A girls long weekend in Oslo. With, (of course) a bargain Ryanair flight from Manchester and a pre-booked AirBnB that would cost us £80 each for 3 nights. A budget trip, or so we thought. “Oslo is expensive” they told us, “I’ve been to Dublin” I said. I knew Oslo was expensive, I’ve heard the rumours about city breaks to Scandinavian hot spots and the cost of a simple drink or an overinflated McDonald’s. So this time, unlike my time in Dublin, I was prepared for the cost. Welcome to Oslo – the non-budget traveller friendly city.
DESTINATION GUIDE: OSLO, NORWAY
ARRIVING IN OSLO TORP
|Source: Google Maps|
All things considered I didn’t mind paying for the 500NOK train, since our flight was booked around February time and only cost £20 getting into Oslo didn’t seem too off putting.
Take note Torp Airport is 2 hours outside of Oslo but well connected to the city
|The platform at Torp Station, read to take us to Oslo|
|The warmest of welcomes from our AirBnB|
HOW TO GET TO OSLO FROM TORP SANDEFJORD AIRPORT
We had originally planned to take the bus the Torpekspressen, but actually ended up buying a return ticket for the train, which did in fact work out much better as I don’t deal well with winding busses at night. A shuttle bus runs from Torp Sandefjord Airport which is perfectly timed with the incoming trains and only a five minute journey. The 500NOK ticket can be purchased from any of the red and grey ticket machines located in the airport. They all say ‘billett’ down the side and that’s about as Norwegian as it gets, everything else is in English for your convenience.
|The waterfront in Oslo – all the more picturesque in the sun|
THE CITY OF OSLO – DESTINATION GUIDE
Arriving in Oslo in the dark didn’t phase me, it was only 10:00 pm and the city was alive, as alive as any city can be on a Thursday night. We had Google map planned the route from the Central Station to our Airbnb so suitcases and all we walked the 15 minute journey to our hosts house. This is a journey we would do daily.
We could’ve taken the subway the angry trains that ran past our window every night kept on reminding us, but the sun was hot and there was a real sense of European Summer time in the air so we walked.
Trams, busses and subways can be taken across Oslo – bus tickets aren’t always the cheapest at 50NOK
|The regenerated waterfront in Oslo now filled with homes, bars and restaurants. The Fjord City is an urban renewal project that’s basically a contemporary movement happening in Oslo to attract a whole host of tourism to the city|
The city of Oslo is smaller than I expected. We seemed to get about everywhere on foot easily. Perhaps it was my refusal to pay the £19.00 starting fair equivalent that made it seem this way and the bus will set you back a staggering 50NOK per journey. From the Opera House to the regenerated waterfront to the packed steps of Central Station we found ourselves passing the same streets, shops and cathedral daily as we became familiar with the city.
Oslo is pricey, I knew this and I was prepared but something about the sweet summer sunshine seemed to soften that blow. The city was in full swing, spending time on the steps of Oslo Central Station told me this. People were coming and going and almost everyone was out to enjoy Norways premature summer.
|The Opera House from the water with the urban renewal project Fjord City behind. Don’t worry the height of the new buildings is regulated by strict standards to not ruin the views|
OSLO’S OPERA HOUSE – DESTINATION GUIDE: OSLO
Oslo’s must see sights include the Opera House, a piece of invasive architecture created to mimic a glacier on the water front. You can walk up the sides and on the top of the Opera House and it’s possibly the best place in the city for view (if you can ignore the cranes for long enough). We visited on our first day and decided to return to the tourist hot spot on our last evening to watch the sunset – a recommendation a fellow blogger gave me on a must do in Oslo.
Tours of the Opera House are also available there are hundreds of rooms so we decided not to waste a sunny day inside
|Oslo’s Opera House feat. every crane in all of Norway|
|Sunset from the rooftop of The Opera House, Oslo|
WHAT TO DO IN OSLO – DESTINATION GUIDE: OSLO, NORWAY
|Leaving Oslo Central Train Station|
|The National Theatre, Oslo, Norway|
A FJORD CRUISE – OSLO, NORWAY
|Oslo Fjord Cruise – Authentic Fjord Cruises in Norway lasting 2 hours|
Tickets from the Fjord cruise can be bought from the wooden booth on the waterfront – the Oslo sightseeing Fjord cruise lasts 2 hours
|Bathing houses on the banks of the Oslo Fjord, Norway|
|From the Oslo Fjord Cruise|
|An evening in Oslo, Norway|
NIGHTLIFE IN OSLO – DESTINATION GUIDE: OSLO
If you’re looking to spend a some cash (your life savings) a night out in Oslo is certainly the place to do so. There’s a wide range of trendy and traditional bars at your fingertips where the beer costs a tenner and there’s ‘snus’ in the ashtrays.
We found Torggata by accident but the trendy indoor/outdoor street is filled with bars, restaurants and all the tunes you could possibly need. We drank in Wurst and Angst and were actually recommended Angst by our Norwegian host. Angst was packed, Oslo on a Friday night is a vibrant and lively place to be. We sat outside and watched the busy courtyard style street fill up throughout the night. We drank 140NOK Aperol Spritz and watched serial snus-ers pop tobacco pillows under their gums in amusement.
Oslo is pricey and a big night of drinking will cost you but like I say if you have money to spend you know where to go
|The view from our favourite people watching spot – The steps of Central Station, Oslo|
|Central Train Station, Oslo|
GETTING TO KNOW THE CITY OF OSLO ON A BUDGET
|The Fjord City by day|
Don’t forget the name Mamma Pizza for tasty cheap eats in Oslo
A LONG WEEKEND IN OSLO – DESTINATION GUIDE: OSLO
I was disappointed in the real lack of Scandinavian culture in Oslo, I found that that sense of Scandinavia was missing and I’m not sure what I was expecting otherwise. Perhaps exploring Oslo in the sun isn’t the ideal scenario and for a more authentic Norwegian experience try a trip in the midst of winter for the northern lights. Without sounding too negative I felt that Oslo as a city felt much younger than its Central European equivalents and I’m guessing that is due to all the regeneration projects and urban renewal that’s been undertaken. Although a great city break I know the urban renewal efforts will only make this city more tourist friendly and add to the great nightlife and bar seen that we got to experience.
Oslo was fun, I was in a city in the sun and it was the weekend. But I couldn’t help feeling like I could’ve been in any city in any country in the world. The city wasn’t particularly breathtaking at all, it wasn’t as clean as I expected the architecture a lot of the time was hidden behind new larger buildings or large structures. Of the European cities I have seen there was nothing too exciting about Oslo. Except of course for The Fjord, which is by far the key motivation to visiting Oslo. I can only assume. That’s what sold a trip to Oslo to me, the idea of a cruise along a Norwegian Fjord – I would’ve booked any trip for that alone.