I went to Oslo, Norway for 12 days and it didn’t break my wallet. Almost.
I had a pleasure visiting Oslo while being on youth exchange at the same time meaning that all the transportation expenses to and from Oslo and all the food, the accommodation was covered by EU. Thank you, Erasmus+, for existing and giving such wonderful opportunities for youth.
Now I won’t get into details about the youth exchange cause we’re here to learn more about the city. But if you’re interested to know about these exchanges and my experience, do let me know and I’ll gladly write a post about it.
All I had to pay for while staying in Oslo were transportation, food, souvenirs or any other things that were purely for my own leisure and needs. But it was enough to see that I would have been left pretty much broke if I were to go to Oslo on my own without EU support.
Oslo is named one of the most expensive cities you’ll ever step your foot in for a reason. I am not even joking. For people coming to Oslo from non-Scandinavian countries, it can quite a shock *ahem* me *ahem*.
Just to create a better image for you, here are some price examples in Oslo:
- 1 public transport ticket that must be used within 1 hour – 33 NOK (3,40 EUR / 4,19 USD)
- 24-hour public transport pass (for all means of transport) – 90 NOK (9,30 EUR / 11,42 USD)
- A simple sandwich in a grocery store – 49 NOK (5 EUR / 6,22 USD)
- Bottle of water – 23 NOK (2,38 EUR / 2,92 USD)
- Take away coffee (cappuccino, latte) – 32 NOK (3,30 EUR / 4,06 USD)
- Beer in a pub – 70 NOK (7,24 EUR / 8,88 USD)
Do I need to add more?
During those 12 days, we had quite a lot of free time to explore the city and feel its vibe. Oslo is a city full of nature, modern architecture, culture and entertainment. I admit I had quite high expectations for this city and they were only partially met. Maybe the reason behind it is because I’m more into cities with history, old architecture and less into modern things.
Nevertheless, Oslo managed to surprise me as well and I had a wonderful time exploring it (also, breaking my wallet while buying tea to keep me warm). The whole time we stayed in Oslo it was snowing, so it felt like a winter wonderland to me.
I’d say Oslo is one of those cities in which you can reach all the destinations by walking, so there isn’t much need to buy a transport ticket. Unless you have a limited time and want to see as much as possible in a little space of time. That way you’d need to use transport to be quicker.
However, we didn’t need to rush so we only bought a 24-hour ticket one time. Other times we just walked around and discovered the city on foot. On those days we managed to reach 20km which was a great way to get some exercise.
Here are some of the places (free!) that are truly worth visiting:
Vigeland Sculpture Park
This is the world’s largest sculpture park made by a single artist. There are over 200 sculptures from bronze, granite and wrought iron. The thing about these sculptures is that they all in very weird and surprising positions. You can’t help but admire and wonder what are they doing and how they even managed to be placed in such positions.
Vigeland park is great for a nice walk on a sunny or snowy day. Admission is completely free, so you don’t need to worry about breaking your wallet. It is one of the main attractions in Oslo.
Armed Forces Museum
Even if you aren’t into army or any war-related things, you are still going to enjoy this museum. There are a lot of expositions about Norwegian military history from Vikings’ to the 21st century. You can see artillery that was used during each period of time and learn a bit about the history of Oslo city. I was very pleasantly surprised by everything in this museum. There was an exposition about the war in Afganistan that gave me actual goosebumps.
If you are still not convinced: you can enter a real tank, shooting machine (I have no idea how it’s called), observation tower and much more. Plus, it’s completely free! You can’t pass such a great chance.
Armed Forces Museum is actually located in one part of Akerhus castle, so it is very convenient to visit both of these objects. Akershus castle once was a fortress as well during the 16th century, so maybe that’s why the military museum is located there.
Now the castle itself is perfect for history lovers. You can enjoy a sunny day while learning more about Oslo’s history and taking lovely photos of the city and the castle itself. We didn’t go inside the castle but it offered a great panoramic view of the harbour. I imagine that it would be lovely sitting in the castle park in a warmer season and watching the sunset.
Karl Johans Gate
This is the street that will get you from Royal Palace to the Oslo Cathedral. I really recommend having a nice walk there. You’ll see Royal Palace which is beautiful and offers a spectacular view of the street from above; National Theather and Grand Hotel Oslo that are architectural beauties. Also, on the way, you’ll be able to visit Main Hall and Parlament which offers free tours for groups. Of course, at the end, you’ll reach Oslo Cathedral that has a lot of cosy cafes around.
I think it is one of the nicest streets in Oslo. It has architecture, history, a lot of restaurants and a bit of nature. What could you want more?
Modern Oslo wonders
I believe all of you have heard that Oslo is famous for being a modern city. So trust it to surprise you with the newest modern architecture. The main must-visit spots are definitely Barcode and Opera & Ballet building. If you hop on the top of Opera building, you’ll get a nice view of Barcode as well and, of course, the city itself.
I recommend visiting the inside of Opera and admiring interior. If you’re visiting Oslo in a colder weather, you might want to get inside and warm up a bit. There is a small cafe where you can get take away tea or coffee for quite a reasonable price.
Barcode is a project that consists of 12 narrow and high buildings that are different in height and width. There are small spaces between those building, so from afar they resemble a barcode. Truly lovely view for those who admire the architecture. And an even more perfect place for some nice photos.
This is another sculpture park in Oslo. But this one is all about European art history of the last 130 years. You can find all types of installations, sculptures and other forms of art in this park. One that truly stuck with me was a lamp post that starts to talk once someone passes by it.
Also, there are about 3 spots for a great view of the city in this park. Definitely suggest visiting the park and exploring it for a few hours, maybe even having a picnic there.
All in all, I had a lovely time in Oslo and I’m happy that I got the chance to visit it with an exchange. Not sure if I’ll come back soon to Oslo but I’d love to explore more nature of Norway. Think mountains, Northern lights, hiking and camping.
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Have you ever been to Oslo or Norway?
What’s the most expensive city/country you’ve been to?