More than 200 sculptures dot Olso's Vigelandsparken, and it's one of the city's most popular sights. // © 2015 Thinkstock
Feature image (above): Travelers who buy an Olso Pass get free admission to dozens of local attractions, including the medieval Akershus Castle. // © 2015 Thinkstock
If you think traveling to Norway is too expensive, you’re not alone. Price of Travel’s “European Backpacker Index for 2015” measured the costs of accommodation, meals, transportation, attractions and booze in 56 European cities. Oslo, Norway’s most populous city, fell within the top 10 most expensive destinations on the list.
Don’t let these findings dissuade you though. There are several ways to experience Oslo without taking out a second mortgage — it just takes a little strategic planning.
One solution for consolidating expenses is to pre-pay for an Oslo Pass, available for 24-, 48- or 72-hour periods. The city card offers free entry to more than 30 museums and attractions, including Akershus Castle, Norwegian Museum of Science & Technology, Natural History Museum and National Museum of Contemporary Art. Cardholders also get to travel for free on all public transportation systems.
Starting at about $42 for one day, the Oslo Pass can be purchased as an app in the App Store or through Google Play. Those ordering the city card online will need to pick up the pass at the Oslo Visitor Centre, near Oslo Central Station.
Several museums and attractions in Norway’s capital city offer free entry all year round, no Oslo Pass needed.
Vigelandsparken, for one, never charges an entry fee, and it is one of the country’s most-visited tourist sites, clocking in more than 1 million visitors every year. The unique sculpture park features more than 200 sculptures in bronze, granite and cast iron — the life work of sculptor Gustav Vigeland.
For less than $7, visitors can gain a better understanding of War War II Europe at the Center for Studies of the Holocaust and Religious Minorities. The museum teaches about the genocide of European Jews through images, film, audio recordings and historic documents.
Free of charge, Oslo’s Botanical Garden is an oasis of approximately 7,500 species of plants. The garden, founded in 1814, belongs to the Natural History Museum of the University of Oslo.
Great Granny’s Garden, one of several themed areas at the Botanical Garden, features plants that are no longer commercially available. The Rock Garden teems with alpine plants, a meandering creek and a small waterfall. The Aromatic Garden is specially designed for wheelchair users and the visually impaired.
While the average hotel stay in Oslo could cost $300 per night or more, there are a few deals to be had within the city center. From this central location, all of the main attractions — including historic churches, art galleries and St. Hanshaugen Park — are an easy walk away.
P-Hotels Oslo offers low rates in a central location, near Karl Johans (the city’s main street), that’s a short walk from several restaurants, bars and shops. The 93-room budget hotel offers a complimentary continental breakfast and free Wi-Fi connectivity.
Ellingsens Pensjonat is a modern, family-owned guesthouse located in a quiet neighborhood, a 10-minute walk west of the city center. A double guestrooms with a private bathroom starts at approximately $130 per night. All accommodations include Wi-Fi access and use of the gym and meeting room.
Anker Hotel offers comfortable and competitively priced accommodations near the trendy Grunerlokka district. The hotel offers 264 rooms and conference facilities that can accommodate up to 100 guests. Pricing for double guestrooms begins at approximately $185 per night.