When we visited Oslo back as part of a big summer trip around Norway to my surprise it quickly became one of my favourite European cities. Prior to this I hadn’t had any expectations about the city, in fact we only really visited because our flight from Tromso went via Oslo before heading back to London. What we discovered was a really amazing city break destination with the perfect blend of history and modern culture. There really was so much to do in Oslo that we had drastically underestimated the amount of time we needed. If you’re short on time like us then here are the 5 absolute must-do cultural and historical attractions.
It’s quite funny that on one of the hottest day’s this year in the UK I’m writing about my trip to Stavanger two weeks ago where I was wearing a jumper and coat and even experienced some snow on my hike up Pulpit Rock!
While the weather may have somewhat shattered my dreams of beautiful views over the fjords it didn’t diminish my enjoyment of Stavanger itself. Don’t get me wrong it’s very quiet and you wouldn’t need more than a day to explore most of it but if you’re heading here anyway for the amazing hiking opportunities nearby it’s a pretty great base with lots of picturesque areas and interesting history.
I first came across the Pulpit Rock hike when I was researching for a trip I took around Norway back in August 2015. I immediately knew I wanted to do this walk and experience the amazing view over the Lysefjord for myself but there was no way we could figure out how to fit it into our two week itinerary as it would involve a specific trip to Stavanger, which was a little too far from Bergen to justify taking the time for. Instead I vowed to come back and tackle it someday in the not too distant future.
Did you know that one of my favourite places I’ve visited is a tiny little place in the Arctic Circle of Northern Norway. Yes, on first glance Tromso might not seem worth a specific visit, but it’s actually full of surreal and wonderful activities that you can’t do anywhere else: ride a cable car in the midnight sun; visit the world’s northernmost cathedral; see Amundsen’s flag that marked him as the first person to reach the South Pole; and if you’re lucky spot the Northern Lights. Tromso is full of magic.
During the summer of 2016 we were planning an epic tour of Scandinavia in 2 weeks but after realising just how much we wanted to see in Norway alone, we decided to spend the entire time there and put the remainder of the Scandinavian countries on the backburner. It was when we were looking at trips to see the fjords that we came across, and considered, a bunch of “Norway in a Nutshell” tours, that whipped you around the best bits in the limited time we had. Ultimately it was the price tag and lack of flexible itineraries that lead to us organising our own tour of Norway… it saved us a ton of money (which is vital as Norway is hugely expensive), left us to do exactly what we wanted and was extremely easy!