Is the Oslo Pass worth the price?
Norway is one of the most expensive destinations in the world – and Oslo is not a cheap city. The capital city of Norway is rich in history and tradition, and there is no shortage in beautiful architecture and cultural diversity.
If you are visiting Oslo, you have to spend time exploring the city and soaking it all in.
But Oslo is expensive – so how can you travel on a budget in Oslo?
Like many popular destinations, the official Visit Oslo tourism office offers a package deal. It’s called the Oslo Pass, and it gives the pass holder the option to save money when exploring Oslo attractions and using public transportation in Oslo.
If you want to do a budget trip in Norway, the Oslo Card may help you save time and money.
Here’s our review of the Oslo Pass.
What is the Oslo Pass?
The Oslo Pass is the official City Pass that’s possibly the perfect product for your Oslo holiday. It’s basically a package deal that you can use to fulfill your list of things to see in Oslo.
With it, you can use the central Oslo public transportation for free, as well as get free admission to many Oslo museums and other discounts.
You’ll also get deals with select Oslo restaurants, cafes, and other shops.
There are a few different Oslo Passes you can choose from. The only difference is the length of validity.
Oslo Pass Price
These prices are guaranteed till December 2018. Children and Seniors can buy the reduced-price Oslo Pass.
To get these discounted Oslo Pass prices, you won’t need a special Oslo Pass discount code – just an ID. There are special prices for students (up to 30 years old) with valid ID, too.
All of the following prices of Oslo Pass are for full fare/children/seniors
- 24 hours: 395 NOK (≈ 41 €) / 210 NOK (≈ 22 €) / 315 NOK (≈ 33 €)
- 48 hours: 595 NOK (≈ 62 €) / 295 NOK (≈ 31 €) / 475 NOK (≈ 50 €)
- 72 hours: 745 NOK (≈ 77 €) / 370 NOK (≈ 39 €) / 595 NOK (≈ 62 €)
Where to buy an Oslo Pass
The Visit Oslo visitor center sells them, and they can assist you with the Oslo Pass and suggestions about what to see in Oslo. You can find them in Østbanehallen – the carriage hall in the main Oslo train station.
You can also buy Oslo Passes in several major hotels in Oslo, as well as at Ruter’s customer centers (Oslo public transportation centers). There’s a Ruter center at Oslo International Airport (OSL).
Unfortunately, the Oslo City Pass does not include transportation from Oslo Airport to the City Center.
You can pre-order your Oslo Pass at Visit Oslo’s official website. With the voucher provided, you can pick your card at the Oslo Visitor’s Center.
You will also receive a booklet to outline what’s included in your Oslo Pass.
Another way is to download the Oslo Pass app and purchase your Oslo City Card digitally.
What’s included with the Oslo Pass?
There are a lot of benefits of using the Oslo Pass. If you are wondering what to do in Oslo, check the Visit Oslo page, the Official travel guide to Oslo, for the most current benefits list.
They update the list periodically.
While it is impossible to mention them all in one post, here are some of the main highlights of what you can do with Oslo tourism card.
Unlimited use of Oslo Public Transport
The Ruter network (Oslo public transport) – bus, metro, tram, and ferry – are included with the Oslo Pass, as long as they are in Oslo City Center Zones 1 and 2.
The highlight of this benefit is the ferry ride to get around the Oslo Fjords. How does free “Island hopping in the Oslo Fjord” sound to you?
Free Guided Walking Tours (or discounted)
We enjoy exploring a city with guided walking tours, and have done a few free tours around the world (Are free walking tours ethical?).
The Oslo Pass includes a few themed guided walking tours, which are more mature and concentrated than the free walking tours.
Here are some Oslo Pass guided tours you can do within the validity of your card. Check the Visit Oslo website for walking tour dates and times, as the majority of the tours are only offered in the Spring to Fall.
- Oslo Promenade walking tour – tour starts at 17:30 at the Radhuset City Hall.
- The City of Contrasts (Mondays at 17.00) and Historic River Walk (Sundays at 14.00) – tours start at the Oslo Visitor Centre.
- Ourway Tours: Oslo City Walk – tour starts at 14.00 in front of the Nobel Peace Center.
- City Cruise hop on-hop off – free only with the 72-hour Oslo Pass. The 24-hour or 48-hour Oslo Pass gives you a 15 % discount.
In addition to these tours, the Oslo Pass offers a discounted rate for other Oslo Tours:
- Båtservice Sightseeing: Oslo Fjord Sightseeing, Norwegian Evening on the Fjord and City Cruise Hop On-Hop Off – 15% off
- Discover the Charming Westside of Oslo: guided walk – 50% off
- Ourway Tours: Hipster Oslo – 15% off
- Pre-booking on their official website – 15% off with Oslo Pass discount code OSLOPASS
- Viking Biking and Viking Hiking guided tours (April to October) – 30% off
Free Admission to Oslo Museums
The Oslo card gets you into more than 30 museums in the capital area. Here are some of the free museums in Oslo that you enter with the Oslo Pass:
- National Gallery (Nasjonalmuseet)
- Nobel Peace Center
- Vigeland Museum
- Viking Ship Museum
- Norwegian Museum of Cultural History (Norsk Folkemuseum)
- Oslo City Museum
- Holmenkollen Ski Museum & Tower
…and many, many more!
Discounted Admission to Oslo Sights and attractions
You can get discounted admission, up to 20% off, on many of Oslo’s top destinations.
Try the discounted Ski Jump simulator at Oslo Winter Park, too!
Discounts at Oslo Cafes and Restaurants
Six Oslo restaurants and cafes participate in the discount programs. Christiania, Den Glade Gris, Hard Rock Cafe Oslo, Kaffistova, Rorbua and The Scotsman. They offer different food specialties, such as Northern Norwegian dishes, American classic burgers, to gastropub.
And they have a 20% discount on food for valid Oslo Pass holders.
Oslo Visitor’s Center
The Visit Oslo center is in the Oslo main train station – Oslo Sentral. The staff can help you with your travel itinerary and to figure out what to do in Oslo.
They can arrange guided tours and Oslo activities.
If you need accommodations in Oslo, they can also offer suggestions that suit your specific needs and budget.
You can purchase an Oslo Pass here.
Is the Oslo Pass worth it?
The bottom line is that it really depends on what are you are trying to accomplish in the city. Here are some of the pros and cons of obtaining the Oslo Pass – or any official city pass, really.
I’ll go into even more detail in the Highlights and Tips section. But here are the major pros and cons:
Pros of the Oslo Pass
- It can save you money: If you’re on a budget, having the Oslo CityPass can save you money, as many major Oslo tourist attractions offers free admission or discounted price for pass holders.
- Free Oslo public transport: The Oslo City Card covers major transportation within Zones 1 and 2, which is pretty much all of Central Oslo. This includes the ferry to the Oslo islands.
- Ready-made plans: Like any official City Pass, it gives you a list of top attractions that are free or discounted. It basically makes what to do in Oslo an easier decision.
Cons of the Oslo Pass
- You may feel restricted: To justify the cost, you may feel obligated to do as much as you can within the validity of your card.
- What if you lose the card?: Unfortunately, you can’t replace or refund the Oslo Pass if you lose it. That includes the electronic Oslo Pass on your phone.
What to consider
Before purchasing an Oslo City Pass, here are a few questions to ask yourself:
What kind of traveler are you?
If you want to experience the touristy things Oslo offers, the Oslo Pass is most likely for you. You will save money on admissions. You’ll also save time from not having to purchase tickets in some places.
You can browse through your options in the official app.
What do you want to do in Oslo?
If you are a museum person, the Oslo Pass is great. It offers many free admissions and discounted prices.
Some of the free or discounted admissions include the most popular Oslo sights and museums, including the Viking Ship Museum, Norwegian Museum of Cultural History, and the Oslo City Museum.
How long are you staying in Oslo?
The longer the validity of your Oslo Pass, the better the deal. The 72-hr Oslo City Card is the best deal, since it will be cheaper to use it over a longer period of time.
What’s your travel style/pace?
Some visitors like to explore a city slower and prefer to get lost in the city. If you are this kind of independent traveler, the Oslo Pass may not be a good option.
You may end up paying more for the card compared to purchasing individual tickets.
There are a few things to do in Oslo that are free anyway. They include Vigeland Park, Oslo Opera House exterior, and the Free Walking Tour Oslo. You don’t need the Oslo Pass for these.
All you may need is an Oslo tourist map and a great travel attitude!
Oslo Pass Activation
To start using the benefits of the Oslo Pass, you must validate the physical card by signing the back. They will not accept any errors or corrections made after the initial signature.
So be sure you won’t be making any changes afterwards.
On your Oslo Pass app, follow the directions until you press the Activate button. Every time you need to use it, simply open up the app and generate a QR code for the ticket office to scan.
This app has a lot of useful tourist information that can help you to navigate around Oslo and to learn about the city!
Oslo Pass Highlights and Tips
With so many different options and possibilities, Oslo offers plenty of things to keep you busy. Be sure to check the updated list of benefits at their official website.
Or, plan your days using the booklet you get when you pick up your Oslo City Card.
Here are some of the highlights of what you can get from having a valid Oslo City Pass:
Cruising the Oslo fjord for free!
by Kate from the Untold Morsels
After a long morning of sightseeing, catch the ferry from Aker Brygge wharf for a few hours cruising the beautiful Oslo fjord.
There are only a handful of islands in the fjord and its a perfect activity if you want to relax and explore the local landscape beyond the city.
The ferry makes a few stops on its circular journey. At Gressholmen, take a stroll across the island and climb its small hills for views of the fjord and the Heggholmen lighthouse.
On Hovedøya you can explore the ruins of a Cistercian monastery and go swimming from little beaches and inlets across the island.
The ferry runs year-round but there are additional services in the summer months.
The ski museum of Holmenkollen
by Elisa from World in Paris
The ski museum of Holmenkollen was one of my favorite activities in Oslo. The museum presents more than 4,000 years of skiing history through pictures, informative panels, and ski artifacts.
It is located in the Oslo Winter Park, just below the famous ski jump tower, which since its inauguration in 1887 has hosted ski jumping world cups, Nordic ski world championships, and the Winter Olympics.
Even if, like me, you are not a ski aficionado, the Holmenkollen Museum is very interesting, entertaining, and worth the visit. Apart from the skiing history, you will learn the history of this ski jumping hill and its evolution since its construction in 1914.
If the weather is good, climb up to the top of the jump tower to enjoy a panoramic view of Oslo.
There is also a ski simulator to experience what it must be like to fly down the Holmenkollen Ski Jump.
In my opinion, the Oslo Pass is worth having if you are staying in Oslo for a few days. The 24 hour Oslo Pass is not the most cost-effective of the options though.
You will barely scratch the surface.
Plus, you will feel rushed from trying to do as much as you can to get your money’s worth.
That said, on average, Oslo museums are around 100 NOK each. So, by visiting two museums in a day, plus a day of Oslo public transportation, you already save money with the 24-hr Oslo Pass.
On the other hand, the best value is probably the 72-hour card.
In three days, you can easily double the value of the money spent on the Oslo Pass.
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Many thanks to Visit Oslo. They provided me with two 24 hour codes for my Oslo Pass app – giving me two days of use.
I was not asked to write a review. So even though the pass was free, this Oslo Pass review is my own honest opinion as to its value.
More City Cards and Passes
In the past, we have reviewed a few other City Passes. Check out our reviews here:
For more about Norway: When we travel, we use Lonely Planet. By buying a book at one of the Amazon.com links below, we get a small referral fee at no additional cost to you.
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Halef moved from Indonesia to the US nearly two decades ago to go to college here. He hasn’t looked back. He’s been to over forty countries and doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon. He’s a Landscape Architect in Atlanta, GA.