Destination Guide: Oslo

Thursday, May 25, 2017

A girls long weekend in Oslo. With, (of course) a bargain Ryanair flight from Manchester and a pre-booked AirBnB that would cost us £80 each for 3 nights. A budget trip, or so we thought. "Oslo is expensive" they told us, "I've been to Dublin" I said. I knew Oslo was expensive, I've heard the rumours about city breaks to Scandinavian hot spots and the cost of a simple drink or an overinflated McDonald's. So this time, unlike my time in Dublin, I was prepared for the cost. Welcome to Oslo - the non-budget traveller friendly city.

Destination Guide: Oslo, Norway

Oslo, Norway at a glance

✓ Country: Norway

✓ Capital: Oslo

✓ Language: Norwegian - Although English is widely spoken

✓ Currency: Norwegian Krone

  Eating Out: 200NOK - simple restaurant meal

 Fast Food: 20-100NOK for Burger King or a Kebab

 Cheap Eats in Oslo: Mamma's Pizza

✓ Drinking: 80-150NOK - Local beer is the cheapest

✓ Must do: 2 hour Fjord cruise - 290NOK - 2 hours tour with English speaking guide

✓ Extras: Book an AirBnB for the cheapest accomodation


All prices in Norwegian Krone


The definitive guide to spending a weekend (and a lot of money) in Oslo

Arriving in Oslo (Torp)

We didn't necessarily fly into Oslo as I previously stated and we didn't actually realise this until our flight was booked and the accommodation was also booked. We flew to Sandefjord Airport, Torp. Which is roughly almost 2 hour outside of the actually City. Fortunately its well connected and trains and busses run in sequence to the departing and arriving flights although the train or bus option will cost you around 400/500NOK that's about £40/£50. 

Destination Guide: Oslo, Norway
Source: Google Maps

All things considered I didn't mind paying for the 500NOK train, since our flight was booked around February time and only cost £20 getting into Oslo didn't seem too off putting.

Take note Torp Airport is 2 hours outside of Oslo but well connected to the city


Destination Guide: Oslo, Norway
The platform at Torp Station, read to take us to Oslo


Destination Guide: Oslo, Norway
The warmest of welcomes from our AirBnB

Getting to Oslo from Torp Sandefjord Airport

We had originally planned to take the bus the Torpekspressen, but actually ended up buying a return ticket for the train, which did in fact work out much better as I don't deal well with winding busses at night. A shuttle bus runs from Torp Sandefjord Airport which is perfectly timed with the incoming trains and only a five minute journey. The 500NOK ticket can be purchased from any of the red and grey ticket machines located in the airport. They all say 'billett' down the side and that's about as Norwegian as it gets, everything else is in English for your convenience.

Destination Guide: Oslo, Norway
The waterfront in Oslo - all the more picturesque in the sun

The City of Oslo, Norway

Arriving in Oslo in the dark didn't phase me, it was only 10:00 pm and the city was alive, as alive as any city can be on a Thursday night. We had Google map planned the route from the Central Station to our Airbnb so suitcases and all we walked the 15 minute journey to our hosts house. This is a journey we would do daily.

We could've taken the subway the angry trains that ran past our window every night kept on reminding us, but the sun was hot and there was a real sense of European Summer time in the air so we walked.

Trams, busses and subways can be taken across Oslo - bus tickets aren't always the cheapest at 50NOK


Destination Guide: Oslo, Norway
The regenerated waterfront in Oslo now filled with homes, bars and restaurants. The Fjord City is an urban renewal project that's basically a contemporary movement happening in Oslo to attract a whole host of tourism to the city
The city of Oslo is smaller than I expected. We seemed to get about everywhere on foot easily. Perhaps it was my refusal to pay the £19.00 starting fair equivalent that made it seem this way and the bus will set you back a staggering 50NOK per journey. From the Opera House to the regenerated waterfront to the packed steps of Central Station we found ourselves passing the same streets, shops and cathedral daily as we became familiar with the city.

Oslo is pricey, I knew this and I was prepared but something about the sweet summer sunshine seemed to soften that blow. The city was in full swing, spending time on the steps of Oslo Central Station told me this. People were coming and going and almost everyone was out to enjoy Norways premature summer.

Destination Guide: Oslo, Norway
The Opera House from the water with the urban renewal project Fjord City behind. Don't worry the height of the new buildings is regulated by strict standards to not ruin the views

Oslo's Opera House

Oslo's must see sights include the Opera House, a piece of invasive architecture created to mimic a glacier on the water front. You can walk up the sides and on the top of the Opera House and it's possibly the best place in the city for view (if you can ignore the cranes for long enough). We visited on our first day and decided to return to the tourist hot spot on our last evening to watch the sunset - a recommendation a fellow blogger gave me on a must do in Oslo.

Tours of the Opera House are also available there are hundreds of rooms so we decided not to waste a sunny day inside


Destination Guide: Oslo, Norway
Oslo's Opera House feat. every crane in all of Norway

Destination Guide: Oslo, Norway

Destination Guide: Oslo, Norway
Sunset from the rooftop of The Opera House, Oslo

Must dos in Oslo, Norway

1. Fjord Cruise - don't skip the 2 hour Norwegian Fjord Cruise
2. Watch the sunset from the roof of the Opera House
3. Visit the quirky bars of Torggata - We liked Angst check it out
4. Visit the museums but be prepared to pay the price
5. Try Mama's Pizza - for tasty budget eats


Leaving Oslo Central Train Station

Destination Guide: Oslo, Norway
The National Theatre, Oslo, Norway

Fjord Cruising in Oslo

My only real bucket list item for my Oslo trip was to take a Fjord cruise. Surely its an absolute must in Norway to see the Fjords and the Oslo Fjord is no exception. We found the tickets to be exceptionally reasonable at 290NOK - The equivalent of £29 or in Oslo language two cocktails in an average bar! The Norwegian Fjord Cruise from Oslo lasts around two hours but is packed with useful info and great sights to see. 

Destination Guide: Oslo, Norway
Oslo Fjord Cruise - Authentic Fjord Cruises in Norway lasting 2 hours


Tickets from the Fjord cruise can be bought from the wooden booth on the waterfront - the Oslo sightseeing Fjord cruise lasts 2 hours

We bought our tickets from a booth by the waterfront on our first morning, knowing we'd spend our second day in Norway on the Fjord. The tour is informative, fun and enjoyable. Being in the water with the sun on our necks was definitely a plus. The tour lasts around 2 hours and snacks and drinks can be bought on the boat. Get there early to get a good seat. On a warm day the boast fill up fast and all the best seats are naturally taken first. 

The Oslo Fjord Cruise I would wholeheartedly recommend to anyone in the city. Its an absolute must and should not be skipped, the cruises run all year round and are more frequent in the summer months during the peak of the tourists season, the boats are busy even in May so don't be surprised if you have to push a granny to get a good seat during the high season. The tours run at 3 set times during the day 10.30, 13.00 and 15.00. 

Destination Guide: Oslo, Norway
Bathing houses on the banks of the Oslo Fjord, Norway
The Fjord Cruise on the Oslo Fjord takes you past some incredible private homes, bathing houses and more. You are kind of transported from the inner workings of the city to a much more simplified style of norwegian living surrounded by the blue of the Fjord and the green of the land. Without being obsessive ts a very enjoyable tour and I'm usually afraid of boats. 

Destination Guide: Oslo, Norway
From the Oslo Fjord Cruise

Destination Guide: Oslo, Norway
An evening in Oslo, Norway

Nightlife in Oslo

If you're looking to spend a some cash (your life savings) a night out in Oslo is certainly the place to do so. There's a wide range of trendy and traditional bars at your fingertips where the beer costs a tenner and there's 'snus' in the ashtrays.

We found Torggata by accident but the trendy indoor/outdoor street is filled with bars, restaurants and all the tunes you could possibly need. We drank in Wurst and Angst and were actually recommended Angst by our Norwegian host. Angst was packed, Oslo on a Friday night is a vibrant and lively place to be. We sat outside and watched the busy courtyard style street fill up throughout the night. We drank 140NOK Aperol Spritz and watched serial snus-ers pop tobacco pillows under their gums in amusement. 

You can find Angst and Torggata - the courtyard style street at the top of the main street that runs past the Cathedral and Burger King. Its slightly hidden but look for the MacDonald's and walk up the Alley Way to enter the 'courtyard' that isn't actually a courtyard it just looks like one. 

Oslo is pricey and a big night of drinking will cost you but like I say if you have money to spend you know where to go


Destination Guide: Oslo, Norway
The view from our favourite people watching spot - The steps of Central Station, Oslo

Destination Guide: Oslo, Norway

Destination Guide: Oslo, Norway
Central Train Station, Oslo

Getting to know Oslo

We spent a lot of time just in the sun, as anyone would in the 23 degree spring days. Olso's cathedral is in the main central city area and can be found easily on foot. There are a range of restaurants around the cathedral and also a flower market that's worth a browse. Many of the city centre restaurants were capitalising on their outdoor seating during our visit. The premature summer time was upon us. 

Destination Guide: Oslo, Norway
The Fjord City by day 
The Fjord City - Oslo's regenerated urban waterfront city is another must visit. Filled with bars and restaurants overlooking the Fjord and infused with goodtime locals and tourists alike. Strawberry daiquiri will cost you over 150NOK, but dare I say it's worth it for the atmosphere and experience. We spent our final evening in Oslo in one of the bars built into the Fjord - as the temperature drops at night the waiters bring round blankets to keep you warm. 

Destination Guide: Oslo, Norway
Mamma's Pizza, Oslo - Cheap eats in Oslo, Norway
Eating options are also much pricier in the Fjord City there's a TGI Friday's in every second building. If you're looking for a top cheap eatery and love pizza I recommend Mamma Pizza. A reasonably priced traditional Italian pizza restaurant in the heart of the city. The service is no frills but the pizza is amazing and you'll only spend around 150NOK on a large pizza and drink. 

Don't forget the name Mamma Pizza  for tasty cheap eats 

A long weekend in Oslo

I was disappointed in the real lack of Scandinavian culture in Oslo, I found that that sense of Scandinavia was missing and I'm not sure what I was expecting otherwise. Perhaps exploring Oslo in the sun isn't the ideal scenario and for a more authentic Norwegian experience try a trip in the midst of winter for the northern lights. Without sounding too negative I felt that Oslo as a city felt much younger than its Central European equivalents and I'm guessing that is due to all the regeneration projects and urban renewal that's been undertaken. Although a great city break I know the urban renewal efforts will only make this city more tourist friendly and add to the great nightlife and bar seen that we got to experience.

Destination Guide: Oslo, Norway

Oslo was fun, I was in a city in the sun and it was the weekend. But I couldn't help feeling like I could've been in any city in any country in the world. The city wasn't particularly breathtaking at all, it wasn't as clean as I expected the architecture a lot of the time was hidden behind new larger buildings or large structures. Of the European cities I have seen there was nothing too exciting about Oslo. Except of course for The Fjord, which is by far the key motivation to visiting Oslo. I can only assume. That's what sold a trip to Oslo to me, the idea of a cruise along a Norwegian Fjord - I would've booked any trip for that alone.

Enjoying the views of the Fjord, Oslo, Norway


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Destination Guide: Oslo, Norway - travelsandmore


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5 comments

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  2. I completely agree with your conclusion. I've lived in Stavanger, Norway for a year and I visited Oslo but it didn't feel like Norway at all! There's indeed a lack of Scandinavian atmosphere and that's sad cuz Scandinavian atmosphere is highly special.
    I actually wrote a post on this topic.
    I know Ryanair also flies to other Norwegian cities like Bergen, Stavanger, Haugesund. Maybe next time look for one of those cities and I promise you, you won't be disappointed.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for your comment. I'll check Stavanger out and a potential trip may be possible. I'm going to check out your blog and find that post. Please leave a link next time I don't mind!

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  3. Good post and I liked the fact that mentioned the cost, which will help planning considering Oslo is expensive.
    From your post, I gather that it is not a do city when in Norway.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oslo is definitely a must see city after all it is the capital. I just feel it is important to be critical of the aspects of a destination that aren't as appealing as others. Don't write off Oslo on expense alone.

      Delete

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travelsandmore was originally just an outlet to document my travels. It turned into something much more and now its more of an obsession for me than anything else. Thanks for stopping by. Don't forget to subscribe, I'll only ever send you my latest travel related blog posts right to your inbox.