Want to visit Oslo on a budget? Norway is notoriously expensive but here are Marco Polo’s top tips to explore this fantastic city without spending a fortune:
Evergreen Inn has Oslo’s cheapest beer – just 30 kroner (NOK) before 9pm. It’s still affordable later on too. Pilestredet 39 | In the university complex
There are many free pop, rock and folk concerts held on the square outside the city hall. Details from: www.visitoslo.com/en/your-oslo/on-a-budget/events
Matinées and concerts are held regularly in and around the opera house. Free entrance. There’s something on every day – that’s what the director of the opera house promised! So keep your eyes peeled.
Small, simple cabins can be rented on Bogstad Campingplatz to the west of Holmenkollen (from £43). The bus stops right outside the campsite. Ankerveien 117 | Tel. 22 51 08 00 | www.bogstadcamping.no | Bus 32: Bogstad Camping
Budget Hotel: The top address in Oslo for backpackers! Small, clean, functional rooms at cheap rates. Between the opera house and Karl Johans gate. If you book early, you only pay around £24 a night. 54 rooms | Prinsens gate 6 | Tel. 21 01 40 55 | www.budgethotel.no | All bus, tram and T-bane lines, near Oslo S
Cochs Pensjonat: Modern but simply furnished rooms in a hotel near the palace. Not all 88 rooms are en-suite. Breakfast is not included in the price. However, overnight guests are given a discount for the breakfast buffet in the studenty café next door. Parkveien 25 | Tel. 23 33 24 00 | www.cochspensjonat.no | Tram 12: Welhavens gate
Perminalen: A classic among Oslo’s cheaper hotels. From the end of the 1960s this rather shabby building was used by soldiers on service or on their weekend breaks. Now it’s a meeting place for backpackers from around the world. 1–6 bed rooms, better youth hostel standard. Perfect location between Stortinget and Akershus Fortress. 55 rooms | Øvre Slottsgate 2 | Tel. 24 00 55 00 | www.perminalen.no | Bus 30, 31, 32, 54: Kongensgate
The second-hand chain Fretex, run by the Salvation Army, sells everything from sports articles to evening dresses and with a bit of luck, you may be able to pick up a Norwegian jumper or some other typically Norwegian items. Markveien 5 | www.fretex.no (Website in Norwegian.) | Tram 11, 12, 13: Birkelunden.
Up to 30 market traders set up their stalls every day on Oslo’s Red Square – where the Social Democrats and Unions have their offices. You can find anything here from Norwegian CDs to locally produced honey and military memorabilia – often at low prices. Youngstorget | Tram 11, 12, 13, 17: Brugata
You don’t have to be a student to eat for 50 NOK in the student canteen, Frederikke Mathus, in Blindern. Mon–Thu 10am–7pm, Fri 10am–6pm | Problemveien 11 | T-bane 3, 4, 5: Blindern
Asylet: The building from around 1730 was once a children’s home. Simple dishes such as smørebrød (sandwiches) and grilled salmon are served with beer in this dark historical restaurant and in the pretty courtyard at the back. Grønland 28 | Tel. 22 17 09 39 | T-bane 1–6: Grønland
Lorry: Classic pub with more than 100 different types of beer, plain Norwegian food à la carte and a set lunch. Lively atmosphere and a meeting place for artists. Parkveien 12 | Tel. 22 69 69 04 | Tram 11, 17, 18: Welhavens gate
Olympen mat og vinhus: Generous helpings of reindeer, boiled cod and sursild (sour herring) are served here. Grønlandsleiret 15 | Tel. 24 10 19 99 | T-bane 1–6: Grønland
Sightseeing & Transport
A day ticket for Oslo’s public transport system costs 75 NOK and is valid for 24 hours. You can travel on all underground trains and trams as well as passenger ships that leave from Vippetangen for the nearby islands. Tickets can be bought at all stations and at Narvesen, 7-Eleven, Mix and Deli-de-Luca convenience stores.
One of the most beautiful views in Oslo comes free of charge. The breathtaking journey in the glass lift up to 34 Skybar on the 34th floor of the Plaza Hotel is only for those with a head for heights. Sonja Henie Plass 3, Oslo
If you buy a ticket for the National Gallery (50 NOK) and have enough stamina, you can also visit the three other national museums on the same day! Museum of Architecture, Contemporary Art and Decorative Arts and Design | nasjonalmuseet.no | Or simply go there on Sundays when admission is free.
Buy the Oslo Marco Polo Pocket Guide.