A 4 Day Solo Trip to Oslo, Norway
Updated: Dec 22, 2021
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Oslo is notoriously known by people for being one of the most expensive cities in the world. There are so many stories out there about how much this costs and how much that costs, but is it really so expensive that you need to avoid visiting it if you're trying to travel on a budget? The answer is no. I was really surprised when I visited Oslo to find that there were a lot of attractions that were completely free. Yes, FREE!
Oslo is great for museums, so do your research beforehand and check out which ones interest you. Chances are, it'll be worth it for you to purchase the Oslo Pass as it also includes public transportation, meaning the ferry over to Bygdoy, where many of the top museums are located, is completely free. The metro up to the Holmenkollen Ski Museum? Free. The tram up to Ekebergparken for amazing views of the city and fjords? Free. I find that purchasing a city pass is a great ways to save money, but only if you're actually going to visit the attractions on it in the first place. The best way of finding out if it's worth it is to go on each attraction's website and add up the cost of all the entry fees and compare it to the price of the pass.
What To Eat in Oslo: Food is probably going to be your biggest expense after accommodation in Oslo. I had a look at a lot of prices at restaurants, and can see why visitors complain about the cost. Instead, I made my way to the numerous food trucks that are dotted around the city. There are also a few indoor food markets that are great spots to grab something to eat. The food trucks are perfect for lunch and dinner. I hopped between 3 along Aker Brygge, trying out different cuisines, and paid less than I would have at a restaurant for one course. If you're looking for the supermarket, REMA 1000 is the main one, but they're incredibly hard to find, often located underground, so make sure you have your map at the ready.
Flying into Oslo: This is a big one. When I was researching flights, I came across a really cheap one with Ryanair, but it went into Oslo Torp not the main airport, Gardermoen. To get from Torp to the city centre is about a 2 hour journey via shuttle and train. The flight I was looking at got in at midnight, so that really didn't appeal to me. I added the cost of a return train journey to the flight, and believe it or not it came out to the same as it would to fly into the main airport, which is what I ended up doing. It was the same price, but more convenient with Norwegian Air. From Gardermoen, you can get to the city centre in 20 minutes. There is an express airport train, or a normal one which costs half the price and takes 2 minutes longer. So don't be fooled at the airport with all the signs for the express train ticket machines - get yourself a normal ticket and save some money.
I spent 4 days in Oslo, and loved every minute of it. Even the rain couldn't spoil it for me. The saying is true, "There's no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing". Oslo is one of the best cities to visit in Norway, with a lot of incredible things to see, and most of them will fit comfortably within your travel budget. Here's what I got up to during my 4 days in Oslo:
What To See in Oslo
Norsk Folkemuseum is probably the most unique museum I've been to. You can physically walk through Norwegian history. My favourite part of the museum was coming across The Stave Church, which was originally from Gol but was rebuilt here. The museum is found in Bygdoy which is where the Viking Ship Museum is also located.
Oscarshall is a royal summer palace and is completely FREE to walk around. It offers stunning views of the fjords and city as well. It's also located in Bygdoy, and is only a short walk from the Norsk Folkemuseum. There was no one else here when I visited, as it's not a main tourist attraction in Oslo, but it's still very pretty to explore.
I'm not quite done with Bygdoy just yet, because there are even more museums to visit on it! The Fram Museum, Kon-Tiki Museum, and Norwegian Maritime Museum are all situated next to each other, and are included with the Oslo Pass. The ferry back to Oslo's city centre docks just behind these museums so they're very conveniently located.
Mathallen Food Hall is a great spot to try out different cuisines in Oslo. This indoor food hall has over 30 stalls and is very popular with both tourists and locals. I visited Oslo in September, so the temperature was still comfortable enough to sit outside and take in the surroundings while sampling some incredible food.
Some say that the Holmenkollen Ski Museum provides the best views of Oslo, I however couldn't see a thing because it was foggy. It was a very interesting museum to visit though. You can take the metro up the hill to it, which is free with the Oslo Pass. It's a bit further out of the city centre than most of the city's points of interest, but it's considered one of Oslo's top attractions so is definitely worth travelling to.
Walking along Damstredet is an absolute must in Oslo. This cobbled street boasts very colourful 19th century wooden houses which are still lived in today. It's one of the best places in Oslo to go for photos, and is very safe if you're exploring the city solo.
Although I didn't go inside the Oslo Opera House, I did manage to walk on its roof. This is a really unique thing to do in Oslo, and is completely free so why wouldn't you try this out? The tourism website actually encourages you to walk on the roof, and the views of the fjords are really breathtaking from the top.
Engebret Cafe is situated in a very scenic courtyard, and it was very popular among artists such as Munch. The prices here aren't budget friendly, but it's a picturesque area of Oslo to walk around so it's worth stopping at even if it's just to look at it from the outside.
I walked to Ekebergparken but it was a bit of an uphill trek, so I would recommend doing what most people do and get the tram to the top. The park is dotted with very unique sculptures, and gives you amazing views of the fjords. This is another free thing to do in Oslo, and if you love nature this will be an ideal spot for you.
I stumbled upon this on my walk back from Ekebergparken. Yes it's a giant Santa statue, but I'm unsure what he's supposed to be holding ...
If you have time, take a stroll along the Akerselva River. It's a lovely walk and you pass through some very unique areas. My favourite part was where the industrial buildings were, which have been turned into bars now, and it looked like a very popular area to socialize.
You can't visit Oslo without visiting Aker Brygge. It's packed with restaurants, bars, and of course sits along the waterfront so the views are stunning. I think I managed to walk along here at least once a day. There was a food market set up when I was here also, which I took full advantage of most days.
Aker Brygge is also where you catch the ferry from to get to the area where the Viking Museum is. But there were so many other beautifully built boats roaming the water too, some of which you can purchase tickets for.
The Nobel Peace Centre is also included in the Oslo Pass, and is really interesting to walk around. It took me around 45 minutes to see all of it, and it's located at Aker Brygge too so it's very easy to find. This is another of Oslo's main attractions so I would highly recommend adding this to your itinerary. It's also a great thing to do if you're travelling alone in Oslo.
Oslo's City Hall is an impressive structure, but my favourite part of it was the interior. This is completely free to enter, and you can spend as much time as you want in it. It's definitely a must see in Oslo.
Karl Johans Gate stretches from the train station to the Royal Palace, and is the main street in Oslo. This is where you can find a number of high end shops and restaurants, so if you're visiting Oslo hoping to do some shopping, you should head here first.
I loved walking around the outside of the Royal Palace and the gardens. I was visiting Oslo on a budget, so I didn't purchase any tickets for the tour inside, but I was able to see the changing of the guard which was a fun experience.
Visiting the Munch Museum was a really interesting experience and something that's unique to Oslo. It's a fairly small museum, so it doesn't take long to go around, but they have a lot of Munch's artwork on display here and change them regularly.
I went to the Munch Museum expecting to see his most famous painting, but it turns out that The Scream is actually located in The National Museum. It also holds Norway's largest collection of art, so you can easily spend a few hours here, which I did when it started to rain.
Akershus Castle was one of my favourite spots in Oslo. This castle is completely free to walk around, and is situated in an elevated position overlooking Oslo's city centre and the surrounding landscape. This was one of the first places I visited during my 4 days in Oslo because I love castles.
And of course, no trip to Oslo is complete without a visit to the Vigeland Sculpture Park. The park is open 24/7 and is free to enter. There are more than 200 sculptures to look at, with the most famous one being The Angry Boy. It's one of Norway's top tourist attractions, so I had to add this to my list of things to do in Oslo.
Where To Stay in Oslo
If you're looking for a hotel in Oslo's city centre within walking distance of the train station, I'd recommend staying at Citybox Oslo. Its location makes it an ideal spot to start exploring the city from, and its very budget friendly too. I stayed here for one night, in their Single Room with Balcony, and had a great nights sleep. You can read more about my stay here.
>> Click here for the most up to date prices at Citybox Oslo <<
I stayed at Cochs Pensjonat for the remaining 2 nights in their Premium Single Room. The hotel is located just behind the Royal Palace, and is surrounded by lovely shops and restaurants. It's perfect if you're on a budget but still want somewhere centrally located. Click here to read more about my stay.
>> Click here for the most up to date prices at Cochs Pensjonat <<
I had a fantastic time during my 4 days in Oslo, and would love to return to explore more of the city. Oslo is a great place to visit, even if you're on a budget. Remember to keep in mind that a lot of things are free to do in Oslo, and you can save a lot by purchasing the Oslo Pass.
I still need to visit some of the countries in northern Europe, but I have managed to make it to Finland recently. Check out The Best Things To Do in Helsinki in September for some travel tips and recommendations if you're thinking of visiting the Finnish capital. And don't forget to follow my travels on Instagram too!