I still remember my trip to Oslo as if it were yesterday, but in fact, my trip there was over a year ago! It was my 2nd trip abroad that I had organised myself and back then I worked significantly fewer hours and I had only just got off of the pre-18 minimum wage – all in all, I didn’t have much cash and not much experience travelling abroad alone. However, the trip was a massive success! My point? Many people tell me that they’ll never visit Scandinavia as it’s far too expensive and as it’s not as easy as visiting other European countries. I beg to differ. The only issue was the exchange rate, we do not get many pounds to Scandinavian currencies, however, I still was able to afford a good trip here not living like a peasant and the trip was super easy! So where do I recommend to start? Oslo, the capital of Norway.
ACCOMMODATION – Staying at a central no-frills hotel – But with high standards
So I opted for a city centre hotel to save on transport costs whilst there, walking is free after all! I picked one of the cheapest hotels in the centre too. Despite this, the hotel was immaculately clean, the service was great and the hotel was very modern. So what’s the catch? The rooms only have what you need: bed, bathroom, wardrobe and a desk – but to be honest if you are out exploring what more do you need? In addition to this, you check in yourself on an iPad to save costs on staffing. This didn’t scream out ‘cheap’ to me but rather ‘efficient’. So where did we stay? Hotel Xpress Central Station. I thoroughly recommend it for those of you wanting to visit without much cash – and although I’m all about affordability, I still will choose a hotel over a hostel.
EATING – Be selective with your choice of food
Essentially look in advance at what offers good food at a good price. The super budget choice: 7/11. I’ve already raved no end about 7/11 in Japan being fantastic, fortunately, Norway’s is equally as fabulous. This was our option for breakfast and lunch as they were pretty much everywhere. For dinner, we went to the Hard Rock Cafe (so cultured I know) as it actually was one of the cheapest restaurants in the whole of Oslo! With the Oslo Card, you got a huge discount by eating here, plus the views from the window of Karl Johans Gate were beautiful! An unexpected treat. We also ate at Norwegian chain Pepe’s Pizza which was essentially an upmarket Pizza Hut. Yes, it sounds awful, I only ate at chains the whole time, but with a meagre minimum wage and a desperation to visit Oslo, this was my only option. This is an affordability post, not a ‘best way to experience the culture’ post 😉 However, I am sure if you researched in advance on TripAdvisor you would probably find wonderful and affordable local places, unfortunately, I had only just got back from Japan a couple of days before giving little time to plan!
ACTIVITIES – Get an Oslo card, explore and sightsee!
Transport, museums and discounts galore! I normally frown upon these ‘city cards’ because they are usually extortionately priced and I’ll never get to experience everything they offer. However, in this case, it is great value for money. Mainly because…Oslo is expensive if you are British! With this card, I visited the Nobel Peace Centre which is one of my favourite museums in the world (Unfortunately the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley takes the top spot!). I also got to visit the Flam and the Kon-Tiki museum! Both about nautical exploration but very different – one about recreating the Polynesian navigation methods and the other about the expeditions to the two poles of the Earth. These two museums were housed on Bygdøy, a peninsula that you get a ferry to (also included with the Oslo pass!). There were 8 other museums here, but realistically you don’t have all the time in the world. Other than that other sights are free! You can see the castle from the port, you can climb the opera house, and you can just take in all the Hygge related shops! Oslo did have a wonderful atmosphere.
So…have you started picturing yourself here? I bet you have, if Scandinavia is on your list, Oslo is a fantastic introduction. Oslo, as you can see, is also good when money cannot be stretched. If you’ve read my bucket list post you’ll know how much I want to return and see more of the country as a whole, but that will have to wait until either the exchange rate improves or my bank balance does…we’ll see 😉
Have you visited any countries in Scandinavia? If so where? Did you struggle with the costs or was spending no problem for you? I’d love to know <3