From fjords to forests: Oslo, Norway’s capital city
Oslo has been the capital city of Norway since 1814 and is now one of Europe’s fastest-growing cities – also reputed as one of the most expensive cities in the world. With a population of almost 700,000 and eye-catching architecture, the largest city in Norway is quickly transforming into a cosmopolitan hub.
Oslo is an easy-going city combined with an abundance of world-class museums, restaurants and art – a special blend of big city life with the feel of a much smaller town.
I visited the city in 2016 having enjoyed Copenhagen, Sweden and Iceland on previous trips. Yet I still reminisce about yet another Nordic country that has captured my heart. Whilst the trip was brief, read on for my highlights of a getaway to Oslo.
Take a trip around the Norwegian Fjords
I visited Oslo during the winter months but didn’t book a tour of the fjords in advance. Depending upon the season, this isn’t necessarily required; instead visitors can head out to City Hall pier where there are several departures each day for a short tour (1-2 hours).
I made sure to wrap up warm with a waterproof layer before taking a Fjord cruise from Oslo.
It wasn’t quite enough to keep me warm against the chilly air but the views from the boat were a welcome distraction. Note that hot drinks are usually available on board to increase your comfort and blankets are provided which thankfully, made the cold weather a little more bearable.
Visit The Vigeland Park (Vigelandsparken)
As the world’s largest sculpture park made by a single artist, The Vigeland Park is one of Norway’s most popular tourist attractions.
Open to visitors all year round, the unique park is Gustav Vigeland’s lifework. Featuring more than 200 sculptures in bronze, granite and wrought iron, the work was mainly completed between 1939 and 1949.
In addition to this, Vigeland was also in charge of the design and architectural layout of the park which flows neatly along an 850 metre long axis: the Main gate, the Fountain, the Monolith Plateau, the Bridge with the Children’s playground and the Wheel of Life.
Sightseeing on foot is always one of my favourite ways to get around a city, but Norway was particularly easy to enjoy. The landscape rapidly changes from relaxing parkland to the hustle and bustle of the city. The city is also home to the Royal Palace, one of the most important buildings in Norway.
Parliament Building (Stortingsbygningen)
A short walk from the Royal Palace is Parliament Building, also close to Spikersuppa skøytebane. Guided tours are available of the Parliament Building, free of charge.
As well as the stunning architecture, the area is thriving with restaurants and a wide choice of shops. Depending upon the season, it’s also the location of a choice for markets and an ice rink.
Oslo Opera House
Winner of the World Architecture Festival 2008 and the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture in 2009, the Oslo Opera House is a stunning piece of architecture that sits in the Bjørvika, central Oslo.
The marble and glass building features world-class opera and ballet performances. A unique style in the design sees the roof of the building connect to ground level, creating a large plaza that invites visitors to walk up and enjoy the panoramic views of Oslo.
Visiting Oslo for a brief stopover offered me a good insight to the city that left me keen to return. Oslo is often referred to as one of the world’s most expensive cities, but there are still ways to enjoy the city without maxing out your credit card, hopefully by visiting some of the attractions above that won’t cost a penny.
Have you visited Oslo? Tell me about your experience in the comments section below.