WEEKEND GETAWAY IN OSLO, NORWAY
The week leading up to my Oslo getaway I had a friend stay with me and I was playing tour guide all week long. We did so much the entire week that by the time Thursday came around I didn’t feel like playing tourist myself. I’ve been toying with the idea of just foregoing my trip overall but knowing myself I was going to end up going.
I really had no expectations about Oslo and the things to do there. I knew it was a green city, an expensive city, and a city people just pass through to go to other cities in Norway but I was actually pleasantly surprised to find out I enjoyed the city as much as I did. So what do in Oslo to get the most out of your weekend getaway?
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I arrive in “Oslo” around 1 pm on Friday, thinking this would give me an entire day to explore the city. Little did I know I booked a flight to the budget airport that is two hours away from Oslo. Who has an airport two hours away and still names it that main city airport?? Only in Norway! By the time I reached the city center and got to my Couchsurfing hosts house it was way into the afternoon and time for some lunch. I decided to get food at the closest open restaurant around and stumbled into a place called Kampen Bistro. Unfortunately, they didn’t serve food until 5 pm, but instead of walking around for 45 minutes I relaxed, had a beer and enjoyed the ambiance and any warm weather I can get in Norway. The restaurant was very quiet and casual with a beautiful wooden patio; you can tell that the evenings get dim and romantic from the interior. The restaurant has a three-course menu that changes daily, so you’re always in for a surprise. My favorite way to eat! The servers were exceptionally helpful and translated the entire menu for me. I ended up having the mushroom risotto that night that was the perfect mix of creamy and flavorful.
An unexpected evening
My Couchsurfing host had three other surfers staying with him that evening and a couple friends coming over. Exchanging stories of where we’re from/where we live and what we’ve done in Oslo so far we all got along really well. The evening flew by quicker than we knew and it was time for dinner. After dinner, someone suggested that we go to the Sexhibition that was in town. At this point, you probably know that I’m all about experiences that push you to your limits, so I was not opposed to the Sexhibition. The event is an annual erotic festival with a variety of entertainment and high-quality sex toys. We spent a few hours here, browsing around the different rooms, shows, bars, dance floors, and shops to see if we can bring any souvenirs home. A perfect introduction to Oslo and its nightlife.
Did you know that Oslo is the greenest city in all of Europe? By the year of 2020, Oslo will have no vehicles on the roads (they do however have underground tunnels). This was especially interesting to me considering all of their cars are already electrical. So what better way to explore Europe’s greenest city than by biking? Viking Biking Tours is an amazing tour company that provides facts just like this one and more. I did the Rivers and Waterfalls tour and I am very happy with my choice. The tour goes into an alternative side of Oslo that you would never think about seeing otherwise. There were nine different stops on the tour that catered to everyone’s liking. Cafes, waterfalls, coffee, graffiti, and urban beaches were all included. The tour was a perfect combination of hip Oslo and its developments as well as an insiders perspective on how locals do Oslo.
Dinner on the Fjord
You have to take a boat tour around the beautiful fjord when in Oslo. Sightseeing the Fjord offers an incredible 3 hour evening tour with an all you can eat prawn buffet (on certain days they even have live bands on the ship). The tour starts off going into the narrow bays of the fjord and continues to the different islands. Here you can see all the different beautiful summer houses as well as some remote houses of the water. Grab a glass of wine and get mesmerized by the beauty of the fjord. About an hour into the tour the buffet comes out. Located on the bottom level of the ship there you will find the all you can eat prawn buffet. Shortly after I was done eating the sun started to set. I grabbed another glass of wine, some blankets and enjoyed the views. What a beautiful way to see the capital of Norway from the many different angles.
Other things to do
The Vigeland Park is one of Norway's most popular tourist attractions. Attracting more than one million visitors a year this unique sculpture park represents the life work of sculptor Gustav Vigeland. It is the world’s biggest sculpture park made by a single artist. Definitely worth spending a few hours here checking out the beautiful park and artwork that goes along with it.
If you’re into modern/fine art you need to check out the Galleri Fineart. It is Norway’s largest gallery selling everything from graphics, sculptures, photographs, books, and paintings. The gallery is free to enter and you can use it as an exhibit/museum. The exhibits themselves were beautiful with a lot of pop art. If you like fine art you might even go home with a souvenir.
The Holmenkollen Ski Jump hosted competitions annually from 1892 to 2008, and was even the site of the Olympics in 1982. The ski jump is located just outside the city and provides the most beautiful panoramic views of Oslo and you can zip line down the hill.
Local budget tip: Don’t go to the ski tower for your views!! When taking tram 1 to get to Holmenkollen, ride all the way to the end (Frognerseteren) and hike down. The height is about the same, you still get beautiful panoramic views (for free), and you get a hike in Norway checked off your bucket list.
Where to eat:
Scandinavia as a whole has been food heaven for me. I’m a huge fish eater so any country that the main course is fish, I’m all over. Fiskeriet is a local fish and chips restaurant. I was a little worried about ordering the salmon and herring combo because I hated herring as a child (probably because my parents always ate herring from a jar) and this was my first experience with it as an adult. But I did, when in Rome… Or Norway? Right? I was pleasantly surprised with how fresh and delicious everything was. Truly my food heaven.
No trip to Scandinavia would be complete without some coffee. They sure do love their coffee up there, probably because it’s so dark and cold all the time they need to keep themselves warm and awake. Tim Wendelboe is an award-winning coffee shop right in the heart of Oslo. They offer a variety of different coffee types and flavors from all over the world that you can enjoy there or take away. They even ship worldwide if you want to try some for yourself.
Between the new friends I made, the awesome tours that I took, to the incredible fish that I ate, Oslo really is the perfect weekend getaway. It’s a city I would come back to next time I’m in Norway to explore some more. Have you been to the worlds greenest city yet? Look for flights here.
Xoxo Ania Travels 💜
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Disclaimer: Viking Biking Tours and Sightseeing the Fjord sponsor this post. All opinions are my own. This post contains some affiliate links, which will earn me a few cents to contribute to the running of this site if you make a qualifying purchase at no extra cost to you.