1.Oslo Opera House, 2. View from the Oslo Opera House, 3. View from the Oslo Opera House
A brief history:
Norway has had a very extensive history complete with vikings, to which you can learn about when you visit one of the tourist attractions that I recommend down below, so I won’t go into that here.
Norway suffered years of being ruled by neighbouring Sweden, and on 13 August 1905 they voted in a referendum for the independence of Norway. An agreement was reached on 23 September 1905. Norway was the 4th country in the world to give women the vote in national elections in 1913.
During both World War One and Two, Norway remained neutral. However, Germany did eventually invade Norway on 9 April 1940. Despite efforts from the French and Brits, Norway was occupied until the end of the war. After 1945 Norway resigned the policy of neutrality and joined NATO in 1949. In 1994 the Norwegian voted against joining the EU in another referendum.
Norway today is an extremely prosperous country, with a very high standard of living. Unemployment in Norway was only a mere 3.1% in 2012, which is much lower than most European countries. Information gathered from here.
4. Frogner Park, 5. Vigeland sculpture, 6. Frogner Park
Things to do:
Frogner Park- the official name is Frognerparken and it is the biggest park in central Oslo. In the middle of the park is Vigeland Sculpture Park which (for good reason) is Oslo’s most visited attraction. As you can view for yourself through my photos, you will see that the photos are most intriguing, odd, interesting or whatever other word to describe obscure sculptures comes to mind, but very beautiful and interesting. Frogner Park has a cafe and restaurant, but we bought a packed lunch and ate it in the park to enjoy the beautiful surroundings! Frogner Park is located at Kirkeveien, 0268 Oslo, Norway. If travelling via public transport, jump on tram No.12 and catch it directly to Frognerparken. This will take you roughly 30 minutes on the tram. Allow a few hours to view this attraction.
Stortinget (The Parliament)- has been running since 1866. If you are interested you can go on a guided tour on the weekdays in the summer from 10:00am-1:00pm, and on Saturdays during spring and autumn. Unfortunately, no bookings are available and it is run on a first-come-first-served basis. The tour lasts 45 minutes and is free of charge! The parliaments location is on Karl Johans gate 22, 0026 Oslo and the meeting point for the tour is at the Akersgata entrance (the back of the building), 15 minutes before the tour starts. I didn’t go on the tour, as we ran out of time so let me know if you go to Oslo and do the tour!
Royal Palace- is open to the public during summer, but all visitors must follow a guided tour which last one hour. If you are interested in attending a tour check out this website for times and prices. The Royal Palace is located at Slottsplassen 1, 0010 Oslo. I also didn’t go on the guided tour, but I arrived just in time by sheer luck to view the changing of the guards. The event takes place 1:30pm daily, no matter the weather so make sure you check this out when you’re in Oslo! The entire changing of the guards takes about 40 minutes.
City Hall- this was inaugurated in 1950 and since then has been decorated in Norwegian art dating from 1900-1950. Definitely something to check out. I spent about 30 minutes here just perusing the art on my way to another museum.
Kon-Tiki museum- this museum is about Thor Heyerdahl, who gained worldwide fame for crossing the Pacific Ocean on the balsawood raft ‘Kon-Tiki’ in 1947. The museum will cost an adult NOK 95 and NOK 60 for students. Click here to see the full price list. I travelled via ferry to the Bygdøy peninsula, you can also travel by bus. The ferry operates between March and October, departing every 20/30 minutes from Pier 3 by City Hall. It makes two stops, first at Donningen (Norwegian Museum of Cultural History/ Folk Museum, Viking Ship Museum and Oscarshall), and second at Bygdøynes (Kon-Tiki, Fram and Norwegian Maritime Museum). Generally, people see a few museums in one day when they make the trip out to the peninsula. The ferry will cost you NOK 60 return, or if you pay on board, NOK 60 one way. If you have an Oslo Pass, this is free.
Fram museum- whilst on the Bygdøy peninsula I also visited the Fram museum. The Fram is the strongest wooden ship ever built and holds the record for sailing the farthest north and south. You can board the actual ship in the museum and see how the men managed to survive the Arctic and Antarctic, which is beyond me. This will cost you NOK 100 for an adult or NOK 40 for a student.
Munch museum- this is a museum dedicated to expressionist artist Edvard Munch. This museum contains the highest number of Munch’s paintings in one exhibition in the world. I will say, it does not hold the Scream in this exhibition. I very badly wanted to see the original painting and felt highly disappointed when I only saw a screen print. Other than that, it was a very good gallery and if you’re a fan of Munch, I’m sure you’d really enjoy this. The location is Tøyengata 53, 0578 Oslo and it will cost an adult NOK 100 and NOK 60 for students.
Aker Brygge- this is a strip of restaurants along the boardwalk on the water. If you’re from Sydney, Australia (like me), it reminded my very much of Darling Harbour. It’s filled with lots of delicious, fancy restaurants and apartments overhead. We enjoyed one night eating here, as it VERY expensive but we thought we owed it to ourselves whilst on holidays! We also enjoyed an ice-cream from one of the many ice cream spots available along the board walk.
7. Vigeland sculpture, 8. Vigeland sculpture, 9. Royal Palace, Oslo
I stayed in this airBnB in Oslo. It was a good location, just a 10 minute walk from the Central Station. The area was very multicultural and looked a bit run down on one end, but the other end was filled with nice restaurants. The place itself was comfortable and the host was very well equipped. Definitely recommend staying here if you visit Oslo!
10. Unknown building, 11. Changing of the guards at Royal Palace, 12. Main street, 13. Scream at Edvard Munch museum
Getting to the airport- we took the train from Central Station, which runs directly to the airport. This is also the cheaper option, saving you money.
Bring a packed lunch- to save money and time, we started to buy our groceries from the supermarket and bring packed lunches! The food at the grocery stores were absolutely fresh and delicious, with the yummiest baked bread to make sandwiches.
Totenflaks- I would travel back to Norway just to eat these chippies. If you go anywhere in Norway, make sure you get a packet (or two). You will not be disappointed!
Norway is a very costly country, due to their high standard of living. Travelling from Australia, the dollar wasn’t terrible but it wasn’t great either. In one part of town, where we began our search for dinner one night, a restaurant was charging the equivalent to $40AUD for a hamburger with no accompaniment of chips. Although, we did eventually find a cheaper restaurant where the hamburger cost around $15-$20AUD instead (very similar to Sydney prices, where I live). So, if you are motivated to search for some cheaper eats it is possible but I don’t think anything you find will be overly cheap like the Baltic countries, where your value for money goes very far.
An idea on how to save money whilst travelling the Scandinavian countries is to cook dinners at home and bring a packed lunch. We opted to spend a little more and eat out, enjoying our holiday, but saved money and time during the day by bringing a packed lunch out with us!