After our exciting Arctic Adventure in Tromsø, we headed to Oslo for two days. Despite the cold weather, December turned out to be a good time to visit! We had the opportunity to see annual events like Christmas markets and special performances at the Oslo Opera House which only take place this time of year. The weather was relatively warm (although I was hoping for snow), and we had no problem exploring the city by foot! We did take one tour, Selected Oslo City Tour Including Viking Ship Museum, which enabled us to see sights outside the city center, like the Viking Ship Museum and the Holmenkollen Ski Jump. There are tons of things to see in Oslo, but I’m going to share my favorites with you in this post.
Quick Tips for Oslo Travel:
- For this trip I found all our flights through skyscanner.com; this is a good site to find flights because we needed to use several airlines to get between Malaga, Oslo and Tromsø
- You’ll need to exchange money to the Norwegian Krone (they don’t use Euros); there’s always kiosks in the airport where you can do this
- To get to the center from the airport you can take the airport train to Oslo Central Stations. The airport train is called Flytoget, and the train comes and goes about every 15 minutes. We purchased our roundtrip train tickets once we arrived in Oslo; there are ticket kiosks in baggage claim and within the train station (which is next door to the airport).
- We stayed the Citybox Hotel in the center; the location is awesome because you can walk to all the attractions and it’s also walking distance from the train station (just a 5-10 minute walk). It wasn’t the most luxurious place, but it was clean and comfortable. My room did not have a hair dryer though (which is kind of necessary in winter, so bring one with you).
- Our Spanish phone chargers fit the electric sockets in Norway – so if you’ve got an adapter that works in Spain, you should be fine!
1.Oslo Opera House – Annual Christmas Shows!
We really enjoyed our visit to the opera house! In December there are several holiday themed performances to choose from, including Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Ballet. We purchased our $20 tickets through the official website; some parts of the site are in English and others in Norwegian so you’ll just have to use Google Translate to get your tickets 😉 They were practically sold out of tickets so get yours as soon as possible. The building is beautiful both inside and out, and you can walk on the roof for a great view of the city and harbor.
2. Annual Christmas Markets
There are several Christmas markets located around the city during the month of December. I checked out the Visit Oslo website for a list of markets, opening times and locations. If you need Christmas presents the markets are a great place to shop; we were able to get some artisan items (like wool house slippers), reindeer sausage and other unique gifts and souvenirs. You’ll also find traditional food and delicious sweets!
3. Vigeland Sculpture Park Covered in Snow
The park is one of Norways’s most visited attractions and has over 1 million visitors every year. Vigeland is the life work of sculptor Gustav Vigeland, and has over 200 sculptures in total. An interesting fact (shared by our tour guide) about the park is the fact that the artist made most of his sculptures nude so that his work would remain timeless (if they wore clothes we’d know what time period they were made).
One of the most famous statues in the park is the “Angry Boy” or “The little hot head”; you’ll see key chains and statues of him in the tourist shops around the city. There are stunning pictures of the park in winter when it’s covered in snow; this is why it should be considered a reason to visit during the cold months (if you’re lucky enough to have snow while you’re there!).
3 More Attractions You Should See in Oslo (any time of year!)
We enjoyed exploring the gallery; the paintings are organized by room starting from the romantic period all the way to the mid 1900’s in chronological order. There are several famous artists’ works like Picasso, Monet, Munch, Cézanne and Manet. Admission is free on Thursdays! Click here for visiting hours and prices.
2.Viking Ship Museum
This museum contains two of the world’s best-preserved wooden Viking ships built in the 9th century. There are also other artifacts like tools, textiles, household utensils, etc. The museum is located outside of the center (too far to walk), so you’ll need to take a city bus or go with a tour group to get there. The museum is open Monday to Sunday from 10am to 4pm.
3.Nobel Peace Center
The Nobel Peace Center is definitely worth a visit. There are a variety of permanent and temporary exhibitions to see, and the center is designed to foster reflection and engagement on topics related to war, peace and conflict resolution. The Peace Prize exhibition (pictured below) is very interesting and provides more information on each of the Peace Prize laureates since the first recipient of 1901.