We know what you’re thinking: flying more than eight hours to an entirely different continent for just two days? Are you crazy? What if we told you that you could get there, round trip, for under $350? We see you starting to change your mind. Thanks to Norwegian Air, round trip flights from major East Coast cities to Scandinavia can run you as low as $335. To that we say la oss gå (let’s go!) — discover Norway’s gem of a capital city: Oslo.
Late Breakfast/Early Lunch
Accessing the city center of Oslo from the airport is super easy. Grab the Flytoget shuttle train. With trains running every 10 minutes, you’ll be there in just 20 minutes. On arrival, check into your hotel, drop your things and head out for a late breakfast or early lunch. The Norwegian diet is extremely meat– and fish-heavy, thanks to Norway’s cool climate and resources. To combat post-flight hunger, grab some kjøttkaker, Norwegian-style meatballs. Check out Kaffistova for a centrally located, traditional lunch.
While in the city center, pop into the National Gallery of Norway for your dose of Norwegian art and design. With regular standing collections along with rotating exhibits, there’s something for everyone to see. Cross the street to Kaffebrenneriet avd Universitetsgata for a hot coffee and pastry to refuel from afternoon jet lag.
Spend the afternoon in the fresh air at Vigelandsparken, Olso’s signature sculpture park. From embracing lovers, to men covered in babies, there’s certainly a work of art for everyone to relate to. Traveling in the spring? Plop down in the grass and marvel at the works beneath blue skies. Wintertime? No problem. Snow-covered gardens make the park even more romantic.
Oslo Opera House at Sunset
Discover the extremely modern architecture of Oslo Opera House, perfectly situated right along the water. Checking out the building at sunset is ideal, as walking on the roof is permitted (and free!). Scale the incline of the house to capture breathtaking pictures of the sun setting in pastel skies over the glassy Norwegian waters — a moment you’ll remember forever.
Treat yourself to an authentic Norwegian meal at Holmenkollen, complete with a fireplace and stunning view of the city. Feeling adventurous? Try the reindeer tartare for a tender, melt-in-your mouth meat experience. Looking to treat yourself a little more? Check out Maaemo, a three- Michelin-starred restaurant that specifically requests that you set the whole evening aside should you choose to dine there. Bask in Scandinavian luxury for a full evening? We’re in.
Drinks at Cafe Amsterdam
We know what you’re thinking — stopping by Amsterdam in Oslo? We assure you, you won’t regret it. Cafe Amsterdam’s open-spaced venue is brimming with Scandinavians, with consistently flowing beer and a solid bar snack menu. Add a Norwegian twist to your after-dinner drinks and order a Nøgne saison, a locally produced beer from Grimstad. Bonus: You can frequently find live music being played here by local Norwegian bands.
We like to keep breakfast simple. A classically Norwegian breakfast consists of milk and juice, accompanied by meats, cheeses, jams and cereal. For a simple, frills-free atmosphere, head to Barratt Kaffe Bar for all of your caffeine and pastry needs. Grab some grovbrød (literally meaning “coarse bread”) with jam or a simple scone, paired with a strongly brewed cup of coffee or latte. Snag the window seat for ideal morning people watching.
After your caffeine fix, make your way up to the Munch Museum, a quaint yet beautiful museum brimming with paintings from the expressionist painter Edvard Munch. The museum trip is great for habitual anti-museum goers; it’s short, sweet, and incredibly pleasant. Wander through the gardens just outside the museum to see where Munch found much of his inspiration.
Fjord Tour or Viking Ship Museum
You can’t visit Norway without taking in the fjords. Bounce between the many little islands surrounding Oslo on a fjord ferry ride. Weather permitting, pack a picnic lunch (Jarlsberg cheese necessary) and sit beside the water’s edge and watch the boats go by. Too cold for a ferry ride? Not a problem. Get your boat fix at The Viking Ship Museum, boasting not one but two of the best-preserved wooden viking ships in the world.
Aker Brygge – Seafood Finale
End your day wandering around Aker Brygge, perfect for window shopping and a last meal. This centrally located part of Oslo is brimming with modern architecture and traditional restaurants. Browse the boutique windows, dreaming of leather gloves and fur coats.
No trip to Norway would be complete without a serving of seafood. Head head to Louise for a final meal of local shellfish, herring and warm vegetable soups. The ideally situated waterfront seating is a perfect last goodbye to this stunning Scandinavian city.
Where to Stay :
For affordable lodging in an extremely central quarter, look no further than Smarthotel Oslo. For more luxury accommodations, check out The Thief, complete with an on-site spa and waterfront view. Of course, for lodging like a local, look to Airbnb for your dream Scandinavian stay.