It’s easier than you would think to get a quick taste of Norway in a weekend.  Land in Oslo, go fjording via public transport, and end in Bergen.  Depending on the time of year, you are with tourists and have long days filled with sun or you are all alone and have short cloudy days.  Either way, it’s a wonderful experience.

This post focuses on Oslo and is part 1 of 3 of our weekend in Norway.

Getting to downtown Oslo is very easy on the train from the airport.  It’s a 30 minute ride at 92 NOK (about $11 USD).  Downtown Oslo is very walkable and can be explored on foot with the highway cutting through underground.  The city is a mix of grand neo-Classical facades or 1960s style modernism.

A walk along the pedestrian-only Karl Johans Gate from the train station to the Royal Palace is a neat way to see downtown Oslo.

Along the way, duck into the Oslo Cathedral, founded in 1694, and which was substantially renovated from 2006-2010.  The Cathedral has stunning mosaics lining the ceiling.

The best part of the city walk is a detour to the Oslo Radhus (City Hall).  Its characteristic architecture, artworks, and the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony (held annually on 10 December 10), makes it one of Oslo’s most famous buildings.  It was designed by Arnstein Arneberg and Magnus Poulsson.

Finish the city walk at the National Gallery where beloved Norwegian son Edvard Munch is featured prominently alongside other masters.

There are many parks and the cold, crisp water is always lurking nearby either at the Opera House (which doubles as a concert venue) or in the revamped Aker Brygge/Tjuvholmen area.

Also worth seeing is Fronger Park, about a 30 minute walk from downtown Oslo.  The park is spacious, but the most notable part is the Vigeland sculpture garden featuring 212 bronze and granite sculptures.  An alternate walk takes you northwest into the neighborhoods of Gronland/Grünerløkka where you pass by the July 2011 bombing site and up to the big waterfall near the Ringnes Brewery.

Stay: ComfortHotel Grand Central.  Attached to the train station, the hotel is 100% serviceable and comes with breakfast.  The rooms are adequately sized for a double.  The location beats the accommodation though.

Eat: Highly recommend lunch at Godt Brød Grünerløkka.  The cafe has everything from delicious pastries to sandwiches.  For dinner, head to Mr. Bay on Tjuvholmen for delicious sushi and Asian style food using local Norwegian fare.


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