Oslo, the capital of Norway, sits on the country’s southern coast at the head of the Oslofjord. With Norwegian Airlines’ super affordable flights, this scenic little city makes for a perfect weekend getaway destination. Here’s how I recommend spending 36 hours getting to know Oslo…
WHAT TO DO
- Stroll down Karl Johans Gate and see the Royal Palace – Karl Johans Gate is Oslo’s main boulevard leading from the Central Station through the central shopping district and up to the Royal Palace. The street was named in honor of King Charles III John, who was also King of Sweden. As you stroll down this road you’ll see many stores and restaurants, the Parliament of Norway, the National Theatre and at the very end, the Royal Palace and gardens.
- Wander around Aker Brygge – Aker Brygge is the city’s new urban waterside development. It is known for its pier, which is home to many upscale restaurants and a high-end residential properties. A popular summer boat bar is also moored nearby, and ferries depart year-round for the scenic Oslo Fjord. Here you will also find the Nobel Peace Centre, with exhibits on the famous prize. Look out for the many hidden sculptures around this area – they blend seamlessly into the environment so are easy to miss!
- Catch the T-Bane to Holmenkollen & Frognerseteren – not only is this tram ride itself spectacular (the views of the fjord and Scandinavian homes are amazing!), but at the top you will also find endless things to do. Holmenkollbakken is a large ski jumping hill and ski museum. The Eternal Peace Flame, dedicated to the city of Oslo by Sri Chinmoy in 2001, is found right by the eatery Holmenkollen (a great Viking-style restaurant with gorgeous views over Oslo). If you catch the tram three further stops north to Frognerseteren, here you will find many fantastic forest hiking trails and Frognerseteren, another Viking-style restaurant that is great for authentic Norwegian food.
- Have a picnic in Vigeland Sculpture Park – The Vigeland Park is the world’s largest sculpture park made by a single artist, Gustav Vigeland, and is one of Norway’s most popular tourist attractions. Get lost wandering its many paths, enjoy a coffee its cafes, or if the weather permits, take a dip at the public pool! I recommend walking to the park if you can – the streets behind the Royal Palace leading to the park are filled with greenery and quaint, Norwegian architecture.
- Oslo Opera House – The Oslo Opera House hosts a large variety of outdoor plays, concerts and events throughout the year. It is home to the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet and the National Opera Theatre in Norway. It is an impressive structure which interacts with the beautiful natural landscape around it.
WHERE TO EAT
- Asia – for lunch with a sea view – the daily changing Bento Box is great value for money and gives you an array of different dishes to try.
- Egon Karl Johan – for people watching – located on Karl Johans Gate and with plenty of outdoor seating, this is a great spot for watching the world go by.
- Eataly – for the best pizza in Norway – you don’t tend to associate Norway with pizza, but this place is seriously good! I personally recommend the ‘Vegi’ option with cream of mascarpone and Truffle salsa, courgette, arugula, semi–dried tomatoes and artichokes!
- MESH – for coffee and a beautiful co-working space – need to do a little work while on vacation? This is the place for you!
- Vippa – for street food lovers – this new food, culture and education centre is located at the edge of Vippetangen, right by the Oslo Fjord.
- Mathallen – for foodie adventurers – based in a former industrial hall, here you can find specialty shops, cafés and restaurants.
WHERE TO STAY
- The Grand Hotel – if you want to splurge – looking for the perfect location, tastiest room service, softest bed and best spa facilities in town? Then this is your place! The Grand Hotel is Norway’s most iconic hotel and is perfectly situated on Karl Johans Gate. It has fantastic gym and spa facilities, including a rooftop terrace where you can lay in the sun or enjoy a drink with a view. Also, the buffet breakfast at the Grand Café should not be missed!
- AirBNB – if you’re on a budget – there are endless modern, beautiful Scandinavian-design apartments and houses for rent on AirBNB. These will set you back much less than a hotel and you can save money on eating out while you’re at it!
EMILIA’S TOP TIPS
- Instead of taking the express train from the airport to the city centre (£17 each way), check the timetable for regular trains. They take one minute more and cost just £9.
- Alcoholic drinks are very expensive in Norway – particularly mixed spirits and cocktails. If you’re on a budget, make sure to order beer!
- A lovely way to spend time on the water is to catch the public ferry around the many picturesque islands of Oslo.
- Gothenburg, Sweden’s second largest city, is only 3 hours away from Oslo by bus. Make sure to check out this lively, beautiful city if you have extra time!