When I first decided to go to Norway all I envisioned was running into Bjorn or Ragnar from Vikings. Unrealistic? Well, obviously but the hope was still there. I knew very little of the culture outside of Frozen and Vikings. Let me start by saying this is one of my favorite destinations I’ve been to, and I had no expectations!
Buckle your seat belts children, I am about to blow your mind on all you to accomplish in three days!
Let’s for argument’s sake say that day one is not a travel day and you have the full day to utilize. I would spend the first day exploring the many museums Oslo has. If you are lucky and you happen to be there on a Thursday a host of museums offer free admission. Now remember you get what you pay for, or in this case don’t pay for. Free admission is great on a budget but think CROWDS. If this is a museum you want to really enjoy then maybe skipping the free admission is better. Just a thought…moving on.
You want to start at the Oslo Central Station which is the best way to get around. You can take the Line 30 bus for around $5 USD, and the journey is 25 minutes. It will drop you off within a two-minute walk of the museum.
Pro tip – make sure to eat a big breakfast before heading out for the day and bring some snacks… you will thank me later
Once you get to the museum you will need to purchase a ticket (they do not sell tickets online). Ticket cost is around $14 USD and is good for 48 hours at the Viking Museum and the Historical Museum. They do have lockers outside for your bags, and limit what you can bring inside. You are allowed to take photos and videos, and you can bring in a professional camera. Once inside I would recommend at least two hours to explore. Museums are not a race; you want to go around and really take it all in. They have ships that are over 1000 years old! I mean these things are old, like Klaus old (shameless vampire dairies reference.)
There are three longboats that are each in their own room and offer a balcony view. If anyone requires wheelchair usage, the lower levels can accommodate, but the balconies are only accessible by stairs. Make sure to ask an attendant about the time for the Viking movie. In a side room off the side of the longboat they use a huge projector to change the room into a moving movie. It’s a quick history on Vikings, the ships they sailed and a host of other inserting facts. There is also a room full of Viking artifacts that are fun to admire and look through.
Once you’re done you are a quick ten-minute walk from the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History. This is not something to skip! It’s a huge open-air museum that is home to 155 traditional Norwegian homes and a stave church that dates to 1200.
Now remember when I told you to bring snacks. At this point your probably hungry or if your me starving. There are a few cafes at both museums, but the options are limited and expensive. This is were having a wee snack will make all the difference! Seeing both museums could easily take all day, but we will limit you to a half a day. You will want to catch the Line 30 bus back to Oslo Central Station which is another $5 USD for the return ticket.
Once back in the city you will want to head to the National Museum of Art which is the largest collection of art in Norway. It also is home to an authentic self portrait of Van Gogh. It was painted in 1889 while Van Gogh was in a hospital for the mentally ill called Saint-Remy in Provence. There is an unbelievable amount of art and again you could spend a full day here, but time’s sake you will conclude your day here.
Although I personally didn’t spend my second day outside of Oslo I 100% RECOMMEND THAT YOU DO.
Now why I insist is Norway is a beautiful county and although Oslo is amazing it’s the landscape that draws travelers to Norway. There are a few companies that offer day trips to the fjords such as fjord tours. The tour will start very early, so make sure your alarm is set. It would be a pity to miss out on the fjords.
You will take a scenic train on the Bergen Railway then switch trains to ride the Flam Railway. This a great chance to take in some of the Norwegian countryside. Next you will take a five-hour boat cruise on the Sognefjord. They do offer overnight stays which you should opt for if you have more time. If limited on time, you can take the roundtrip train back to Oslo. The Sognefjord is a great fjord to cruise through as its Norway’s longest and deepest fjord. It’s nestled at the base of the Jotunheimen mountains and is as picturesque as possible.
A tour that follows that this itinerary does run around $400 USD. It’s expensive but well worth the scenery and honestly when’s the next time you will be back?
After touring the fjords, I recommend taking your final day in Oslo easy. This is a great time to explore some of the famous shopping centers.
Oslo City Shopping Center is the largest and most popular in Oslo. It has over 93 shops and restaurants! It’s also conveniently located and within walking distance of the central station. There is so much to see and do here, and during the summer they have a sort of farmer’s market. Side Note – the restrooms are not free so make sure to plan with that in mind.
Now if you are looking for something more upscale then you want to go to the Paleet Shopping Center. It boosts 45 shops and about 13 restaurants with stores like Gucci, Hermes and Burberry.
This is a great time to splurge a bit on budget and eat at one of the more upscale Oslo restaurants if that is something that interest you. If not having high tea at places like the Grand Hotel Oslo is also a great experience.
Wheww…okay so that is a very FAST paced three days in Oslo, but I guarantee you will have an amazing trip even on limited time! Now be free and wander far and as always leave me a comment if you try any of my recommendations! I would love to hear your stories.