It would have been quicker had Brussels Airlines managed to get a flight on time but you can fly direct from London in a few hours. We went from Birmingham to Brussels to Oslo. We certainly wouldn't recommend Brussels Airlines if you can avoid it.
November is not the recommended time to visit Oslo, according to their tourist guides.They recommend summer where you can enjoy the stunning countryside for all it's glory, not cram all your sightseeing into the few hours of light that you get at this time of year. That didn't deter us though.
|View from our friends apartment|
|Oslo was feeling festive!|
We also got super lucky with the weather. Our first day was cold, crisp and sunny. The blue sky was the perfect backdrop for the days activities. And the early sunset was great for pictures over the fjord.
Our second was cold, misty and an ideal day for our Thanksgiving festivities that mainly involved eating. Although a chilly evening was lovely for wrapping up warm and exploring the Vinterland market in the centre of Oslo.
The third day was a mixed bag. We started the day under clear skies but by lunchtime the sky had turned a shade of grey and we had snow flurries on and off for most of the afternoon - amazing!
So with the weather summary sounding like a lot of places in late November here's what we managed to fit in and why you should visit Oslo.....
1) It's stunning - it's Nordic for sure, with houses in all shades of colour (although mainly blue, orange and yellow) dotted around the city, there is no uniformed design but you can tell you aren't in mainland Europe. It reminded us a lot of Reykjavik in Iceland.
2) The city buildings are artwork in themselves or at the least the sides are. Building sides are covered in full sized paintings of all kinds of things. Flowers, people, creatures, landscapes. There is no rhyme or reason but it makes walking around interesting.
3) There are sculptures everywhere. Oslo has two well known sculpture parks but you don't need to visit them to see sculptures. You'll find them in parks, in the street, in shopping areas, in areas you'd least expect them - they pop up everywhere!
4) It's super easy to get around. If you purchase a metro pass (90 Norwegian Krone or £9 for 24 hours) you can hop on and off every mode of transport - metro, tram, bus and boat. Yep the boat across Oslo fjord can be taken at no extra cost. And is a MUST! The city is manageable enough that you can cover a lot of it in 24 hours.
5) Okay so the fjords deserve it's own reason. Tranquil, beautiful and a great way to see all the islands that are home to Oslo residents summer houses. You can hop on and off to explore should you wish or do we what we did and spend the hour relaxing and enjoying the view from the water. In summer you can even hire a hot tub to float across the fjord.
6) Go high! So we mentioned that it's stunning but to really appreciate the city go high. You have a couple of options - the giant ski slope that provides amazing views on a clear day or the sculpture park in the woods that allows you stroll up high enough for a great view. We were lucky enough to be on the 14th floor of a tower block so got a great view from the couch.
|The opera house is shaped like a ski slope but brave it for a great view of the harbourside|
If Folk Museums aren't your thing you could see 3 real life Viking Ships at the Viking museum, head to a number of art galleries, shop in the many, many shopping centres or find your way to a sculpture park. It would also be worth checking out the Opera House - built on the fjord front and looking like a giant ski slope. Or the Acker Brigen area that straddles the canal area and is home to lots of different outdoor activities (a screen showing Christmas films when we were there).
8) Norwegians are polite, unassuming folk. They don't like talking for no reason but ask then for help and advice and they will be happy to chat - and in fluent English! Having read about the 'Norwegian way' I am convinced I must have Nordic blood.
9) They LOVE hotdogs......cinnamon buns and other delightful bakery goods
10) The Trolls. Love them or hate them Oslo has embraced the troll as a symbol of the country. We weren't personally fans but they have a certain cute appeal....or so we're told. And you can find them in shops or just hanging around anywhere touristy.
One thing to note the rumours of Norway being expensive are true. Certainly the £ isn't strong BUT nothing is more than you would pay in London. Alcohol is expensive but if you plan ahead and pick some up at airport duty free in Oslo you can drink fairly cheaply. Also eating out you will struggle to find cheap eats - unless you really like hotdogs - but if you eat in for a meal a day you can limit your spend. We spent around £200 over 3 days.
A strange final point but there is also a lack of tourist trap shops. Not something worthy of note but it's not until you want to find a souvenir that you realise how hard that is in Oslo. Unless you want a troll or something with a moose on it or an expensive Norwegian jumper. Our choice of things that said 'Oslo' on to were limited to cups and hats. The airport does have a few more things on offer if you hold your nerve and wait till then.
So there you have it. We loved it. We'd love to go back in summer. But whatever season you go we're sure you'll find plenty to entertain you.