Exploring Norway’s capital: Oslo
Norway is one of the most beautiful countries I have ever had the privilege to visit. The people, the culture, and the landscapes are incredible. If you are planning on visiting certain cities within Norway, I would recommend spending a day or two exploring Oslo.
Oslo is the capital of Norway, a very populated city, home to 40 islands, 343 lakes, and a huge green forest: Oslomarka. Sitting on the country’s south coast at the top of the Oslofjord, it is known for its specific Scandinavian architecture, barbaric history of the Vikings, being chilly and pricey. If you are planning on spending a few days in the capital, here are some things you can’t miss.
First, get there. I am a huge fan of Norwegian Air. Use them, you won’t be disappointed. Or I’ll fly to Norway and buy you a cup of coffee and waffles myself.
Oslo Opera House
The home to the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet and is free to walk into and on top of. Yes, on top of. Despite being told by so many museums and opera houses “Do Not Touch, Climb, Sit” this opera house encourages people to walk on the roof. It began construction in 2003 and was inspired by Norwegian nature. The roof of the building is said to resemble an iceberg jetting out of a fjord.
Stortinget / Parliament House
This impressive French and Italian styled building was designed in 1860 by Swedish architect Emil Victor Langlet. Stortinget, as the building is called, is translated to “the great thing” or “the great assembly”. However today the Stortinget is not being used as the actual house of Parliament for Norway government due to its size and the growth but free tours run daily for those that wish to take a peek into the governmental history of Norway.
Visit the Royal Palace
Government-wise, Norway is a constitutional Monarchy, meaning they have a parliament and a king & queen. The royal palace is where the king and queen reside. Built in 1824, this palace is a symbol of Norwegian history, although King Oscar I was the first royal to actually use the palace for kingly issues in 1849. During the summertime non-royal members (like you and I) are permitted to tour the grounds for one hour and twenty minutes for about $17 or 135 NOK. If you are into pretending that you are a member of royalty and waltzing through the corridors of a palace is something you dream of, then I’d recommend it. Otherwise, a stroll along the outside and gardens should fulfill those royal dreams.
Frogner and Vigeland Park
Wandering through Oslo, you’ll eventually come upon a large green space filled with sculptures. This green space is Oslo’s largest: Frogner Park. The art pieces within the park are a part of Vigeland Sculpture Park. You may have heard of this park before, for its exquisite designs of human beings throughout the path of life or for its strange depiction of human beings traveling through life. An angry stomping baby, a tower of 121 humans, these are just two of 200 art pieces that were designed by sculptor Gustav Vigeland himself between 1939 and 1949. This particular park is the worlds largest sculptor park by a single artist.
Viking Ship Museum:
Sail back in time, to a land where the fierce Vikings plunder their rule through seas, blessed by the God of Ægir, the Vikings ravished a period of time in our history. You get the chance to see what they used to ravish the seas. The Viking Ship Museum is currently home to three historical boats: the Tune, which was found in 1867 and the first Viking ship to be revealed. The Gokstad, which was discovered in 1879 on a farm and is also the world’s best preserved Viking Ship. Lastly the Viking ship, the Oseberg, which was made from oak in the year 820. It is an incredible experience to see something that conquered the sea THAT long ago.
Wander the streets of Oslo
From shopping to food to architecture, Oslo’s streets are filled with goodies. Spend a few hours just wandering around, getting lost and enjoying all that the city offers.
Fun fact: ☝🏼 the famous Norwegian Expressionist artist Edvard Munch and his depiction of ‘The Scream’ is the vantage point of Oslo’s neighborhood Ekeberg.
Cruise the Oslofjord
Hop on the Oslo Ferry and take a cruise to the neighboring islands! There are a total of seven islands in the Oslofjord, each having their own little personality and history. With your Oslo Pass or regular transportation ticket, you can hop on and off the ferry between these islands. The ferry departs from City Hall Pier 3.
Until next time Oslo ✌️
Have you been to Oslo? Or Norway? What was your favorite thing to do in the city?
Other Suggestions that I didn’t get the chance to explore:
- Holmenkollen Olympic Ski Museum & Tower
- Munch Museum
- Fram Museum
- National Gallery of Oslo
- Akershus Fortress Oslo
- Wander through neighborhoods: Damstredet and Telthusbakken
Secrets to Know:
- Oslo is not cheap, so if you are on a budget, plan accordingly. Grocery shops, hostels, free activities are a great place to start.
- Alcohol is expensive in Norway, you can purchase beer at 18 and the rest at 20
- I would highly recommend getting an Oslo Pass; it is super helpful for activities and transportation
- if you decide not to get an Oslo Pass, take advantage of the public transportation around the city
- Bring a scarf, it will be cold
- If Oslo is your only destination and you have time to spare, explore the neighboring areas; Lilliehammer, Bergen, Holmenkollen and so much more!