Norway is known for being an expensive country. I’m not denying that it is (it is!), but what annoys me about that is that’s then what people focus on.
“Hey! Guess what?! I’ve just booked my plane ticket to Norway! Whoo!”
“So-and-so told me it’s expensive there, good luck.”
Well, thanks for the heads up, but did so-and-so mention anything else about their time in this fabulous country? I’ve also had this with Iceland, Sweden, Denmark and Finland too. You’ll only be there for a few days. Just don’t be an idiot with your money and get over it. And if you genuinely can’t afford it, then save it for another time. (Rant over, it’s just… I’ve heard this more times than you could imagine.)
There’s so much more to Norway with all its viking history and fjords than the price of beer compared to your home country.
So like a total hypocrite, I’m now going to tell you about how expensive Oslo is and what you can do to resolve this. See, solutions are your friend.
1. Eating out
Eating at a restaurant will costs a lot, whether you’re fine dining it, or stuffing your face at MAX (Swedish burger joint). But promise me that you won’t be tempted to go with what you’re comfortable with – 7/11. Please go to Kiwi, Coop or Rema 1000 for every meal possible. They’re just regular supermarkets and the cashiers speak perfect English.
This will actually save you from bankruptcy.
Bear in mind that if you want to drink and you didn’t buy anything in Duty Free (which you’re probably regretting ‘round about now), then you’ll have to visit the Vinmonopolet. These government owned off-licences are open until 18:00 (15:00 on Saturdays) so you’re going to have to start planning ahead. Supermarkets, which only sell drinks with an alcohol content below 4.7%, sell booze until 20:00 (18:00 on Saturdays.) I mean, of course you can go to a bar, but when you’ve paid €9 for a pint of cider, you might wish you’d have given the Vinmonopolet a go.
I’m all for hostels but I haven’t heard the best reviews about the ones in Oslo. It’s not that they’re bad, but they don’t cost as little as they might in other countries, yet they’re still at the same standard. You could be better off paying that tiny bit extra (or even less!) and having the comfort of a hotel room. Mmm, privacy. Maybe even a free breakfast! Better yet, check out Airbnb. Or if you’re adventurous and totally broke, Couchsurfing.
Oslo city centre isn’t huge. In fact, the whole time I was there I only used public transport twice. The metro to Vigeland Sculpture Park (and back) and the ferry to Bygdøy for the Viking Ship museum (return). Everywhere else I just walked to. Plus, doesn’t it feel better to walk the streets, seeing life as it really is, rather than watch it from a bus window or not-at-all from the subway?
Okay, I’m not a museum buff so maybe I just don’t get it. But really think about and plan which museums you want to go to. There are a ton of museums in Oslo and I don’t think they’re worth blowing your budget over. I only went into one museum, the Viking Ship museum. Now that was definitely worth the 100kr (~€10) admission fee!
5. Oslo Pass
This is actually a really good deal if you want to pretty much disregard everything I’ve just said. Nah, I’m kidding, but it is really good. There’s free entry to most of the city’s museums, discounts and offers for restaurants, shops, sightseeing tours. Oh, and totally free public transport.
24 hours – 395kr (~€40)
48 hours – 595kr (~€60)
72 hours – 745kr (~€75)
To learn more about the Oslo Pass, click here.
6. As a bonus, here’s a list of what you can see for free!
The Opera House
Vigeland Sculpture Park
Ekebergparken Sculpture Park
Museum of Oslo
Armed Forces Museum