Norway’s Oslo is such a great city, especially for a winter weekend away. If you are planning a trip to Oslo, or Norway in general, then here are a few things you may not know that can help you make the most of your trip, particularly if you are on a budget.
When I visited Oslo, I wasn’t aware of all of these things, but I wish I had been!
Oslo isn’t a cheap destination, but it can be done on a budget!
First up, let’s talk money. Oslo is an expensive city. Norway is an expensive country. I think a lot of people know this, and I actually think this is something that turns people off visiting, but please don’t let this stop you exploring Norway!
Norway can be enjoyed on a budget, you just need to plan a little. And lay off the alcohol!
For those of you from Ireland, Australia or New Zealand, Oslo won’t be as expensive as you may think. Some prices are the same as what you would expect at home. Other things seem very expensive.
Norway is known for its high prices, but the reason for them may not be so well known. Norwegians pay high levels of tax, at 25%. But they get a lot in return. Norwegians enjoy good wages, and healthcare, dental, childcare and more are supplied for free by the government.
I spoke to a cleaner at my hotel who said she was paid really well, and that her children enjoyed free dental until the age of 18, including braces. She said that if she was sick for work, she wouldn’t have to worry, as she would still be paid.
While this is great news for the people of Norway, it’s not quite as beneficial for us travellers!
So, how much do things cost in Norway?
(these prices are based on my own experience in Oslo)
10 NOK (Norwegian Krone) = €1.10 /$1.20
Coffee – 40-60 NOK
Wine – 85 minimum for a glass of house red.
Beer – 70-89 – for a pint, with some craft beer costing even more.
Tram ticket – single ticket – 25-50 for one zone.
I recommend buying a Oslo Pass, which gives you unlimited public transport access for 24 hrs, (90) 7 days (240) or 30 days (690).
Slice of pizza from a store – 40 for 2 slices
Sandwich/ Roll from a cafe – 60-75
Renting snowboarding equipment -460
Museum entrance – 100
Tapas (4) & 2 drinks (a beer and a wine) – 650
Taxi from central station to hotel, a 5 minute drive – 150
Norway’s Funny Alcohol Rules
It turns out, Norway has some unusual licensing laws! We had no idea of this when we arrived in Norway. So when we went to the supermarket after snowboarding to buy a couple of beers to bring back to our room, we couldn’t understand why the fridges were all locked. We assumed it was to deter thieves, but to our dismay, we found out that you can’t buy alcohol from a supermarket or off-licence/liquor store after 6pm on the weekends!!
Even more bizarrely, you can purchase alcohol until 8pm on weekdays.
You can still buy alcohol in bars and restaurants, but when you’re trying not to blow your budget, this isn’t a great comfort.
For us, it was an unfortunate discovery, as it was Sean’s birthday and we had been looking forward to having a birthday drink after our hard day of snowboarding.
You can beer in supermarkets, but if you want anything stronger, you must find a government owned Vinmonopolet (store that sells alcohol).
Winter Temperatures in Oslo are Freezing!
If you are travelling to Norway in the winter, be warned it is very, very cold. We were there in January, and the weather was between -10 and -18 degrees Celsius. Brrr!!
It was snowy the whole time we were there, which was so nice. It’s important to bring enough warm clothes, including hats, gloves, scarves and multiple layers.
In case of snow, be sure to bring footwear with some grip and ideally ones that are somewhat water proof.
Norwegians are lovely, but can appear reserved at first
Let me stress, Norwegians are not unfriendly at all. However, they do have a reputation of being a little reserved. My experience in Oslo revealed every Norwegian I spoke to to be really nice, once I approached them. A lot of the time I was asking for directions, and each and every person was really helpful and nice.
Bar staff, the staff at the Winter Park, the staff at the Scandic Vulkan, and the lovely chatty man we met at a wine bar in Mathallen on our first night all showed us how nice and welcoming the people of Oslo are.
Oslo is Beautiful!!!!
Norway is absolutely beautiful. In the winter, the country is draped in a blanket of fluffy snow, which would make even an unattractive town look good, but in Oslo, the snow accentuates how pretty and lovely the city is.
Visiting in January was ideal, as everywhere still had fairy lights up and going up the mountains to snowboard made our whole trip seem like an extension of Christmas thanks to Oslo looking like a winter wonderland.
So if you are thinking of visiting Oslo for a winter getaway, do it! Norway can definitely be done on a budget once you are careful.
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