During a recent visit to a dog park in NYC I got into a conversation with a fellow dog owner about traveling. We were both sharing stories about some of our favorite trips and adventures abroad. When I mentioned that I had recently traveled to Norway it was easy to see that his curiosity was piqued. He shared that he was planning a short summer trip to Norway, specifically Oslo. Furthermore, his favorite author Karl Ove Knausgård is curating an exhibit called “ TOWARDS THE FOREST – KNAUSGÅRD ON MUNCH,” this summer at the Munch Museum in Oslo.
After hearing this I was eager to share some of my tips on how he could best enjoy Oslo and the surrounding areas with his limited time-frame. During our trip to Norway we had 14-days to explore the country and even then, we felt a bit rushed. What tips could I give to someone who only had 5-days to explore such a beautiful and vast country?
I shared with him the ease of using the Norwegian public transport system and how clean the city of Oslo was. I told him how much we enjoyed the museums, parks, and our leisurely walks around the city. He then mentioned how they wanted to also take a trip to see the city of Bergen.
Being that Bergen is a 7.5-hour train ride from the central station in Oslo, I suggested that some closer cities such as Lillehammer and Hamar may be more suitable. After a bit, more banter it was time to go. It turns out that dogs especially puppies don’t have much patience for human conversations. Not too long after we parted I started thinking about all the travel tips I wasn’t able to share with him. That inspired me to write this article about visiting Oslo. Hopefully he will remember the name of my blog and get to read this before traveling. I hope the information you will find useful.
1. Book your flight using Norwegian Air.
Norwegian Air is the World’s best long-haul, low cost airline. Norwegian air offers non-stop flights from 10 major U.S. gateways directly to Oslo’s Gardermoen airport. (Only a 7-hour flight from major cities on the East coast) From there you can take the FLYTOGET Airport Express and be in downtown Oslo in approximately 20 minutes. At time of publishing this will cost you 180 NOK or about $21 for a one-way adult fare.
1a. If you want to save some money and are a bit flexible you could ride the NSB Regional Train from the airport to downtown Oslo for only 93 NOK ($11). This trip only takes approximately 23 minutes but the trains run less frequently compared to the FLYTOGET.
2: Buy the Oslo City Pass.
The Oslo Pass gives you free entry to more than 30 museums and attractions, free travel on all public transport, free entry to outdoor swimming pools, free walking tours, discounts on sightseeing, ski simulator, Tusenfryd Amusement Park, concert tickets, climbing, ski rental, and special offers in restaurants, shops, entertainment and leisure venues. Do I need to say more? Seriously, the Oslo Pass was our one of our best purchases when we visited. We downloaded the Oslo Pass App which we could use on or offline. This was a big bonus when we were not near a WIFI hotspot. The app allowed us to gain entry to all the attractions and use the public transport system to get around Oslo.
3: Hit the museums.
Oslo has some fantastic museums and they are some of my favorites to visit in all the world. That my friend is not an exaggeration, but just my humble opinion. Among my favs in Oslo are The Viking Ship Museum, Norwegian Folk Museum, Fram Museum, and Norway’s Resistance Museum. The first three museums that I mentioned are not too far apart are located on the Bygdøy peninsula. You can take a bus or a the Bygdøyfergene – (boat to the museums) to visit these museums. We took the bus on the way there and the boat back. The boat ride is included in the Oslo City Pass and is a great way to view the picturesque harbor of Oslo. The boat drops you off at Pier 3 by Citi Hall which is about a 10 to 15-minute walk to the Resistance Museum.
4. Ride a bike.
If you have the opportunity rent a bike and take a ride around Oslo. We were lucky enough to stay in a hotel that offered us free use of their bikes. Oslo is a pretty bike-friendly city and easy to navigate. We rode our borrowed bikes from the hotel to the wonderful Frogner Park. Let’s just say that Frogner Park puts Central Park to shame. (Sorry NYC but that’s my opinion) From the park we rode our bikes to the Stortinget (Norwegian Parliament) and then Karl Johans Gate which is the Main Street of Oslo. This area is a must see if you are visiting Oslo.
5: Discover Oslofjord
Enjoy Oslo on the water – Oslofjord is no better place to be in summer! with a vibrant beach and boat life, seaside villages with great restaurants and high quality spa hotels. You can take a city cruise from Oslo for a beautiful stretch of water and scenic views or take a sunset cruise.
6: Get out of town!
That’s right I said it. Don’t spend all your time in Oslo while visiting Oslo, if that makes any sense. Like I mentioned earlier Norway’s public transport system is the tops. I highly recommend that you take a ride on the train and visit the beautiful city of Lillehammer. It is only a two-hour train ride from the central station in Oslo and trust me you won’t regret the trip. Not only was Lillehammer the host of the 1994 Winter Olympics it also serves as the backdrop for one of my favorite Netflix series named “LilyHammer.” While visiting Lillehammer we stayed at the Nordseter Apartments which is in the surrounding mountains. This was a great location that gave us our first perspective of the Norwegian country side.
Don’t forget to say hello to the sheepies, baa, baa. Speaking of farm animals while in the area you may want to book an overnight stay at an authentic Norwegian farm. Overall Lillehammer is a great town and you will pleasantly surprised by all it has to offer.
After reading these tips I hope I have left you with some things to ponder as you plan your visit to Oslo. Taking a trip to Norway is an unforgettable experience. By far it was one of my favorite and most memorable journey’s. In doing the research for this article many wonderful memories were stirred up. So much so that I’m seriously considering another trip to the “Land of the Midnight Sun.”
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Visit Norway and Blog Meets Brand. All opinions, photos and travel are mine.
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