How not to break the bank in Oslo, Norway.

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If you’re looking for a blog that is going to tell you how much spending money this notoriously expensive country requires, what to wear, where to go, and how to drink, without taking out a loan, then you’ve come to the right place!

For some contextual background, I went on a trip for 4 days and 3 nights, during January. We purchased our flights in Rynair’s Black Friday sales for £10 return and stayed at a lovely Air Bnb for £53 per person, which was located just a short subway ride away from Oslo city centre. Between the three of us going, we paid for 2 priority flight passes which we split, which meant we were allowed just two large hand luggage’s.

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This winter wonderland is not a lost scene from Narnia, but in fact taken inside Akershus Fortress.

Spending:
I personally changed up £300 for the 4 days we were there, expecting to budget around £75 per day (This equated to 3200 NOK and about 830 NOK per day). I actually ended having about 350 NOK leftover in the end. This is how we managed to make our money stretch:
Luckily our AirBnb had coffee, tea and porridge, so typically, to save some money, we ate breakfast in. To summarise we ate 1-2 meals out each day. With a typical meal costing you about 150-250 NOK. Be careful with drinks, as these will steadily hike up your food bill, with a cocktail setting you back around 125 NOK.

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What to pack:
When travelling to Norway in the winter, one word springs to mind: LAYERS. With highs of -4 and lows of -12, you’re going to want to pack on the clothing. Since we were short on space, I opted to wear the majority of my layers. This included:
Socks x4
Thick socks (to wear over the normal pair) e.g. ski socks or bed socks x2
Underwear
Vest x2
A long sleeved top/thermal x2
Thick jumpers x2
Thick coat
Scarf
Gloves
Hat
Thick tights x2
Leggings
Jeans
Tracksuit bottoms/ comfy bottoms – for the days we flew.
A “nice outfit” for a special occasion (we had a birthday)
Boot heels (I wore Doc Martins for the majority of the trip- NOTE: They have AWFUL grip. I’d recommend snow boots, but Timberland’s seem to have decent grip too).

As an avid traveller, I like to travel very light, and so my idea was that as long as you’re changing any clothing touching your skin, e.g. vest, tights and socks, then it doesn’t matter all that much to re-wear the rest of your layers for those few days.

I’d also like to note I wore pretty much all those layers at once, including tights, leggings and jeans/tracksuit bottoms. You will resemble the hungry caterpillar, just before his metamorphosis, and you will feel stiff, but at least you won’t feel cold.

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Place to go/ Things to do:

  • A trip highlight for me was going sledging. We bought a 24 hour travel card which cost 105 NOK and took the subway to Frognersaetra. Sled hire cost 150 NOK and we had the sleds for the whole day. You just ride the subway to the top, go down the hill a little and turn right, it will take you to the sled hire shack, where you can leave your bag if necessary. Once you sled down to the bottom, you can just hop on the metro for about 15 minutes, back to the top and do it all over again!
    NOTE: If you have an waterproofs, especially trousers; wear them. Else you will end up wet and cold. There is restaurant/cafe with an open fire at the top too, where you can warm up and dry off, although it’s quite pricey.

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  • One of the best areas to get yourself lost in, is Grunerlokka. Equivalent to London’s Shoreditch and New York’ Brooklyn, it is Oslo’s gentrified urban space, filled with cafe’s, bars and specifically an amazing food Food Hall called Mathallen Oslo. As a vegan, I found it fairly easy to get something here. I shared with a friend so we could try a few bits. We went for the vegetable bao buns and dumplings, which were INSANE, and a teriyaki/chilli tofu stir fry. But the food hall isn’t limited to just Chinese cuisine, it also had Italian, Japanese, Spanish, a bar and some dessert places too!
  • Visiting Akershus Fortress (the image at the very top)  just before sunset will give you a stunning bird eyes view over the Oslo fjords and across the city!

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This image was taken just before walking in/up the fortress.

Drinking
Buying booze in Norway can be a tricky endeavour, not to mention an expensive one. You may be thinking, “Ah! But I can buy it at the supermarket”. Well, yes, and no. You see, you are only able to buy beers and ciders from supermarkets as long as its before 8 pm. One large beer can will typically cost between 40-60 NOK, so not the cheapest of beers in Europe. As for wines and spirits, you will have to locate a Wine Monopoly to purchase these. They are the only shops you can buy these in, and you would be wise to pre-plan this as they close at 6 pm. You can buy a cheap bottle of wine for around 100 NOK, which is generally what a glass will cost you in a restaurant ( generally between 89-125 NOK depending on the establishment).

One final tip: Taxi’s are easy enough to get, however if you can get from A to B via public transport, it is reliable and much cheaper! You can purchase a single (use as many times as you like for 1 hour), 24 hour or a weekly travel card. These can be used on trains, subways, boats and trams, so definitely worth getting one!

Written by Raphaella Ruggiero
Edited by Amy Ruggiero

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