48 hours in: Oslo, Norway – and how to have fun without breaking the bank

So let’s get this out there up front – Oslo is really expensive, and I’m used to London prices. Roughly speaking, we paid £10 for a beer or glass or wine, £3/4 for a bottle of water or diet coke, £5 each for a single bus fare, and £75 was the cheapest we could get dinner for two with a drink each for.

Screen Shot 2018-03-02 at 10.15.58.pngThe trip was a complete surprise for me (thanks to my boyfriend for organising), but I’m not convinced he googled ‘weather in Oslo in December’ before booking. Nor do I think he did much googling since I doubt he would have chosen Oslo if he’d had known just how expensive it was. I can’t blame him – I am the queen of organising and he never gets much practice! But still, we had fun without breaking the bank.

In all honesty, he got tempted by some mega cheap RyanAir flights. We stayed in the beautiful Grand Hotel, which in fact has its own Wikipedia page! It was a lovely hotel and everything from the L’Occitane toiletries to the ‘artisan’ pool and spa and in-room Netflix was just delightful. But I didn’t feel that we really got to enjoy the hotel as much as we could have, and it all started with breakfast, which at £25pp per night just didn’t seem worth it at the time of booking. I guess for Oslo itself, where a street hot dog is £5 (bringing fond memories back of New York’s $1 hot dogs), it’s not crazily expensive for a 5* hotel. But still, when you’re paying c.£175 a night (and that was out of season) you kind of expect breakfast to be included. The roof terrace bar was also quite pricey.

I tend to use TripAdvisor to find a decent restaurant ‘near me’ but I didn’t have much luck. Having said that, I’m sure there are cheaper places to eat but we went in December and it was so bitterly cold that we only could do so much menu checking before desperately going inside. One thing I will say though, is that bizzarely there’s a lot of TGI Friday’s – what on earth is driving that demand!?

Getting round was easy enough, but here’s a tip you shouldn’t ignore – download the app if you’re using bus transport. We made the mistake of buying tickets off the driver as there wasn’t a ticket machine around and paid £5 each one-way. You can find out more here.

I’d definitely recommend visiting Oslo but not in the winter. The temperature was between -2 and -4 degrees and while I had thoughtfully been packed thermals, it was quite unbearable being outside. We kept warm in a few of the city’s attractions such the Fram Museum (very good), but a lot of the more picturesque things to do are outside: we walked up to the Royal Palace, wandered around the Christmas market, and spent 2 hours on a pretty but frosty boat trip around the Fjords (£30pp). Put it this way, the provided blankets and the £4 hot chocolates we kept buying were not enough to keep us from shivering.

Flights: £30 with RyanAir

Hotel: £175 per night at the Grand Hotel Oslo

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