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Destination: Oslo; it is not hard to survive an expensive city on a tight budget

Oslo is fighting with a reputation for being an expensive destination, but fear not – exploring this vibrant coastal city can be done without burning a hole in your pocket. In this guide, I'll share some savvy tips to keep your visit budget-friendly. It might require a bit of reading, but trust me, afterward, you'll confidently plan a long weekend in this beautiful city.

Oslo City Scape

Let me commence with your accommodation, as this is where the most significant opportunities lie to economize on your budget.


Accommodation


For the utmost budget-friendly stay in Oslo, consider camping. Thanks to Norway's allemansretten (right to roam), you're allowed to camp in nature, including activities like bathing, resting, traveling, and harvesting. In a nutshell, you can bring your sleeping bag and hammock, set up camp in the forests around Oslo, ensuring you don't disturb others or harm the environment. Numerous spots in the wooded areas north of the city are suitable.


If wild camping isn't your style and you crave a bit more comfort you can pop your tent on one of the campsites in Oslo. But Bogstad Topcamp also rents out rather affordable cottages. Perfect when you're a small gang. They offer proximity to the city and a chance to connect with fellow solo travelers.


Oslo boasts several hostels, with Haraldsheim and Anker Hostel standing out for their location and facilities. Choices range from mixed dorms (the most economical) to double rooms. While the city is abundant with Airbnbs, hotels, and other lodging options, you're here for the most cost-effective choices, right?


Food


Kick off your culinary adventure with supermarkets, especially Coop and Meny. They often feature a discounted section for products nearing their expiration date, offering substantial savings on items ranging from milk to fresh produce and meats. Saturdays, especially late afternoons, are ideal for snagging quality items at 40-70% off. Whether you're backpacking or embarking on a camper adventure, stocking up here is worthwhile.


For a slightly more upscale experience, consider Jacobs. It's an exceptionally expensive supermarket but boasts an exceptional and extensive selection of seafood, often available at a significant discount.


A personal favorite of mine is Toogoodtogo, an app-based service originating from Denmark that connects users to establishments offering heavily discounted items nearing closing time. Expect to find heave discounts on everything in between bakeries, supermarkets, restaurants and hotels.


If you're driving through Sweden to Norway, consider stopping at Vestby to visit Holdbart, a supermarket selling products approaching or past their expiry date at significantly lower prices, always maintaining quality.


For affordable dining, explore Grønland, a district with diverse demographics and a variety of restaurants, including Indian, Pakistani, and Turkish options. Kinabolle, La Vila, and Golden Chimp are personal favorites.


Drinks


Enjoy the most budget-friendly beer in Oslo at Mastermind (opposite the bus terminal). The atmosphere is convivial, and the terrace is an excellent spot for a few refreshments, especially in summer. Additionally, within about 5 minutes, you can stroll over the bridge to Bjørvika, the strip with intriguing modern architecture right along the coast. At Rabalder bar, student discounts are available, though you'll need valid student identification.


If you're arriving by car or plane, consider stocking up on a few bottles of wine before entering the country. Ensure you're aware of the allowed quantity, as border inspections are conducted.


Activities


Oslo is blessed with a stunning surrounding landscape easily accessible from the city through an extensive public transportation system. Start with my favorite parks. Of course, a visit to Frogner Parken is a must, known for Vigelandsparken, the life's work of sculptor Gustav Vigeland, and its abundance of beautifully cultivated flowers from June to September.


Ekeberg Parken is another favorite, a sculpture park situated on one of the higher parts on the east side of the city. Reach it by tram or use the long staircase from the old part of the city for your daily workout.


Tøyen's botanical gardens provide a peaceful retreat with unique plants and trees, including tropical exotics in the covered greenhouses.


Summer is the perfect season to take one of the electric ferries from Aker brygge to the islands. In just fifteen minutes, you'll find yourself in a sort of oasis of peace and nature. Gressholmen, in particular, is my personal favorite, a slightly smaller island with excellent swimming opportunities, especially when the warm summer sun drives hordes to the city's quays and beaches.


If you plan to spend multiple days in Oslo, consider getting an Oslo Pass. This pass grants you free access to all public transportation in the city, as well as entry to all museums, and there are quite a few. Especially in late autumn or winter, it's almost a no-brainer. Moreover, you'll get discounts on a variety of offerings, including events at the opera house, meals, and numerous other activities. The Oslo Pass costs around 45 euros or dollars, and I dare say you'll recoup this investment within a day.


Oslo is nestled in a sort of valley, surrounded by numerous fantastic viewpoints accessible with relative ease. These are my favorites: Kolsås toppen, Frognerseteren, and Ekeberg.


Throughout all seasons, there's a plethora of free festivals and events, from second-hand markets to music festivals and performances. If you have specific questions, drop me a message on Insta, and I'll be happy to help because it's honestly too much to list. Enjoy your time!

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