Let me start off this blog post by saying that I LOVED Norway. I wish I could move there because the culture, atmosphere, and brown cheese were amazing. The adventurous spirit called to me. After all, I named my blog after a Norweigan way of life. I spent the equivalent of a weekend in Oslo, Norway which wasn’t enough time.
I’m about 50% Norweigan since both of my grandmothers have a Norweigan heritage. My Grammy, my dad’s mom has always been very proud of her Norweigan heritage. I can see why now that I’ve experienced it firsthand.
We plan to go back one day and experience more of Norway since I only got a small taste from our time in Oslo. I would like to really experience Norway for its breathtaking landscapes. Oslo isn’t known for this but we were able to find places with great views.
My boyfriend and I took a week-long trip to Norway and Sweden. We spent about two and a half days in each city not counting the days that we traveled to and from the United States. If you want to read about my top 5 things to do in Stockholm, Sweden, check it out here.
Oslo is a very modern city mixed with some of its past like the Akershus fortress. There was a huge fire in 1624 and the city had to rebuild. It actually changed its name for a little bit to Kristiania before going back to Oslo.
Oslo has incredible views since it is located right on a fjord.
Public transportation runs very smoothly and it’s clean.
The interesting thing about their public transportation is that there is nothing blocking you from getting in like in most subways. They have readers where you have to scan your ticket to activate it but it is very much the honor system. Here’s the official website if you want to learn more or plan your trip.
Now don’t get me wrong, they do random checks. If your ticket isn’t activated by one of the scanners, you will have to pay a hefty fine. We actually experienced one of these random checks. It was actually
very a little alarming since a bunch of the workers blocked the way out and wouldn’t let you pass without scanning your ticket. So if you don’t know what’s going on like us, it is confusing.
Getting from the Airport to Oslo
We took the express airport train known as the Flytoget from the airport and it brought us right to the central station in the middle of Oslo known as Oslo S. This took about twenty minutes and we didn’t have to wait long at the airport. The Flyoget comes every ten minutes.
It is cheaper and doesn’t cost you too much time to take the local train. It doesn’t come as often as the Flyoget so make sure you check the train schedule for the day. The local train is a lot cheaper so if you’re on a budget then this is probably the best option for you. We took the Flytoget because it was the most convenient, and after a red-eye from the states, we just wanted to get to our hotel as fast as possible.
Oslo S was very crowded but fairly easy to navigate. It reminded me of an airport and had restaurants and places to grab snacks. Here you can catch trains that travel locally or to other countries, the subway and buses. One of the first things we noticed was that there were hot dogs everywhere.
Norweigan Hot Dogs a.k.a Pølse
It isn’t a secret that Oslo isn’t a cheap city to visit. However, one of the cheapest and fastest meals you can have is a Norweigan hot dog or Pølse. There are hot dogs literally EVERYWHERE. We got a hot dog at 7-Eleven and it was actually quite delicious. It looks more like a sausage than an American hot dog. The bun was shorter than the long hot dog itself. It seems like Norwegians really like their condiments and toppings because there was a wide variety. This included hot dog dressing which we haven’t been able to find anywhere else. It’s actually really good but I don’t know what it is. I guess it’s like mayo but has a seasoning to it. Maybe horseradish or mustard. Maybe I don’t want to know but if you’re in Oslo definitely give it a try.
The Roof of the Oslo Opera House
Now you may find it weird that I’m specifically mentioning the roof but at the Oslo Opera House you can walk right up onto the roof. The views from the top of the Oslofjord and the city, in general, are beautiful. You don’t have to go into the Opera House (we didn’t) but you should definitely go walk up the roof.
The roof is like a giant ramp and they do have steps, or you can just walk up it like a steep hill (or mountain). The building itself is shaped like a floating piece of ice so the architecture is pretty cool. Pun intended. The opera house is located just minutes from Oslo S so you can definitely fit this into your itinerary!
Vigeland Sculpture Park
Many say that this is the most popular attraction in Oslo. This wasn’t my favorite thing but it was definitely unique. Vigeland Sculpture park got its name from the sculptor Gustav Vigeland. He created over 200 sculptures for this park. This sculpture park is located in Frogner Park and all the sculptures are of naked people in all stages of life.
The sculptures are a mix of abstract and more realistic depictions of the human form. It’s free to go check out and it is definitely a site to see. It is also a nice stroll as the sculptures are lined up around the pathway towards the main sculpture.
One day we dedicated an entire day to going to museums using the Oslo Pass. The Oslo Pass grants you access to various museums and attractions at a set price. This means if you could go to one museum or every museum in the city included in the Oslo Pass, you pay the same price.
There are a few options depending on how many days you would like to have the pass. We did the 24-hour pass so we could hit up the museums on our list. Public transportation is included in the pass’s price so that’s a plus. I suggest doing the math to figure out if it will save you money to buy the pass or if you’re better off paying for each attraction individually.
The great thing about Oslo is that a lot of the museums are located in the same area of Bygdøy. This means you can get from one museum to the next fairly quickly.
The Viking Museum
The first museum we went to was the Viking Museum. This museum was very small and I wouldn’t recommend it unless you have the Oslo Pass or you really want to check out some Viking ships. The Viking ships are the most well preserved Viking ships in the world. Interestingly enough this is the most known museum in Oslo.
It had three ships from when they did Viking burials which were cool but we spent a very short amount of time here. If you have the pass, it is worth it to take a peek inside real quick and check out the ships especially since it is on the way to the other museums from the city’s center. The Viking ships weren’t what I was expecting; these boats are clearly before the time of elaborate boats.
The Maritime museum, Fram museum and Kon-tiki museum
These three museums are located right next to each other which was really convenient since you didn’t have to waste any precious time traveling to each museum. The good thing about these museums is that they are all ship-related museums so they
kinda go together. The only downside is that if you do them back to back like us, by the last one, we were definitely starting to get burnt out.
The Fram Museum
If I had to rank them, the Fram museum was my favorite out of the three. This museum is based on Norweigan explorers Fridtjof Nansen, Otto Sverdrup, and Roald Amundsen experiences on the Fram ship. This ship was built to break through the ice in the arctic so it was the strongest ship of its time. The Fram ship was built in the 1890s and it is MASSIVE. It is said to be the boat that traveled the most north AND south in its time.
It had a cold area where you could feel how cold it was for the explorers in the arctic. We were also able to walk onto the ships and see what it would have been like for the crewmembers on the ship. It was very interactive and informative.
The Kon-tiki Museum
The Kon Tiki was my second favorite. The Norweigan explorer Thor Heyerdahl had a theory that people from Egypt and Peru made trips across the ocean on boats made of balsa wood and reed to start new lives in the new world and basically had to prove his point.
They crossed the Pacific in a balsa wood raft known as Kon-Tiki in 1947 and the Atlantic in a reed boat called the Ra II in 1970. They even have the actual ships from these journeys. The Kon-Tiki went from the Pacific islands to Peru and the Ra II went from Morocco to Barbados.
He used materials that would have been available during ancient times to prove that these people could have actually sailed across the ocean back then. I’m not sure how they got across the ocean in these boats because they didn’t look very sturdy especially for a trip that long.
The Maritime Museum (Norsk Maritimt Museum)
The last one was the maritime museum and it had all the boats. They had a lot of model boats so you could really get an idea of how ships have changed over the years. It was interesting to see boats throughout history and how being a seaman has changed over time. It was focused on the Norweigan maritime heritage and it really has changed a lot over the years.
Anything you wanted to know about boats, this museum would tell you. The museum overlooks the water so it’s in a really good location while you learn about Oslo’s history with the water.
This fortress has protected Oslo since medieval times! The Akershus fortress houses the Akershus castle. It had really pretty views of the fjord around the fortress. It is located high up on a cliff so that they could see incoming attackers from miles away.
You can walk around the ground for free but there is a fee to check out the castle and the Resistance and Armed Forces Museum that is within the fortress. We didn’t go into either one of these because of timing but just walking around the fortress was nice.
I really wanted to do a hike in Norway. We definitely want to go back and explore the Norweigan countryside because it looks really breathtaking but my boyfriend and I wanted to at least get a taste. I found this hike online and it was accessible by public transportation and had nice views so we decided to go for it.
We went to a convenience store at the train station before we got on the metro out of the city to the nearest station to the hiking trail.
It was really easy and it took about 40 minutes. There were signs leading to the trail from the metro station so we didn’t have any issues finding it. It was a decent walk through a little village so it was cool to see a little bit of Norway out of the touristy areas.
The hike was really tough. Online it said it was suitable for everyone but that was deceiving. My face was red by the time we got to the top. It was to Klosastoppen which has a nice overlook of the city but you’re climbing up rocks the whole way up. Really steep rocks. There was a little bit of rain on our journey but not too bad.
The surprising thing was there were a lot of families hiking with little children on this very difficult trail and especially in the rain. They seemed like locals so that takes dedication. That’s that adventurous spirit I was talking about.
After we got up to the viewpoint, which was really beautiful we headed back down. I think the hike took about two hours total so it was the perfect amount of time.
We felt that we couldn’t go to Scandinavia and NOT experience a sauna. We were lucky enough to find one that was fairly priced right in the center of Oslo and a unique experience it was. The place was called Kok (which means boil in Norweigan) and you sit in a floating sauna in the harbor and once you get too hot, you jump in the fjord. It’s located right across from the Opera House which is pretty neat.
The temperature difference between the sauna and the fjord was crazy but once you were in the water it felt pretty nice. The fjord was salty which I hadn’t expected. We didn’t bring our phones which we regret because we couldn’t take any pictures. We were worried there wouldn’t be anywhere to safely store our stuff but they had a cubby area for everyone to store their belongings. The boat was also pretty small so I don’t think you have to worry about it but I would note that it isn’t locked up.
You’re able to relax in the sauna for two hours but you could leave whenever you had your fill since it stays docked. You could jump off the boat and some people were even jumping off the harbor side. It seemed pretty deep and they didn’t seem to have an issue with people diving in if that’s something you’re interested in.
That is my experience of Oslo, Norway for the weekend.
I didn’t go into the brown cheese too much but Norwegians put it on waffles with jam and it was at breakfast at the hotel every day. It’s really good and it doesn’t taste like the typical cheese you find in the United States. You definitely have to try the hot dogs and the brown cheese while you’re there.
I’m glad we were able to do the hike even though it was super challenging because even that close to the city, the nature was beautiful and different than back home.
There was a lot we didn’t do but we had a great time. I wish we could have stayed longer to experience more of what this city had to offer.
Until next time,