Oslo for the budget conscious

How to save when in Oslo

Norway, a country blessed with so much natural beauty doesn’t come free. It spans a wider region in up to north pole and covers a variety of vegetation. It isn’t cheap to do stuff in Norway by general standards but coming from Australia I have noticed some prices in Noway are comparable to Australian pricing. Below is a general guide of how you can save money when visiting Oslo in particular.

Doing the touristy things

Hey, if you are visiting anywhere I always do the touristy things. After all, its how you get to know a city and the country. Oslo in particular has a lot to offer in terms of natural beauty and museums.

Following is a list of places I visited in Oslo free of charge:

  • Akershus fortress
  • Viking ship museum
  • Holmenkollen
  • Fram museum
  • City hall
  • Munch museum
  • Interculture museum

Akershus fortress and Military museum

This is the first of my list partly because I love visiting historic places especially castles and fortifications. It tells one so much about the history of the city, its struggles and how it survived.

Entrance to the military museum is free and has a variety of exhibits ranging from viking age to current military involvements. I specially liked learning about the viking era and the battles that took place. Exhibit information is also available in english which made it much more user friendly.

Akershus fortress and Military museum
Akershus fortress and Military museum
Akershus fortress and Military museum
Akershus fortress and Military museum
Akershus fortress and Military museum
Akershus fortress and Military museum
Akershus fortress and Military museum
Akershus fortress and Military museum

Fortress is located in one end of the town and I can see why its built there. Its an amazing piece of architecture and loved walking up and down the cobblestone walkways. Once you are at the highest points (there are 2 sides) and you have lovely views of the city and water. Unfortunately during my visit one can only admire the beauty of the fortress from outside as it was still in winter schedule. It is however free to walk outside but would cost to get in if the inside is open. 

Viking ship museum

Wow, I felt like a kid again! I was truly impressed with the 3 ships thats housed inside this smaller museum. The video documentary is truly awesome and I felt I was part of it. If you have to skip something, let this not be the one. A visit here is a must.

Entrance is NOK 100. Read below to see how you can visit for free.

Fram museum

Having visited Vasa museum in Stockholm I find this to be very similar to it. Fram is a specially built ship for arctic exploration. After much deliberation and drama, they have somehow got the ship together. You can read about its history and how it came about at the museum.

Unlike Vasa, what’s great about Fram is that you can actually get onboard the ship and touch and feel it. I loved the experience so much that I wanted to stay here for longer. 

If you are around Bigdoy area, please visit Fram as its an amazing ship!

Entrance is NOK 100. Read below to see how you can visit for free.

Art by the bay

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National Gallery

I love art and always take timeout to see the local art culture specially an art museum. Modern or old, both fascinates me and can probably spend a day there of course with multiple breaks. 

As I was on a day pass, I had to rush this a bit but I have covered almost all rooms within 1.5 hours. Its not very big but there’s a lot of art so if you’d like to take it slow and absorb all in, please do so. I know I would if I had the time.

Entrance is NOK 100. Read below to see how you can visit for free.


What a beauty this is. Curves are amazing and I see why this has become such a hot spot. 

Blessed with blue skies to enjoy the curves

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You can get glimpses of Holmenkollen from the city but it is when you are there that you truly get to admire the fantastic steel structure. I love beautiful architecture and this is something that I will never forget.

Entrance includes the visit to the top of the tower and the museum. Loved going up the angular lift and is a first  for me. Once you are at the top, you have 360 degree views of Oslo. On one side is the city and the other side is where the agricultural farms are and what a contrast it is!

Entrance is NOK 130. Visited with 24 hour Oslo pass.

Parliament of Norway

I can imagine how centrally located this is. Very close to Stortiget station, it not only beautiful but is very accessible. You can get up close to the main entrant and the whole building.

Unfortunately due to a mixup I couldn’t visit this lovely building but on Saturdays they offer free guided tours which should not be missed (in winter its on saturdays, but in summer its on all weekdays). Please check in advance if you’d like to visit

Entrance is free!

Oslo City Museum

Located very close to Vigeland sculpture park, this small but intimate museum offers historical views of Oslo. Details are fascinating which includes items from the past. Loved the old pieces on display.

As I mentioned, its a small museum so you don’t need much time. If you are in the area, I’d recommend a visit specially since its free. They have wifi and a cafe which is great 🙂

Entrance is free!

Interculture museum

Another small and intimate museum which offers exhibitions ranging from small artists to themes around immigration and civil rights. When I visited, they had 2 amazing exhibitions which opened my eyes and learn that some refugees lived in refugee camps for more than 50 years which is sad.

Entrance is free.

Munch museum

Munch museum is supposed to be extraordinary place which is dedicated to Edvard Munch and his lifes’ work. This is one place I had high hopes for but when I visited, they were busy preparing for a new exhibition. Therefore most of his work has been taken away and only less that 20 paintings were on show. Entrance was free due to this fact which is quite disappointing specially since I have purchased an Oslo card to cover the entry fee.

They are re-opening a new exhibition as of 6th May.

Visiting the museums for free?

Well, it is possible. When I visited the tourist information centre on a Sunday, they had a special day pass which was free. Most of the Oslo attractions are included in this pass and best of all transport is included. So if you plan on doing some sightseeing, please plan ahead. And if you are here on a Sunday, please check at the tourist information centre and ask if they have a free pass for the day. They open late on Sunday and so are the museums 🙂

I visited Viking ship museum, Fram museum and National gallery on a Sunday with my free pass.

I will cover the next set of items in my next post. 

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