Visiting Oslo, the Norwegian capital, doesn’t have to be expensive. You can enjoy sightseeing in and around the city with Oslo’s official travellers’ pass, which grants you special discounts and free entry to most of the city’s wonderful museums and attractions. You can also make good use of the city’s bike sharing platform and take in Oslo’s sights at your own speed.

    We’ve compiled this nifty list of things to do in Oslo on a small budget to help you sort out your frugal travel plans to this remarkable capital city. It includes some of the major landmarks and sights not to be missed, such as the changing of the guards at the Royal Palace.


    Get the Oslo Pass

    For free museums and attractions

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    The Oslo Pass provides you with attractive discounts on the city’s amusement and sightseeing spots, such as the Tusenfryd Amusement Park, as well as special offers at shops and restaurants. The pass also grants you free entry to around 30 of Oslo’s museums and attractions, including Holmenkollen Ski Museum & Tower, Norwegian Museum of Cultural History, and The Viking Ship Museum. Single-day passes are available for adults and kids under 15 years. Pick up yours at the Oslo Visitor Centre at the Østbanehallen, by the Oslo central station.

    Location: Jernbanetorget 1, 0154 Oslo, Norway

    Open: Oslo Visitor Centre open daily from 9 am to 6 pm

    Phone: +47 23 10 62 00


    photo by Wasielgallery (CC BY 3.0) modified


    Explore the city by Oslo City Bike

    A fun and efficient way for getting around the city

    Bicycles are one of the most popular options for getting around Oslo. As a visitor, you can partake in Oslo’s city bike scheme, referred to as the Oslo City Bike or Oslo Bysykkel. It’s a result of a collaboration between the city and Clear Channel Norway AS, an urban sharing software platform. You can download their app to start subscribing, with day passes available. It shows you hundreds of station maps around the city where you can unlock a bike and start riding.

    photo by jennifer wu (CC BY 2.0) modified


    Watch the changing of the guards at the Royal Palace

    A classic spectacle to enjoy during the summer

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    You can visit the Royal House of Norway in Oslo during the summer months (around June to mid-August). Guided tours will lead you through the palace and give you a glimpse into the regal quarters of King Harald V and Queen Sonja. The highlight of the visit is the changing of the guards, which usually takes place after lunch time, at around 1.30pm. The palace and its beautiful park grounds are free to visit and can be very pleasant at sunset.

    Location: Slottsplassen 1, 0010 Oslo, Norway

    Phone: +47 22 04 87 00


    Tour Parliament House

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    The Stortinget, or the Norwegian Parliament building, is the centuries-old seat of the national assembly of Norway. You can admire the building’s palatial, neo-classical architecture, which is very eye-catching with its symmetrical façade and centrepiece arc. The building sits in the middle of a square near Karl Johans Gate, and faces the Royal Palace. It’s free to visit and tours are available in English. Inside, the guided tours can show you the history of Norwegian politics and democracy, up until present day.

    Location: Storting building, Karl Johans gate 22, 0026 Oslo, Norway

    Open: June - September: Monday - Friday from 10 am to 1 pm, April - June and September - November: Saturdays from 10 am to 1 pm

    Phone: +47 23 31 30 50


    Walk on the roof of Oslo Opera House

    Enjoy a cool gathering spot inspired by ski slopes

    The roof of the Oslo Opera House is one to behold – and walk on. While you can watch the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet perform inside during scheduled shows, the snow-white roof attracts more visitors with its cool contemporary design. The roof seemingly slopes down into the calm waters of Oslo Harbour. Afternoons are enjoyable here for the views, and you can even expect free concerts or live cultural performances taking place here throughout the summer months.

    Location: Kirsten Flagstads Plass 1, 0150 Oslo, Norway

    Open: Monday - Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm, Sundays from 11.30 am to 4 pm

    Phone: +47 (0)21 42 21 21


    Enjoy Oslo's great urban parks

    Walk along sculpture-filled trails

    Oslo has a great collection of feature-filled urban parks. Among these are the vast Frogner Park, with its Vigeland sculpture installations, and Ekeberg Park in the lush namesake neighbourhood southeast of Downtown Oslo. The Vigeland park inside Frogner features a huge collection of open-air granite and bronze installations around fountains and bridges, which were designed by the late Norwegian sculptor Gustav Vigeland. Ekeberg Park, on the other hand, features wooded areas with nature trails lined with beautiful sculptures. Both parks are free to visit.


    See the greenhouse collections at Oslo Botanic Garden

    Admire nature's artistry in colours and scents

    Established in 1814, Botaniske hage is the botanic garden of the University of Norway in Oslo and the country’s oldest. You can find these vast and beautiful arboretum grounds in the neighbourhood of Tøyen, right in the heart of the city. It retains much of its classical charm, with beautiful paths that lead you through well-manicured botanic collections and the 2 main greenhouses. The Palm House and The Victoria House both date back to the 19th century, housing exotic plants collected from around the globe.

    Location: Sars' gate 1, 0562 Oslo, Norway

    Open: Daily from 7 am to 9 pm

    Phone: +47 22 85 16 30


    Bargain at seasonal markets

    A vibrant shopping scene for almost every season

    Oslo’s street markets are a paradise for shoppers, offering affordable prices and a good mix between fresh local produce and one-off treasure finds. Most open on specific days of the week (particularly over the weekends), and there are some markets that specific to certain season. Various neighbourhood flea markets, such as Vestkanttorvet, Krakabøla, Birkelunden, and Blå pop up in the spring months of April and May and the autumn months of September and October, offering interesting bargains ranging from fashion items to vintage homewares and art pieces.

    photo by Signe Karin (CC BY 2.0) modified


    Admire Norwegian wooden houses along Damstredet

    Enjoy scenic walks through an 18th-century neighbourhood

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    As some of the quaintest districts in Oslo, Damstredet and Telthusbakken offer pleasant walks along a series of narrow, undulating, cobblestoned streets. They are mostly lined with quirky 18th-century wooden houses that form picturesque rows with each of their different pastel-coloured walls. A trip to these neighbourhoods, just on the border of Oslo, offers you an escape from the more modern scenes of downtown. To reach Damstredet, you can start off north from the Akersgata main street. Neighbouring Telthusbakken is just a little further.

    Location: Damstredet, 0177 Oslo, Norway


    photo by Bex Walton (CC BY 2.0) modified


    Witness Oslo's summer festivals

    Covering everything from music to arts

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    Summer in Norway is a time for festivities, and the calendar is particularly packed in the capital. Oslo’s summer festivals include everything from classical music and opera to rock, jazz and gospel. These events are held in the city’s collection of top-notch venues, each usually with a roster that’s filled by homegrown and international talents. Music festivals such as the Norwegian Wood Rock Festival, Øya Festival, and Oslo Jazz Festival require tickets. However, National Music Day in June, and Mela at the city hall and The Oslo Philharmonic outdoor concert in August, are free.

    photo by Concert Photos (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

    Ari Gunadi | Compulsive Traveller

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