Norway Oslo Travel Tips

Oslo – 5 things to know before you go

Oslo in the winter - Winter Park

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!

What to expect visiting Norway - it can be expensive on a budget - thetraveloguer travelblog

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

 

Oslo -walking in a winter wonderland

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!

 

Oslo a winter wonderland - snow and ice

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

 

View from the Scandic Vulkan hote, Oslo - the traveloguer travel blog

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!!!!

 

Oslo in the winter - Winter Park

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.

READ MORE: Oslo – 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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21 Comments

  • Reply
    Alice Cardy
    November 12, 2016 at 12:27 pm

    Your pictures are stunning and definitely made me want to go even if there are just a few. What can I say, I’m a sucker for a good winter snowy city…… It seems that some things are incredibly expensive (850 for house red wine ?? SACRILEGE!!) but others are not so bad ! Like museum, tapas and transportation. I think I can leave with that. Also I went to Stockholm in March (or February, don’t remember) and it was cold but not THAT cold. Wow. But nothing that can’t be done with warm clothes and waterproof shoes ! Thanks for all these info ! Keeping that in handy!!

    • Reply
      Christine Maguire
      November 17, 2016 at 1:04 pm

      Thanks Alice 🙂 Yep, on the bright side expensive wine makes you appreciate each sip a little more!
      Christine Maguire recently posted…Oslo – 5 things to know before you goMy Profile

    • Reply
      Henrik Jacobsen
      January 8, 2017 at 2:25 pm

      Alice, you would’t have to spent NOK 850 for a house red Wine. I Wonder where they went for that one….

  • Reply
    Lara Dunnign
    November 13, 2016 at 1:49 am

    Norway is on my list. It’s great to learn about the liquor laws and prices for things. Very helpful, and the info about purchasing alcohol is an interesting look into their culture.

  • Reply
    Paul
    November 13, 2016 at 3:08 am

    Some of those prices are crazy especially when you are on a budget. We found Helsinki to be very similar which is why we took a packed lunch for the day! It does look like such a stunning place to visit though especially in the winter!
    Paul recently posted…Passing through Warsaw with our backpacks on a crazy travelling day!My Profile

    • Reply
      Christine Maguire
      November 17, 2016 at 1:06 pm

      Thanks Paul, I’m thinking about visiting Helsinki in January, so I’ll remember to pack a lunch. Doing that really helped in Hong Kong, which was also pretty expensive.

  • Reply
    Brianna
    November 13, 2016 at 2:52 pm

    I’ve been wanting to do a trip to Norway, but the costs have really been holding me back! Luckily I don’t drink, so I don’t have to worry about splurging on alcohol!

  • Reply
    Lisa
    November 13, 2016 at 3:39 pm

    Would love to visit, it is a beautiful country. I had always heard and read that it wasn’t cheap so you go there knowing where you can budget. But, I would still splurge on the adult beverages!

    • Reply
      Christine Maguire
      November 17, 2016 at 1:08 pm

      Yeah I think once you’re aware that somewhere is expensive, you can adjust and still have a great time. Of course, adult beverages are a worthy splurge! 🙂

  • Reply
    elisa
    November 13, 2016 at 6:22 pm

    I was already in Oslo and despite some of your tips like freezing temperatures or cost of life I would not mind to go back 😉

  • Reply
    Mike
    November 14, 2016 at 4:58 am

    Thanks for these tips! The alcohol laws are funny indeed. I can’t believe 6pm is the cutoff on the weekends! The bars are alright but just like you said its tough to stay on budget that way. I had no idea how pricey Oslo is either.

    • Reply
      Christine Maguire
      November 16, 2016 at 12:04 pm

      You’re welcome Mike. Yeah I had no idea there would be such unusual alcohol laws there.

  • Reply
    melody pittman
    November 14, 2016 at 12:34 pm

    I loved Norway and you hit the nail on the head, it was so freaking expensive. I thought I might bring my daughters home a sweater for ski season or something and they were no lie $500 or more each. It was crazy. I did love how beautiful it was though. Did you visit Vigeland?

    • Reply
      Christine Maguire
      November 16, 2016 at 12:02 pm

      Wow, that’s crazy expensive! I didn’t get to see Vigeland, next time.

  • Reply
    Castaway with Crystal
    November 14, 2016 at 12:38 pm

    I have really wanted to visit Norway but yes, I saw it as a very expensive country – thanks for clearing that up! Can’t wait to visit now. P.S BEAUTIFUL pictures 🙂

    Crystal recently posted… Budget guide for New Zealand; North Island

  • Reply
    Andrew
    December 11, 2016 at 6:48 pm

    Are some of these prices converted to different currencies? Because a number of them look like they need to be divided by 10.

  • Reply
    Christine Maguire
    December 12, 2016 at 11:46 am

    Hey Andrew. The prices listed are given as the Norwegian currency, the Norwegian Krone. To roughly convert it to Euro or Dollars, you can divide it by 10 to give you an idea of how much items cost.
    Christine Maguire recently posted…Komodo hunting on Komodo IslandMy Profile

    • Reply
      Andrew
      December 12, 2016 at 12:43 pm

      Right, but you’ve got alcohol prices at 800 kroner, a pint at a bar or restaurant costs 65-85 kroner, and half liters of the local craft beer are generally around 120 kroner.

      • Reply
        Christine Maguire
        December 13, 2016 at 12:58 pm

        Ah! I get you now, thanks so much for pointing that out! I was completely blind to that, and don’t know how I ended up adding extra zeros. 🙂 Thanks again Andrew!
        Christine Maguire recently posted…Pink Beach of Pantai MerahMy Profile

  • Reply
    Why winter breaks in January are a great idea - The Traveloguer Travel Blog
    January 6, 2017 at 6:05 pm

    […] seasons and a little budgeting, a winter break away doesn’t have to cost a lot. Even visiting Norway last year was affordable. Copenhagen is another expensive spot, but there is a satisfaction that […]

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