The Norwegian capital offers a lot to do, from visiting cultural gems to enjoying the city’s architectural and natural attractions. But how can you get the best of Oslo without draining your savings account? We get some tips in this post by Voyages SNCF.
Oslo, the gateway to a landscape woven together with piercing mountains and tranquil fjords, is a city that is laid back, cool and pumping with a steady beat of culture.
Prices here are high for almost everything, but the friendly people, fresh Scandinavian air and diverse range of history and architecture more than make up for it.
For the slow and budget traveller, getting to Oslo by train takes you through Europe at a pace that lets you watch the flat horizons of Belgium pass by before trundling through chocolate box Copenhagen, across the icy sea and up Sweden’s coast, through Norwegian fjords and into Oslo. You can book train tickets through Voyages-SNCF.
We know travelling on a budget can be tough (especially when a pint in Oslo comes in at around £8) so here are our top picks for making the most out of Europe’s most expensive city whilst sticking to that budget.
Get Back to Nature
Oslo is surrounded on all sides by glorious, wonderful, mighty nature – with the North Sea lapping the harbour on one side and mountains hugging the northern side, you’ve got plenty of options!
Getting to the mountains and forests from the centre of the city is simple, cheap and only takes 20 minutes via the city’s network of public transport. Once there and armed with walking boots, a map and a good camera, you’ll find a plenty of walking trails for everyone. The views of the city from the Holmenkollen Ski Jump and across the fjord really are something else – although not advised for those with a fear of heights!
In the summer, locals flock to Bygdøy to lounge around on the beach and take a swim in the fjord. Far from the frozen grey you’ll see in the middle of January, the summer sees the Gulf Stream warm the water up surrounding Oslo enough to actually get in!
There are lots of islands just off the coast of the city and exploring them is an adventure in itself as many of them are uninhabited. Take a ferry, or hop someone’s boat for a cheap ride or, if you’ve got the cash to splash, hire a kayak on a self-guided sea safari.
Museums, Museums, Museums
Oslo is simply filled to the brim with museums – from art to classic Norwegian history to bloody tales of Vikings, there are more buildings full of fascination than you can shake a stick at. If museums are your thing, it’s worth investing in the Oslo Pass. With free entry to more than 30 museums as well as free transport and discounts all over the city, it’s well worth the small investment of £29.
Take a Tour of Oslo’s Neighbourhoods
Oslo is unexpectedly diverse, with neighbourhoods on both the East and West side of the city being so different you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d entered another city entirely when you cross the river.
The sights and smells on the east are rich and nose-tingling. With clashing colours popping on every corner, chaotic markets every few blocks and loud graffiti scribbled on neglected walls. But a walk down the Askerselva River through quaint parks, old mills and waterfalls will soon lead you to the western, more polished side of the city. Here is the little Park Avenue of Norway – girls totter in heels and streets are perfectly groomed.
This is also the part of town where the Vigelandsparken lives – one of Oslo’s top attractions where 212 life sized figures have been meticulously sculpted and placed along a bridge that eventually leads to a 14 metre high monolith.