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The Oslo Experience

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For most people, Oslo would never come to mind as a perfect destination for a summer getaway. Norway is known for its fjords, mountains and ski resorts, but not so much as the right location for a sunny city break. After a wonderfully scenic coach journey through the Scandinavian wilderness I found myself arriving in a bright and beautiful city. Oslo was sunny and warm, without a cloud in the sky and without the sweltering heat of popular Southern destinations.

 

Visitors looking for a comfortable yet affordable place to stay should check out Oslo Central Hostel. As the name suggests, the hostel is conveniently located close to the heart of the city and many of the main attractions including Parliament and the Oslo Opera House. Whilst it lacks a bar and has a very tame atmosphere compared to some of the other hostels I have stayed at in Europe, Oslo Central Hostel provided a cool, comfortable room at a very reasonable rate.

 Oslo Central Hostel

I stayed in Oslo Central on my second night after checking out of the slightly cheaper but far less comfortable Anker Hostel the night before. Anker was clean and tidy but the noise and heat of the dorm were just a little too unbearable, even by hostel standards, and the whole place felt more akin to an army barracks. Oslo is by no means a cheap city, but if you decide to visit at the hottest time of the year don’t be roped in by Anker’s lower prices or you may regret your choice.

If staying at Oslo Central, make sure to visit Pastel de Nata, just a minute’s walk from the hostel. Pastel de Nata is a small Portuguese Coffee shop, renowned for the delicious little egg-based delicacies that give the store its namesake. Here you can buy any coffee and any cake or pastry for approximately five pounds, which I soon discovered was pretty reasonable for Oslo.

 The famous Pastel de Natas. Credit: Pastel de Nata Facebook page

Once you’ve had your coffee and cake fix, make your way to the Opera House down by the seafront. The modern glass structure is strikingly beautiful and has to be seen glistening brightly as it overlooks the Marina on a summer’s day. Visitors can walk up the building’s sloping roof and find themselves presented with a fantastic view of the city, with the sea on one side and the surrounding mountains on the other.

Oslo Opera House

Next up, pay a quick visit to the parliament building, where you can walk directly along the mall to the Royal Palace and gardens. The gates of the Palace are open daily until 8pm when events are not being held and visitors are allowed to roam freely around the picturesque gardens during this time.

Once you’ve checked out what the centre of town has to offer, catch a short ferry from the docks to the Bygdøy Peninsula and pay a visit to the Norsk Folkemuseum. The folk museum explores the history of Norway’s early settlers and includes a fantastic open-air section, which painstakingly recreates early Norwegian farming villages. Just down the street you will find the Viking Ship Museum, which gives a short but insightful look into the age of Vikings.

 

A model traditional home in the Folk Museum

Take the T1 line on the metro towards Frognerseteren and get off at Majorstuen, a short walk from Frogner Sculpture Park, home to the world famous Vigeland Installation. Continue on the metro towards Holmenkollen to see the Holmenkollbakken ski jump. Hosting the 1952 winter Olympics and numerous ski festivals and championships, the jump overlooks the entirety of the city and provides some of the best views of Oslo and the surrounding area. In the summer months, the jump holds host to a 361 metre long zip-line, with a drop of over 100 metres. The experience is thrilling and will be certain to raise your pulse. Combining the beautiful views of the city on your way to the top with a huge adrenaline boost on the way back down is a perfect way to bring your trip to a close.

Holmenkollbakken ski jump. Credit: Visit Oslo

Coaches provided by Eurolines, passes start from €195 for 15 days and can be purchased from http://www.eurolines.com/en/eurolines-pass/ 

The Oslo pass gives you free public transport, access to over 30 museums and access to numerous discounts and special offers. Prices start from 320 NOK (£25 per person) with a 20% discount available for students. http://www.visitoslo.com/en/activities-and-attractions/oslo-pass/

Accomodation provided by Oslo Central Hostel, prices start from £38 per person per night https://www.hihostels.com/hostels/oslo-central#hostel-tabs

Zip-line experience provided by Kollensvevet, prices start from 500 NOK (£39) for up to two people. http://kollensvevet.no/en/ 




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