO expensive” put you off because you can walk away spending less than £300 each if you follow my OSLO on a shoestring guide…
Rent an Airbnb apartment
Don’t get me wrong I love staying in a luxurious five-star hotel as much as the next person and lapping up the impeccable service and delightful food. But my first point of call now, is looking on Airbnb first. Why? Mainly because it helps save money, we always like to pick to rent entire properties just so we can have our own kitchen space to cook meals and relax.
Whilst in Oslo we stayed at at Åslaug apartment, as you can see from the photos the decor is contemporary and stylish with an artist flare (I recognise a fellow marketing specialist when I see one). The spacious interiors feature a bathroom, fully equipped kitchen, double bedroom and living area which extends out onto a gorgeous balcony.
We loved the location of this apartment, set in a quiet family friendly area with friendly neighbours- we really got a taste of local life. Åslaug is one of the best hosts I have come across during my time using Airbnb she gave very clear instructions and great insider knowledge and tips from day excursions to restaurant suggestions. And she even left us some brown cheese in the fridge daring us to try the delicacy that Norwegians have with bread or waffles.
Would totally recommend you staying here, we paid £255 for four nights and it’s very close to Ekeberg Park (sculpture park) with super markets nearby and great transportation links into the city centre. Another plus – the balcony is awesome! Can I get one installed at home?
To take a look or book follow this link If you would like £25 off your first AirBnB trip please use my link https://abnb.me/e/eFuYr2hzoN – any queries just shout 🙂
Cook your own food
Food is very, very expensive in Norway so decide how many times you want to eat out during your trip and stick to it (We went for two evening meals one near the beginning and one at the end – To give you a rough idea one meal cost us 724NOK (£67 for one course and soft drinks)
So I’d suggest making the most of your fully equipped kitchen within the apartment to cook your own meals and prepare packed lunches.
Just be aware that super markets are expensive, you’ll want to avoid fresh vegetables, whole chicken fillets and pizza (bizarrely highly priced). We bought bread and sandwich staples (cheese and chorizo anyone?) alongside pasta, pesto and breakfast, the food shop will be pricier then a trip to Tesco’s at home, but it will save you lots in the long term. Åslaug suggests that you visit the Grønland-area for food where not only is it cheaper but lots more choice!
If you bring a reusable water bottle from home and then purchase a large bottle from the shop you can refill throughout the day and top up from the sink to avoid spending money on purchasing additional drinks.
Pack your sandwiches and water bottles and take them out with you for the day – it’s really satisfying knowing you won’t have to hunt out for your next meal. And you can discover the most spectacular lunch spots, I cover my favourites with you in my Oslo in 72hrs post (subscribe to stay up to date). Åslaug even let me know that taking pack lunches is very common for Norwegians too with 60-70% of them taking matpakke (slices of bread with cheese or ham and some fruit).
Stock up in Duty-Free
Yep you guessed it alcohol is pricey, two gin and tonics at a bar cost £25, two beers £15 and for two glasses of wine you are looking at splashing £16 at least! So we bought a bottle of gin from Gatwick and left the remainder for our AirBnB host as a thank you.
The drinking culture is also very different in Norway, the drink drive limit is exceptionally low and you can only purchase alcohol at monopoly shops before 6pm during the week and 3pm on Saturdays. Don’t let this put you off though stock up on your tipple of choice from duty free and you can breath a sigh of relief.
Book transportation in advance
Something we 100% wish someone had told us before we left, when you book bus and train tickets in advance they cost 50% LESS than if you leave it to the last minute.
So plan your route from the airport to the hotel before you jet off and download the Ruter Billett app to purchase tickets – recommend getting a 24hr ticket if you plan on travelling more than two journeys a day. And they have trams YAY even more fun.
Sightseeing & Discounts
If you plan to visit more than two museums then getting the OSLO pass will be a good investment for you it also means transportation is free, there are several duration periods to choose between.
We only wanted to go to two museums, so my boyfriend Chris made the most out of his student card to get a discount on his ticket. Another tip is to visit attractions that are free from walking on the roof of the opera house (would be arrested for trying that in England) to admiring the wacky sculptures at Ekeberg honestly you don’t need to splash the cash to enjoy everything that Oslo has to offer.
Oslo: on a Shoestring is easy.
If you follow the above tips you should be able to get away with spending £300-400 for a five day trip (prices may flux with exchange rate changes). It’s such a breath-takingly beautiful city you really mustn’t let people’s expensive talk put you off.
Feeling like you want to visit Oslo on a shoestring but not sure what to do there? Check out my Oslo in 72hours post.
Where have you visited on a budget? Let me know in the comments