Oslo, Norway’s capital, is a brilliant place to gain insight into the nation’s culture – past, present and with an eye on the future. In a single day, you can wander through this walkable city, stroll across the sloped roof plaza of the Oslo Opera House (for a taste of modernity), then head over to the Viking Ship Museum for a glimpse into Norse history. Here’s Culture Trip’s list of hotels for travellers on a budget.
Located right in the city centre, the Clarion Hotel offers 810 modern rooms for a reasonable price. There’s a lovely green roof space for growing veggies for the 13th-floor Norda restaurant. Norda, along with Calmeyers Hage bar, serves inspired fusion cuisine and imaginative cocktails alongside panoramic views of the Opera House. Only two minutes from Oslo Central Station, you can easily catch a train for destinations further afield while staying here. The central setting will also let you check out the chic shops, galleries, restaurants and cafes in Oslo’s trendy Bjørvika neighbourhood.
Citybox Oslo, with no reception staff to speak of, could fit inside a futuristic film like Blade Runner (1982). The simple yet functional rooms – from cheerful singles to substantially larger suites – stick to a modern, minimalistic decor, all with private bathrooms. The downtown locale is hard to beat. Guests check themselves in and out via check-in terminals, which print out key cards. Should anything ever go awry, fear not, as a host is always on-site to sort you out.
Just north of the Royal Palace, this guesthouse offers archetypal Nordic style at affordable rates. The Coch sisters first opened their doors to travellers in 1927 and today the historic building houses 90 rooms. Most have a private bathroom, but if you’re on a strict budget, some come with shared hallway bathroom use. The Royal Palace is nearby, but if you prefer something more commercial, Oslo’s famous Bogstadveien shopping avenue is only a few minutes away as well.
While the rooms here are stripped to the minimal, modern essentials, they still offer wellbeing at a sensible price. This small hotel – near the western bank of the Akerselva river – is ideal for exploring the Grünerløkka borough, full of riverside nature walks. You’ll also stumble across plenty of trendy boutiques, cafes and pubs in the vicinity as well. The hotel is a learning environment for those it employs, providing work experience for those not currently in the hospitality sector, meaning that booking a few nights here is a kind-hearted way to support the local community.
Chic design aesthetics, a delightful rooftop terrace plus an extensive Scandinavian breakfast buffet make up for the small rooms here – which the hotel lets you know about upfront. Situated near the National Assembly and Royal Palace, and not too far from the Vigeland Sculpture Park, Smarthotel Oslo is geared for solo travellers or shorter stays. If you don’t plan on spending a lot of time in your room, this spot is a shrewd choice for thrifty nomads, as the hotel is well-maintained, staffed and conveniently located.
If you love Nordic furnishings, you’ll be smitten with Hotel Bondeheimen. Ultra-modern Scandinavian design pervades the entire hotel. It sits just north of Studenterlunden Park and the Hard Rock Cafe, and is a stone’s throw from the Royal Palace. Kaffistova Restaurant (open since 1901), on the ground floor, delves further into the city’s culture via chef-inspired takes on traditional Norwegian fare.
A smidgen south of Studenterlunden Park, the centrally-located Hotel Verdandi Oslo occupies a modern-looking building, yet still incorporates elements of classic Scandinavian style. With options ranging from comfortable standard rooms to deluxe suites, groups of different sizes can book here and stay within budget. If inclement weather keeps you inside (not uncommon in Norway), the second-floor indoor courtyard with glass rooftop is a great place to dry off and catch whatever natural sunlight there is to be had.
Karl Johans gate, running from Oslo Central Station to the 19th century Royal Palace (home to the King of Norway), is perhaps the most famous street in Oslo. While this large, modern hotel, smack dab on Karl Johans gate 12, is in the thick of the city’s urban life, it’s surprisingly tranquil. Check-in via your phone or at a self-service kiosk. Grab some French-inspired nibbles and meals at the Rodins Bar & Bistro, then use this locale as your launchpad for discovering Oslo.
Saga Hotel Oslo Central – only a few blocks from the Akershus Fortress – is within easy reach of the capital’s main attractions. The interior lounge areas are colourfully decorated with large playful prints, whereas the rooms are chic, modern and sophisticated. Foodies who like to experiment will rejoice at the Nordic and Japanese blend of chef-fashioned meals here, served at the hotel’s captivating Restaurant Fangst. Dig into the omakase (chef’s choice) menu and prepare to be delighted.
Enjoy a stylish and cultural stay in the Norwegian capital by booking one of Oslo’s best boutique hotels with Culture Trip. For more accommodation options, read our guide to the best hotels in Oslo for every traveller.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
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