I had a post on Rotterdam scheduled to go up today but after doing some research on Oslo for a work report I remembered just how great this Norwegian capital is. So I couldn’t help but look back at one of my favourite weekend breaks.
We visited as a foursome in the middle of winter, surrounded by the best snow scenes I’ve ever seen (I grew up in Saudi remember so this was pretty exciting). We flew into Oslo Rygge from Manchester on one of the cheap Ryanair flights and hired a car for the weekend. The ONLY thing that I could have done without on that trip was the horrible case of bronchitis I had (pre-departure) but luckily I was at the end stages of clearing the infection.
Nonetheless we had the best time and I recommend every single thing we did, so if you too want to nip over for a quick weekend break, here’s a run down of what we got up to:
We arrived pretty late on Friday night, picked up our hire car from the airport and headed straight to our hotel in Fornebu, just outside the city centre. A few wrong turns here and there we breezed past forests, through tunnels and had nothing but gleaming white snow around us. The Ford Fiesta was a great car to drive, even in these wintry conditions (seriously UK why do we make snow so stressful?).
Where we stayed:
We booked to stay at the Radisson hotel, not the fancy pants city centre one, but the one 20 minutes from central and right by the water, on the inner Oslo fjord. Here we could relax knowing we had ample car park space and we could get to the city or the vast outdoors around it, without any trouble. The service here was amazing and the rooms were comfortable and warm. Click here to read my full review.
Up bright and early, filled up on breakfast and straight out the door!
Holmenkollen Ski Museum & Tower
It was winter and you couldn’t turn a corner without seeing something ski-inspired. So it was inevitable we would go and visit the famous ski museum celebrating over 4000 years of skiing history. The drive up was fun, we just kept going higher and higher, the views getting better and better. Car parks, well they were everywhere – maybe don’t go too high if its snowing, just in case you get stuck!
There was hardly anyone at the museum so we took our time and ended with a trip right to the observation deck, one that boasts some of the best views in all of Oslo – but only if its a clear day which it was not. We couldn’t see a thing! Not that it mattered, the others took great pleasure in mocking my fear of heights as usual. Full review over on this link if you want to know a bit more, definitely made me want to get out and pop on some skis.
After hours of frolicking in the snow, we were starved. My dear well-travelled friend Raz recommended we visit Mathallen food market to satisfy our hunger. She wasn’t wrong, it was a great tip. They even have their own car park but if you’re on public transport it’s only a 15minute walk from Oslo central station.
The food hall was bustling with speciality shops, cafes and spaces to eat. There was plenty on offer, of course fish was the popular choice of the day – everything looked divine. We enjoyed a delicious fresh fish filet burger, probably the fanciest one I’ve ever had.
From the moment we landed, we felt welcomed by the Norwegians, and that feeling continued throughout our stay. At Mathallen whilst looking around, I had a moment where I felt pretty fragile and burst into a crazy coughing fit I just couldn’t stop. Mo and the others ran off to the nearest shop to get me some water, but before they returned a stall holder had brought me to his stand, sat me down and quickly presented me with a warm tea to soothe my throat. He then whipped up a medicinal mushroom tea – I assure you not the psychedelic kind – which he gave to me and suggested I sip it slowly as I walked round and it would hopefully help the pain. It was miraculous and worked a treat! I couldn’t thank him enough. (Nor could the others as the cough had started to get pretty annoying).
Well I love my art, and so does Mo so we weren’t about to visit Oslo and not pay a quick trip to see the world famous ‘Scream’ by Edward Munch. We didn’t spend that long in the gallery, most of the work here was very classical, not quite my cup of tea, but the exhibit curation was lovely and we made sure to take some time indoors to plan our next route.
Before making our way to see the Opera House we had a stroll around downtown Oslo. It was dark by this point, but the street lamps reflected bursts of light off the snow, giving everything a magical looking glow. We walked past ice rinks, boutiques, shopping centres – it was amazing how calm and homely it felt, even though we were in the city.
We drove over to the Opera House and originally planned just to have a look but as we found a car park space right outside we went out for a wonder. I cannot tell you how much I LOVE this building, the biggest mistake I made was not having a nosey inside. It is the most interactive, fascinating structure I’ve ever come across and I’ve yet to find anything that comes close.
The building is designed to allow visitors to walk all the way up to the roof, it’s by the waterside and although angular with sharp edges, it fits in with the landscape. love love LOVE. Check out my full review on the story behind it here but I would advise everyone not to miss out on this when you’re in the city.
Last day! but we were determined to make the most of it, so we got ready for an early start and headed out…
Its a museum… with Viking ships! Stunning pieces of history, amazing explanation on their restoration and the place itself is a nice size. Car parks are all nearby
*Top Tip* – If you’re planning on visiting a number of tourist attractions or have hired a car pick up an Oslo pass – depending on how much you want to see and do, if you’re going as a group you won’t necessarily all need one. However, one of the most useful elements we found is that all municipal car parks are free, and there are plenty around.
I wasn’t quite sure how good this museum would be at first, but I was definitely impressed. I love the engagement that has been built into the exhibits. The stories we read and learned were amongst the most inspirational I’ve seen. They have trails for children to follow and spaces to sit and reflect. In the harsh realities of world crisis we see on a daily basis, it’s nice to have somewhere that celebrates all the people who are out there trying to do their best to create peace. WORLD peace. I wrote a review about it here if you want to know more, it’s really something.
With our flight later on Sunday afternoon we spent our last few hours wandering around, visited a few tourist shops and just enjoyed the calmness of the city.
Return Flight with Ryanair: £39.98
Car hire: £83 – split between four of us
Accommodation, bed and breakfast: £95 – total price for 2 nights, 2 per room
48 hrs Oslo Pass (Adult): £43.44
Entrance charges per person:
Holmenkollen Ski Museum & Tower: £11.50 – Free with Oslo Pass
National Gallery: £8.87 – Free with Oslo Pass
Viking Museum: £7.09 – Free with Oslo Pass
Nobel Peace Museum: £8.87 – Free with Oslo Pass
*** Prices based on 1 NOK : 0.089 GBP exchange rate. Although the prices shown are what we paid, prices are subject to change depending on time of year, offers etc. – always keep an eye out for deals and book in advance when you can! ***
Looking back I can’t think of a single moment I didn’t enjoy on the whole trip. Every part of Oslo we saw makes me smile in memory. I can’t wait to go again.
On that note, what are you waiting for?!?!?
Seriously, you must go! get a ticket! Grab a friend. Or two, or three! and GO make some memories in one of the hippest, cosmopolitan and most beautiful Capital cities in Scandinavia.
Have you been to Oslo? What did you think?