How to Backpack Around Oslo on a Budget

Oslo | © Beas777 / Shutterstock

There’s no denying that Oslo is an expensive city to live in and visit. And yet, a savvy traveller on a budget can still have a memorable time in the Norwegian capital without overspending. Below are a few options to consider to keep you from burning your pockets when planning a backpacker trip to Oslo.

One of the rooms at Overnatting Oslo

Choose your accommodation wisely

The biggest spend will most likely be on your accommodation — but it doesn’t have to be. If you’re not lucky enough to have a friend who can offer you a bed or a couch, there are several hostels in Oslo that could be great alternatives for a budget stay. Anker Hostel in lower Grünerløkka offers single, two-bed or four-bed rooms (that you will share with other travellers) for prices starting at 648 NOK ($77) per night. Overnatting Oslo offers a single private room with kitchen and bathroom (that you’ll have to share with other guests) for 1,371 NOK ($164) for a three-night stay. You should also check Airbnb, as there are numerous listings in the city and you can usually find a room for about 350 NOK ($42) per night.


Know your neighbourhoods

The neighbourhoods in Oslo differ from one another in many ways, one being the cost. It’s easier to find budget options in hip and diverse areas such as Grünerløkka, Tøyen and Grønland than in more posh areas like Majorstuen, Frogner and Aker Brygge. Regardless of where you end up staying, you will still be in close proximity to the city centre due to Oslo being a relatively small and compact city.

Pick the right season

Norway is beautiful all year round, but if you go during winter there won’t be much light during the day for you to properly explore it. Plus, although public transport runs like clockwork even when there’s a snowstorm, walking around in the biting cold and slippery snow can be challenging. The smart thing to do is visit around the month of July when locals are away on holiday. With fewer people in the Norwegian capital, you will also find less traffic around the city. Visiting Oslo during this time of the year will also allow you to experience the city’s parks and fjords until the late hours thanks to the Midnight Sun.

The tram is one of the most scenic ways to see Oslo

Make the most out of public transport

If the weather permits, you can probably walk anywhere in Oslo. In fact, it takes approximately 30 minutes to get from one of the poshest areas in the northwest, Majorstuen, to the port. If you need to take public transport, aim for a bus or the tram. While the tram is a slower form of transportation, it’s still one of the most scenic ways to see the city. But if the tram isn’t your cup of tea, you have the option to take the subway or the train. However, the distances are too short and chances are you won’t need to use them. A single ticket (valid for all public transport for one hour) costs 35 NOK ($4) so if you’re staying in the city for approximately a week you should consider getting a weekly pass to save some money.

Vippa food court is a favourite meeting point for locals

Be strategic about your food

Of course, you’ll have to eat! If your accommodation doesn’t come equipped with a kitchen, the cheapest way to go about it is to buy snacks at the supermarket to carry with you when you get peckish while exploring the city. Berries are always a safe and affordable bet, and eating one meal out in one of the city’s many food trucks will help you save a few coins. Vippa Oslo is a food truck court located by the port and serves anything from Indian to Middle Eastern and Thai cuisine, at prices that are considered relatively cheap for Oslo.

Vestkanttorvet flea market


Regardless of how careful you are about your spending, a trip to Oslo will still cost you some money, so you have to decide what you’d rather spend your money on. Visiting one of the city’s many museums? Tickets are usually around 200 NOK ($24), but if you buy a weekly pass, many museums offer free entry. Trying out new flavours? Go to Mathallen, Vippa Oslo and Ostbanehallen to get the most variety for your NOK. Shopping? Visit one of Oslo’s many flea markets, like Bla and Vestkantorvet. Alcohol is going to be expensive no matter where you go but on the flip side, there are many parks and attractions (like the Vigeland sculpture park) that will cost you no money at all. Enjoy!

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