Norway is a great country for walking, whether it’s for an hour, a day or a week. And you don’t have to go far from the big towns to find a delightful route of any length. Above Oslo for instance, you have Nordmarka – a vast, forested terrain with a huge number of walking trails in the summer and cross country ski trails in the winter.
Buy a good map, pack your rucksack and take the T-bane up past Holmenkollen Ski Jump to Frognerseteren (perhaps stopping on the way to admire the jumpers’ daring). Then set off in your chosen direction. We decided to make a three day trip of it, staying at Kikutstua (www.kikutstua.no) for two nights' half board with lunch pack. DNT (www.turistforeningen.no) has accommodation up there too.
In summer enjoy the fruits of the forest – wild strawberries in late June or bilberries in July. In autumn enjoy the wild fungus - if you dare. And if the weather is hot, as it is surprisingly often in the Scandinavian summer, take frequent dips in the many lakes you pass en route. We must have swum seven or eight times on our short trip, and we scarcely saw a soul. That’s why we love the Nordic countries.
The setting for the Norwegian Wood rock festival in Oslo, Norway is absolutely perfect for live music. It takes place in a natural amphitheatre in parkland in Frognerbadet ("the Frogner Baths"). Only 8000 tickets are sold for each day of the festival, and thanks to the grassy slopes of the amphitheatre, every person has a tremendous view of the stage. Even up the back you feel like you're at an intimate show. The lineup is often conservative - this year it's Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr and The Eagles, with the lone rebellious figure of Patti Smith. Past highlights have included Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, the Foo Fighters and Iggy Pop. Frognerbadet is also right next to the astounding Vigeland's park - 80 acres of amazing sculpture by Norwegian artist Gustav Vigeland.
Was here last Friday with some friends and was eating the King prawns and topped it off with some paela and a nice bottle of wine.
To our surprise, at around 11pm in the evening the place went all salsa. The local salsa club came here and danced their socks off. Quite an experience.
Truly recommend it.
Take the bus out to Frognerseteren where you'll find marked trails leading to Tryvannstua refuge, Ullevalseter refuge, and then on to Sognsvann (about 18km in all). Dark pine forests alternate with trembling delicate silver birch; there are secret ponds in the forest, lakes, marshes full of lurid green moss, where your boots squelch as you tread; tracks that scramble over pine roots and rock, and lakeside trails. The major trails are well marked, though you take minor paths at your peril - I walked an extra 3 or 4 kilometres in a circle at one point! From Sognsvann, you can take the railway back to the centre of town in just 15 minutes.
Frogneseteren station, reached by bus (train line under repair) from Majorstuen.
Google map: tinyurl.com/33chyvb
You'll need a bike to get out of the city and on to Bygdoy - there is a bus, but it only goes to the museums. Cycling through the royal estate, through hayfields and pine forests, you'll come first to a lovely sandy cove at Paradisbukta, and then to Huk, at the very end of the peninsula, where you can swim clad (near the restaurant) or naked (a little further north). A little touch of wilderness 20 minutes' bike ride from City Hall.
Google map: tinyurl.com/34jxyzy
I can't think of any place I would rather be on a warm summer day than jumping into the cool clean water of the outdoor pool in Oslo's lovely Frogner Park. You can admire the statues by Gustav Vigeland while dangling your feet in the water, and watching your children splashing about in the children's pool one level down. The pool is a full 50m long and there are also diving boards at 1, 3, and 5 meters. Entry is by single admission or "klippkort". Can't wait to get there!
Entry to pool on Middelthunsgate, in Majorstuen
Take tunnelbane to stop 5 min walk away.
Google map: tinyurl.com/2wod6kr
It is fabulous stunning scenery that holds hundreds of sculptures of Vigelands, very interesting, amazing and easy to walk by.
Also you can't go away from Oslo without a trip by local ferries to the little islands, some inhabited, others not. They are in the fiord of Oslo, like Lindoja or others. It is very easy to access and they are nature parks with easy paths and plenty of beautiful flowers and plants.
Vigeland Park. Acces by tram.
Lindoja, Access from the boats local ferry station, in center of the city, passing through the big cruise docks, and go along. Easy access to the docks to the island by tram or bus.
Google map: tinyurl.com/yl6d4g7
Great Tapas style bar in trendy Grunerløkka popular with students and a twenty/thirty-something crowd. Busy in a good way with a relaxed dress-down look and feel.
Jammed when we walked in around 7 pm on a Thursday, but the friendly staff took our names, got us some drinks and suggested we sit on the cushioned window benches outside, which made for a very pleasant, if 40 min/hour, wait for a table.
We (2) ordered a range of Tapas dishes including : Patatas bravas, Tortilla Espanola, Marinated Prawns, Albondigas i krydret tomatsaus (meatballs in tomato sauce), Aspargesbønner i sitronolje (actually green beans not asparagus) and bread and alioli.
All the food was wonderful with the prawns stealing the show.
As is normal in Norway the house red and white was terrific (the Norwegian State buys all the wine sold through 'Wine Monopolies'). Overall the bill was reasonable (for Norway) and the service amiable and prompt.
Would definitely go there again.
Delicatessen : Søndregate 8, 0550 Grunerløkka, Oslo. Tlf.: 22 71 45 46 Faks: 22 38 58 87
Views of the city and its fjord to die for from this bar on the 21st floor. A stylish and suited downtown crowd gathers here at sunset to watch the light fade and the neons come on all over the city, supping sophisticated concoctions from a long (and, as it’s Scandinavia, suitably pricey) cocktail list. Male vertigo sufferers should stick to short measures: the urinals are built into glass walls looking out over the abyss.
For 60 Krone you can get a pass for 24 hours which you can use on buses, trams, the metro and ferries. Especially good is to take a "mini cruise" around the islands in the bay. Also go up the hill on metro Line 1 to Frognerseteren for great views over the city.
All transport stations
According to their website, the DNT is Norway's largest outdoor activities organisation. Their work includes maintaining a fantastic network of marked hiking trails and running 144 mountain lodges, linked by these (and other trails).
We have just returned from a week hiking in Jontunheimen and cannot praise the DNT highly enough. I have never seen such an organisation so successful at making the wilderness accessible with minimal disturbance to the natural environment.
The trails are well-marked and maintained and where we used trails not maintained by the DNT, staff were nevertheless able to advise on them. The level of service at the fully staffed lodges we used was extraordinary and not too expensive (by Norwegian standards!). And how good is it to come off a mountain, knowing that a comfortable bed, three course meal, hot showers, and effective drying room are waiting for you? The DNT prides itself in never turning anyone away.
We were walking as a family with two under twelves, so didn't undertake any really major climbs, but the DNT also organises tours of the high peaks etc.
All the activities we undertook, we could have done as non-members, but joining the DNT meant serious discounts on accommodation costs as well as the ability to secure beds when the lodges were nearly full. If you are venturing deeper into the mountains and staying at unstaffed lodges, I think you need to be a member to get a key to the lodges.
This place is on the roof of Norway. It is only accessible by train - the mainline Bergen to Oslo.
Fantastic hotel Finse 1222 with great views over glacier. The walks along the old navvy road are excellent.
"The roof of Norway"
Use Hotel Finse 1222 as a base for adventures in the Norwegian mountains.
There are excellent walks and cycling opportunities along the old Navvy Road. Ask the stationmaster for the best routes by hopping from station to station - they are spaced about 15km apart.
The walk from Hallingskeid to Myrdal, down through the tree line, is unmissable, while, the railway museum at Finse is incredibly informative.
This hotel is only accessible by train on the Oslo - Bergen mainline. See:
You can camp anywhere outside of the cities except for the home pasture of a farm and fields which haven’t been harvested, so you don’t need to worry if you don’t make it to your next intended stop.
There are many campsites, however, and most also have basic cabins sleeping two, four, or more people — useful for the occasional evening of lounging around and drying out.
www.camping.no is an excellent website listing all campsites in Norway.
The Summit bar at the top of the Radisson SAS Hotel in the centre of Oslo has absolutely stunning views of the city and Oslo fjord, especially if you go there around dusk to watch the sunlight fade and the streetlights and neons come on all over the city.
If you go at the right time you can get a comfy seat right by the window, the best vantage point. Apart from the urinals apparently - they are right up against the glass so you can enjoy the view whilst, you know. Oh, and in the ladies' there is one cubicle with two toilets in it - in case you and a friend need to finish a conversation, especially urgently I suppose?!
Drinks aren't as expensive as I'd feared - it was around 300kr for two (small) bottles of beer and two glasses of red - pricier than the UK but that's to be expected I think.
When we went there was an especially good bar tender - she paid loads of attention to getting drinks just so and gave us some free peanuts!
A great atmosphere, stunning views and perfect company meant the Summit bar was the highlight of my trip to Oslo.
It's near the Royal Palace. The address is Holbergsgate 30, N-0166, Oslo
The town hall in Oslo is famous for holding the Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony.
It was built in the 1930s, and is located near to the sea, close to Aker Brygge.
It stands out because of the two unusual block brick towers. First impressions are not so positive, but it grows on you.
The building has several sculptures on the walls depicting labourers at work. By the main entrance there is a fountain with a sculpture of a bird. From a distance it appears like a normal brick building, but on
closer inspection you observe various unusual patterns in the brickwork.
The interior walls are decorated with striking artworks in different bright colours. From the first floor there is an amazing view of the Oslo Harbour and the scenic fjord.
It's worth your while spending time slowly looking at the details both inside and out.
Oslo Centre, close to Nationaltheatret and Aker Brygge
This unique sculpture park is the life work of the sculptor Gustav Vigeland. There are more than 200 sculptures in bronze, granite and cast iron set in beautiful park land close to the City. A monumental artistic collection with a human message. Excellent cafe too.
The park is open all year. Easy to reach - 20 minutes from the city centre by Tram.
Postal address: 0268 Oslo
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