A Quick Stop in Oslo

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.

Grand Hotel!

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?

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  • I am from Norway :D I actually have a similar post. It seems like you got to see the best in so short period of time, the opera house and the viking ship museum is a must :D

    • We did! I wish we had more time, but it’s just an excuse to plan another trip back :) Which part of Norway are you from?

  • You really were able to see so much in such a short amount of time in Olso! I would have loved to check out the Viking Ship Museum and see some of those ships from the 800s! So crazy! That’s a bummer about your flight, but it sounds like everything ended up working out!

    • It was such a cool place to explore! Maybe another place to consider for your next big trip, Ashley!

  • True story about the airport codes… I was just looking at booking a work trip. They recommended we fly into Indianapolis, but I wanted to see if it was less expensive to fly directly to the city where I needed to be. I emailed my contact and she was like “Ummm… there’s not a direct flight here… are you looking at Illinois?” Yep. I was about to book a flight to Illinois, not Indiana. Oops. I didn’t know Oslo’s museums were on an island… that’s so cool!! I love to start a trip with a walking tour. It’s a great way to figure out what you want to do with the rest of your visit!

    • Crazy isn’t it?! I’ll be sure to look closely at airport codes next time! Do you have a favorite city walking tour you’ve done? That’s exactly why I love them too!

  • Leah

    I’ve always wanted o go to Norway. Now I want to even more.

    • Yay! I hope you can plan a trip one of these days. You’ll love it!

  • It looks like you made the most of the time you had in Norway! I hear nothing but good things about free walking tours and will definitely be looking for them in the future :)

    • We did! And YES! I couldn’t recommend walking tours more. I’ve done so many and have learned so much more from them when visiting new cities!

  • I can’t wait to read about your other Scandinavian adventures. Looks like y’all had a great time and that hotel (swoon). I have always wanted to visit Scadanavia – I will definitely be adding Oslo to my itinerary when I do.

    • We had a BLAST! I highly recommend a visit to Scandinavia. Hopefully you’ll be able to plan a trip too! Can’t wait to share more :)

  • This looks amazing! Your hotel does look incredible. I have a friend who lives in Norway so one day I have to go visit him, because I’d love to see the country.

    • Oh you definitely do! We barely scratched the surface while we were there – I definitely want to get back to see the fjords!

  • This looks like such a fun place to visit!!! That hotel looks like an awesome place to stay! I’m all about nice hotels. I need to visit Oslo!!!!

    • It was really cool! And YES! As you know, I’m all about the nice hotels too, haha. You definitely need to plan a trip to Oslo!

  • Norway is incredibly high on my bucket list right now. I’m dying to see the fjords and Northern Lights!

    • I hope you can get there soon! It’s a beautiful country! I definitely have a lot more to get back and explore!

  • Candy Kage

    Norway looks like a beautiful country to add to my list. Photos are great looking. This year we are going to Iceland. They had some great ticket prices and we couldn’t resist.

    • It definitely is! SO exciting that you’re going to Iceland! What time of year will you be visiting?

  • Mackenzie

    This looks like such an amazing trip! I’m of Norwegian decent, so it’s definitely on my list of plaes to travel to someday. The viking ships are so fascinating!! When we hear about them it seems like something out of a fairytale. To see them through your photos (and the fact that they are authentic) is so fascinating to me!!

    http://www.brunchonsunday.com

    • It was so much fun! It really does seem like a fairytale, doesn’t it?! Crazy to think how much things have changed over the years! I hope you’re able to plan a trip soon to see it all yourself!

  • Love how much you were able to do in that time! I’ve never been to Oslo but would love to visit. I’ll definitely check out that hotel if we do make a trip there sometime soon!

    • I hope you’ll be able to visit one of these days! Oslo is such a cool city to explore!

  • I never had a passion to visit Oslo, but now I kinda do!

    Alix | http://www.apintsizedlifeblog.com

  • Lovely photos! I feel like Norway is an underrated place to visit. It has definitely made it’s way on my travel bucket list. Thank you for sharing your experience and photos!

    • Thanks, Kiara! I totally agree! I can’t wait to get back to explore more of the country one of these days!

  • debbie_savage

    This is absolutely incredible! I have never been! Thank you for inspiring me to visit this place!
    xo Debbie | http://www.tothineownstylebetrue.com

  • Great photos! Looks like such a fun trip!!

  • This trip looks absolutely amazing! Your pictures are gorgeous and Norway is definitely some place I would love to travel to one day!

    Shannon
    Clothes & Quotes

    • Thanks, Shannon! It was an incredible experience. I hope you’re able to get to Norway one day, you’ll love it!

  • Abbey Phipps

    It all looks so beautiful! Your hotel room looks so wonderful!

    • It was! Still wishing I could wake up in that hotel room!

  • Katie Kinsley

    Beautiful pictures! I bet it was a great experience. Was the language barrier difficult in any way?

    • Thanks, Katie! It wasn’t difficult at all! We only ran into one person who didn’t speak much English – it was pretty widely spoken!

  • Norway looks unreal! Were you able to get around okay without knowing the language?

    • It was such a cool place! We had no language problems either, which was great! English is spoken pretty widely over there!

  • Neely

    Oslo looks like an amazing place to visit!

    • It was! I highly recommend it being added to your travel bucket list :)

  • You always have the best travel recaps! I am adding Norway to my list!

    ​xx katie // a touch of teal

    • Thank you so much, Katie! Glad to hear I’ve inspired you to add Norway to your list :)

  • Oslo, Norway is on my bucket list and hopefully our plan of visiting it next year will push through. You still did a lot of things considering you only have a quick stop. Thanks for sharing you detailed experience in the city! :-)

    Joy | fatmoments.com

    • Hooray! I hope you’re able to make it happen too. Keep this post in mind when it comes time to plan :)

  • Oslo is so pretty! Everything looks super tidy and clean :)

    • It really is! They certainly take pride in their city!