Although Oslo is ranked the most expensive city in the world, you can, by playing it right, get a lot out of a trip to Norway’s capital on a student budget.
Most people associate the country with beautiful nature, but might think the centre of Oslo as just a big city with tall buildings and shopping. And yes, Oslo is full of great shopping, but the real beauty of it all is that it has got some great nature experiences too, if you’d fancy going. With just a short bus ride from the city centre there is great access to hiking or skiing opportunities (depending on the season, obviously) in the mountains.
Oslo on a Student Budget
Flying with SAS I was lucky enough to get a youth ticket (you can too if you’re under 26), at only around £50, which is well worth a trip to the city. If you can, couch surfing on friends’ sofas will save you a lot of money, seeing that hotels in Oslo can be quite pricey. But do check out student accommodation, and don’t let the costs scare you from going. I’ve scraped together a list of things you can do there on a student budget, so now there are no reasons for you not to visit Oslo. Here you go:
1) The free (!) National Music Day: If you fancy visiting Oslo this summer, plan your trip for June and attend the annual free music festival. The National Music Day gives you the opportunity to enjoy music on 30 different stages in the middle of Central Oslo – for a whole day – and it’s all for free! This year the National Music Day is on June 2nd. See musikkfest.no for more information.
2) Sunday Market at Blå: Sundays are usually quiet in Oslo, seeing that most of the shops are closed, but on a student budget, a trip to one of its Sunday markets is a great experience. At Blå, Norwegian for ‘blue’, you’ll find stalls of vintage clothing, paintings, handbags, jewellery and ceramics suitable for your not-so-full student wallet. And best of all – they sell waffles!
3) Picnic in Frogner Park: Frogner Park is a must if you’re in Oslo, whether on a student budget or not. It is of course free of charge to have a stroll through the park, so bring a picnic and have a nice time relaxing in the park, or just go and have a look at the original sculptures in the Vigeland Park, located inside the Frogner Park itself. The park is the world’s largest sculpture park made by a single artist – hence the many tourists-with-cameras, but I highly recommend you go.
4) Visit one of Oslo’s free museums: Some range from around £4 with a student card, and some of Oslo’s museums have free entrance. The National Gallery, for example, which has Norway’s biggest collection of Norwegian and international art, is free to enter. The Kon-Tiki Museum, which includes treasures from Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl’s many adventures, is £4 with a student card – and is pretty cool if you’re into history and adventures.
5) Enjoy a budget-friendly pint: Oslo has many pubs and restaurants, but on a student budget places like Ryes, is the place to go. Before 8pm you’ll get three pints for £10 – quite a bargain in Oslo. The pub is located in Grünerløkka, a charming place in East-Oslo, and if you’ve got time before going to the pub, do have a stroll around the neighbourhood, there are some really cosy cafés and restaurants (even parks) there too.
Monolitten in the Vigeland park
Picture by Ros Jackson