Are you planning your first ever visit to Norway’s capital Oslo? It’s probably about time you start planning out that budget of yours. Oslo is indeed infamous for its sky-high prices, but in this article we will have a closer look at how you can make your trip to Oslo more budget-friendly. You might have heard some rumours about the Oslo Pass, but let’s be honest here: is the Oslo Pass really worth it?
Seeing Oslo on a budget: Is the Oslo Pass worth it?
So apparently Oslo is one of the most expensive cities in Europe.
No surprises there, to be honest. I spent 2,5 years living in Oslo as a student, and even though I can’t exactly claim that I was on the verge of starvation, I must admit that I was struggling quite hard to make my money last.
I do understand that the general price levels in Oslo must seem quite daunting to most tourists. I mean, 10-13 pounds for a pint of beer? Ehm, not exactly what you had in mind right?
In the attempt of making Oslo much more appealing to tourists, the local tourism agencies have come up with a few alternatives that might make your Oslo trip more budget-friendly. One of these options is the Oslo Pass, meaning you can now splurge out with quite the amount of money upfront in exchange for the infamous Oslo Pass. The card will give you free entry to most museums in Oslo and free transportation within the city.
On paper it all sounds dandy and fine, but is the Oslo Pass really worth your hard-earned cash? Let’s have a look!
First things first: What is the Oslo Pass all about?
The Visit Oslo Pass is aimed at non-native visitors discovering Oslo for the 1st, 5th or 20th time. According to the website, it’s ” The easiest and most inexpensive way to experience Oslo! The Oslo Pass lets you devote your entire trip to activities without the hassle of booking and buying.”
With the card, you will receive free entry to a total of 36 different museums and attractions within Oslo. You will also receive free public transport on all travels within zone two, and the option of joining walking tours around the city – and, of course, discounts on a selection of restaurants in the city centre. So far so good, right?
Which Museums and attractions are included in the Oslo Pass?
As already mentioned, the Oslo Pass will give you admission to 36 different museums and attractions in Oslo. Amongst them you will find my all-time favourite museum, the Bygdøy Folk Museum, which will give you an exceptionally good introduction to Norwegian folklore and cultural history. You might find me weird, but I go with my mum at least once a year. It is that amazing, guys, I swear. The Folk Museum also offers the best Christmas Market in Oslo (November and December).
In addition to that, you will also get free admission to the following museums:
- Akershus Castle
- Astrup Fearnley Museum
- DogA – Norwegian Centre for Design and Architecture
- Ferry to the museums at Bygdøy
- Fram Museum
- Henie-Onstad Art Centre
- Historical Museum
- Holmenkollen ski museum and jump tower
- Holocaust Centre
- Ibsen Museum
- International Museum of Children’s Art
- Kon-Tiki Museum
- City Cruise Hop on-Hop off
- Munch Museum
- Museum of architecture
- Museum of contemporary art
- Museum of technology
- National Gallery
- Natural history museum
- Nobel Peace Centre
- Norwegian Armed Forces Museum
- Norwegian maritime museum
- Norwegian Museum of cultural history
- Norwegian Resistance museum
- Oslo city hall
- Oslo city museum
- Oslo City Walks
- Oslo Jewish Museum
- Oslo Museum- Intercultural museum
- Oslo reptile park
- Oslo Promenade
- Pop centre
- Vigeland museum
- Viking ship museum
In other words, if you like museums this card might just be the perfect match for you!
In which restaurants will I get discounts with the Oslo Pass?
Another bonus is that the Oslo Pass will also provide you with discounts on local restaurants.
Unfortunately, this is where we get to the sad part. You see, the restaurants in Oslo where you get a discount (20% off) are all pretty sad options. I honestly mean it, you are better off ignoring the food discounts completely. Honestly.
Ok, let’s break it down a bit. This is a list of the restaurants where you will get discounts with the Oslo Pass:
- Café Christiania – 20%
- Kaffistova – 20%
- Brasserie Paleo –20 %
- Hard Rock Café –20 %
- Rorbua – 20 %
- The Scotsman – 20 %
Café Christiania: This is a super fancy place where the cultural elite in Norway go simply to be seen. The prices are high, the food quality is mediocre, to be honest. If you have the money to splurge on a good meal, you will be much better off at Maemo and Statholdergaarden (both of which have a Michelin star, by the way).
Kaffistova: Ok, so I have lived in Oslo for 2,5 years and I have never even heard of this place. By the name I guess they serve coffee? Anyway, never turn down a discount for coffee.
Brasseri Paleo: Ok, so this place is quite cute and this is also the ONLY PLACE on this list where I as a local might be tempted to go. To be fair, this is the best option on the discount list.
Hardrock Café, Rorbua, The Scotsman: To be completely honest with you, these are places where you couldn’t even pay me to go in. For the Brits reading this, these are all very similar to Wetherspoons. Would you really travel all the way to Norway just to go to the Scandi version of Wetherspoons? No, you wouldn’t. There is even a saying in Oslo that if you are considering going to Hardrock Café, then it’s time to go home. Live by those words, guys.
The best places to eat in Oslo according to a local
So this was utterly depressing, but to make it up to you I have created a wee list of places I – the ex-local – would normally go.
Café Laundromat – they serve excellent burgers, pizza, pancakes and basically everything.
The Pink Elephant – A Norwegian take on Indian Food.
Delicatessen – They serve tapas to die for.
Champagneria – Food AND excellent champagne? What more do you need?!
Døgnvill – probably the best burger in Oslo.
How much does the Oslo Pass cost?
That all depends on the type of pass you want, love!
You can get a pass for adults, children (aged 4-15) and seniors (aged 67 and above). Each card can be valid for 24, 48, or 72 hours.
Adults: 395,- (24h) , 595,- (48h) , 745,- (72h)
Children: 210,- (24h), 295,- (48h), 370,- (72h)
Seniors: 315,- (24h) 475,- (48h), 595,- (72)
Be aware that the costs, which are all listed in NOK, was correct at the time of publication. An updated price lists can be found here.
I recommend that you buy the Oslo Pass in advance. You can also purchase it electronically on the Oslo Pass app. There is also an Oslo Visitor Centre located at the Central Station where you can purchase it upon arrival.
So… Is it worth buying the Oslo Pass?
Well, that’s the million dollar question, isn’t it? Well to be frank, it kind of depends.
It depends on what kind of tourist you are.
Do you enjoy museums? Are you planning to visit a lot of them?
Then yes, yes it’s definitely worth it! The prices on the different museums varies from 60-150 – excluding public transport – so there is definitely money to save if you are planning on visiting quite a few of them during your stay in Oslo.
However, I personally wouldn’t care too much about the value of the public transport. Oslo is quite a small city, and you rarely have to move long distances between the different museums. Oslo can most certainly be discovered by foot, so don’t put too much value on those few tram tickets you might get out of the Oslo Pass.
So is it worth it? If you’re going on a museum spree, it’s definitely worth it! If you, on the other side, is planning on visiting just a few museums and otherwise just go where your feet and heart takes you, then you definitely won’t save much money.
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