Launchpad London maiden journey: Midweek jaunt to Oslo

London is one dizzyingly well-connected city, uniquely positioned as a hub for air travel around Europe and beyond. The city has five airports–Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Luton, and London City–six if you count tiny Southend. In 2010, over 127 million passengers were carried through these airports. By way of contrast, Paris, the next biggest city in Europe in terms of passenger numbers, saw 83 million people pass through its two airports in 2010.

With this post, Gadling launches a new series designed to call attention to London as a launchpad for travel around Europe and beyond–from daytrip locations just outside the borders of Greater London to destinations as far afield as Dubai. We’ll provide an overview of transportation options and also provide a budget-minded navigation of each destination.

First up: OsloSeveral airlines fly from two London airports to Oslo. From London Heathrow, British Airways and SAS fly to Oslo-Gardermoen, the city’s main airport. From London Gatwick, Norwegian Air Shuttle flies to Oslo-Gardermoen and Ryanair flies to Oslo-Rygge, a secondary airport south of the city. When I searched for fares on Kayak, Ryanair’s flights to Oslo-Rygge were cheapest, though I decided against this option in order to avoid having to deal with the lengthy transit time between the center of Oslo and Oslo-Rygge.

The cheapest flight I found to Oslo-Gardemoen was flown by Norwegian Air Shuttle, a Norwegian low-cost airline with good reach across Europe and an especially strong network throughout Scandinavia. My flight ran £95.60 ($153). I booked it just six days prior to departure.

My accommodation, organized through airbnb, cost me $152 for two nights. The $76 nightly charge breaks down as follows: $68 for the room plus a $16 airbnb service fee. Budget watchers will observe that I’ve spent $305 before arriving in Oslo.

My accommodation via airbnb amounts to one of the cheapest beds in Oslo, though single rooms at Ellingsens Pensjonat, the least expensive Oslo guesthouse I came across during research, are cheaper at 400 NOK ($70) per night.

Bargain-hunters can find relatively low rates in private accommodation. Rooms in private homes can be booked at the train station tourist office on the day of requested accommodation. These rooms begin at around 300 NOK ($53) per night, and there are dozens of private Oslo rooms on offer depending on season.

Want more options? Bed & Breakfast Norway lists the following accommodations with single rooms available for under 400 NOK per night: the centrally-located Den Blå Dør for 400 NOK ($70) and Enerhaugen for 370 NOK ($65); and Ambiose Bed & Breakfast for 370 NOK ($65) and Bed & Breakfast Poppe for 250 NOK ($44), both of which are located on the outskirts of Oslo. During the summer, camping is another budget-friendly accommodation option. From June 1 through September 1, sites for one or two people can be booked at Ekeberg Camping‘s Oslo City Camp starting at 180 NOK ($32) per night.

I set off with a backpack containing two changes of clothes, my passport, a small present for my hostess, a notebook, a print-out of my ticket, my researched list of museums, neighborhoods, and restaurants, and my iPad. And my heavy winter coat, which I had to drag out of storage.

My objectives are straight-forward: to explore Grünerløkka, Grønland, and the city center; to hunt for good things to eat (especially hearty, rustic Norwegian fare and, if I’m lucky, some good Pakistani grub); to explore the local design scene; to avoid frostbite; to run into Stella Mwangi; and lastly, to remain financially solvent.

For another look at how a new home base opens up travel destinations, check out Gadling contributor Meg Nesterov’s Weekending series. In this series, the author details her travels from her home base in Istanbul to Bosnia, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Greece, Lebanon, and around Turkey.

[Image: Flickr | Hyougushi]