Yes – this is a flashback post (a long one!) of my time in Norway, my first visit to a Scandinavian country. I had a list of what to do in Oslo in terms of sightseeing so I was really excited about that trip.
So, I flew to Oslo in the afternoon via Norwegian Air, and the flight took around 2 hours. I’ve never flown by Norwegian Air before; however, the airline has frequent flights around Europe, especially in Scandinavian countries. In addition, the service they provided was excellent! Landed at Oslo Lufthaven Airport around 6pm and headed to the Norwegian State Railways (NSB) station platform to catch the train into the city centre, which took about 20 mins. Arrived at Oslo Sentralstasjon in good time – the sun started to set, so I took in my surroundings, walking around the station area, towards the Royal Palace and the waterfront. I headed off to Thon Hotel Europa, where I would stay for two nights, dropped my bag, and ventured out to get some food along Karl Johans Gate. I was fortunate that the hotel was very close to the Royal Palace, Nationaltheatret and the National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design.
What to do in Oslo: My Saturday tour
The next day, up bright and early, I bought a 24 hour Oslo Pass from the hotel reception, which enabled me to gain free entry to many attractions and free transport for the day. I knew exactly what to do in Oslo that morning, or at least, I knew what I wanted to do… (you’ll understand later…)
The 1st place on my list was the famous Holmenkollen Ski Arena and Museum. So I headed off to the Nationaltheatret station and made my way. The journey didn’t take too long from the city centre, and the surroundings of Holmenkollen didn’t disappoint, with lovely views of the Oslofjord and greenery.
A couple of mins up the steep hill and I arrive at the ski arena. It’s absolutely vast, and the architecture is pretty striking. Many locals and tourists were around taking pictures and using the empty ski arena as a workout spot. Some people engaged in taking the zip lining activity from the top of the building down to the bottom – I wish I did it too, but my pockets weren’t deep enough to pay the fee.
I entered the building and explored the Ski Museum. It was a bit of a yawn fest for me. I was more looking forward to the Ski Jump Tower but, surprise, surprise, whilst waiting in the queue, the staff said the lift to go up to the tower broke down.
Upsetting but…what to do in Oslo if the first option fails?
I couldn’t wait around with no time to waste, so I headed back to the city centre and decided to visit the Nobel Peace Center near the City Hall. A relatively extensive building with exciting exhibitions and details of the Nobel Peace Prize laureates, especially in the Nobel Field room, which looked pretty unique with the optical light display around the digital screens.
I almost had a freak attack when I almost lost my Oslo Pass as I was not willing to pay for another one – phew!!! So I checked my map provided with the Oslo Pass and decided to visit the museums in the Bygdøy area.
Boarded the ferry and transported across the fjord. It was a calm ride with the lovely and peaceful sights of Aker Brygge and the waterfront with the sun breaking through the clouds. Came off the ferry and started walking to the museums. I quickly visited the Kon-Tiki Museum, the Fram Museum and the Norsk Maritimt Museum, situated next to each other. After leaving the museums, I took in the surrounding views of the lovely fjord around Bygdøy. After chilling in the grassy areas and taking selfies, I hopped back onto the ferry back to the city centre. I then walked along the Aker Brygge wharf, came across the neighbourhood of Tjuvholmen, and visited Astrup Fearnley Museet.
The architecture of the flats and buildings are visually pleasing, with the Oslofjord in the background. Still, the art wasn’t that interesting – something I could paint (and I’m a crappy artist). Realising how time flew so quickly, I rushed to the train station to get to Vigeland Museet. Unfortunately, leaving Majorstuen station, I walked in the wrong direction. Before I could reach the museum, I knew it would be closed. However, as I wandered through Frogner Park, also known as the Vigeland Sculpture Park, I adored the comical and thought-provoking sculptures on display.
With the clouds breaking and the sun beaming down, being in the park really made up for missing the museum as I got to see some of Vigeland’s work for free! After a calm and relaxed stroll in Frogner Park and the sun starting to set, I decided to visit the Norwegian National Opera & Ballet House. It’s truly a spectacle and – the Norwegians know how to build some beautiful buildings in Oslo.
What to do in Oslo: My Sunday tour
With my flight back to London in the evening, I decided to venture out to the city quite early. What to do in Oslo if not gazing at the famous Scream painting by Edvard Munch? So I headed off to Nasjonalgalleriet. The queue was quite long when I arrived as it was a free entry on Sundays. Obviously, the room where the Scream painting happily stays was crowded with admirers. Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to take pictures, but I sneakily took one as a little rebel. The place is enormous as it houses various sculptures and paintings by Picasso, Renoir, Vigeland, Munch and more.
With the sun slowly breaking out before noon, I went back to Tjuvholmen as I wanted to visit a new attraction that had just opened called the Sneak Peak. It’s a lift that takes you up to the top to see the views of Tjuvholmen, Aker Brygge and the fjord, and it didn’t really disappoint. Although I had to take pictures quickly as the entire experience didn’t last very long, the views were worthwhile, especially with the lovely weather overlooking the area.
After grabbing some lunch, I went off to visit Museet For Samtidskunst. Some very odd displays around the buildings; safe to say, I’m not really a fan of the stuff I saw in here, but I did like the unique rug display where you had to put plastic bags over your shoes to walk on it.
With my time in Oslo coming to an end, I quickly visited the Kulturhistorisk Museum (Museum of Cultural History) near the Royal Palace. Once the museum closed, I headed back to the hotel and raced down Karl Johans Gate to Oslo S to catch the train back to the airport for my return flight to London.
Leaving Oslo was a bittersweet moment as I enjoyed exploring this picturesque city and was glad to taste Scandinavia. Now that I know what to do in Oslo and what I enjoyed, it will definitely be on my “Will Revisit” list.