HOW TO SPEND ONE DAY IN OSLO
Updated: Jan 3, 2019
Oslo is one of those cities we hadn't known a lot about and to be honest we had never though of it as one of our must visit destinations in Europe. Maybe it was because of the fact that we had always been hearing the best about the rest of Scandinavia's capitals but had heard nothing about Oslo... However, since Norway was part of our 2018's summer plans, and since we could find a low budget flight from Stockholm, we decided to spend one day in the Norwegian capital and we're now sharing with you everything we did within maybe less than 24 hours.
We arrived in Oslo by air, from Stockholm. After a quick research we found out that taking the NSB railway was the best and more budget friendly way to reach the city. The ride lasted 23 minutes and the ticket costed us 10€ per person. Once you collect your luggage, look for the red NBS vending machines and easily get your ticket.
Oslo is a rather small, walkable city and unlike some other European cities, its Central Train Station is located in the heart of the city. Thus, we suggest you find accommodation near the central station so that you lose no time getting from one place to another. We stayed at Comfort Hotel Xpress Central Station, which we loved both for its good location and automatic check in and check out system.
Central Station square
This will most probably be your first stop as well as a great opportunity to feel the city’s vibes and do some people watching.
Oslo Opera House
Oslo Operahuset is one of Oslo’s landmarks and even if you don’t plan to enter it, it’s really worth walking on it! That’s right! Since the roof of the building angles to ground level, it creates a large pedestrian area, so you can actually take a walk on the Opera House, a modern building designed to look like a ship.
Akershus Fortress is one of Norway’s most significant medieval sites and is believed to have been build in the late 1200’s, to protect the city and provide a residence to the Norwegian royal family. It is the perfect place to learn more about the country’s history and see Oslo from above. If you’re visiting the fortress during summer, keep in mind that every day at 1.10pm a military band leads the guards from the Fortress to the Royal Palace, where the changing of the guards takes place at 1.30 pm sharp.
Oslo City Hall
Don’t let the building’s simple outside design mislead you and take some time to admire the paintings that ornate the inside of the City Hall, as they’ll take you on a journey through Norway’s history, culture and working life. Before stepping inside the building, make sure to also take a look at the paintings found on the corridor which leads to the entrance, to learn more about the mythological Norse Gods and Goddesses.
The Royal Palace
Oslo’s Royal Palace is open to public during summer months and you can only visit it with a guided tour for almost 14€. Its construction lasted 24 years and it has 173 rooms. As mentioned before, the changing of the guards takes place here, every day at 1.30pm.
Karl Johans Gate and Oslo Cathedral
Walk down Oslo’s main shopping street, one of the city’s most crowded and popular pedestrian streets. Do some window (or actual) shopping and take a break to eat something or have some coffee. The street will lead you back to the Central Station, but make sure to stop at Oslo’s Cathedral first, which is where weddings and funerals of the Royal Family take place, among others.
Grass roots square
If you have some spare time and wish to go off the beaten path for a while, head to the government quarter and look for the Grass Roots Square. It is a piece of public art, where the artist basically removed some pavers in the square and replaced them by 50.000 tiny bronze statues, who are supposed to be “holding” the paving stones above them. Pretty unusual, right?
Extra: Another popular site, which we didn't have enough time to visit, is Vigeland Sculpture Park, an open-air (and free to enter) muesum, which is home to more than 200 sculptures made of bronze and granite, created by Gustav Vigeland. It is located somehow away from the city centre but we've only heard the best, so we'll make sure to visit it next time we go to Oslo.