If you ever find yourself in Oslo, Norway or Copenhagen, Denmark, with the desire to get from one to the other or just kill a bit of time while enjoying yourself at sea, look into the overnight ferries that go regularly between these two cities.
We booked ourselves a cabin on the ferry a couple weeks ago, and had such a great time. The boats are called a ferry because you can take your car on them (and also your bike!), but they are more of a mini cruise boat, with bars, restaurants, live music, casinos, rooftop pools/hot tub, shopping, and great patios with terrific views. There’s no shortage of things to do while you’re aboard!
A crash course on the ferry schedule is that it departs at 4:30 PM and arrives in the other city at 9:30 AM. You can stay in your destination city for as many days as you want, or you can also just get off the ferry at 9:30 AM and get back on at 4:30 PM, spending just one day in either Oslo or Copenhagen.
We opted to leave on a Thursday evening at 4:30, arriving in Oslo at 9:30 AM on a Friday, and then got back on the ferry at 4:30 PM on Saturday. It was a quick trip, but worked out well for the available time we had and we found that 30 hours in Oslo was a perfect little getaway. We happened upon the Picnic in the Park Music Festival, which had two of our favorite artists performing at it (Colter Wall and Jason Isbell) so that occupied the bulk of our time in Oslo. Below are some of our tips for the ferry trip + Oslo, Norway.
- Take your bikes! If you have bikes available to you, take them on the ferry. Oslo is relatively bike friendly, although hillier than what we’re used to in Copenhagen. Bikes are an efficient way to get around and make the most of your time there.
- Get on the ferry early and get a seat on one of the patios. The first 90 minutes of the journey (in both directions) are great. You’re protected by land on both sides so it’s not that windy, and the views are great, especially when you’re arriving into and departing Oslo. So, get aboard early, grab a beer and snag a table.
- Don’t splurge on your room. On the way to Olso we had a cheaper, below-deck room, and on the way home we splurged a bit for a top-deck room with a window. To be honest, we didn’t spend that much time in our room, the window is pretty small, and the rest of the boat is so nice that why would you sit in your room staring out the window at a limited view when you can go outside for stunning panoramics? I think if we did it again I’d just go with the cheapest room available.
- Bring an outlet splitter. In both rooms that we had on the boat we only had one outlet, so we had to take turns charging our devices. If we did it again I’d bring an outlet splitter so that we could both have access.
- Bring your own food. The boat has plenty of dining options. However, if you want to be more casual about your meals, pack something healthy, or just save money, you can bring a little picnic with you. We did this both ways.
- If you plan to stay in Oslo and are looking for affordable lodging, look into SmartHotel. The rooms are small (about the same size as what you’ll have on the boat) but it’s affordable lodging for Oslo and it has a great location.
- We loved the area around Blå . It’s a little music venue with outdoor patio along the river, and we really enjoyed all the little restaurants and bars in this area.