If it’s your first time visiting Norway and you want an injection of Norwegian culture, my initial temptation is to recommend Bergen instead (see: 2 days in Bergen) but whilst collecting memories for this blog post I realised there’s so much you can do if spending 2 days in Oslo!
If museums, art galleries or nightlife are your thing then Oslo is the way to go and thankfully an easily readable bus map can help you discover more of Norway’s capital – there’s a lot more to it than meets the eye!
How I got there:
Seeing as I have not yet mastered the art of teleportation or accumulated a flock of dragons, Norwegian Air is a reliably comfortable airline for even a nervous flier like me.
Where I stayed:
I shared a room in a youth hostel with my best friend which was super cheap – see costs below – but it was a little noisy and we were sent in the wrong direction up about three flights of stairs with all our luggage when we first arrived. We moaned for about a minute and then went to get chips.
What I did:
Museums:You’re spoiled for choice but I’d really recommend stepping back in time at
the Norwegian Folk Museum. Outside of the modernised Oslo centre, here is a seemingly authentic experience of Norway; you stumble upon buildings from different periods of history as you walk the grounds and marvel at their designs as you come face to face with other ways of life.
Next, step back even further and set sail at the Viking Ship Museum. I’ve always been fascinated by Vikings so unless I could have literally dressed up in costume and have had a real life Viking wipe blood on my face and sacrifice me to Odin, I was always going to be disenchanted by a Real Life museum – this is literally just a building filled with old boats right? But truly you’d have to be seriously cynical to remain untouched when visiting their final destination.
Finally, if you’re travelling with anyone easily bored the Fram Polar Ship Museum surely cannot disappoint. Not only is the journey that the Norwegians took on their Polar Exhibition truly compelling, but you can explore the ship itself, interact with history and enjoy the ‘Northern Lights’ which are projected on to the roof of the museum every twenty minutes. An unexpected favourite.
Art Galleries: You know that famous Scream painting? You can go and look at that famous Scream painting at the National Gallery. We were informed that all art is Really Important by an equally Important tourist after she overheard us quietly contemplating how the people in neighbouring paintings might interact with one another. Also there were a lot of paintings of naked prepubescent boys. One of them was in the brochure so I took it home and hid it in one of my colleague’s backpacks.
Around Oslo: I loved Vigelandsparken. This is the world’s largest sculpture park by a single artist and honestly? Gustav Vigeland’s work really moved me. The emotions in the sculptures, human bodies startlingly realistic in their frozen movement, revealed painfully relatable truths.
Highs: The museums. There’s plenty to do if you’re, you know, Cultured.
Lows: Norway is as expensive as everyone says it is and 2 days in Oslo will play havoc with your wallet. Be prepared and incorporate that into your planning before you go. Also if you’re educated about art, some dumb tourist might ruin the galleries for you.
Tip for vegetarians: DON’T forget to check online before you go. We had to go back to the youth hostel more than once to use the WiFi as the average restaurant will have nothing for you. DO enjoy the many Asian restaurants on offer! One Thai place substituted anything on their menu for tofu.
Costs and Budget tips:
- ACCOMMODATION: AirBnb is definitely worth checking out. Hostels in Oslo are usually around £24 -36 for a dorm room, or privates from £44. A budget hotel could be around £50 if you’re lucky.
- FOOD: A meal out could be around £14 – £70 depending on how fancy you are. Cooking in your hostel or apartment (or stocking up on snacks at duty-free!) is a good way to save money.
- HAVING FUN: Save money with the Oslo Card https://en.visitbergen.com/bergen-card which includes both these attractions and many more. They have options of 24, 48 or 72 hours from £35 – 67. We got a 2-day pass and it was really worth it.
- FLIGHTS: I’ve seen some absolute bargains (£15 from London?!) and in general flying from Europe is very affordable.
Finishing off my blog with these two beautiful photographs of Me As A Tourist. My friend pointed out that I look like Dwight from ‘The Office’ in photograph number 2 so, that’s nice.
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