I have heard how beautiful Norway is so I decided to go see for myself. It was definitely a beautiful country that I really enjoyed. I was bummed that we didn’t get to see the Northern Lights on our short two day visit so I plan on going back within the next couple of years to a different town. On this trip we flew into Oslo Rygge and stayed in Oslo for a weekend in February. We took the free shuttle bus from the airport to the train stop. The train took us about 40 minutes to get into the city center. Once we arrived, we checked into our hotel Scandic Oslo City. The hotel could not have been in a more perfect location. It was a 5 minute walk from the train station and right outside of the hotel was a bus and metro stop. We bought a 24-hour transportation pass that we used for the bus and metro.
The main attraction that we wanted to see was the Viking Ship Museum so we decided to see this first. We took a 15 minute bus ride on Bus 30 from our hotel straight to the museum. In this museum, you will get to see three viking ships up close, as well as unique burial artifacts from boat graves around Oslo. The ships had been used for sea voyages before being hauled ashore for a royal ship burial more than 1100 years ago.
After we learned about Viking history, we took the bus to Akershus Castle and Fortress. Akershus is a medieval castle from around 1300 AD that was remodeled to a renaissance castle in the first half of the 17th century. We walked around the grounds of the castle (open 6AM to 9PM) but did not go in the castle since it was closing at 4PM. The castle grounds allowed us to have a great view of Oslo overlooking the lake.
Next, we walked to the Armed Forces Museum (Forsvarsmuseet). If you have any interest in military history, I recommend you taking a look at this FREE museum. We could have spent a lot more time in the museum, but like most of the museums in Oslo, it closed at 5PM. The museum introduces the history of the Norwegian military from the Viking ages to the present day.
After the museums, we walked down the road to the Norwegian National Opera & Ballet which is Norway’s largest music and performing arts institution. Even if you do not have time for a performance (we did not), it is still fun to stroll around the unique building’s roof and get another view of Oslo.
By this time, we were starving! We were trying to see as many sights as we could before it got dark since we knew the next day would be spent primarily on the slopes. We decided to look up good Norwegian restaurants and then headed to Olympen. Although very expensive, this restaurant had a great atmosphere and excellent Norwegian food.
After we ate, we headed back toward our hotel and went in the Oslo Cathedral. This was honestly one of the most beautiful interiors of a cathedral. It was very unique from anything I had seen. It has a cruciform design and the pulpit, altar, and organ have acanthus carvings that are all original. The ceiling and stained-glass paintings were lovely! This cathedral was free and is open to the public.
On our second day, we got up early and headed to Tryvann Vinterpark. This large ski resort with 18 slopes and 11 lifts is located just north of the city center. It is open from December to Easter. We took the metro (metro 1) for about 30 minutes, which was such a scenic metro ride! It was obvious where to get off, as almost the entire metro emptied out with people in snow gear. From the metro stop, a bus picked us up and dropped us off at the entrance to the park. We rented our skis/snowboards and boots and purchased a lift pass and locker to put our stuff in. We went down the bunny hill first before we went down a slope. This was my first time skiing so it was quite frustrating at first. I honestly never really got the hang of it. No matter how hard I tried to slow down, I seemed to be going way faster than anyone else. I ended up crashing going down a steep hill, which caused some injury to my shoulder, but I kept on going. After a tiring day, we decided to take on a few more sights before our time at Oslo came to an end. One of my regrets of this day is forgetting to stop at the Holmenkollen Museum and Ski Jump on the way back. The ski jump allows you to enjoy a panoramic view of Oslo from the top and the museum is the world’s oldest ski museum. Next time I visit Oslo, I will be sure to stop and try the ski simulator.
When we got back into the city, we took the metro to Vigelands Park. Unfortunately, it was too late to go in the Vigelands Museum, where you can experience the almost complete collection of sculptor Gustav Vigeland. The museum also features temporary exhibitions of traditional or contemporary art. It was nice to take a stroll in Vigelands Park as the sun was setting with my husband. This is one of the Norway’s most popular tourist attractions with more than one million visitors a year. This unique sculpture park represents the work of Gustav with more than 200 sculptures in bronze, granite, and forged iron. It was definitely an interesting walk.
Last thing on our agenda was to see the Royal Palace. This palace allowed us to get right up to the doors and wasn’t guarded like most other palaces. This could have been because of the time of day or year that we went. The palace is open to the public in the summer but we were fine with just seeing it from the outside. Maybe on our next visit, we will go in if time permits.
There are so many things that we would have liked to have done had we stayed longer but we definitely enjoyed our visit. I don’t know how much more time we could have afforded though. It was extremely expensive.
If you have more time than we did, I recommend looking into the following:
The Norwegian Film Institute
The Mini Bottle Gallery
Norsk Fokemuseum (Open-air museum)