Located in the southern region of Norway, Oslo is the capital and most populous city of Norway. it is known for its green spaces, named European Green Capital 2019. A cosmopolitan hub with world-class architecture, museums, restaurants, and shopping. The official currency is the Norwegian Krone (NOK) and 10 NOK ≅1 €.
As students in Finland, we visited Oslo as soon as we had the chance. It’s just perfect for those weekend breaks… As there are so many amazing things to do there. We got to experience Oslo in winter season, but nonetheless it was amazing!
Norway is quite an expensive country, so we made this list of the 10 best BUDGET FRIENDLY things to do in this beautiful city:
1. Royal Palace – FREE
The neoclassical style royal residence stands at the top of Karl Johan’s gate and it is home to HM King Harald V and HM Queen Sonja.
There are guided tours every day in summer for 105 NOK students and 135 NOK adults, but if you’re a on a budget, we wouldn’t recommend entering as the best thing is to see it from the outside.
💎TIP: You might want to see the guard change at 1:30 pm everyday. It lasts around 30 minutes. Then have a walk around the beautiful gardens, both are a nice plus for your visit.
2. Oslo Opera House – FREE
Home of the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet, and the national opera theatre in Norway. A jaw-dropping structure where you can walk on the roof! The marble-embellished surface is meant to be stepped on. Definitely one of the most beautiful opera houses in the world. It’s supposed to resemble a glacier on the waters of the Oslofjord.
💎TIP: Best place in the city to see the sunset! On the roof of course. And once you’re there, look for a steel and glass sculpture floating in the water: ‘She Lies’ by Monica Bonvicini.
3. Oslo City Hall – FREE
This red brick building with two towers is the city’s administrative body and the seat of Oslo’s City Council. The City Hall is decorated with depictions of Norwegian historical figures by leading artists from the middle of the 20th century. They offer free tours during summer (June and July)!.
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4. Viking Ship Museum – 100 NOK Adults | 80 NOK Students
A total MUST in Oslo. Open from 10am – 4pm everyday, the Viking Ship Museum has the world’s best-preserved Viking ships and finds from Viking tombs. It is a bit far from the center of Oslo, in the Bygdøy peninsula, but bus number 30 will take you straight there.
💎TIP: Two museums with the same ticket: When you buy a ticket for the Viking Ship Museum, you get free entry to Historical Museum (which is in the center, close to the Royal Palace) within 48 hours.
5. Norwegian Folk Museum – 160 NOK Adults | 120 NOK Students
Open from 11am to 3/4pm depending on the season. Located in that same Bygdøy Peninsula. It is an open-air attraction that has welcomed visitors for more than 115 years. Outdoor and indoor exhibits of old Norwegian houses, traditional costumes, toys, Sami culture, etc. Our favorite was the Gol Stave Church built somewhere between 1157–1216!
💎TIP: Since it’s quite far from the center, consider visiting it on the same day as the Viking Ship museum. They’re 400 mts apart.
6. Frogner Park – FREE
Just outside of the Bygdøy Peninsula, 10 min away from the Folk and Viking Museums. Inside the park you find Vigeland ‘Park’, one of Oslo’s most popular attractions which is a sculpture installation by Gustav Vigeland. There are 212 sculptures in total and they are very cool!
🌀FUN FACT: Frogner Park has Norway’s biggest collection of roses; a total of 14,000 plants of 150 different species.
7. Holmenkollen Ski Jump – FREE
Open 365 days a year from 10am-5pm, located on a hill in the north western side of Oslo. About 30 min away from the city center by subway. You might be thinking why visit a ski jump tower? Well, this tower offers an amazing panoramic view over Oslo and its fjord. Within the structure of the ski jump is the Ski Museum which I would only recommend if you’re a big Winter Sports fan. It is 140 NOK adults and 120 students.
💎TIP: The top of the tower is another great spot to see the sunset! Or you can see it from the small nice cafe that they have there.
8. Norwegian National Gallery
This Museum has Norway’s largest public collection of paintings, drawings and sculptures including famous Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” and “Madonna“. Also, you can find some pieces by El Greco, Giovanni Battista Gaulli, Monet, Picasso, and Renoir. Impressive museum, totally worth visiting.
📝NOTE: The National Gallery closed temporarily in January of 2019. The new National Museum opening in 2020.
9. Akershus Fortress – FREE
Akershus is a medieval castle that was built to protect and provide a royal residence for Oslo in the end of the 13th century. It has also been used as a military base but it’s now transformed into a museum. It stands on a small hill at the City Center and it offers a very nice view towards the sea. Guided tours are offered during the summer.
10.Norwegian Parliament – FREE
Round structure, built in yellow brick with details in light gray granite. It is the seat of the Norwegian National Assembly since 1866. Beautiful building, worth seeing since it’s right in the center of Oslo.
💎TIP: They offer Free Guided Tours (English) during some periods of the year. Check here if there’s one available before you go.
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- Cemetery of Our Saviour: Oslo’s most famous cemetery. Not on the mainstream tourism list but definitely a nice place to visit. It was established in 1904, and famous Norwegians such as Edvard Munch, Henrik Ibsen, Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson, and Alf Prøysen are buried here.
- Akrobaten Pedestrian Bridge: we actually found it by accident, but we were amazed by it. Worth strolling across if you have some spare time and you’re nearby, but probably not worth making a special detour to experience it. Especially nice to walk at night.
- Neseblod Records: only 1 km away from The Opera House. The legendary Record Store and Black Metal Mecca formerly known as ‘Helvete’ which was owned by famous Black Metal musician Euronymous. Iconic place of Norwegian Black Metal Scene.
***You can read more about this place here: Metal Landmarks to Visit in Europe.
💸 EXTRA TIPS FOR SAVING MONEY
- Stay: book Airbnb, not hotels. We were able to easily find a nice private room about 20 min walking from the City Center for 35€ (4 nights).
- Transportation: if the weather allows, WALK or bike. That’s the best way to experience the city, help the environment, and why not, save money.
- Food: it is very, very expensive in Norway, so the best thing you can do is it simply make your own meals. Buy as much local food as you can, because imported items are way more expensive. Avoid eating out if you’re on a budget!
- If you do decide to eat out, your cheapest options will be shawarma, pizza, or Fast food chains (McDonald’s, Subway, etc). These meals usually cost around 80 NOK.
Eva & Tautvy – #nomadfaces 👫