Wednesday 25 April 2018

Our last stop on our eurotrip was the very 'out of the pattern' Oslo. We chose this because it was the cheapest flight back to Malaga after visiting Prague and Krakow. Even though we were greeted by 4 degree temperatures, it was probably the nicest accommodation we had. I didn't have any prior knowledge about the city other than to bring my own water bottle because a bottle of water would set you back 4 euros in a shop. An interesting fact I learnt was that Oslo was in fact called Christiania up until 1925, named by King Christian IV of Denmark and Norway (how humble of him) after the city burnt down in 1624. It was also referred to as the 'Tiger City' by the author Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson a, due to his perception of the city as a cold and dangerous place, this should explain the abundance of tiger statues around the city. To be honest, Oslo wasn't the most exciting, unless you're a fan of museums, there's plenty of those. It might just have been because Prague and Krakow had so much character and this was basically well, becoming a concrete jungle. I think other parts of Norway would have been more beautiful to visit, as we found most of Oslo was covered in construction but if you wandered away from the city centre we did discover quite a few nice spots. Nevertheless, if you want to strike a city of your bucket list, you can still spend an enjoyable two days here. Here are my recommendations!


Where to stay in Oslo 

Hotels in Oslo can be more on the expensive side, but there are plenty of apartments, hostels and airbnb's to consider too. We had a very pleasant stay at one of the Forenom Apartments* which was right in the centre of the city. It did take us about 5 minutes to find the right corner, luckily they provided pictures of what the building looked like so it kind of became a game of 'does this look the same as this?'. The apartments just screamed 'hygge' to me - from the colours to the cosy ness of the bed (and the heating).

forenom apartments

The apartments are situated in a safe area, there are 3 doors you have to get to to get in so you can rest assured it would be quite hard for someone to you know, break in. We had a living room with a flat screen TV, a hob, fridge, a very modern shower room and then a separate area upstairs to sleep. There were 3 of us in total but the apartment could have fit 6, so if you're travelling with friends or  family this is a great choice and you will probably save more than when booking a regular hotel.

forenom 2

Where to eat in Oslo

OK SO if you have a sweet tooth like me, then I'd definitely recommend Haralds Vaffle. It's a tiny store in the main street that serves well, waffles. The most surprising thing was that they were only 3-4 euros, which even in cheaper European countries you end up paying more when you get one from the markets or speciality places. I had the 'Norwegian special' which consists of brown cheese, jam and cream. Don't worry, the brown cheese doesn't taste as strange as it sounds as the taste isn't exactly overpowering.

haralds vaffel

If you're looking for a 'market/warehouse' type of place to gather for food and drinks, then Mathallen is a good shout. Here you can find everything from Chinese to Mexican to pulled salmon and elk burgers. It's about a 20-25 minute walk from the centre, but the walk is a pleasant one and the atmosphere here is great. 

When walking around the town you might come across a couple of food trucks, which serve affordable and fab food. I had a burger and sweet potato fries with their 'chilli mango mayo' and my friend opted for the fresh cod and chips which as you can expect, tasted a lot better than your average chip shop down the road. If you're travelling with fussy eaters (or kids) then you might want to go for your standard pizza at Peppes Pizza, their version of Pizza Hut basically. Another cheap eat we found was Freddy Fuego which was a burrito bar that gave Chipotle a run for their money!

fish and chips

What to do in Oslo 

If it's not below 0 degrees, then there's a good 2 hour sightseeing cruise you can take to see the Oslo Fjords and see all the cute little houses. You are given blankets but it can get very cold, so I recommend you cover up well. Bygdoy is Oslo's museum peninsula on the West side of the city and is where you can find enough museums to fill up your day. You have the Viking Ship museum, Kon-Tiki, Fram and Norsk. If you fancy another kind of history, then Oslo is home to the Nobel Peace Center* and where the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony is held annually in the City Hall. When we first entered, it was totally different to what we had expected! There was an exhibition called 'Generation Wealth' by Lauren Greenfield showcasing the rise and fall of America's rich kids and families. We were a bit confused how that and 'peace' were related, but nevertheless it was a fascinating read/watch. There was also a room with all the past NP winners including Malala, Obama and of course legends like Marie Curie and Albert Einstein.

city hall

In the centre, you can also find the Oslo Opera House which is open to the public and you can also walk up to the top of. Close by you can also explore Akershus Fortress, a medieval castle that was built to protect the royal residence in Oslo, it is also said to be haunted ooOooooO. If you're lucky enough to be visiting when the sun is shining, then taking a walk through the harbour can be an enjoyable experience to. There are 'free' walking tours that take place every morning at 10am from the Tiger Statue that will give you some good background knowledge about Oslo and it's history. One fun fact I learnt was that the clock tower chimes different songs everyday - from Harry Potter to Star Wars.

nobel peace center

Last but not least, is Vigeland Sculpture Park located in Frogner Park. We walked 40 minutes to get here (to burn off all the pastries we'd bought from 7/11) but there is also a bus and metro that leaves you outside the park. Here you will find over 200 sculptures built by Gustav Vigeland throughout 40 years of his life. You'll probably notice that they're all naked, and his aim was to show all the different emotions and phases we go through in life, from birth to death.

vigeland park

Practical tips for Oslo

  • The official currency of Norway is Norwegian Krone (NOK), it's pretty easy to remember because £1 is pretty much 10NOK (depending on the rate)
  • When withdrawing money, use no conversion to get the best rate, trust me you'll need it!!
  • Even though Oslo is an expensive city, you can find a lot of stuff to do for free and affordable restaurants 
  • Most places already include a service charge, so it's not really necessary to tip (depending on your morals)

oslo 2

Have you ever been to Oslo or any other Scandinavian/Nordic countries? I'd like to go to Finland next!

* Items marked have been gifted to me or provided at a media discount rate * 



for more ideas on what to do in Oslo head to my Norway Pinterest board.

oslo travel guide

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