Last weekend we traveled to Oslo, Norway.
We were super excited about this trip, as we booked it in April of this year, before we even had our plane tickets to London!
We learned that a singer we really like, Leon Bridges, was going on tour in Europe and we decided to go see him somewhere we might not have traveled otherwise. We decided on Oslo because the plane tickets were relatively inexpensive.
We really enjoyed Oslo! Everything from the airport to the trains to the restaurants had a very Scandinavian feel. We hadn’t really done a lot of prep ahead of time because we booked everything a while back and then put the trip out of our mind. We’ve been super busy since arriving to London, and it kind of snuck up on us. So we winged it a little bit. Upon landing in Oslo we decided the most time and cost effective way to get to our hotel would be to take the express train. When traveling in Europe you’ll find that many of the main airports are located outside the city center, so it’s important to factor the cost and time associated with traveling into town. For example, the Heathrow Express to get to Central London costs £36 each way, which is almost $100 for a round trip! (We recommend taking the tube, which will take a bit longer but is much cheaper).
Back to Oslo. While on the train, I searched for a place to eat that was near our hotel, and we decided on the San Francisco Bread Bowl restaurant. We were cold, so we thought soup would be a good idea.
We were a little disappointed by that restaurant, as they ran out of chowder after we had ordered and paid, and we had to select other soups. They were also very slow - we were there for over an hour and probably waited 30 minutes for our food. The food was good but overall the experience was rather disappointing.
After lunch, we went to our hotel, Oslo Guldsmeden, and dropped off our bags (and defrosted). We then headed over to Vigelandsparken, a sculpture park, to do a bit of sightseeing. The park was beautiful, and relatively empty. It had interesting sculptures, which I honestly didn’t understand. In general, there didn’t seem to be a ton of tourists in Oslo and it didn’t seem to be a very heavily populated city. At times we even felt like we were alone in the city! We had great warm beverages in the little cafe in the park and then headed back to our hotel to rest a little and get ready for the concert.
Before the concert, we grabbed a quick bite to eat at an Italian restaurant called Villa Paradiso per the recommendation of the concierge at our hotel, and it was quite possibly one of the best dining experiences we’ve had since we moved to Europe. They seated us quickly, refilled our water constantly, before it got empty, and the food (we ordered a pizza) came out fast and was delicious.
We headed over to the concert hall after dinner and danced the night away. Leon bridges is an amazing performer, I can’t recommend grabbing tickets enough! It was the first concert I’ve been to in ages and I’m so glad that we went.
The following morning we were slow to get moving and only managed to make it to Vikingshipshuset, a Viking museum, before heading to the airport. The museum was amazing and I highly recommend going - especially if you enjoy history like we do! They had actual Viking ships, that were discovered in Norway (not replicas!!).
It was a quick, but fun trip and a good introduction to Scandinavia. I would absolutely love to go back during the summer time. The landscape, seen from both the plane and the train upon arrival, was absolutely incredible.
Oslo is very expensive - Norway is the fourth most expensive country in the world! We didn’t learn that until after we arrived. We were shocked at the prices for everything.
Be prepared for the cold! It wasn’t that bad but it was snowing lightly for the majority of the time we were there, so bring a heavy jacket, something to put on your head, gloves, boots etc!
The public transportation system is very good and quite easy to take. I recommend buying a 24hr travel card, called the Impulskort (purchasable at any 7-11 or convenience store), which allows you to use the metro, trams, buses and ferries as much as you want, for 24 hours and is pretty inexpensive. For one zone (all we needed) the ticket was only 105kr, which is about $12.
Make sure to have some smoked salmon - Scandinavia, but Norway especially, is known for their smoked salmon! We only managed to have a little at breakfast, but it was delicious.
I hope to make it back soon - and to neighboring Stockholm and Copenhagen! Until next time!