Is Oslo really that expensive? Well there is no easy way to say this but…..yes!
Expensive is a subjective term though because everyone has a different budget.
When I was researching Oslo I read a fair few blogs about the price of food and drink but none of them actually detailed everything that was spent. I wanted to know what a realistic daily budget was for a weekend trip. So for this blog I’ve decided to note absolutely everything that we spent.
Now obviously exchange rates change but I’ll use the best rate (10.85 Norwegian Krone or NOK to 1 GBP) we received at the time of travel (February 2018).
We booked with Ryanair in December. Return flights from Stansted to Oslo Gardermoen for two adults – £77
Now it’s worth noting that we were not trying to scrimp on accommodation as it was a birthday treat so we booked a relatively expensive hotel. We stayed at the Radisson Blu Scandinavia Hotel for two nights. This hotel was amazing and whilst probably not a budget option it was worth every penny – £256.06 (2781NOK) this included a fantastic breakfast each morning.
We used the Flytoget airport express train to get from Oslo Gardermoen Luthhavn to the city. This takes 22 minutes and is definitely the way to go if you’re only visiting for a couple of days – £70 (190NOK each for single journey)
We used the T-Bane (Subway service) three times when we were in Oslo. All within zone one – £12.90 (35NOK each for a single journey)
We only booked one actual tour when you were in Oslo and that was the Oslo Fjord Båtservice Sightseeing Tour – £59 (299NOK each, please note that prices have now increased to 315NOK per adult).
Food and Drink
One of our biggest expenses!
We had breakfast in the hotel each morning and tended only have a snack at lunch time and then have a big evening meal.
Norway unfortunately has a reputation for being extremely expensive for alcohol and it certainly lives up to this! On average a pint costs between £8-9 and wine £10-12 for a small glass. Forget sharing a bottle, you’ll pay £50 for a bottle of house wine in a restaurant. We only bought one alcoholic drink in Oslo for this reason.
On our first night we ate at Egon on Karl Johan. We ordered two mains (Graham ordered a burger and chips with colesaw and I ordered the chargrilled chicken and rice) and two soft drinks – £57 (620NOK)
Our second night we ate in the Østbanehallen at the Royal Gastro Pub. We both ordered burgers (mine gluten free). Graham had a pint of Carlsberg and I had a G&T – £55 (600NOK)
We also ate at Jamie’s Italian restaurant at the airport. Graham ordered a pizza and I had a salad. We ordered two soft drinks as well – £51 (559NOK)
We didn’t have one bad meal Oslo so whilst pricey we didn’t feel ripped off by bad food or service.
Coffee Coffee Coffee
Oslo has a big cafe culture and coffee shops are in abundance! We are huge coffee fans so we bought a few during our 50 hours in Oslo. I have to say that the Norwegians know how to make gooood coffee!
Café Cathedral – Two Lattes £9.50
Kaffebrenneriet (Oslo’s answer to Costa but so much better) we had coffee here twice and ordered the same thing both times, one Cappuccino and one Café au Lait – £13.60 total price for both visits (148 NOK)
During the Oslo Fjord tour we bought two drinks. One coffee and one Gløgg (Mulled Wine) – £9.20 (100NOK)
This includes a few snacks including chocolate bars and soft drinks. On average a bottle of Diet Coke was 33NOK which is around £3. In total on we spent £27 on drinks and snacks.
We used the train station luggage lockers twice due to the times we arrived and departed. These were really very reasonable at 70NOK for 24 hours. Total spent £12.90.
I bought a beanie hat (I lost mine) for 100NOK and we bought L a cute little troll viking ship from the Troll shop which was ridiculously expensive at 200 NOK. Total spent £27.60.
So let’s do the math!
In total for everything we spent £680.76. This was for two adults for two nights. So roughly £175 per person per day!
You’ll notice that there are no museum entry prices included, that’s is because we chose to experience the free things that Oslo has to offer. We love just wandering around cities and taking in the sights and sounds. We must have walked over 10 miles each day.
Ways to save in Oslo
Let’s talk about ways you can save money if you are visiting Norway’s stunning capital city.
Firstly if you plan to have a jam packed, museum hopping visit then you definitely need to purchase an Oslo Pass! You can chose from 24, 48 and 72 hour passes. This entitles you to entry into over 30 Museums, free public transport, discounts on tours and much more. On a subsequent visit to Oslo in March I used the pass to visit many of the amazing museums and can’t recommend it enough.
Buy duty free alcohol! We bought two bottles of wine duty free at Stansted Airport. Most hotels are used to guests bringing alcohol and it will definitely save you £££. Beer is available much cheaper in the local supermarkets. Be sure to buy before 8pm (Mon-Fri) and 6pm (Saturday) because Norway has very strict rules on the sale of alcohol. No alcohol is sold on Sundays. There is a reason pre-partying is a thing in Norway.
Head off the beaten off to eat! Avoid the main thoroughfares if you want to save some pennies. Karl Johan and the central areas of Oslo attract the crowds and the higher price tag when it comes to bars and restaurants. Consider heading to Grünerløkka, Tøyen and Grønland to check out some awesome local eats! These areas are accessible on foot and via tram/train.
The best things in life are free! Oslo has so many free attractions. Visit the Oslo Opera House and climb the stairs to the roof for beautiful views over the Oslo Fjord, you can also go inside free of charge. Explore the Slottsparken which is home to the Norwegian Royal Palace, wonder at the sculptures in the Vigelandsparken, visit City Hall and the grounds of the Akershus Fortress. Many museums such as the National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design offer free entry on Thursday! These are just a few ideas.
Consider self catering accommodation. If you are planning to visit for more than a couple of nights I recommend booking an apartment where you can prepare meals etc. There are lots of sites that you can use including Airbnb and Booking.com. There is also a large range of hostel accommodation available that is centrally located.
I hope this blog helps when planning your trip to Oslo. I can’t wait to visit this beautiful and unique city again! Yes it’s not the cheapest weekend break but there are definitely ways to visit Oslo on a budget.
Thanks for reading.
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