Are you visiting Oslo? Most likely you’re wondering how to get around to explore the many sights and attractions that Oslo has to offer.
There are many ways to get around, Oslo is very walkable, there are many bike rentals, car rentals and scooter rentals, but in my opinion your best bet would be to use public transport. Here is a guide to how you can use and enjoy the public transportation system in Oslo.
At the end of the article I’ll reveal how to do a super cheap fjord cruise!
Public Transportation Ticket
Before getting onto any public transportation you’ll need a ticket. In order to avoid a fine (USD 100), you need an active validated ticket. You can get a ticket before you get on (with an app), or if you have a paper ticket scan it where the driver is, or on one of the many small scanners onboard (only bus and tram).
How to buy a ticket
For visitors with European VISA/Mastercard you can use all apps for bying tickets. However, for those with non-European bank cards it is (still) not completely straightforward. There are different apps you can use, but not all payment methods are available. (see below)
Anyways, the main ticket app is called Ruter. This is the one that locals use to buy tickets in Oslo and surrounding regions. Another apps are ENTUR & VY. See description below for how to pay for the ticket with various apps. Know that all these three apps can buy you a public transportation ticket i Norway.
- The Ruter App only accepts VISA/Mastercard from European countries. If you are from a non-European country you can use Apple Pay. (some non-European credit cards might work, check with your bank to see if they support 3-D Secure).
- The VY App only accepts VISA/Mastercard from European countries. They offer payment through PayPal
- The Entur App only accepts VISA/Mastercard from European countries
If you have the Oslo Pass, this pass gives you free access to all public transportation in Oslo Zone 1.
You can purchase a single or 24 hour paper ticket in any kiosk (7-11, Narvesen, Deli de Luca, Mix).
On the tram and metro you have to pre-purchase a ticket in an app or get a paper ticket from a kiosk. On buses and ferries you can buy tickets onboard, but at a higher cost.
Find route maps for Oslo here.
Google Maps works well for journey planning in Oslo, but personally I prefer using the Ruter app.
Ticket prices for public transportation in Oslo chance in February every year. But at the moment (March 2023), the price for a single ticket is 40 NOK (4 USD). This is for one zone, but for traveling in Oslo that is all you need (Zone 1).
For up to date prices head to Ruter’s website.
Check out the zone map below. Notice that Oslo is in Zone 1. If for instance you came from the Oslo Lufthavn (airport), you would need 4 zones and prices increase with how many zones you choose.
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Options for Public Transportation
The Ruter App Journey planner, or one of the other apps, will give you options for which public transportation method to take in order to reach your destination as fast as possible.
Basically there are four main ways to get around, and you’ll probably find yourself connecting from one to the other. These four are trikk (tram), t-bane (metro), buss (bus) and ferge (ferry). I could also mention the train, but the train is mostly used for connecting Oslo to the rest of the country.
For planning your trip check out the Ruter Journey Planner (same as in the Ruter app)
Trikk - Tram
In Norway we call the tram for trikk. You see, it went electric back in 1894, so someone thought Electric TRIKK!
The trikk might not be the fastest option, but its quite reliable, and is often found running in narrow streets where it takes up less space than a bus.
For tourists in Oslo I recommend hopping on a trikk and doing some sightseeing.
Taking #12 from downtown in either direction is a great way to see the city. Just sit back relax and watch Oslo as it glides by. If you take the #12 west towards Majorstuen you’ll ride through parts of the downtown areas, past the Akershus fortress, the Oslo City Hall and the Oslo fjord on your left. You continue on to enjoy the views of the westside and then get off at Vigelandsparken to enjoy this number one tourist attraction in Oslo.
Heading in the other direction you can ride east to the hip and trendy neighbourhood of Grünerløkka. Get off at Olafs Ryes plass and you’ll find a ton of nice little shops, restaurants, bars and perhaps try out the best waffles in town at Haralds Vafler.
Trikk #13 & #19
I also recommend that you check out the #13 and #19. Both will take you to the Barcode area, stopping nearby the Oslo Opera House and also continues up to Ekeberg. You can hop off at Ekebergparken, which a sculpture park with contemporary art inside a forest, and you also get some great views of Oslo from up there.
Remember that you need to pre-purchase a ticket for the trikk. Tickets can not be bought onboard. If you have a paper ticket you validate it by scanning it once on the trick.
T-bane - Metro
In Norwegian we call the metro for T-bane, T-line, because of the T sitting on top of it (not anymore though).
The T-bane shifts between running underground and overground. The T-bane is very reliable and mostly runs on time. It covers a lot of the suburbs of Oslo, and is therefor popular for commuting.
For travelers to Oslo, The t-bane is great if you are going to the outskirts of Oslo. For instance you can take the #1 up to Holmenkollen to see the Ski Jump, or stay on it until you are basically inside the forest at Frognerseteren. Or ride the #5 to Sognsvann, another forest area.
If you are in a rush, the metro is the fastest way to get from one part of the city center to another. A ride from the Nationaltheater to the Central station only takes you 3 minutes.
I think it’s good to know that when inside metro stations with escalators, remember to always stand on the right and walk on the left.
Remember that you need to pre-purchase a ticket for the t-bane. Tickets can not be bought onboard. If you have a paper ticket you validate it by scanning it when you enter the station.
Buss - Bus
The bus might not be as charming as the tram or fast as the metro, but they are plentiful, cover large areas of Oslo, and certain lines have departures every 5 minutes.
Especially bus #81 and #32, which runs through downtown, are great for riding to the Barcode area where you find the Opera House and the Munch Museum. For travelers who want to go to Bygdøy, the museum Island, with the folk museums and maritime museums, then bus #30 is the only way to get there with ruter public transport.
You can buy a ticket from the driver, but it will cost you more than buying it at a kiosk or in the app.
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Ferge - Ferry
Oslo is surrounded by islands, which are connected together with electric ferries departing from Aker Brygge just in front of the City Hall.
They are electric, they have both outdoor and indoor seating and is a great way to get out on the Oslo fjord, and the best thing, they are included in the public transport system, so you can ride them with a ruter ticket.
So for a cheap but nice fjord cruise buy a single ticket for the public transport in the ruter app. Hop on ferry number B1, it takes about 1 hour, cruises around the islands and drops you off just where you started.
This is an excellent option for a 40 NOK (4 USD) fjord cruise. Bring some food onboard and you can have a little picnic while enjoying the views.
Use Public Transport!
I hope this article gave you a better understanding of the public transportation system in Oslo. It’s a great system which can quickly get you around Oslo to a fairly low cost.
Thanks a lot, tusen takk for reading & welcome to Oslo!
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