With flights as cheap as £40 return, it is easy to fall into a false sense of security that embarking on a trip to Oslo is sure to be a cheap weekend away. Although flights are often remarkably inexpensive, like much of Scandinavia, in parts Oslo is rather expensive, with a glass of beer often costing as much as 80 kroner or even more and basic hotels being far higher than expected. It would be a shame for this to discourage holidaymakers from visiting though, as Oslo is a truly intriguing city and thankfully, there are many ways to keep the cost down.
Here are our best tips:
Firstly, completely bypass hotels; as mentioned they are pricey and you are only there to sleep. Instead, there are plenty of budget Airbnbs that will have everything you need, and most importantly, more often than not you will have access to a kitchen. The option to cook for yourself will save you incredible amounts of money, and while supermarkets are likely to be more expensive than back home, eating in is always cheaper than eating out. The cheapest ones to look out for are Rema 1000 and Kiwi. Travelling in a group is another obvious way to share the burden of costs, especially when it comes to cooking.
Luckily, many of the interesting things to do in Oslo are either relatively economical or even completely free. Arguably the most interesting attraction in Oslo is free – the Vigeland Sculpture Park, located in Frogner Park and housing over 200 fascinating sculptures by Gustav Vigeland.
A visit here guarantees an eerie yet captivating experience, as delving deeper and deeper into the park means falling witness to some of the most emotive sculpture work, including the sculptor's famous depiction of an Angry Boy. A couple of hours spent here is time well spent at one of the most breathtaking outside displays of art in the world.
Continuing in the realm of art, Oslo is famous for exhibiting Edvard Munch’s renowned painting, The Scream. Whilst this is not free, it is well worth paying the small fee to see it. It is worth bearing in mind that this painting rotates between the Munch Museum and the National Gallery, so it is important to check where it is prior to any visit to avoid disappointment. On a more morbid note, you can also visit the grave of Edvard Munch at a local graveyard, Vår Frelsers Gravlund.
For those less into art and more into sport, it is worth considering going to watch an ice hockey game – especially if you are used to more conventional sporting events. Oslo is home to Vålerenga Ishockey team, and if it is the right time of year you can watch them play at their arena, Jordal Amfi.
It goes without saying that this will not be free, but compared to sporting events in other parts of the world is an affordable and worthwhile experience. To continue the spirit of keeping this trip as expense free as possible, you could even check out whether there are any free bets available to make the experience that bit more nailbiting and exciting.
It is also well worth the time to take a wander along the harbour towards the Oslo Opera House. As seen above, structurally it is rather peculiar, and with entry completely free, it is interesting to have a peek inside or just simply stroll beside it. Those who have a bit more money to spend may even be interested in spending an evening at the opera itself. A word of warning though, it can be extremely slippery if your trip coincides with snowfall.
This also applies to those who visit Akershus Fortress, another astonishingly free attraction dating all the way back to the 1300s. This is a must for history lovers that wish to learn about sieges that have occurred in Oslo throughout the centuries. For just 100 kroner, history buffs that are into sailing and ships may also see it a necessity to visit the Viking Ship Museum. There is a discounted rate for students.
Oslo is without a doubt one of the most expensive cities in Europe to visit. However, there is a remarkable amount to do that does not cost a penny, and if accommodation and flights are picked wisely, it is very possible to have a rather frugal trip to this incredible city.