It was my first time heading North of the UK and I was excited to see what Scandinavia had to offer. I’d heard great things about Oslo, about how clean the streets were but also how expensive it is! However as always you can make your weekend away as cheap or as expensive as you like. So here’s how I spent a inexpensive weekend in Oslo.
Flights through Ryanair, departing from Stansted and landing at Rygge Airport which is about an hour’s bus journey to the city centre. The bus journey will cost you around £15 one way and take you to the central bus station in the city. From here you can easily find the central pedestrianised strip of shops, restaurants and hotels.
I chose to stay at Smarthotel Oslo, with a double room for two nights for £102, why not? The hotel was located at the opposite end of the main strip to the bus station. Very close to a central tram stop and within a ten minute walk to the harbor and Aker Brugge. A beautiful area filled with restaurants and cafes overlooking the harbor, along with many interesting water features dotted around.
Sail through the Fjords
One of the main attractions across all of Norway is the fjords! Although Oslo is tucked up away from the North Sea, a boat trip around the harbour is well worth the money. Norway Yacht Charter Company, is easy to find on the harbour front. It runs a 3 hour evening summer cruise which includes a shrimp buffet, on an old wooden traditional boat. Perfect, you get to enjoy the beautiful Norwegian islands, traditional red wooden houses and little beach huts on stilts. Plus you have dinner sorted out for the evening. The sunset was amazing, but being there in July meant a very late one at around 11pm. If you are peckish on the way home, there is a coffee chain Expresso House.Which serves good coffee and huge slices of cake for a similar price compared to Costa or Starbucks.
Free activity number 1:
Oslo’s Botanical Gardens, situated in the grounds of the Natural History museum to the East of the city centre. Easy to reach by foot and a map. The gardens are beautifully laid out in varying sections. Filled with water falls, stepping stones and an array of flowers, herbs and trees. The garden also offers various sculptures, natural and man made as well as a café.
Free activity number 2:
The Vigeland Park, one of Oslo’s main attractions and one of the world’s largest sculpture parks made by a single artist, Gustav Vigeland. Is it located to the West of the city centre. Again this is walkable from the city centre. However if you’re pushed for time you can always get a 1 hour tram ticket or a 24 hour ticket. The park itself is like nothing that I have seen before, the amount of sculptures was incredible and they all lead up to the monolith up on the hill, and its free! If you do some background research you will understand the park even better. I roughly read after I returned home that it is all to do with life and death and the circle of life, which makes sense now.
Free activity number 3:
The Holmenkollen Ski Museum and Ski Jump Tower is a great attraction to get a real feel for this Northern country. The Ski jump is located about a 25 minute tram ride from the city centre. The tram ride alone is worth it! Winding up the hill and through the outskirts of Oslo where you will see some beautiful traditional houses. The tram ride is the only cost in this activity, as you don’t need to go to the museum if you don’t want to. You can wander around the ski jump and surrounding areas and you can hike up the mid section on the ski jump and take in the views. As I said access to the museum and jump tower has a fee. They even have zip wiring from the jump tower as well if you want a more exhilarating activity.
How to keep costs down:
- Walk most places. Oslo is a beautiful city so walk around, lose yourself and discover things that aren’t necessarily on the tourist map.
- A lot of the museums are free, especially on Sundays, so if that’s your thing then you have plenty of choices.
- For breakfast, if you are staying at Smarthotel Oslo, eat at the hotel for around £8 you can get a buffet breakfast, so fill up, and there is the convenience of not having to search around for ‘hours’ for a reasonable priced breakfast.
- For lunches, check out the supermarkets, they do sandwiches, salads and various things, which will be cheaper than the restaurants. Some of the cafes look relaxing and quaint, but save them for a sunny day.
- For dinners, don’t head straight for the main street, these restaurants are bound to be the most expensive. Aker Brygee has an array of restaurants, some equally as expensive as those found in town but others not as bad as you may think. Also, take advantage of the shrimp buffet if you decide to go on a summer evening cruise, that’s dinner sorted.
- Coffee house stop, if you fancy something sweet after dinner and you’re not fussed about where to go the coffee shops offer various sweet tasting things for a much lower price than restaurants and the ‘Espresso House’ I mentioned previously is conveniently open late and the one specifically located in town was busy even at 11pm.
My trip to Oslo was very enjoyable, even more so that I came home with change from my original £200 budget! It has most definitely inspired my to venture further West into the heartland of the Norwegian fjords. I hope I have encouraged you to add Oslo to your wish list and see this beautifully rich country.