Savings in Oslo and Copenhagen

By Paula Prindle
This item appears on page 47 of the December 2013 issue.

When in DENMARK, consider purchasing a Copenhagen Card (at tourist information centers and selected hotels, hostels and 7/11 stores in Copenhagen or online)

On our September ’12 trip, my husband, David, and I each bought a 24-hour card to “get out of town.” That may sound strange, but the cards work on the regional trains as well as in the city and we wanted to see two castles that day: Frederiksborg (the “Danish Versailles”) and Kronborg (“Hamlet’s castle”). 

Paula and David Prindle (right) took a free-with-the-Copenhagen Card DFDS canal tour with Adrienne and Jack, friends they met on

We paid DKK249 (then $42.20) each for the cards. (Through March 31, 2014, the price for a 24-hour Copenhagen Card is DKK299, or near $56.) Admission to the two castles, which we entered for free with our cards, would have cost DKK75 ($12.71) and DKK95 ($16.10) without the cards.

The train rides would have cost from DKK135 ($22.88) up to about DKK300 ($50.85). (I don’t know if the difference is for transit during rush hour or for how far ahead you book, since we did not pay for our train rides.) 

Using the cards, we also took four free bus rides.

When we returned to Copenhagen around 5 p.m., we took a free-with-the-card canal tour from Gammel Strand (you must embark at Gammel Strand and not from Nyhavn) worth DKK70 ($11.86). After dinner, we spent some time in Tivoli, where admission cost DKK95 ($16.10) each but was free for us. 

In total that day, we figure we saved at least $54 apiece with the Copenhagen Card. We also saved a lot of time.

In NORWAY, we found the Oslo Pass to also be worthwhile. A 24-hour pass cost NOK270  (then $47.12). We got our passes at the tourist information center on the inland side of City Hall. (With your back to City Hall, look for the green sign on the street directly in front of you.) If you are a cruise ship passenger, be sure to mention that, as you will get 20% off the regular price. Also, be aware that in Norway you must be at least 67 to qualify for a senior discount.

The stave church from Gol at the Norsk Folkemuseum in Oslo, Norway, has been dated to at least AD 1212. Photo: Prindle

The Oslo Pass covered all of our public transportation and all of our many museum visits. Yes, we probably packed too much into our day, shortchanging every place we visited, but we’d never been to Oslo and didn’t know if we would ever return. 

We spent time at the open-air Norsk Folkemuseum (admission fee, NOK100, or $17.45), the Viking Ship Museum (NOK60, or $10.47), the Fram Museum (NOK80) and the Kon-Tiki Museum (NOK70) as well as Vigeland Park and City Hall (both free). 

The Viking Ship Museum is fascinating, but the three old ships can be seen in about half an hour. Depending on your interest in the subjects, the Fram Museum (polar expeditions and explorers like Roald Amundsen) and the Kon-Tiki Museum (the Kon-Tiki, the Ra II and the story of Thor Heyerdahl’s life work) can be at least partially absorbed in 45 to 60 minutes each. They were both more interesting than we thought they would be.

Our major regret was spending such a short time at the Folkemuseum. We justified it by telling ourselves that we had been to many open-air museums before and were planning to see the one at Ă…lesund later, but Oslo’s Folkemuseum is, as I wrote in my travel journal that night, terrific! If you see only one thing there, make it the 12th-century stave church from Gol. Stave churches are unique to Norway, and this one is the most accessible.

By the way, we learned that there is no need to wait for a bus from the Folkemuseum to the Viking Ship Museum. The walk took us all of five minutes.


Orient, OH