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Oslo on a budget

photo: © Thomas Coelho

Even though Oslo has been called the world's most expensive capital, with a bit of planning, finding free things to do in Oslo is not as hard as it might seem. Here are our tips on how to experience Oslo while spending wisely and still having a good time:

 

1. Oslo Opera House

Oslo’s Opera House – the icon of Oslo city – is located right at the harbour, with an angled, white exterior that appears to literally slope from the water. It invites its visitors to climb its roof and enjoy panoramic views of the city, fjord and surrounding hills and islands all year round.

2. Akerselva River Hike

Take a 8km walk along Oslo’s urban river Akerselva, a scenic attraction rich in history and a popular recreational area with green parks and luxuriant nature, starting at Maridalsvannet – Oslo’s largest lake, which snakes its’way all the way down to Grønland in Oslo city centre, with many interesting stops on the way.

3. Sculpture Parks

Vigelands and Ekebergparken are two of the famous Oslo sculpture parks that combine nature and art in a very sophisticated and unique way. They are also considered some of Norway’s most visited attractions, are open all year long and are very well worth visiting.

4. Holmenkollen

One of capital’s most famous landmarks. The world’s most modern ski jump facility with an observation deck on top with panoramic view of the city is one of the most popular viewpoints in the city and a Ski Museum inside of the Jump. The Holmenkollen Area is also a great starting point for trips into Nordmarka, the most popular hiking forest around Oslo with a number of cozy cafes hidden among the trees.

5. Museums and Galleries

Oslo has in total more than 50 museums. Some of the most visited ones are Frammuseet, Vikingskipshuset, Kon-tiki and Nobel Peace-center, but if you’re on a budget, there are also budget opportunities to see some spectacular art exhibitions without a charge. The National Gallery at Universitetsgata has free entrance for all every Thursday between 11AM and 7PM. Also free is Oslo City Museum in Frogner Park. It presents Oslo’s history with models, paintings and photographs, open from Tuesday till Sunday between 11AM and 4PM.

6. Oslo Pass

If you are planning on seeing more museums during your trip, buying an Oslo Pass gives you access and free entry to more than 30 museums and attractions, free travel on all public transport, free parking in municipal car parks, free entry to outdoor swimming pools, free walking tours, as well as discounts on sightseeing, ski simulator at Holmenkollen, concert tickets and lots of special offers at restaurants, shops, entertainment and leisure venues.

7. Free concerts

Every Sunday there is a free concert at ‘Blå’ at Brenneriveien 9c performed by Frank Znort Quartet and it is always full. The band consists of 21 members and they play an acoustic set at 4PM and electrical set at 8.30PM. If Sunday is a rest day for you, you can also check out ‘Stortorvets Gjæstgiveri’ which invites jazz enthusiasts for weekly dose of music enjoyment between 1.30 and 4.30 PM. If you’re into jazz music, you may also want to check out ‘Bare Jazz’ at Grensen, record store and one of the few jazz bars in Oslo city, where they sometimes have free concerts on the 2nd floor.

 

8. Pub quiz

Why not join this popular Norwegian tradition? Team up in competing by answering general knowledge questions with your friends while enjoying a beer in nice atmosphere. Many of these quizzes take place in English – e.g. Konrad bar at Youngstorget has an English pubquiz happening every Wednesday at 7PM.

 

 

(Text by María de la Cruz)