I worked in Oslo as a young twenty-something. I was heading up the PR for the merger of two Telecoms companies and flew back and forth from the UK. All I can remember about that time was meeting rooms and transit airports. In those days there wasn’t a direct flight so I either flew via Copenhagen, or sometimes London, and I regularly got stuck somewhere I wasn’t supposed to be because of the snow (quite often without a change of clothes or any money).
What I do remember is that despite visiting Oslo about 20 times within the space of a year is that I never got to experience the city. In fact I don’t actually think I ever stepped foot out of the office aside from getting into a taxi, so when it came to planning a February half term break I decided it was time to do it properly.
How glad I am that we did that. Oslo is an amazing city and is often overlooked by visitors wanting to go to more traditional Western European capitals. There is plenty to do and see and the more you wander round the more you wonder why you’ve never visited before (especially me!).
With regular flights from most major UK airports there’s no excuse not to go. We visited in the Winter months primarily because we love the snow (not skiing mind although there’s plenty of opportunity to ski if you want to).
Our highlights of the trip were as follows:
The Opera – this is stunning both inside and out. Opened in 2008 its gleaming angled exterior makes it look like a giant iceberg. You can actually walk over the roof to take in the views across the water and look at the floating ‘She Lies’ sculpture which is anchored to a platform in the fjord. Inside the hall is just as spectacular and best of all you can join a ‘behind the scenes’ tour which demonstrates just how vast the operation is and gives you a sneak peak at rehearsals and staging.
Astrup Fearnley Museum on Aker Brygge is also a must do for art lovers. In fact the art on display at the time of visiting was amongst some of the best in the world including notable works by Damien Hirst and Jeff Koons. From 10.02.17 to 14.05.17 the Japanese artist Takashi Murakami is presenting a solo exhibit for the first time in Scandinavia.
The National Galley hosts the World famous painting by Edvard Munch, The Scream, although most of his work is hosted in its own gallery appropriately named the Munch Museum. It’s definitely worth a trip, if only for the gift shop!
Bygdoy needs a day to explore, not least because it’s home to six galleries. The best perhaps is the Viking Ship Museum which houses three recovered burial boats from around the tenth century. The Fram Museum is also impressive and details the exploits of various Norwegian expeditions to the North and South Poles. The strangest of all is the Kon-Tiki Museum which covers the exploits of Thor Heyerdahl who set off from Peru with his crew in 1947 to cross the Pacific Ocean in a balsa wood raft. This is a fabulous day out and the kids will love it.
Holmenkollen Ski Jump
This is an exhilarating and hair raising day out (well it is if you see a ski jumper plummet off the jump which we did) with plenty of activities to keep you going for the whole day. It’s home to the world’s oldest Ski Museum which is situated below the ski jump under the mountain and you can visit the jump tower which is open 365 days of the year.
One of my favourite days by far was trip to the Vigeland Museum and the adjoining Frogner Park. Here you can view Vigeland’s remarkable works including a 46-feet high monolith, depicting 121 figures rising to the sky, carved from a single piece of granite. A sculpture park to rival Yorkshire Sculpture Park in England for sure.
One other place of note if you get the time is The Nobel Peace Museum, which has interactive fun for all the family.
Where to stay (my pick):
Where to eat (my pick):
Lofoten Fish Restaurant – http://www.lofoten-fiskerestaurant.no
Fjord Restaurant – http://restaurantfjord.no/english
Hos Thea – http://www.hosthea.no
(All photos are my own).