When our Tours and Excursions Specialist, Lisa Brown, and her husband had the opportunity to see their favourite band playing in Oslo, they jumped at the chance. The grandparents were drafted in and a precious two nights away were secured!
We flew direct from Edinburgh with Norwegian Air and couldn’t fault the flights – reasonably priced, on time and comfortable. Oslo Gardermoen Airport is the city’s main hub located 35km northeast of Oslo. Transfers into the city couldn’t be easier with the Flytoget (Airport Express Train) which takes approximately 20 minutes to reach the city centre. Follow the signs in the arrivals hall and simply swipe your credit card at the barriers. Oslo S (central station) and Nationaltheatret are the two city centre stops and tickets cost 180kr. All signs and announcements are in both Norwegian and English, and our conductor was extremely apologetic for the two and a half minute delay!
Ourfirst day in Oslo was warm, a little bit wet – but that passed in a flash! After dropping bags at our hotel, we set off in search of Mathallen, the indoor food market that’s perfect for a rainy day. It wasn’t far and on the way we passed by the cute wooden houses of Damstredet and Telthusbakken before reaching Grünerløkka, the trendy area where Mathallen is located. The pretty red brick and glass building is hidden away in a courtyard alongside Danse Hus, Norway’s national dance stage and backs on to the picturesque Aker River that runs right into the heart of the city. The market is packed full of stalls, cafés and bars serving dishes from all over the world. During our short stay we sampled Spanish Pintxo, authentic Mexican Tacos, and delicious mussels, fish and chips from one of Oslo’s highly rated seafood restaurants, Vulkanfisk. The restaurant was busy, but relaxed and we were able to grab a stool at the counter and watch the amazing shellfish being prepared – next time I’ll be trying the crab!
On Saturday the weather had improved so we got out and about to see the sights, starting with the harbour area. Oslo has a really nice feel to it with a combination of old and new, lots of green spaces and a friendly atmosphere. There’s a real sense of this being a city on the up. As we strolled along the strand at Aker Brygge we passed countless cafés and restaurants all equipped for the changeable weather, with large canopies and blankets on every chair, so outside dining is always a possibility. There was a canoe race taking place and we stopped for a quick look at the Astrup Fearnley Museum right out on the peninsula with views to the islands. On a sunny day, a fjord cruise would have been beautiful. We continued our exploration with a walk up to Akershus, the medieval fortress that overlooks the harbour then on to the spectacular Opera House that rises from the water with a sloping roof designed to be climbed. We spent the rest of the afternoon browsing the boutiques and vintage shops in Grüneløkka before resting our weary legs outside one of its many bars. Interestingly, there was a biker festival taking place (think less ‘Hell’s Angel’ and more ‘Polite Norwegian’!) with live music and a really fun atmosphere!
The weekend was topped off by a fantastic performance at the Vulkan Arena that night! Ideally we would have liked to stay another day in Oslo so that we could explore the city’s art galleries and Vigeland Sculpture Park but it was back to Edinburgh we go. Leaving behind a great city, full of cultural and mouth watering food but I’m pretty sure we’ll be back!