image1Oslo, Norway. I’m not sure what made me fall in love with this city, but I can absolutely say it wasn’t easy to leave. The people, happy culture, and high-class setting of Oslo has easily made it one of the best places I have ever been to in my life. Oslo was my first stop during my Nordic adventure through Norway, Sweden, and Denmark and I have to say that it was the perfect place to start.  For anyone asking, Norway is world-class and I now understand why it is the model of the perfect country. The story of how I ended up in Norway is a long one and partly because I have wanted to go ever since watching Frozen (it’s true). I was lucky to have gotten to spend a total of five days in Oslo during my 10 day vacation during Spain’s Semana Santa break. To be honest, I could go on and on about my time there, but I decided to save readers from my rambling and skip to an overview of my time there and then give a few tips and highlights if you find yourself traveling up North to Norway.

Day One in Oslo

17800224_10154962778821014_1715496324015248441_nOkay, so day one wasn’t too exciting as far as sightseeing or getting around the city too much. My flight arrived early evening from Barcelona so once I landed at the airport, took the Flytoget to the city center, and the metro to where I was staying, I only had about maybe 3 hours left of daylight that day to take advantage of. I was lucky enough to be able to stay with a friend that I have met here during my time abroad so I spent about an hour or so catching up with them before I made my way back to the city center. Once I got back to the city center, I explored a little by the Oslo Opera House, which is a beautifully crafted piece of modern architecture. You can actually climb your way up to the top of it and get some pretty nice views of the city. Unfortunately, I didn’t get too many because it was a very cloudy and dark day so the photos that I did take didn’t turn out. After I got done at the Opera House, I made my way to Aker Brygge, which ended up being my favorite place in Oslo I think.  Only because of my weird obsession with ports and because it is absolutely beautiful! This night I also took a ferry (literally just hopped on without knowing where it was headed) and hoped that it would make it’s way back to Oslo that night and luckily it did. By the time I got done with my hour-long ferry ride, it was about 10:30pm and I decided that I would call it a night.

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Day Two in Oslo

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Norsk Folkemuseum

The first part of day two was spent sightseeing at the Norsk Folkemuseum (Norwegian Folk Museum) and the Vikingskiphuset in Bygdøy. I will be honest, I am not a museum person at all, but I was thoroughly impressed with these two. The Norsk Folkemuseet is a huge, open-air museum that literally walks you through Norwegian culture and history. The Viking Ship Museum holds two of the “best-preserved viking ships in the world,” according to the Lonely Planet guide-book. I definitely recommend both if you find yourself around Oslo or in Norway. If you find yourself being a museum person, Oslo is your heaven on earth because there are SOOO many. Endless amounts of museums. I just didn’t make it to many because I really am not a museum person and because I was on a tight budget.

 

 

 

After my museum adventure in Bygdøy, I found myself back at Aker Brygge, because my ultimate plan while in Norway was to have some outdoor time so I had made plans to island hop the Oslo fjord. Before I embarked on my fjord journey, I had a small lunch in a nice area on the port that overlooks the fjord and took in some sunshine for a while because I knew that it probably wouldn’t last long. After, I caught my ferry to start going to the islands. THIS was definitely my favorite part of the trip. I recommend this completely, whether you just go and don’t get off the boat or get off to explore and do some light hiking, it is definitely worth it. The islands are so cute and typical Norway. It’s adorable. My favorite island that I went to is called Lindøya. I got to roam on this island for about an hour and I was in love. The houses were the typical, small fisherman village style that you always see when you google pictures of Norway and they are bright shades of yellow, green, blue, red, etc..absolutely perfect. This island was the best place for me to get some sunshine, walk and do some light hiking, and writing. Highly recommend. My Oslo fjord island adventure ended day two and I made my way back to spend time with my friend.

Day Three in Oslo

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Oslo City Hall- I didn’t ever make it inside but they say it’s beautiful!

Day three was not as exciting as day two for me, because the islands were hard to beat. However, I did probably see the most in day three. The truth is that Oslo is very walkable and it’s easy to get anywhere. If you don’t feel like walking, then the public transport system is amazing as well. On this day, I made my way to Frogner Park, which is a park full of statues. It is actually kind of strange, but it’s pretty and it’s worth taking a stroll through. After Frogner Park, I started walking back towards the city center (which is basically where everything in Oslo is or it’s in small walking distance).  In the city center, you are able to check out the Royal Palace, the Oslo Cathedral, Karl Johan’s Gate, and many more sights! After meandering through there, I got the metro back to my friend’s place and also stopped at the University Botanical Gardens! This is recommended as well if you have the time. There are also a few museums in this area as well, such as the Munch Museum (famous for “The Scream” painting), but I was too late and didn’t make it there in time to see them. This was technically my “last day” in Oslo because on “Day Four”  I had to get up early to make a flight to Stockholm, then “Day Five” was actually when I was heading back to Spain so I just spent the whole day relaxing because I was tired and my wallet was also tired.

So now that I have probably bored you with my little overview/diary of Oslo, here are a few of my travel tips and highlights! (keep scrolling)

 


Travel Tips and Highlights for Oslo

  • Expenses

    • First and foremost, Norway and especially, Oslo, is not cheap. The citizens of Norway pay very high taxes for the cosmopolitan lifestyle that they are living; therefore, for tourists, it isn’t the cheapest of options. However, don’t let this scare you away! If you play your cards right, there are ways to make it a cheap trip. Plan in advance. Know your budget and what you will be working with. Normally when traveling, I go with the flow but with this trip, I took a little more time to see how much money I would need to get by day to day.
      • Accomodation-because I stayed with a friend I don’t have too much to offer in this area, but when I did look into to hostels, they were not cheap and there were few to choose from. So again, if you aren’t staying with friends or family, book in advance to guarantee having a place to stay and you will probably get a better price. If you run out of hotel and hostel options, there are always Airbnbs and Couchsurfing.
      • Food– the food is expensive. I can’t even sugarcoat this one. Even if you opt for fast food choices you can expect to pay at least 100NOK which is like $12. In principal, it doesn’t seem like much but it adds up fast. A good thing about Norway is that there are many 7/11s, Narvesen, MIX, and many other kiosk type of places that you can eat pretty affordable and most of them have healthier options too so that you aren’t eating hot dogs during your whole trip. I know at most of them I was able to get like protein bars, vitamin waters, greek yogurt cups, etc. Again, because I stayed with someone, I saved a lot of money in this department as well because I really only had to buy like a lunch/snack everyday. I avoided restaurants at all costs. One day I did splurge and had some street food at Aker Brygge, highly recommend as well.
      • Take advantage of discounts– If you have the time, be sure to invest in an ISIC Student Discount Card! I got one before I moved to Spain and I get discounts at almost all sights. I used it so much on this trip to get discounts for sights, transportation, and much more.
        • The VisitOSLO pass is also a great idea if you plan on visiting all of the museums and using the public transport because you can get into like all museums for free and you get free public transport. Because I only planned on two museums I did not buy this but I would invest in it if you plan on seeing all of the sights.
    • Side Note for expenses: TAKE A CREDIT CARD- especially VISA or MasterCard and save yourself from paying expensive exchange rates or drawing out of ATMs. Oslo is so high-tech and you can pay for everything with a card or smartpay on your phone. It was so nice and convenient to not worry about cash or anything while being there.
    • Also bring a refillable water bottle because bottled water is pretty expensive and the water there is drinkable so you can fill it up basically anywhere you go.
  • Getting Around

    • Flytoget-The Flytoget train (URL link above in overview) is a way of getting from OSLO Gardermoen Airport to the city center. It’s only 20 minutes and is a very comfortable ride. There is free WiFi and ports to plug your phone in to charge. I personally recommend this, it is more expensive than the public transport..with my student discount it was 90NOK, I believe.
    • Oslo Public Transport– The Oslo public transport system is fantastic and so easy to navigate. You can buy single tickets or timed passes ( I just paid for a 24 hour pass everyday I was there for 90NOK). You can even keep it on your phone through the RuterBillet and RuterReise apps. I recommend downloading these apps because you can do so much with them and they make innercity planning so much easier with real-time schedules and of course, having your ticket right there in your phone.  A HUGE plus to the public transport is that your ticket is valid on the buses, metro, trams, and ferries, so you can go ANYWHERE you can in the city and easily. This was an important investment for me because I had to use it to get from my friend’s house to the city center, to Bydøy peninsula, and to the fjord islands.
  • Sightseeing Oslo

    • Oslo Fjord

      • Obviously, from the way I gushed about it earlier in this post, this is my  most recommended experience in Oslo. Again, you can get the ferry with your public transport passes or your VisitOSLO city pass.
    • Aker Brygge

      • The Aker Brygge port area will be your go to in Oslo if you are looking for a nice evening out for dinner and drinks. Mind you, it is pricier but it’s a high quality experience. There are many shops and cafes through this area, as well as, views overlooking the fjords.
    • Bydøy Peninsula

      • This is where you will find the Norsk Folkemuseum and the Viking Ship Museum, as well as a few others that I did not make it to. The Norsk Folkemuseum is great, especially if your time in Norway is short, becasue you really get to see that Norwegian style of living that attracts you to Norway in the first place. You can get to this area by the public transport bus (#30) OR you can take a ferry,  BUT it is a different company that runs this route (not Ruter public transport) so if you choose this option, you will have to pay extra but I think roundtrip was only 60NOK.
    • Karl Johan’s Gate

      • Karl Johan’s Gate is your go-to for any shopping, souveineirs, and your pathway to get in most of the sights that Oslo has to offer. It starts right by Oslo Central Station and will take you all the way to the Royal Palace and during that walk you will come across some great shopping, the Oslo Cathedral, the Norway Parliament, and some other places of interest.

That finishes up my post for Norway! It seems like Oslo is a destination that tends to get overlooked, but it does have a place in my heart and if you are considering a trip, you should just go for it! Norway has many amazing sights and I plan to make my way back there someday to Bergen, Lofoten, and Tromsø. You won’t regret any of your time spent there. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to comment down below or send me a message through my contact info on here.

***Another side note: This book was amazing for my trip and it really helped me to plan what I wanted to do with my time in Oslo. I originally was going to go through all of Norway, but then I decided on Sweden and Denmark last minute so it didn’t happen. This trip was a more expensive one so I wanted to plan and take advantage of my time and this book was great for that reason. I recommend all of the Lonely Planet guidebooks or online websites for your travels. They always have great info and highlight everything to see from the most touristy places to your local holes in the wall type of hangouts.

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