24 Hours in Oslo
Many people add a night in Oslo at the start or end of their holiday in Norway. It’s a fabulous city and there’s so much to do, you really should stay longer. But assuming you only have 24 hours in the capital, here’s our suggestion for things to do.
Must ‘Sea’ Museums
Head straight to Radhusplassen quayside (in front of the iconic City hall where the Nobel Peace Prize is presented each year) and hop on to the Bygdoy ferry (runs Mar – Oct) which takes just a few minutes to bring you across the Oslofjorden to the Bygdoy region. (You can also get there by public bus #30). This is where you’ll find 3 of the most fascinating maritime-related museums in the world.
#1 Fram Museum
MS Fram is a little ship with a lot of history. She has brought explorers, including Roald Amundsen, to the North and South Poles and you can visit to get an idea of how her crew spent years living on-board in fairly cramped and basic conditions. You’ll be amazed at the tiny cabins (with short and narrow beds) the officers lived in and by the exhibits showing how far this boat went and the dangers she faced on her voyage. There’s another polar ship, Gjoa, on the same site and you can explore her decks too.
# 2 Kon-Tiki Museum
Older readers may remember the Kon-Tiki story, and younger ones may have seen the more recent film of her fascinating (and hair raising) journey across the Pacific. In 1947 Thor Heyerdahl built a raft of reeds, balsa logs and ropes and with a crew of 5 hedrifted across the Pacific, proving once and for all that ancient peoples from South America could have crossed the ocean to populate the Polynesian Islands. You can see the actual Kon-Tiki in this museum, as well as the Ra and Tigris reed boats which he used on subsequent voyages, plus exhibits on the various voyages and their destinations.
#3 Viking Ship Museum
See some of the best-preserved Viking ships in the world as well as unique burial artefacts from boat graves around the Oslo Fjord. There are wonderful exhibits of Viking treasures: incredible woodcarvings, mysterious skeletal remains, plus an immersive film that takes you into the Viking era.
While on Bogdoy, it’s only a short walk from the maritime museums to the Norsk Folkmuseum. As this is an open-air Museum, it’s probably best visited on a dry day. Laid out across the large property are old buildings from various parts of Norway, including a Gol stave church from the year 1200, showing the culture and history of Norway’s many cities and regions. There are cultural exhibitions and in Summer, there are daily activities, costume-clad guides, folk dancing, and music performances. There are also weekend activities throughout the year and a Christmas market.
Vigeland Sculpture Park
Gustav Vigelands (1869-1943) is probably Norway’s most famous sculptor. This unique park represents his life’s work, with more than 200 sculptures in bronze, granite and forged iron. His inspiration was life, people and emotions, all beautifully represented in his amazing work which can be enjoyed by all in this beautiful park which was also designed by Vigeland himself. It’s easy to reach by tram (#12) or bus (#20) and admission is free.
Oslo on Foot
If you’ve an hour or two to spare, take a walk from Oslo train station, up the main shopping street, Karl Johans Gate, through the park around the Royal Palace (no high walls or fences to keep the public away from the Norwegian Royal Family), then head for the quayside. On the way, drop in to Oslo City Hall and be amazed at the hand-painted walls in the great hall where the Nobel Peace Prize is presented each year, and the vast City Council meeting rooms upstairs. Finally, stroll through the newly developed harbourside area of Aker Brygge out to the Museum of Modern Art. There’s a wonderful mix of offices, apartments, restaurants and bars in this pedestrianised zone.
You won’t manage all of the above in 24 hours, and we haven’t even mentioned the National Opera & Ballet, Akershus Fortress, the Nobel Peace Centre, the Munch Museum, the Holmenkollen Ski Jump & Simulator, never mind all the rest! Hopefully it will leave you wanting more and we’d be happy to help you plan it.
Give Project Travel a call on 01 210 8391 and we’d be happy to put together a city break in Oslo for you, either as part of your Norwegian holiday or as a stand-alone short-break.
Image credit: Project Travel