Couple of years back, my friend and I decided to go on a long weekend to Oslo. I had never been, she had never been, and the flight from Riga was short. So it seemed like a great idea.
It still remains one of my favorite trips to this day… And let me tell you why.
1) Hotel that we stayed at
We stayed at Smarthotel Oslo. It’s rated 7,9 in booking.com and it wasn’t cheap… I mean – we paid 250 EUR for 2 nights and the room was SUPER TINY (only 8m2)! But we didn’t mind, since we left in the morning and returned in the evening, so we really needed it just to sleep in, but if you want to spend some time in your room – be careful and look at the dimensions of the room and be prepared to pay extra for that.
BUT the reasons why we didn’t mind the size of the room was, because the breakfast buffet was incredible. You could try all sorts of fish and they had so many local products. We spent 2 hours every morning breakfast-ing. Also, even though we traveled in September, the weather was warm and pleasant so we spent one of the nights up on the roof terrace. It was amazing. Definitely visit that if you’re in this hotel.
The location of the hotel was very central, but to be honest – it seems that everything in Oslo is quite central. Which brings me to a point no. 2
2) City is very walkable
If you like walking and exploring architecture, just people watching and taking in the city vibes – Oslo is perfect. You walk to the fortress, then go to a museum, do shopping and you would still know where you are and could walk back to the hotel. At the sunset – walk to Opera house and say hello to the seagulls and walk on the roof of the Opera house. It’s amazing! I love cities I can walk in and this was great for that.
3) If you need to use public transportation
On the last day in Oslo, we decided that since we had seen the museums of all the cool Viking stuff (everything is Viking here!), we had done some shopping, seen the residential neighborhoods of Oslo, seen all the hip new areas there too, we decided to go on a little ride with ferries to see all the nearest islands.
Most of the islands are used for summer/holiday houses. Some islands are a little bigger and are used all through the year. You just hop on a ferry and hop off wherever you need it.
Some islands were super eerie. On our trip we saw Hovedøya, Lindøya and Nakholmen. You can read more about the islands and what to see on them here. Fun fact that we were told – since people are very honest in Norway – they don’t really check the tickets and seeing someone controlling this is a rarity, but we got to see those rear people who do it, so they do exist. Keep that in mind.
4) 200 + sculptures? Yes, please
Definitely go and see Vigeland Sculpture park. It’s a big park with more than 200 sculptures. They all are quite odd, but focus on the human bodies and life events that are showed. It seemed quite spectacular.
The park is free of charge and you can grab something to eat, so you can have a little picnic on the stairs of the park and just look around.
5) No Viking ships, but…
As I mentioned before – everything is ‘Viking’ in Norway. And my inner Viking was just in ecstasy. We didn’t go to see the ship museum, because we had so many other things to do, but you can actually visit that. It’s a little out of town, so it takes some time to reach, but I’ve heard it’s worth the trip if you’re into ships (you can read more about it here).
But we did go and see the Historical museum. Believe me, it’s worth the time (AND, when you buy the ticket to either of the mentioned museums – you can visit both of them within 48 hours). Since I’m very fascinated by Vikings, their lifestyle and their conquests, this was a great place for me. You can see how they lived, what they ate and the ships too. The small ones.
Always check if the museum is open when you’re planning on going. You can do it here.
6) Guard change in front of the Palace
It’s a beautiful walk up the hill to Palace. Especially when the sun is starting to set. But if you get the chance to be there at about 1:30 PM, then you can see the guard change and that is something you wouldn’t want to miss. It’s quite long and most of the times you don’t even know what is happening, but it looks great and its fun to watch them prancing around.
If you are planning on going to Oslo – just take a look at what TripSavy and Google are suggesting and you should be just fine. As I said – people are super friendly (yes, they will not run away if you speak to them, they are not THAT introvert) and will love to help you. It’s a very evolved city and country. You can count on all the signs being in the right languages at the right places, so you can understand everything.
Only thing that is a con to this place – it’s super-duper expensive, but if you don’t plan on eating out 3 times a day and don’t mind living in small spaces – you should be just fine.
So, try it! Go to Oslo.