If there is one thing Oslo is most famous for, it’s probably how expensive it is. It has this reputation for a reason and just like a trip to Japan or Switzerland, it’s probably not the best place to go if you are on a tight budget. This is a pity, as the Norwegian capital is one of the most underrated cities in Europe and easily one of the best places to explore in Norway, with a wide array of attractions for tourists. Here are my five picks…
Visit the opera house
If you’re an architecture or photography buff, a trip to the Opera House is essential. The stunning white building, opened in 2008, is home to the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet, but you don’t even need to splash out on a ticket to make it worth visiting. Climb up the sloped roof for gorgeous views over the bay and then sit back and soak up the atmosphere.
After you’ve relaxed up on the rooftop, wander back down, take a stroll through the beautifully designed atrium and have a drink in the seafront cafe. Now will be a good time to have a look through the hundreds of photos you’ve inevitably taken of this marvel of modern architecture.
Vigeland Sculpture Park
Located within Frogner Park, in the west of the city, is located one of the most daring and visionary artistic statements in the world. The sculpture park is the vision of one man, Gustav Vigeland and contains 212 of his sculptures within 80 acres. Amazingly, the park was a 41 year project and now offers you the opportunity to stroll among his marvellous creations.
The park is conveniently open 24 a hours a day and I recommend visiting at dusk. The combination of the light, the environment and the stunning works of art makes this an absolute must see.
Oslo is one of those cities with an almost unlimited supply of museums and attractions, so if you’re looking for things to do in Oslo it’s a great idea to get yourself an Oslo Pass and hit as many as you can within the time limit. I particularly recommend heading over to the peninsula of Bygdøy, where you can find the Kon-Tiki museum, the Viking Ship Museum, the Norwegian Ship Museum, the Maritime Museum and the Fram Museum all within fairly close proximity.
I also greatly enjoyed the Nobel Peace Museum. Unlike the other Nobel Prizes which are awarded by Sweden, Norway presents the Peace Prize and this museum celebrates its recipients since the inception of the award in 1901.
See the Scream
One of the most recognisable images in the world, Edvard Munch’s The Scream is one of the world’s great works of art. There are four Screams in the world, and three of them are in Oslo. The fourth has just been sold at auction to a New York financier, so if you want to see this masterpiece face to face, you’re going to have to head to Oslo.
You can find two versions in the Munch Museum, but I headed to the National Gallery in downtown Oslo. Surprisingly for a Saturday afternoon, the gallery was pretty deserted. Admittedly it was April, but I didn’t expect an opportunity to spend some alone time with Munch’s masterly vision.
In the suburb of Holmenkollen, you can find one of the world’s finest international ski jumps, but being a skiing fan is not necessary to visit this particular attraction (although there is a very well presented museum there for ski buffs). In fact, for the best views in town, you need to take the lift to the top of the jump and take in the city from the viewing platform. You also get the chance to have an idea of what it must be like for the skiers as they sit at the top of the slope, ready to hurl themselves down before they take off and glide through the air. Personally, I preferred to take the lift…