Oslo Review - Hotel, Food & Things To Do
Author: Colin Tierney "blogtraveleat"
Oslo the capital city of Norway is what this post is all about, where we stayed, where we ate and what we did, as well as getting to or from the airport. The currency of Norway is the Norwegian Krone NKK. Some of their coins have holes in the middle, traditionally this was to allow them to be carried around on a rope with a knot of either end and the tradition has stuck. Norway is part of the Schengen Area, which means that once your travel documents have been checked in a member country no further checks are carried out when travelling to other member countries, useful if you want to take in Copenhagen in Denmark as part of the same trip, this is easily achieved by taking the DFDS ferry between the two overnight.
The hotel itself is about a five minute walk to Oslo city centre, it took us about 20 minutes to walk from the ferry terminal to the Hotel and it is about a 10 minute walk from the Central Train station, so it is ideally located far enough out of the city to be nice and quiet at night but not too far that you need to get public transport to get there.
We arrived at around 10:30 to 11am which was earlier than we had planned, but we thought we would see if we could check in early, normal check in time was 3pm. For a small fee we could check in early. This was reasonable as we wanted to drop off our bags before we went to explore and it was on a similar par to left luggage costs.
The hotel itself feels modern and probably more geared towards younger travellers, but there was a good mix of age groups staying at the hotel. The hotel is also secure as you need to use your key card to access the stair well or the elevators to get to your room.
There are a couple of pieces of modern art as you enter the hotel, which have been damaged, there is a note next to the display advising that as a mark of respect they have been left this way as they were damaged during the attack which happened in Oslo on 22nd July 2011.
The door locks are different to the electronic ones I have encountered before, this one you swipe the card at the lock, similar to Contactless technology and this unlocks the door, you need to follow the same procedure when you leave to lock it again, it does not automatically lock behind you. Your key card is also used in a slot by the door to activate the electrics in the room. The room is of an adequate size with a modern minimalistic feel, it also has air conditioning and a large TV which shows UK programs with Norwegian subtitles.
The bathroom is a wet room which comes with underfloor heating which is really nice. The bed is really comfy to sleep in. Even though there is a double bed, it comes with two single duvets, this seems to be another European thing, which works quiet well as you get a duvet each and saves on arguments. We requested extra pillows which were brought up to the room very quickly. For stays less than four days your room is not cleaned, if you want it to be cleaned then you can ask for it at reception and there is a small charge to pay. This didn't bother us we were only staying a couple of days and we are not the messy types. there are no tea of coffee making facilities in the room, which seems to be standard for European hotels, but there is a bar downstairs which serves tea and coffee.
The hotel itself does not have the facility where you can purchase a breakfast in advance, but it does offer a small selection of breakfast items downstairs in the bar/reception. We decided to try the breakfast bag; this consisted of a Egg sandwich, an apple, a yoghurt pot and a small carton of fruit juice, along with this you also got a cup of tea or coffee. The breakfast was very nice and filling, the coffee and teas are also very nice.
We would definitely stay here again if we were to visit Oslo again, it is in a good location with a short walk to the city centre, the hotel is modern and clean and quiet at night just what you need for a peaceful sleep. If you are visiting Oslo I would highly recommend staying here.
Things to See in Oslo
There are plenty of things to do in Oslo, some can be reached via a short walk and some may need public transport to get you there. Some things will cost you an entry free and some are free. If you want to visit lots of museums and make use of the public transport look at the Oslo City Card. You will find the a lot of the museums are small and specific to their subject, with most taking between 45 minutes to an hour to look round. This is rather refreshing as you don't get information overload or bored as sometimes happens in larger museums which cover a wider array of topics. Below are the places we chose to visit but there are still plenty more. Here is our Oslo itinerary for a short stay.
Just a quick word on the Oslo City Card. I would definitely recommend considering it, for a fee this gives you free access to Museums and Attractions, as well as use of the public transport system. It also offers discounts on food and other attractions. It is worth considering, but I would work out before hand whether it is going to be beneficial for you. This is a personal recommendation based on my experience of the card, I am not paid for recommending it. If you want to find out more information just search for Oslo City Card.
The Bygdøy Museums
There are a number of museums at Bygdøy, this is about a 30 minute bus ride away from Oslo near the Rådhuset. You will need to take the number 30 bus, during high season there is also a ferry which can take you across. If you have an Oslo City Card these are included so you will not need to pay anymore. The main museums at Bygdøy are:
• Viking Ship Museum
• Norwegian Folk Museum
• Holocaust Centre
• Polar Fram Museum
• KonTiki Museum
• Norsk Maritime Museum
It is well worth planning your visit as some museums are located near each other, most will take you around an hour to go round. Below are reviews of the museums we visits.
Kon Tiki Museum
The Kon Tiki Museum is based on the Norwegian explorer Thor Hyerdahl, it covers the boats he sailed in. It has the original Kon-Tiki boat, which he used to prove his theory about Peruvians being able to reach Polynesia as well as a model of the Ra. He filmed the voyage of him and his six crew, which he won an oscar for in 1954 for Best Documentary. The museum has excellent facilities you can purchase hot drinks from reception, which you then make yourself, the toilets are clean and modern. It also has a little gift shop. The museum itself is really easy to follow around with small readable snippets of information on the way, it also has displays for children to keep them occupied. It also has a good selection of exhibits alongside the boats and the original Oscar. Another bonus for the museum is that is has multi-lingual displays.
The Viking Ship Museum
The Viking Ship Museum is about a 15 minute walk away from the Kon Tiki Museum and the Norse Maritime Museum. If you don't fancy walking the Number 30 bus, can take you up there or you can stop off on your way past and then get back on a bus to take you to the other museums. This is another small museum which houses a number of exhibits the most impressive are the long boats which have been recovered these cover 3 arms of the cross. Alongside this there are a number of artefacts that have been recovered. It is really interesting to read about the items recovered (again these are multi-lingual). There are also stairs up to viewing platforms around the museum so you get to look inside the long boats. The museum also offers a small gift shop.
Norsk Maritime Museum
The Norsk Maritime Museum is in the same area as the Kon Tiki Museum and the Polar Fram Museum. We had a very quick tour of the museum as it was close to closing time, by the time we have visited the Kon Tiki and Viking Ship Museums. Another specialist museums with lots to see and do, it is a very interactive museum which is good for kids and like us grown up kids too. It also offers an art gallery. The museum is set over about three floors and covers from early seafaring days up to present day. The exhibits are also multi-lingual. The museum has a cafe with seating area which sells drinks and cakes so it is good for a sit down and a rest, it also offers a small gift shop and toilet facilities. Along with the exhibits the museum also offers some great views of the Fjord and has excellent photo opportunities.nd the Polar Fram Museum. We had a very quick tour of the museum as it was close to closing time, by the time we have visited the Kon Tiki and Viking Ship Museums. Another specialist museums with lots to see and do, it is a very interactive museum which is good for kids and like us grown up kids too. It also offers an art gallery. The museum is set over about three floors and covers from early seafaring days up to present day. The exhibits are also multi-lingual. The museum has a cafe with seating area which sells drinks and cakes so it is good for a sit down and a rest, it also offers a small gift shop and toilet facilities. Along with the exhibits the museum also offers some great views of the Fjord and has excellent photo opportunities.
The City Centre
If travelling is not your thing, there is plenty to see an do in the centre of Oslo most are with a short walk for the centre with some being closely situated together. This includes:
• Akerhaus Festning
• Norwegian Resistance Museum
• Armed Forces Museum
• National Theater
• Oslo Cathedral
• The Royal Family Palace
I have included reviews here of the places we have visited during our stay.
Armed Forces Museum
The armed forced museum is located near the Akerhaus Festning (Akerhaus Castle). It is set over two floors covering Norwegian Army through the ages, it has some good exhibits, it has a good section on World War II, most of the exhibits are multi-lingual, during our visit there was an exhibition about the Norwegian Medal and this exhibit was just in Norwegian. It has some really interesting exhibits, a mock up of a house from Hiroshima, a large collection of flags, and a picture wall around notable Americans and Celebrities. It was very interesting to see how the Norwegian Military has been deployed through the years a really great insight. The museum also has a cafe and clean toilets.
Norwegian Resistance Museum
The Norwegian Resistance Museum is situated within the grounds of the Akerhaus Festning. This is a small museum which will take you around 30 to 45 minutes to walk through. It is covered over two floors and leads you round in a circle. As like most I have seen some films which look at Norway during their occupation in World War II and one of those films the Hero's Of Telemark was part of my inspiration for wanting to visit the museum. It covers the early days of the war and the german invasion up to their liberation at the end of the war. The museum was interesting with displays in English, it also taught me somethings I didn't know which just how much we (the British) had tried to help Norway during the war and how big the resistance movement was. The museum also has a small gift/book shop (which sold books in both English, Norwegian and other languages).
The Akerhaus Festning is a large castle on the outskirts if Oslo City Centre. It has large grounds within the walls and is a lovely walk even when it starts snowing. The castle itself is a working military establishment. Within the grounds there is an information centre which has toilet facilities, the resistance museum and the museum for the castle. At the wall edges there are some fantastic views over the fjord and the city centre itself, I would urge caution with small children as there is only a small wire to protect you from the long drop at the other side. It was nice to see a female guard on sentry duty outside the castle itself, the castle is also amazing piece of architecture.
Where to Eat in Oslo
On returning to the restaurant after our earlier recon of the place, we go inside and are told to sit at whichever table where we like, I chose the one near the widow as we like to watch the world go by. The restaurant is fairly quiet with a couple of other guests. The seating in the raised area looks like old train seats with a luggage rack overhead and worn leather covers, it certainly adds to the ambiance, by the side of the bar there is also a darts area. Looking around it looks to be modelled on a old steam liner ship. The lighting is subdued and gives a nice warm and comfortable feel to the place.
We place our order of Reindeer Stew and the Pollock Special, along with a bottle of water. The meals are obviously cooked fresh to order as there is a little wait for them to be delivered. Both meals were amazingly tasty, I especially enjoyed my reindeer stew, I eat venison back home so there is not much difference other than a more earthier taste due to the vegetation they eat in Norway versus the UK, the vegetables that both dishes came with were cooked to perfection. I also like the cracker bread which came with my stew. The red sauce which came with the dish also complimented it very well.
We finished the meal off with a shared plate of waffles with jam and cream, these are so much nicer than the waffles back home and were very enjoyable. I had mine with an Americano which was also very nice.
Despite what I had read about the cost of eating out in Oslo, the meal wasn't as expensive as I thought.
We found this little place in a square near our hotel in Youngstorget. It is only a small place which is split into two, one half is a fishmongers/ fish shop serving a cornucopia of fresh fish and related goods and fresh vegetables, the other is the restaurant which has a counter which you can sit at and a small number of tables. We decided to sit at the counter and order two coffees and fish and chips twice, the girl behind the counter brings over two glass of water and a coffee.
We then decided to hang out coats off the stools like the locals as there seemed to be no coat hooks. There is a small wait while they cook our order, the place is very busy with all the tables full and most of the bar seats as well, there is also a steady flow of bike riders collecting deliveries.
We are served our fish and chips which come on a tray with greaseproof paper in the bottom. Unlike British fish and chips they come with pickles on the side, which are refreshing and cut through the oil which the fish and chips are cooked in. The fish batter is lighter and of a different texture to the batter back home, but it is nice, enjoyable and less greasy and the chips are crisp and amazing.
Not that we had much interaction with the staff but of that we did they were polite and friendly and spoke good English. Fish and chips was not only the thing on the menu there were plenty of other dishes to choose from.
Flytoget Oslo to Oslo Gardermoen Airport Express
I had done some research before we left and had found the Flytoget service which is a dedicated Airport Train between Oslo and Oslo Gardermoen Airport. They even have an app which is worth downloading if only get to real time departure details. As our trip had taken us from Copenhagen to Oslo by ferry we only used the service the once. The standard prices is 200NK which is around £20, if you use the app or the self service machines it only costs 180NK so you get to save around £2, but as these need a debit or credit card to use them you will probably have to pay a overseas transaction fee and a percentage.
At the train station there is good signage for the airport express service. There is a bank of self-service ticket machines that you can purchase tickets from, which are easy to use and can be displayed in English. The one thing I also liked about the ticketing area is that they have self-service machines for airline check in, which removed some of the hassle at the airport as we only had carry on luggage.
The trains are very modern and stylish, the inside of the carriages are modelled on an aircraft with all the seats facing forward, they have nice heating on board, which was good as it had been cold and snowing all day when we got on board. Once the train sets off there are safety announcement as well as airplane style safety cards next to the seats. The carriage also has a big TV in the centre of it, displaying again the safety information, airport information such as flight status and the queue times at security as well as local news and adverts. I really like where they have thought about it and tried to make it look and feel like an aircraft. The journey is very quick and smooth with only one stop en-route.
Once you arrive at the airport, there are automated ticket barriers which read the QR code on your tickets. There is also a booth if you need to purchase a ticket. Once you are through the ticket barriers there are escalators which deliver you right into the Airport.
Hope you enjoyed my Oslo Guide! For more Travel Tips visit blogtraveleat!