Norway in 4 Days. A Say-it-All Itinerary with Prices – Part 1. Oslo
21st May 2018
Norway has always been on my radar with its breath-taking scenery, deep cerulean fjords, and uncompromising beauty. Yet, I always pushed it aside in favor of other destinations.
The exorbitant prices may have something to do with that.
The Only Reason Not to Go to Norway: You’ll Go Bust
Time and time again, Norway has topped all rankings for the most expensive places on earth. In this year’s The Economist’s report on the world’s most expensive cities, Oslo moved one spot to number 5. In a different index, MoveHub, an organization dedicated to helping people move abroad, listed Norway as the 4th most expensive country to live in!
So I was reluctant to travel to Norway for fear I wouldn’t thoroughly enjoy the experience with a shoestring budget.
However, now that I can afford a little bit more, I’ve made the decision to finally set my foot on the land of fjords. And yes, my gobbling of Jo Nesbø’s “The Snowman” (set in Oslo) in two sittings may have helped, too.
Oslo + Bergen. A 4-Day Itinerary with a Bonus
We’ll be visiting Norway in early June as a longer city break, so I intended to squeeze as much as I can into the itinerary, without going bankrupt.
My idea of a perfect city break?
A comfy hotel with included breakfast, a lot of city walks, a museum or two, a taste of local cuisine, and experiencing the local vibe.
Our trip will include visiting Oslo, an overnight ride on the scenic Oslo-Bergen train as a bonus, and 2 days in Bergen, including a full-day cruise to Hardangerfjord and Eidfjord.
Getting There: Save on the Plane, Spend on the Shuttle
We’re flying on a Thursday night from Krakow to Oslo with Ryanair. The total flight cost for 2 ppl return is 90 EUR.
However, the shuttle trip from Oslo Torp airport, which is located about 120 km (or 75 miles) from the center, will cost us… the same.
If you choose to go with Torp Ekspressen or another coach company, the average price per person is 20-25 euro per person one way. In total, our transfer from & to the airport will cost us ca. 92 euro for two people.
Day 1: Oslo in a Nutshell
On Friday, we’ll get up early, eat our breakfast in the hotel, and make our way to the Jernbanetorget station. That’s the starting point for the Free Oslo Tour.
1. Central Oslo in 1.5 Hour
As I mentioned in one of the previous posts, I’m a huge fan of the Sandeman’s tour operator who specializes in this type of tours all around the world. I hope that this tour, although organized by a different provider, will be equally valuable.
Although I am not sure how this particular tour works for payment, generally, these are usually gratuity-based; between 10-20 euro pp.
2. Bygdøy Museums Galore
Bygdøy is a suburban peninsula on the west side of the city. Dominated by residential housing, it is also the home to several landmark Norwegian museums including Kon-Tiki Museum, Maritime Museum, The Viking Ship Museum, and other (more info on the official Visit Oslo website).
The first choice was obvious to me. Norsk Folkemuseum displays a cross-section of Nordic life from the 16th century to modern times in an open-air setting. A perfect choice for a tourist who’s short of time.
With the second option, I struggled. Everyone was telling me that the Vikings Museum is a must-see. But, I’ve seen Vikings’ ships in Sweden and Denmark before.
Instead, I decided to go for the Fram polar vessel. This is a new experience for me, plus they got me at “You can enjoy a northern lights show every 20 minutes from the main deck of the Fram.”
Let’s talk money now. The Folk Museum price is about 13.50 euro pp, while the ticket to Fram costs about 12.50 euro pp. In total – 52 euro for both museums for two people.
Last but not least, the transport. To get to the peninsula, we’re going to take the boat from outside of the City Hall. The one-way price is 48 NOK, or 5 euro pp, which gives us 10 euro in total. On our way back, we’re going to take another route.
3. Evening in Frogner Park
To return, we will hop on a local bus no. 30, and move on to our last highlight of the day, Frogner Park. Not only because this is the largest park in the neighborhood, but primarily to visit one of the most popular Oslo attractions, the infamous Vigeland Sculpture Park.
Good news – this highlight is absolutely free. We only have to consider the bus, which is ca. 3.5 euro pp one way if you purchase it earlier, or 5.75 euro if bought onboard. Together, 7 euro.
You may be wondering why I’m so petty as to include bus charges in my calculations.
A handy tip, if you come to Krakow as a tourist, you can buy a 7-day travel card and use it in all means of transport for 11 euro. Paying half that price for a 10-minute ride on a bus to a park now seems a bit steep;)
4. Night on a Train
In the evening, we will be collecting our bags from the hotel to… get ourselves a comfy ride on an overnight train to Bergen.
Comfy or… luxurious. Although we were able to benefit from an extra early bird discount, the Oslo-Bergen ticket for the spectacular train ride cost around 280 euro for two people return.
On our way to Bergen, we paid extra for a sleeping compartment (it’s optional), as this is an overnight journey. From Bergen, we selected a much cheaper, early morning alternative, to be able to enjoy the scenic landscapes. I wonder if it will match the Sri Lanka train experience (see below)!
🚂🚂AN UPDATE – IMHO, Sri Lanka still trumps the Oslo-Bergen ride 🚂🚂
Oslo City Break: Cost Summary
OK, let’s sum up. And add one more, central, number to the calculation. The accommodation.
On our first night, I got us a room in PS Hotell, conveniently located within walking distance to the city center. Breakfast included. The cost for two ppl is about 100 euro in total.
The second night is already covered, that’s our train ride.
After we come back from Bergen, we will actually spend one more day in Oslo. I mean, we are Poles, ski-jump is one of our national sports, and Oslo is home to the oldest ski-jump tower in the world! I’ll cover this in the second part of the itinerary, but let’s add the cost of our final night to the bill.
We’ll spend the last night in Smart Hotel Oslo, in the very city center. The cost for two people with breakfast – also 100 euro.
The total so far? A big, fat 761 euro for two people.
And that doesn’t include yet two days in Bergen, our visit to the Holmenkollen Ski Jump Tower, or any food apart from breakfast!
Are you interested in how much will be the total? Stay tuned for the second part of the post!