As our first ever holiday together, Liv and I ventured to Oslo in Norway. This is a part of a series of Throwback Travel posts.
Having previously visited Sweden and Denmark, I wanted to tick another beautiful Scandinavian country off the list.
We visited in May and it was unexpectedly hot with my other half getting sunburnt on day one! I was on hand to buy sun cream and painkillers (not that easy with my limited language skills), but obviously being Scandinavia it will be a lot colder at other times in the year.
We stayed at the Thon Hotel (Munch) – like a Premier Inn level of chain hotels which came with a continental buffet breakfast included in our stay. We found it a little difficult to find this one after I’d left the local library’s copy of the Oslo guidebook on the plane and had no Google Maps. Our Norwegian was non-existent so we struggled to locate the hotel as we moved off the edge of our city centre map. It was a cheap and cheerful base and they even chilled our champagne for us at reception.
On the walk between the hotel and the City centre was the Nasjonalgalleriet (National Gallery of Norway) and we took a peek on one of our days.
The Royal Palace in Oslo is great to look out over the city from the top of the hill. Time it right and you can watch the changing of the guards too. Take some more time to see the ducks and the fountains in the beautiful surrounding Palace gardens.
A real hidden gem to discover is the Oslo Reptile Park. As well as a variety of reptiles they also have monkeys. Upstairs we saw some snakes and had a chance to hold them after asking the staff. Entry is fairly cheap and it’s a really good way to get away from the busier attractions in the city centre.
Keeping up the tradition with our other city breaks, we found another city and another Opera House to tick off the list. Oslo Operahuset is in the city centre not too far from the central station and looks out onto the waterfront. It’s a huge, modern building (opened in 2008) with a brilliantly designed sloped roof.
The most unexpected element is that you are encouraged to walk up onto the roof and admire the sights from the vantage point.
The waterfront offers a great place to sit and chill out with nearby ice-cream stands and the local chain is called Hennig-Olsen. They made quite a bit off us in just a few days as we took a liking to the Oreo flavour!
Wanting a nice spot to sit and chill with a healthy fruit/vegetable juice or coffee? Joe and the Juice has just what you need – a juice bar that originated in Denmark and has friendly staff and nice music playlists offering plenty of good vibes. They now also have a number of UK branches as well including one just down the road from me in Richmond.
Below the statue of former US President Franklin D Roosevelt that overlooks the harbour, you can find some nice waterside bars for a drink and a snack.
We also stumbled across the Oslo Middelalderfestival which is the annual Medieval festival held at Akershus festning – the medieval castle built as a fortress to protect the capital of Norway. It has also been used as a prison in the past.
Aker Brygge is the really stylish waterfront area downtown with shops, restaurants and bars galore to choose from. Being with an Olivia, we had to eat at the namesake restaurant Olivia and were not disappointed by the food or the cocktails.
A nice football and drink discovery was Beer Palace which provided a nice spot to watch the Champions League Final and of course have a beer. (Just because I was on holiday, doesn’t mean I can’t follow the football).
The final recommendation would be the American diner Beach Club that serves up great burgers near to Aker Brygge with an impressive outdoor seating area. It used to be near to a Boxpark with a number of temporary shops.
As a destination you may think it will be fairly expensive but we ended up over-budgeting and coming back home with Norwegian Krone!
It’s a beautiful city with lots to see and do – make it your next destination.