If you’ve already made the trip to Copenhagen, there’s not much stopping you from heading even further north, all the way up to Oslo, Norway.
With enough spare time and money, it’s definitely worth trying to squeeze both of these amazing Scandinavian capitals into one trip.
While the journey can be time consuming, the Copenhagen to Oslo route is surprisingly easy – and it can be ridiculously beautiful, depending on how you go about it.
Here are the main options:
Why make the trip?
Oslo is a gorgeous coastal city known for its green spaces and lively arts scene – and there’s some breathtakingly beautiful nature on the city’s doorstep. Travelling to Oslo isn’t really feasible as a day trip from Copenhagen; its best if you have at least a few days set aside for the trip.
There’s around 600km between the two cities – quite a distance, even by Scandinavian standards –and there’s no simple bridge connecting the two cities like with Copenhagen and Malmö, so if you’re travelling overland you’ll have to go the long way round.
There are five different transportation options to choose from when it comes to travelling between Copenhagen and Oslo. The cost and the amount of time you spend travelling will depend on which one you go for.
If you’re on a tight budget, taking the bus between Copenhagen and Oslo is a solid option. There’s a direct line between the two cities, starting at Ingerslevsgade in Copenhagen and ending up at Oslo’s bus terminal Gallerian, right in the city centre.
For a one-way trip, taking the bus usually costs between 175-275 DKK and takes about eight hours. There are three different bus providers operating this route: Swebus, Nettbuss and Flixbus. All three are comfortable, with toilets onboard, plus free wifi and electrical sockets for charging your devices.
All three bus companies offer day and night options (if you’re really on a budget you might consider sleeping on the bus, instead of paying for another night at a hostel).
Swebus operates three buses daily on this route, and it’s a bit cheaper if you’re able to travel from Monday–Thursday. Since the Swebus website isn’t 100% translated into English, remember that Copenhagen will probably be spelled the Swedish way (‘Köpenhamn’) when you try to book your ticket.
Nettbuss offers four departures a day and tends to be the cheapest, but not by much. Flixbus, meanwhile, offers two departures per day. However, we only really recommend the night option, as the daytime journey leaves you with an awkward transfer in Malmö.
The train ride between Copenhagen and Oslo is broken into two parts and takes about eight hours in total, with one stop in Gothenburg, Sweden, along the way.
While the train ride is a comfortable, scenic and reliable journey, its more expensive than taking the bus or driving. You can book the journey in two legs on the ACP Rail website (you can also buy Interrail/Eurrail passes there if you’re planning a longer trip around Scandinavia).
First, book a ticket from Copenhagen to Gothenburg (around four hours). Then buy a ticket for the second leg of the journey, from Gothenburg to Oslo (also around four hours). You can of course overnight in Gothenburg if you prefer, continuing on to Oslo the next morning – this guide has some ideas for unusual things to do there.
The Copenhagen to Oslo ferry
DFDS Seaways operates a daily overnight ferry that has a direct connection between Copenhagen and Oslo. The experience of being aboard the ferry as it crosses the Kattegat Sea and then the Skagerrak Strait is a pretty cool experience in itself, but keep in mind that it does take a whopping 17 hours.
Prices depend on the type of cabin you choose and also the season during which you are traveling, but this option is usually a little cheaper than flying.
Flying is definitely the fastest way to travel between Copenhagen and Oslo, with a flight time of only about one hour. The cheapest flights can be found on Norwegian and SAS, usually for about 600 DKK each way – or a lot more if you book close to the departure date.
Driving between Copenhagen and Oslo
You can always rent a car and drive between Copenhagen and Oslo. This option is faster than the ferry, bus and train and offers you the leisure of going at your own pace and stopping along the way to marvel at your beautiful surroundings. It’s also just great to have a car in Oslo once you get there – especially if you want to try one or more of these day trips.
There are two main routes to choose between when driving. The fast option is a 600 km, seven-hour drive with a few tolls along the way. Head over the Öresund bridge into Sweden (details here) and keep going north on the E20 until you reach Gothenburg. Then, take the E6 towards Oslo.
The second option is for those who have a lot of time and really want to take in the sights. From Copenhagen it’s a 480 km, five-hour drive to Fredrikshavn in northern Denmark, following the E20 west/E45 north. When you reach the port you can take your car on the Stena Line ferry bound for Oslo.
The ferry leaves at around 9:15 every morning from Fredrikshavn Port, crossing the Skagerrak Strait and heading up into the fjords with heavenly views of the Norwegian coast, arriving in Oslo at around 6.30pm. The one-way cost for two people and a car is around 42 EUR during the week and about 54 EUR on the weekends with the no-frills ‘economy’ option.
What about passport checks between Sweden, Denmark and Norway?
Depending on how you decide travel, the journey between Copenhagen and Oslo may take you over the Denmark-Sweden border and the Sweden-Norway border.
While the passport checks between Sweden and Denmark have let up for the most part, it’s still a good idea to keep your passport on you when traveling between countries (or at least a valid ID if you are a resident of a Nordic state).
Border security isn’t a huge concern between Sweden and non-EU Norway, but again it’s safest to keep your passport on you, just in case the transportation authorities decide to do a random check.