Oslo, Oslo, Oslo – where do we begin… Well, let’s start with the fact we’ve been wanting to visit Scandinavia for a while now, so we headed in search of a white Christmas and booked a short weekend getaway to Norway’s capital, Oslo.
Oslo is a short flight from London, and although it’s not the cheapest place to visit… it’s perfect for a stopover or a weekend getaway. On 21st December 2018, we packed our bags and headed for London Stansted. Despite a few hiccups – including me forgetting my coat… (only slightly important when visiting somewhere with average temperatures of -3 in December – oops!), and a slightly delayed flight due to the drone sighting at Gatwick earlier that evening, we arrived in Oslo late on Friday evening. Though we were only in Norway for two full days, we managed to fit a fair amount in and definitely had a good insight to what Oslo is like!
As Oslo is only a two hour flight from London, it makes it a popular destination for city breaks. With flights costing as little as £25pp return, it makes it a very appealing city! HOWEVER, do not let the cheap flights kid you. Oslo is a very expensive city – along with most of Scandinavia – so be prepared for the steeper prices that come with accommodation, food and transportation when you’re there! We don’t think this should put you off, and there are definitely ways to save money, including the train that goes from Oslo International Airport directly into Oslo central station. We read a tip before going that advised getting the standard train from the airport to Oslo Central, rather than the airport express. There’s hardly any difference time wise and it’s half the price!
As you know we LOVE Airbnb, and when booking our accommodation in Oslo, this was the first place we looked. We found numerous different apartments available for the dates we had planned, but there was one in particular that had fantastic reviews in a great location, only a ten minute walk to central station with a tram stop at the end of the road. The apartment itself was pretty basic but absolutely fine for what we needed, located in Grünerløkka (we’d recommend staying in this area) it was close to both restaurants, sights and transport.
Things to do
There’s loads to do in Oslo and as we were there for just over 48 hours, we only scraped the surface.
- Fjord Cruise
- Viking Museum
- Jekyll & Hyde Pub
- Christmas Market
- Holmenkollen Ski Museum & Tower
- Korketrekkeren toboggan run
The first thing we wanted to tick off our to-do / must see list was a visit to the fjord. Through some research we did prior to visiting Norway, we found there were daily cruises that went around the Fjord so headed straight to the harbour to board a boat! The cruise was two hours long and cost 315NOK/person (around £29). It was worth every penny. There was commentary on all the sights around the Fjord and the views were incredible – a must in our opinion.
This was a must for us (especially Marcus) and despite my hesitance, it was so worth the visit. The Fjord cruise dropped off those wishing to visit the museums at a different stop, and were then able to later board back onto the boat to go back to the original harbour. The museum was fascinating and the 3 preserved and semi-restored viking ships were amazing to see. A history lesson not to be missed!
Food and drink
Despite warnings, I don’t think we were quite prepared for how expensive everything in Oslo was going to be, especially the drink… With a pint setting you back around £10, it isn’t the cheapest place to get a bit merry! Albeit, we put the expense of a pint aside and ventured into a few Norwegian pubs. Our favourite was the Jekyll & Hyde pub, which we stumbled across on our way back from the Viking Museum. It specialised in beer and whisky and must have served hundreds of different varieties. Definitely worth a visit. Norwegian food is not overly well renowned, and we tried to keep cost down by eating in but we made sure to try out some local cuisine at the Christmas Market.
Holmenkollen Ski Museum & Tower
Day two in Oslo was spent slightly outside of the city centre with our first stop being the ski museum and tower. We took the train (£10 for a day ticket) to Holmenkollen, home to the world’s oldest ski museum and an Olympic ski jump. The museum is a slight uphill walk from the station but the views from the top of the tower definitely make this worth while. We wandered around the museum for a short while, with great interactive features, I’d probably say it’s one of the best we’ve seen. We then got the steep horizontal lift up to the top of the ski tower where the ski jumpers would have begun their decent. In summer you can zip-line down the ski jump – not for the faint-hearted!! The ski jump itself is magnificent but the views at the top are so much better! The tower overlooks the whole of Oslo and is definitely the best viewpoint!
Korketrekkeren toboggan run
Time for a bit of adventure. We got back onto the train at Holmenkollen and made our way up to the final stop – Frognerseteren Station. The start of Oslo’s most famous toboggan run. We had to walk the first part of the track to get to the hire place, but once we’d picked up our toboggan (100nok pp / day) we were off! The run gets quite busy and is shared with both tobogganers and mountain bikers, but it is SO much fun! The run is long and takes around 15 minutes (depending on your tobogganing skills!) to get from the top to the bottom, before having to the take the train back up to the start. We did the run twice we enjoyed it so much, and we’d 100% do it again if we return to Oslo!
Tip: if you don’t want to get too cold / wet, make sure you wear ski stuff as snow goes everywhere!
We had an absolutely fantastic time in Oslo – what a great start to Christmas! We loved everything we did during our short stay and will definitely be back to explore more of Norway in the future. Don’t let the expensiveness put you off – just be prepared!
As of yet, we don’t have a huge amount booked for 2019 – only one short weekend away at the end of January, but i’m sure that will change very soon…! Better get writing our 2019 wishlist!
Adios for now,
Love Char & Mar xxx