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Oslo Norway – A Getaway to a very Modern Nordic City

08/04/2012 | By | 1 Reply More

Oslo is a very Modern Nordic City

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The Opera House in Oslo, Norway – Photo: Bjørn Eirik Østbakken

Oslo may not be a cheap option, but it’s worth spending a bit more on a trip to this historic but also very modern city. Whether you stay for an extended weekend or a longer break, there’s plenty to explore all year round, whatever your area of interest.

Oslo is the capital of Norway which lies between the Oslofjord and the forests of Marka with over 600,000 inhabitants and covers 454 square kilometres. Most of the attractions mentioned here are included either free or discounted with the Oslo Pass, which also includes unlimited travel on public transport. Read on for what you can expect on your leading city break in Norway.

Exploring the city of Oslo

Oslo is small enough to see by foot, and you can walk from one side to the other in about an hour – or at least you could if there weren’t so many interesting buildings, old and new, to stop and explore. I recommend you take a sightseeing tour around the city which might let you see Oslo from a new angle.

Highlights include the medieval Arkershus Castle and Fort, the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet, and the Holmenkollen Ski Museum. The latter is housed inside a giant ski jump, with panoramic views of the city of Oslo.

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Vigelandsparken Sculpture Park in Oslo, Norway – Photo: Nancy Bundt

The beautiful Botanical Gardens are worth a visit, as is Frogner Park, the largest green space in the city centre. The park is home to Oslo City Museum, the 18th century Frogner Manor House and in June it hosts the popular Norwegian Wood music festival.

Frogner also contains the Vigeland Sculpture Park, one of Norway’s most popular attractions. This collection of more than 200 pieces, all by sculptor Gustav Vigeland, covers some 80 acres. Mainly completed in bronze, granite and wrought iron between 1939 and 1949, it remains the world’s largest collection of sculptures by a single artist. Take in these sites on your boutique gallery getaway in Oslo.

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The famous statue of Sinnataggen, Vigelandsparken, Norway – Photo: Trygve Gulbrandsen

Food and shopping
There’s certainly no shortage of shops and restaurants in the city centre. If you want to escape the big chain stores that dominate much of the city, head to the vibrant Grünerløkka borough, which has its own distinct character and lots of independent cafes, pubs and shops.

A wide range of cuisines are available, but if you want to seek out some national specialties, you may encounter sursild (pickled herring), fårikål (mutton stew), torsk (poached cod), kjøttkaker (meatballs), fiskesuppe (fish soup), stekte pølser (fried sausages) and of course smoked salmon – Norway’s most popular contribution to world cuisine. Desserts include cakes, pastries, waffles and meringues known as pikekyss – ‘girl’s kiss’. Try a few of these on your luxury gourmet break in Scandinavia.

Family activities
Oslo has lots of great family-friendly museums, including the open air Norwegian Museum of Cultural History, the Nobel Peace Centre, the Museum of Science and Technology, the International Museum of Children’s Art and the Reptile Park.

TusenFryd Amusement Park, 20km to the north (take bus 541) promises fun for all ages, with a selection of hair-raising and less-hair-raising rides.

And of course a visit to Scandinavia wouldn’t be complete without a Viking experience of some kind. This is available at the Viking Ship Museum, home to the best-preserved Viking ships in the world, along with lots of other Viking artefacts. An awe-inspiring sight to behold on your special cultural holiday in Norway. Edvard Munch Museum and the Ibsen Museum is also worth to visit and learn about the famous painter, Edvard Munch and the nordic writer, Henrik Ibsen.

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Holmenkollen ski jump track, Oslo, Norwy – Photo: Bjoertvedt

Day trips
During your stay, it’s worth hiring a car to explore some of the beautiful surrounding countryside, which boasts spectacular lakes and mountains. With less than five million residents in the whole country – one of the lowest population densities in Europe – you don’t need to worry about traffic jams ruining your day.

A 90km drive to the south-east of Oslo is Fredrikstad, which has an amazingly well preserved old quarter, with moats and fortifications from the 17th century. The same distance south-west brings you to the historic silver mines at Kongsberg, now a museum with activities including a train ride 2.3km into the largest of the mines.

Outdoor pursuits
Oslo sits at the head of the Oslo Fjord, a 100km-long bay stretching out to the sea. Numerous boat trips and cruises are available, including island-hopping and fishing packages. Around the fjord, summer activities include canoeing, beach volleyball, climbing, horse riding and cycling.

During the long winter season, there’s tobogganing and sledging, and you can get some good ski deals Norway packages at resorts like Trysil, Hemsedal and Norefjell, which is just 100km from Oslo. Much like the roads, the slopes are refreshingly empty, and the mountains rival any in Europe for size and breathtaking views. Make the most of these tremendous views on your leading outdoor break in Norway.

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Oslo is a unique Nordic City to visit – Be Welcome

 

Category: Norway

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