Oslo, Norway was the first stop on our trip to Scandinavia last month! We really only had about a day and a half due to trying to squeeze a lot in during a short time period, but we absolutely loved the time we had in Norway’s capital city!
Day 1 // 2 – 5 p.m.
We landed at the Sandefjord Airport (TRF), a small regional airport, which is located pretty far south of Oslo. When we originally booked flights and searched Tampa -> Oslo, the TRF one snuck in among the several other main Oslo airport flights. It wasn’t until a couple weeks before our trip that I realized we weren’t flying into the main Oslo airport and Delta was unable to do anything to switch the flight without it costing us an additional $1,000+. Obviously that wasn’t going to fly, so I had to figure out how we’d get from Sandefjord to Oslo easily and reasonably cheap. This is basically my lengthy disclaimer saying pay close attention to the airport codes on the flights you’re booking AND I suggest mapping it if you’re not familiar with the area!
The solution was the Torp-Ekspressen bus, which cost about $28 each and took about 2 hours to travel from the Sandefjord airport to Oslo’s city center. The bus was right outside the arrivals area so there was no confusion or frustration trying to figure out where to go. They also switch the bus departure times up daily, based on incoming flights and there is PLENTY of time to make it. It was an incredibly smooth bus ride (I ended up napping quite a bit), but it was also cool to be able to see more of a locals view of the country as we passed through towns on the highway.
The Oslo Bus Terminal was only a 15-minute walk from our hotel according to Maps, but we opted to Uber instead since it was a long day of travel, pretty chilly, and it’s a lot tougher to navigate in a new city – especially at night!
Day 1 // 5:30 – 9 p.m.
When we arrived at our hotel, The Grand Hotel Oslo, we were eager to drop our things and get to exploring the city (especially when we found out the stores closed around 7 p.m. and many wouldn’t be open the next day – Sunday). But once we checked into our room, it was tough to leave. You can see why in my review of the Grand Hotel Oslo! But alas, we did, since we knew we were in a time crunch.
We zipped in and out pretty quickly of the stores to make the most of our time, but I could’ve spent hours more meandering around. There were so many great clothing, decor, and just all around awesome places to shop! After about an hour, everything closed up and we made our way to the Christmas market, just across from our hotel. It was extra crowded since it was the weekend, but we still loved checking out all of the stalls, and of course, trying all of the delicious baked goods!
Day 2 // 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.
We were up bright and early for breakfast Sunday morning, fueling up at all of the food stations, since we knew we had an incredibly busy day ahead.
At 10 (when the sun was just starting to come out – crazy!), we met at The Tiger, a famous statue just outside the city’s train station, for our free walking tour! I’ve expressed my love for these before, and this one was no exception. It’s a wonderful way to learn a lot about a place, even if you’re only there for a short period of time. On our walk, we learned about daily life in Oslo, a lot of history, and even got to see where the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony takes place (which was just a few days away when we visited)!
Day 2 // 12:30 – 4 p.m.
Post-walking tour, we took an Uber out to Bygdøy, the island where all of Oslo’s big museums are. During warmer months, a ferry boat is available and you can also take the public bus if you’re on a budget. With the short time we had though, we didn’t want to risk hopping on the wrong bus! Being a weekend, and at Christmastime, there were a TON of people attending events/museums on the island, but it wasn’t overly crowded in the way places like Disney get! The museums were only open until 4, so we had to be selective about which museums we did, and ultimately, opted to spend time at the Viking Ship Museum and the Folk Museum.
The Viking Ship Museum was our first stop and was incredibly fascinating! There were only a few rooms to walk through and a good chunk of them were completely overtaken by REAL Viking ships. It kind of blows my mind that something built in the mid/late 800s is still around! Several artifacts from these ships were uncovered and displayed as well, which we loved being able to compare to things we use today!
Our second pick on the “museum island” was the Norsk Folkemuseum (Folk Museum). It was an especially exciting day to visit because they had their annual Christmas market happening, which only takes place during the first two weekends of December. We also found our favorite Norwegian treat, which included a dip that tasted like my favorite 90s treat, Dunkaroos! This is primarily an outdoor “open air” museum, which was one of the highlights of our time in Oslo. The museum features several types of homes throughout the years, dating back to the 1200s! Many are furnished as well so you can get a feel for what life was like, and there were lots of live exhibits, where staff were dressed for the period and making bread, sewing, etc. to make it feel even more real!
Day 2 // 4:30 – 8 p.m.
To end our day, we stopped in at the cozy Egon Restaurant for a bite to eat. Since we knew we had to get up incredibly early for our morning flight to Copenhagen, we made one last trip through the Christmas market, hiked up the road to see the where the King lives, and grabbed a drink at our hotel’s awesome rooftop bar, before calling it a night.
I wish we had more time to explore more in Norway, but with what we had on our itinerary this was all we had time to squeeze in. I can’t wait to get back to visit Bergen and to see the fjords in the future though!
Have you visited Oslo?