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Love letter to Oslo and some tips for a low budget visit

Updated: Jan 11, 2020

I am back…I am here… I am finally home!

As a person, who has many places, I feel home whenever returning to old destinations, old friends and the new “old memories” in the making. This August I was able to make my way back to Oslo, where I accumulated a handful of great moments and visited some wonderful people, whom I haven´t seen in at least a year or two.

Hello dearest Oslo,

It´s been a while since we last met. We used to be very close and if not close at least nearby. You are a special place, with your fancy opera, the royal castle, cute trams and exiting events. I guess, I do not know you too well, but there are these corners that I love and great company to come back to, so at least you can tell, that you know me.

It always takes a while to accept the price of living here. It always needs some time to remember the names of train stops. But it immediately feels good and safe and right to walk around and just BE. And I couldn’t be more grateful for this particular feeling and all the awesome vibes around town. You have it all Oslo, don´t you?

Still, I know that many people struggle with Norway as one of the rather expensive travel destinations, so here a few hints on how to get around town with a low budget:

1. Get yourself the right train ticket

Depending on how long you stay, make sure you check out what kind of time-ticket suits you and which zones you move around, it will save you much time and energy, if you don´t have to think about this all the time. All trams are within the center zone, which is a good way to explore different lines and check out what parks and gardens and sightseeing adventures lie among this network. For example; Vigelandsparken, the Royal garden, Grünerløkka, the Vår Frelsers Cemetery and some old and fancy neighborhoods which are simply nice to have a look at.

2. If you love culture, try the Oslo Pass

The Oslo pass is your ticket to all kinds of museums, transportation, city tours, restaurant sales and other extras. You can check out for more information on the pass itself.

If you do so: Have a pre-made plan. Because this pass can fill many hours and all locations are spread through the whole town. I remember, when I was having it, that our group had a hard time on deciding where to go. And not every place is open 24/7.

3. Check out where the next event is happening, many of them are free!

There is all, from Christmas markets, over to food festivals, concerts and special holidays such as the national day (17th May). You will find something that fits your taste, I promise. This time I went to a free concert by the Oslo Philharmonic at the Lyttefest (“Listeningfestival”) one evening and it was amazing. They had it all: classics, film music, a Bollywood performance and special guests singing.

4. Know your food court

The issue with restaurants in Oslo is that they are incredibly popular once you find them on the internet. Norway is a small country, when it comes to numbers of inhabitants (only around 5mio), and good food gets popular quite fast. But there are still a good number of places, which will serve you with delicious food and good atmosphere. Try to avoid eating just next to sightseeing spots and you already will be better off. And definitely check out food courts, they offer all types of dishes for an acceptable amount of money. The two I know are Mathallen in Grünerløkka and Oslo Street Food, which used to be a local swimming pool.

5. Authentic Souvenirs

Of course, you can always have a look at souvenir stores. But often you will only find the same stuff over and over again. Your luck: Norwegians love their country and you will also find great pieces in regular stores (for instance interior stores) with typical Norwegian patterns or other scandinavian motives. These might even be on sale, while you are there. One of my favorite souvenirs from Norway is a cheese slicer from the Vitengarden in Nærbø (Western Norway). Also, on markets you can find artesian products which will transfer just the right impression of Norway to your people at home.

If you have some fashion lovers at home or are one yourself, you should check out second hand stores, which are extremely popular these days. The two I know in Oslo are Fretex and Uff.

Last but not least...

Whatever it is that you are looking for, try to ask locals about their recommendations. I know that Norwegians are often shy, but real interest in their country and culture will surely warm them up at least far enough to give you some handy hints. Moreover, I can suggest you considering hiking in the area around Oslo. Thee are many adorable towns to pass by and a bunch of great spots in the green landscape to discover. One night of camping anywhere is even allowed by the so called allemannsretten. For obvious reasons I would suggest you to not sleep within a private garden or farmland.

Once you know the rules and the best strategies to get through Oslo with a low budget you will come to appreciate all the offers it has. And I think, every now and then a little extra experience is worth any price.

Other than that, there is only one thing left to say: Glad I deg Oslo, neste gang tar jeg med mye penger <3

© Images: Own Pictures

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