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Getting around in Oslo is usually smooth and easy for expats – that is, unless a snowstorm causes delays. The city's railway system is highly efficient and covers most of the country, as do various bus, tram and ferry lines.
Public transport in Oslo
Oslo has excellent public transport and the options are varied. There are reliable bus, metro and tram services that run regularly and take commuters anywhere they need to go in the greater metropolitan area.
Public transport in Oslo is costly, but there are good and reasonable options for long-term usage that cover several forms of transport.
Public transit passes
Expats can purchase a monthly, daily, or 10-trip pass for the trikken (tram), T-bane (subway) and bus, which is cheaper and easier than paying per ride, especially if using public transport on a regular basis. Passes are also interchangeable between different modes of transport, including local trains. Tickets can be bought at kiosks, on buses and at train stations.
Commuters should ensure they have a ticket when getting onto public transport. Most tram drivers cannot sell tickets, and it is common to have checks by plain-clothed ticket-control agents. If someone is caught without one, they will receive a hefty fine.
Buses, trams and trains
Buses and trams depart every five, 10 or 15 minutes depending on the time of day and route. Outside normal hours, they leave every 20 or 30 minutes within the city limits.
Longer-distance trains and buses have their own schedules. Transport schedules are easy to find online, and all train information can be found at the Norwegian State Railways (Vy) website.
Ferries are sometimes the fastest or only form of transport along the coast or to nearby islands, the Nesodden Peninsula and to cities such as Drøbbak. Daily ferries to Denmark, Sweden and Germany depart from the two main ports in the Oslo harbour and are popular ways to get away for a weekend break.
Drosje (taxis) are a common form of transport in Oslo, especially for people who’ve had something to drink. Taxis can be found at stands around the city, but finding one at closing time or flagging one down on the road can be difficult. Taxi rides can be paid for in cash or by card, but passengers should let the driver know in advance. Fares are steep and go up after hours, while leaving a tip is at the passenger's discretion.
Ride-hailing apps such as Uber are also available and offer an affordable and convenient way of getting around in Oslo.
Driving in Oslo
Expats can drive in Norway with their home country licence, but may eventually be required to exchange it for a Norwegian licence. When driving in Oslo, expats should always give way to trams and pedestrians. Traffic is likely to be calm, as most Norwegians are law-abiding and conscious of Norway's strict traffic laws.
Nevertheless, Oslo is an old city with narrow roads, and its network of one-way streets may be confusing for newcomers. The high price of petrol and the decent public transport mean that having a car in Oslo is not strictly necessary.
►Transport and Driving in Norway provides information about public transport and driving regulations in Norway
"Public transport is good and clean, and largely on time. I am amazed always at the cost of things, but you can easily get around without a car. Bikes are also well used - and Oslo has a community bike programme, so you don't even need to own your own bike to cycle from place to place. Especially in Oslo, you need not have a car, but it's probably a nice thing to have."
Check out our interview with American expat Laura to find out more about living in Oslo.
Are you an expat living in Oslo?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Oslo. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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