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of Oslo, Norway: Top 10 Attractions by Baljeet Sangwan
For a healthy dose of Viking
culture and a good smattering of art and history museums, go to Oslo, Norway.
For Oslo, a small capital by most measures, with a mere 500,000 people,
has a surprisingly large collection of good museums - most of them easily
accessible from the city center and, with the Oslo Pass in hand, inexpensive
to boot - as well as a wealth of Scandinavian architecture, both historic
|For first-time visitors
to Oslo, however, since it is easy to be overwhelmed by the city's offerings,
here are Oslo's 'Top 10' tourist draws.
1. Oslo's Opera House
Oslo's new Opera House,
inaugurated in April 2008, is absolutely, positively, a 'must-see'. It
is Oslo's bold, New Millennium statement to the world, aptly made with
granite and 36,000 slabs of white marble. Partly submerged in the sea,
the $700-million architectural masterpiece rises from the fjord like a
massive sheet of ice, with its angular slabs, like giant ski slopes, surprising
at every level. The opera house is home to both the Norwegian National
Opera and the Norwegian Ballet.
Holmenkollen is one of the
world's most famous ski jump arenas and easily Oslo's foremost attraction.
The arena was originally built at the end of the 19th century, and renovated
extensively in 1952 for the Winter Olympic Games. Holmenkollen is situated
357 meters (1,000 feet) above sea level, and the ski jump tower, which
is one of the principal attractions here, is another 60 meters (180 feet)
higher, with spectacular all-around views from the top.
There is also a ski museum
here, the oldest in the world, devoted to the history of skiing which goes
back some 4,000 years! Holmokollen is in the Marka region of Oslo, and
open to the public year-round.
|3. Vigeland Sculpture
Located within the larger
Frogner Park in the western section of Oslo, Vigeland Park is noted for
its wealth of granite and bronze sculptures by Gustav Vigeland, one of
Norway's most famous sculptors, for whom the park is named. There are more
than 200 Vigeland sculptures here, and there is also a museum with Vigeland's
work located just across from the park, open to the public Tuesday to Sunday
year-round. The park is open to the public 24 hours, all year..
4. Oseberg Viking Ship
One of the most popular
museums in the city, the Oseberg Viking Ship Museum houses three of the
world's best-preserved Viking ships. The ships are more than 1,100 years
old and were found nearly a century ago in Oseberg, which is near Oslo,
in the county of Vestfold.
The museum also has exhibits
demonstrating fabric and weaving techniques from the Viking era, as well
as an assortment of tools and weapons. The museum is open daily.
5. National Museum of
Oslo's National Museum of
Art is home to the world's most recognized painting, Edvard Munch's Skrik,
also known as The Scream. Besides this 1893 masterpiece, the museum houses
extensive collections of both Norwegian and International art. The museum
is located next to the Oslo University on Universtetsgaten, just a couple
of blocks from Oslo's main thoroughfare, Karl Johan. Admission to the museum
|6. Munch Museum
Here is a museum entirely
devoted to Norway's most famous artist, Edvard Munch, one of the pioneers
of Expressionism and painter of the renowned Skrik (The Scream). The museum
has two versions of The Scream, one each in pastels and oil, the latter
dating from 1910. The museum, which is probably a 10-minute walk from Karl
Johan, has literally hundreds of Munch's paintings, donated by the artist
to the city. The Munch Museum is open daily, except on Mondays.
7. Akershus Fortress
The Akershus Fortress, or
Akershus Castle, situated in the southeastern part of the city center,
is an integral part of Oslo's history. It was originally built as a royal
residence in the 14th century by King Hakon V, when Oslo first became the
capital of Norway, and rebuilt in the Renaissance style in the early 17th
century by King Christian IV, following a fire that consumed the entire
city. Today, you can tour both parts of Akershus: Akershus Slottet, which
is the castle itself, and Akershus Festning, the area surrounding the castle.
Akershus Festning is open
all year between 6am and 9pm, while Akershus Slottet, the castle, is open
to the public only during summer, unless you take a guided tour, which
is available on Thursdays, even during off-peak season.
8. Oslo City Hall
Oslo's City Hall has a claim
to fame. This is where the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded every year on December
10, the only Nobel Prize to be presented outside Nobel's home country of
Sweden. This is also the seat of Oslo's city council. The city hall building
itself, which was inaugurated in 1950, is not terribly inspiring from the
exterior, but has an impressive interior and a stunning view of the harbor.
The city hall is located on Fridtjof Nansens Plass and is open on weekdays
during business hours.
|9. Oslo Parliament
Oslo's Parliament Building,
Stortinget, is also worth seeing, especially if you are visiting Oslo for
the first time. Uniquely 19th-century neo-Romanesque, the building dates
from 1866 and was designed by Swedish architect Emil Victor Langle.
Stortinget is located in
the center of Karl Johansgate, just past the intersection of Akersgate.
Admission is free, with scheduled guided tours available year-round.
10. Royal Palace
Although not as well known
as British royalty, Norway still has its kings and queens and this is where
they reside. The Royal Palace, or slottet, was originally built in 1824
as the residence of the Norwegian-cum-Swedish king, Charles III, and extensively
renovated and restored to its former glory in the 1990s, at a significant
cost, by King Harald V, the current monarch. The palace, situated on a
small rise at the end of Karl Johansgate, Oslo's principal artery, is open
for public tours during the summer months, June-August.
About the Author: Baljeet
Sangwan is a globetrotter, travel editor and travel writer who has published
12 travel guidebooks. He is a co-publisher at iChiefTravel and a contributor
Norway and Bergen, Norway travel guides.
for Oslo Hotels
HOTELS IN OSLO, NORWAY
browsing Oslo Hotels
Western Hotell Bondeheimen, Oslo
Located in the heart of
the city, the 3+* Best Western Bondeheimen is perfect for that relaxing
visit to Norway. Ideal for sightseeing, the hotel is just behind Karl Johans
Gate and minutes from the Parliament Building, National Theatre and National
Gallery. The Quay side and Royal Palace are also just a short pleasant
stroll from the hotel. For a taste of Norway, the hotels cafe offers mouthwatering
traditional Norwegian dishes thoughout the day, all very reasonably priced
and extremely popular with guests and locals alike. The hotel also has
a large gift shop selling typical Norwegian hand crafts to traditional
costume, one of its kind in the city centre. The costumes are even made
on the premises!! This hotels offers great value for money in the centre
Western Karl Johan Hotel, Oslo
Best Western Karl Johan
Hotell a historic hotel from 1899. Next to the Parliament and within immediate
walking distance to a variety of museums, attractions, shops, bars and
restaurants. The hotel has 114 rooms, as well as five meeting rooms with
a maximum capacity of 60 people. Most rooms renovated during 08/09. For
a taste of Norway, the hotels cafe offers mouthwatering traditional Norwegian
dishes thoughout the day, all very reasonably priced and extremely popular
with guests and locals alike. Coffee/tea makers and minibars are offered.
Bathrooms feature hair dryers. Guestrooms offer direct-dial phones with
free local calls. Televisions have pay movies.
Hotel Royal Christiania, Oslo
hotel which, with its 532 modern rooms and 21 conference rooms, creates
a dynamic meeting venue right in the heart of Oslo. The hotel’s central
location is one of the reasons for its success; opposite Oslo Central Station
and the airport express train, and with the city’s shopping opportunities
and attractions right outside the door. Oslo’s main street, Karl Johansgate,
is only a 100 m walk from the hotel. Enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner
in the large spacious Atrium restaurant in Oslo. You also find a sports
bar and the lobby bar, Bar Royal nearby. Restaurant Atrium is a treasure
accommodating the needs from small parties to larger events. The bar has
reopened on the 1st floor with a connection terrace. Stop by for a coffee,
lunch snacks, or After Work drinks!
The Grand Hotel in Oslo,
the Norwegian capital, is perhaps its most venerable and elegant deluxe
hotel, forming a striking landmark on the city's grandest street, Karl
Johans Gate. The Grand Hotel is a mix of tradition and new styles - timelessly
classic, yet offering today's celebrities, world leaders, and you too,
all the luxury, quality and comfort you have the right to expect from a
modern first-class international hotel. The Grand first opened its doors
in 1874. For more than 130 years, the name has been synonymous with
quality and atmosphere. World-famous Norwegians such as Henrik Ibsen
and Fridtjof Nansen made the Grand their second home. Today, the hotel
is a proud host to Nobel Peace Prize laureates, celebrities and heads of
Blu Plaza Hotel, Oslo
Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel,
Oslo is located in Oslo, close to Oslo Cathedral, Oslo City Hall, and Munch
Museum. Nearby points of interest also include Akershus Fortress and Nobel
Peace Center. Dining options at Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel, Oslo include
a restaurant and a bar/lounge. Room service is available during limited
hours. A complimentary breakfast is served daily. Recreational amenities
include an indoor pool and a fitness facility. This 5.0-star property has
a business center. Additional property amenities include valet parking
and self parking. This is a smoke-free property. A total renovation of
this property was completed in 2007.
First-class business hotel
in Karl Johans street in the centre of Oslo with the entrance on Biskop
Gunnerus street. With the hotel's central location, it is only two minutes'
walk to Oslo Sentralstasjon and Gardermobanen. Rica Oslo Hotel has its
own special character - with works of art by many famous artists being
exhibited both inside and outside, with decorations and sculptures. Among
other things, the hotel's restaurant "Bjørvigen Mat & Vinhus"
serves a large luncheon buffet with hot and cold dishes, as well as a delicious
à la carte menu. In addition, there is a cosy lobby bar with room
for approx. 30 people.
Enjoy fjord views from the
Scandic Byporten hotel, set in Oslo's Central Station.
Oslo shopping is on your
doorstep at the Scandic Byporten hotel – the hotel is in the same building
as the Byporten Shopping Centre. Explore nearby Oslo attractions like Akershus
Fortress or bustling Karl Johan Street. Sporty types will love Bogstad
Golf Club, 13 miles away. Unwind in the evening with a drink or snack in
the Scandic Byporten hotel’s Lobby bar. Convene in one of two onsite meeting
rooms or keep fit in the gym, just 1 block away. The hotel also offers
free wireless Internet access in your room and in all public areas.