Vibrant Oslo, My First Impressions

Oslo was my first visit to Scandinavia and after just a 100 minute flight from London, I wondered why I hadn’t visited before! I had heard many positive things about Oslo, therefore i had high expectations; i wasn’t disappointed!

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Arrival in Oslo

My first impressions of Oslo is that it is a very clean and safe city. As soon as we stepped off the plane we found everywhere easy to navigate and i instantly felt relaxed. Purchasing the FlyToGet ticket for the airport train to Oslo City Centre, was easy  through the use of a mobile phone app. There are clear signs in English and Norwegian throughout the airport to enable commuters to navigate quickly. Having used public transport in a number of countries, i found that everywhere in Oslo is very easy to navigate and I was even surprised to see on each platforms, digital signage providing details on the purpose of each train carriage for the arriving train. I would also recommend downloading the Ruter app which provides additional information and the ability to purchase tickets ahead of travelling. 

Where to stay

Oslo City Center
Top Left: View from the hotel, overlooking Central Station,
Top Right: View of Jernbanetorget, Bottom Left: Breakfast Room at the Thon Hotel Opera, Bottom Right: Thon Hotel Opera

There are many hotels to chose from in Oslo. We stayed at the Thon Hotel Opera (Add link) which is a conveniently located hotel next to the Central Main Line Station. The hotel was very clean and the staff were both welcoming and accommodating. On one occasion, we had to leave early for an onward trip and hotel kindly provided us with a packed breakfast for our trip.

The room was a little small, however this is typical for a city hotel. The room was very clean and comfortable, with everything we could need including use of a minibar which was fully stocked with drinks, alcohol and snacks. 

What to see in Oslo

We dropped our bags and went straight back into the city to explore. The weather was cold but for October it was pleasant and sunny. There are many things to see on foot, however i would also recommend getting on some tours to learn more about the Norwegian history and culture.

Oslo City Tour

Vigeland Park in Oslo and Holmenkollen Ski Park
Top Left: The Angry Boy Sculpture, Top Middle & Top Right: Granite Sculpture at Vigeland Park, Middle right: A Roller Skier, Bottom Right:Holmenkollen Ski Jump, Bottom Left: Holmenkollen Ski Jump

I highly recommend the Oslo Panaramic City Tour which can be booked through Viator. The 2.5 hour coach sightseeing tour is narrated by a knowledgeable guide and tours the city taking in notable attractions such as the Akershus fortress, Cathedral, Royal Palace, Oslo Opera House, Nobel Peace Center and two stops along the way at Vigeland Sculpture Park and Holmenkollen Ski Jump. Our guide had a great sense of humour as she talked about the Norwegian and Scandinavian history, much of which is around the Royal Familes.

Oslo Harbour

Oslo Harbour

A lovely walk along the promenade which stretches 6 miles from the west to the east of Oslo along the waterfront. Until recently, the area was inaccessible to the public due to it being an active dockyard. However in recent years it has undergone a redevelopment and the area is now accessible for exercise, restaurants or relaxing in the sun and watching the world go by on one of the many orange benches along the waters edge. During the redevelopment, the Festning Tunnel was built under Oslo which eliminates most of the traffic from the city centre. The traffic i did observe on the roads was very quiet as it was predominantly electric. 

I recommend taking a self-guided walking tour of the harbour area, my favourite trail available on AllTrails is Harbor Promenade and Akershus Fortress.

Oslo Opera House

On the Oslo waterfront is a the famous Oslo Opera House which was build in 2008. The unique design is to replicate floating Glaciers built from Italian marble.

Whilst you would probably be arrested for climbing on most buildings the Opera House has been designed for visitors to climb onto the roof, providing amazing views of the city and the Fjords.

Oslo Opera House

Fjord Cruise

A visit to Norway would not be complete without cruising on the Fjords. There are a number of boat trips available from the harbour front, of varying cruise lengths providing spectacular views of the breathtaking Oslo Fjord.

Top Tips

Make Restaurant Reservations 

Oslo gets very busy, particularly on a weekend. If you like Burgers, i recommend Døgnvill Burger Bjørvika. The staff were friendly and the burgers are great!

Download apps

There are some great apps to help you enjoy your stay in Oslo.

Ruter – Use this app to plan and purchase your public transport travel 

Oslo Pass Official City Guide – if staying in the city for a few days and looking to see the sights, the Oslo Pass is a great way to make savings on Oslo attractions

FlyToGet – Buy your airport train tickets using the FlyToGet App and download the ticket to your wallet.

Lasting impression

Oslo parliament

I felt safe and confident visiting Oslo, particularly because I didn’t find there was a language barrier. Most people in Oslo speak very good English, which i later learned was due to schools teaching English from an early age. 

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Oslo is a fantastic city, in a beautiful country. If you are looking for a getaway, I would definitely recommend Oslo especially as it’s easier and quicker to travel to from London Airports. In fact, i would go as far as to say that it is faster to travel to Oslo by plane, than it is by car from London to Scotland. Oslo has a great vibe with lovely restaurants and bars which makes for a lovely weekend away.

Read about my next trip to Scandinavia, this time I visited Copenhagen.

6 thoughts on “Vibrant Oslo, My First Impressions

  1. This all sounds great (especially all the sculptures you saw on the Oslo Panaramic City Tour.) It’s pretty amazing that everyone is so good at english aaaand that is is such a fun, safe and gorgeous city to explore.

  2. This was so helpful! I had never considered a city break in Oslo before but will now be adding it to my list. Beautiful city and I would definitely love to visit the opera house

  3. Wow I would love to see the opera house! What stunning architecture! I have heard from a few people that they thought Oslo felt really safe, glad to hear you felt similar!

  4. Such a beautiful destination. I’m glad to hear that you had a safe and comfortable time there. I’m always interested in destinations with no language barrier, so I’m adding Oslo to the list!

  5. I really loved the clock tower on the dock, it looks very unique than anything I have seen and the Fjord cruise very interesting as well.

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