Oslo – Exploring Norways urban spirit

Want to feel like a modern time princess (or prince 😉), wandering within the silence of a true winter wonderland? All you need is a short trip to Oslo. A voyage to the cold north of Europe is a must do for everyone who is falling for nordic culture and snowy streets, coffe-shop-hopping or visiting art galleries.

Most of you might not have yet thought of a rendevouz with the breathtaking queen of Norway – its capital Oslo. A couple of weeks ago, I didnt even know much about the city. But here I am now, writing a beginners guide to Oslo. So, listen up if you find the beauty of could more fascinating than freezing.

And by the by: The most promising time to stroll the snowy streets of Oslo –and maybe even to chase some northern lights– is between November and March. Activities like skiing, sowboarding or (free!) ice skating are waiting for you in the area of Olso, too.

Top Spots in Oslo for tourists are the Nobel Peace Center, the peninsula Bygdøy and the slopes of Holmenkollen on the edge of the city. All time classic: The numerous norwegian history and art museums.

Let’s start with the most easy thing to do that’s free of cost: Going for a walking tour in the city centre.

Free walking tour: Olso Sentrum

The place to give your discovery tour a primal go was for me definitely Oslo Sentrum. You can have a first look at the Oslo Fjord from the harbour area or literally climb the roof of the Opera building. How cool is that? My other favourite sights: The picturesque setting of The Royal Palace is perfect for a winter walk, The National Gallery is holding Munchs famous painting “The Scream”, the city center “Oslo Sentrum” is perfect if you want to shop some nordic styles and the Mainstation has a beautiful square in the old part of the buildung – and it’s a suprisingly good place for a scandinavian lunch time. Yum.

LCSLB courier to Oslo: Do a free walking tour an be your own guide!

free-walking-tour-oslo
Via Google Maps: Free Walking Tour Oslo Sentrum

Best things to do after a tour in the city center: Strolling around the district Grünerløkka that is, no kidding, one of the hippest places on earth right now. It’s ambiance is perfect for the ones who want to dive into modern culture or like café-hopping. Go here to find urban art or head to Skillebek for tiny art galleries. Tired of walking? You can reach any destination easily by public transport.

Urban Art: Quick guide to Grünerløkka

Well, Norway may not be the first country that springs to mind of the enthusiastic street art hunter. But you might again be surprised. On the one hand, a lot of friendly people are living here. And they are mostly welcoming bustling traveller. ALL of them are happy to help you out while hunting the sweetest places to be in Olso. Just ask (in English).

The murals and tons of sculptures in the streets of Olso Sentrum and Grünerløkka are pretty astonishing. Plenty of murals are designed in a creative, provocative, cute or simply beautiful way. Regarding the variety of colours, people really accessorize the city here. Over the last ten years, urban artists of international standing and local art enthusiast have turned the streets of Oslo into one of Norways most interesting and vibrant art scenes.

Check it out: Interactive map to find some of the best street art and graffiti in Oslo
by visitoslo.com

Street art from all over the city of Oslo

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Nobel Peace Center

The modern and progressive exhibition centre is a must see if you are ready to soak in the history of “peace making”. I liked to listen to the inspiring thoughts of the Nobel Peace Prize winners. Also, feel free to join the world peace mouvement against nuclear weapons: #ican #peacework.

The Nobel Peace Prize museum offers an exciting combination of changing and permanent exhibitions that promote popular interest in issues relating to war, peace and conflict resolution. Here, the Peace Prize laureates are all presented on digital screens in the Nobel Field, a garden of 1000 fibre-optic lights. Don’t miss the magical book about Alfred Nobel’s life and work, the Electronic Wall Papers.

via vistitnorway.com

Low Budget – Boat trip on the Oslo Fjord

The fjords of norway are worldfamous. And Oslo lies practically on the shoreline of one of these estuaries. If you want to save money and are looking to enjoy nature at its best, do Island hopping on the Oslo Fjord.

There is a clever way to avoid a costly tourist boat tour to get an impression of the stunning scenery. Take a ferry and visit tiny islands in the inner Oslo Fjord. With a regular public transportation ticket or the Oslo Pass (grab it at the information desk next to the piers or at the main station) you just take the ferry, benefit from the observation deck and hop off an island of your choice.

On some the islands nearby the main land, tiny villages display themselves in striking colours. Quite a contrast to the black rocks of the coast line that covered in snow when going during winter season. Whenever you need a break or want to get yourself warmed up after a walk on one of the islands… you also
find some cozy cafés here.

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Norwegian culture, art and traditions

Oslo is for art lovers!

“Oslo, the Norwegian city is a rich blend of the country’s Scandinavian roots and its contemporary values. The country had seen a firm romantic nationalistic movement in the fourteenth century which has left a lasting effect on the nation’s art and culture. The city is filled with museums which glorify its enriching past, while the exhibitions, art galleries, theatres depict the present artists and their works.”

Read more on oslo.com

Paintings of the famous Norvegian Mordernist Edvard Munch

The Munch Museum hosts the impressive collection of Edvard Munch’s works and provides insight into the artist as a pioneer of expressionism. BUT, to see his most famous paintings “The Scream” and “Mandonna”, head straight to theThe National Museum! The beautiful building in the city centre holds the world’s most important collection of paintings by Edvard Munch. Also, the Nasjonalmuseet” exhibits Norway’s largest collection of art, architecture and design.
Good hint for those eager to learn: Download the audioguide in your language directly on your smartphone. The museum staff will inform you how to do it when buying the tickets at the entry.

Don’t be a tourist. Become an explorer!

And therefore my strong advice is: don’t miss the The Polar Museum. Spend a day in Bygdøy’s highest rated museum. It is absolutely worth the while. What can you learn here? Everything about expeditions into the eternal ice! Wouah.

Big plus: Visiting the Fram Polar Ship Museum is an interactive excursion

Good to know: Almost half of the area lies north of the Arctic Circle. The eternal ice has played a major role in Norwegian history. Names like Fridtjof Nansen and Roald Amundsen stand for the biggest polar research expeditions of the country. The Fram Polar Ship Museum – or Framuseum – owes its name to the restored expedition ship Fram.

Nearby the Fram Polar Ship Museum on the peninsula Bygdøy, you’ll find a spectacular exhibition on the historical development of Norwayand its ships (Vikings calling!).

Bonus for sporty traveller: Holmenkollen and Winterpark

If you have a little more time to spare, head to the alpine area in the suburbs of Oslo. The Vinterpark is a large ski resort in the Oslo area, with 18 slopes and 11 lifts, just 40 minutes from the city centre.

And it just keeps getting better. Especially for action lovers and winter sports enthusiasts. The ski museum in Holmenkollen is located underneath the famous ski jump that you can see on the hills surrounding the city. This sight is the oldest of its kind in the world. And it’s big! Also, there’s a museum that presents 4,000 years of skiing history, Norwegian polar exploration artifacts and an exhibition on snowboarding and modern skiing. Café, ski simulator and souvenir shop complete the experience. And last but not at all least: The observation deck on top of a nearby jump tower offers a panoramic view of Oslo.

Thanks to everyone who gave me recommendations. And special thanks to Val for offering the perfect x-mas present and being my Oslo travel companion.


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