When it comes to visiting Oslo, there are a few tips and tricks you should be aware of before heading to the Norwegian capital.
While it’s truly one of the most spectacular places I’ve ever visited, it’s also a place that I did an awful lot of research on beforehand to ensure our trip was as enjoyable and practical as possible.
This post contains all the valuable information that I learned when visiting Oslo and I really hope it’ll make your trip there even more enjoyable and successful!
Travel tips for visiting Oslo, Norway
This was perhaps a flawed mistake on our behalf but when we booked our flights to Oslo, we didn’t realise that there were two airports to choose from; Torp Sandefjord Airport and Oslo Lufthavn.
The latter is Norway’s main airport and is located just 30 miles from Oslo city centre. Torp Sandefjord Airport on the other hand, is much smaller and is approximately 68 miles from the city centre.
We booked our flights to Oslo in November in the Ryanair Black Friday sale; we didn’t realise that we were flying to and from Torp Airport instead of Oslo’s main airport.
Return flights to Oslo Lufthavn in February (without being on sale) can cost anywhere between £200 and £450. Whereas a return flight to Torp Sandefjord Airport will only set you back around £60 to £150 (without being on sale).
Matt and I paid £16 each, each way (so £68 altogether) for our flights from Manchester Airport to Torp Airport. Granted, we did get these amazingly cheap plane tickets in the Black Friday sale, but a quick look on Google Flights or SkyScanner will show you how much more affordable it is to fly into Torp as opposed to Oslo’ main airport.
One thing to bear in mind however, is that you’ll obviously have to make your way from Torp to Oslo city centre…
Despite pretty much everything in Oslo being extortionately expensive, you’ll actually find that the cost of public transport isn’t that outrageously expensive. We managed to experience a lot of Oslo’s transport systems while we were there, including the train, tram and bus services.
To get from Torp Airport to Oslo, you’ll either need to take the train or bus (or you can pay for a private taxi that will set you back anywhere upwards of £300…).
We opted for the train as we knew that it passed through lots of picturesque places on the way. There’s a 5 minute shuttle bus that takes you from Torp Airport to the station that’s located between Stokke and Sandefjord. The price of your bus ticket is included in the price of your train ticket and the train journey is about 1 hour 45 minutes; taking you through some of the most beautiful villages and skiing towns.
If you have a student card, be sure to make as much use of this as possible while in Oslo; a single student train ticket from Torp to Oslo will cost you 207kr (£18.60). Adults will have to pay 281kr (£25) for a single ticket and children (4-15 years) and senior citizens get half price tickets.
Ruter is the main transport system in Oslo and encompasses buses, trams, the metro system and the ferry.
While we were in Oslo we purchased a 24-hour student ticket that included transport on every bus, ferry and tram that we took during that one day period. The ticket cost 108kr (£9.70) and allowed us to travel by various means of transport for the whole day.
One thing we did notice however, is that very few people seemed to have tickets when travelling by bus, tram or ferry. There were ticket scanning systems on board every means of transport, but very few people ever scanned their tickets. I’m not sure if it’s common for people to just not buy a ticket and ride for free, but we didn’t want to risk it just in case…
Of course, wherever you go on holiday, it’s not imperative to indulge in alcohol and a boozy night out. However, it can be nice to relax and unwind when enjoying a city break, and indulging in a few alcoholic beverages can be a great way to socialise and get to know the place you’re visiting a bit more.
When visiting Oslo however, there are a few alcohol related points to note.
First of all, any alcoholic drink in any bar or restaurant is like to cost you around £10. It certainly doesn’t make for a cheap night out, so be wary of this if you’re planning on taking part in a bar crawl while in Oslo.
Secondly, there are a few strict laws when it comes to purchasing booze in Oslo. You can’t purchase alcohol from an off licence or a supermarket after 6pm on weekends; but you can purchase it up until 8pm on weekdays!
Also, most supermarkets only stock a few select brands of beer and cider; if you’re looking for spirits and fancy bottles of wine, prosecco and champagne, then you’ll have to purchase it from an official
Vinmonopolet (The Wine Monopoly – aka, a designated store that sells alcohol).
Again, even buying alcohol from the Vinmonopolet can be incredibly pricey, so I’d recommend stocking up at Duty Free at the airport on your way out to Oslo. We bought a litre of vodka for £12 from Duty Free at Manchester Airport, and then just bought mixers (lemonade, orange juice etc) from the supermarket when we arrived in Oslo.
Norway also imposes an insane sugar tax on many of their products (which is why a small chocolate bar could cost you between £2 and £3.50!).
Many Norwegians actually fly to places like Sweden for one day, simply to stock up on goodies such as alcohol and chocolate at Duty Free and then head straight home!
If you’re the type of person who enjoys a drink on holiday but wants to avoid spending extortionate amounts of money when in Oslo, then it’s definitely a good idea to stock up at Duty Free before you fly!
This particular tip doesn’t actually come from experience as we never used it when visiting Oslo, but it’s something that’s always highly recommended if you’re looking to make the most out of your time in Norway’s capital city.
The Oslo Pass can be bought in 24, 48 and 72 hour segments and grants you access to over 30 museums and attractions, as well as free transport for the duration of your ticket.
It’s a great investment to make when visiting Oslo as you’ll get the chance to explore and experience as many things as possible, all for the price of one ticket. There are also ticket options available for adults, children and senior citizens, as well as a 20% discount on all Oslo Pass prices for students.
Take a look at the Oslo Pass ticket prices on the Visit Oslo website.
Of course, in almost every capital city, you’d expect prices for most things to be higher than pretty much anywhere else in that country, but Oslo truly is one of the most expensive places I’ve ever visited. That doesn’t mean to say you can’t do it on somewhat of a budget, however.
I’ve mentioned before in city guide posts, but Matt and I usually prefer to stay in a private apartment rather than a hotel. Not only does this give us more freedom and often better facilities, it also means that we have the option to make and eat meals at our own apartment.
While in Oslo, we took advantage of the fully equipped kitchen in our apartment. We decided to head to the local supermarket for groceries so we could make our own breakfast and lunch on some days.
One thing we weren’t quite expecting however, was just how expensive groceries could be from a supermarket. During our time there we bought a loaf of bread 39.50kr (£3.55), a packet of ham 19.90 (£1.79), some cheese 30.90kr (£2.78), a bag of chips 23.50kr (£2.11), orange juice 24.40kr (£2.20) and some Sprite 35.90kr (£3.33).
Considering that this list of items was enough for three days’ worth of breakfast and lunch, it wasn’t really that expensive at all; it certainly saved us money as we weren’t paying to eat out for every single meal!
If you do have the luxury of having your own apartment as your accommodation when visiting Oslo, then I’d definitely recommend taking advantage of the facilities there and considering making at least a few meals while you’re there to save you from restaurant prices!
Oslo is situated at the head of the Oslo Fjord and thanks to the Gulf Stream, the weather isn’t actually quite as extreme as other Nordic cities. However, it’s important to bear in mind that the winter is a pretty damn cold time to visit Oslo; but one that’s insanely beautiful nonetheless.
We visited Oslo at the beginning of February where the temperatures fluctuate anywhere between -13° and 6°. Oslo is also known to get quite a lot of snow during the winter months. This may cause havoc to many people, but it actually made our whole experience much more magical and enjoyable.
I’d definitely recommend wrapping up warm when visiting Oslo, especially if you’re planning activities such as island hopping or hanging around Aker Brygge as it can get incredibly cold when you’re near the sea.
We both took enough thermal layers for the 4 days that we were there, as well as appropriate hiking boots (that were perfect for the snowy conditions) and a winter coat, gloves and a warm hat.
I always find that when I’m doing a lot of walking about and exploring, I tend to get too hot when I have lots of layers on but I wore my whole winter ensemble pretty much the whole time we were there. Therefore, I’d definitely recommend packing lots of layers and warm clothing.
The snow in Oslo was absolutely breathtaking; it was without a doubt the deepest snow I’d ever seen and it was so crisp and fresh everywhere we went.
Oslo really is one of the most incredible places that I’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting. While many things can be incredibly expensive, it’s still well worth a visit to the Norwegian capital if you’re a fan of snow, stunning scenery and spectacular sights!
Do you have any travel tips for visiting Oslo? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @imjustagirl_16.