Norway is exploding on the tourism map. Here are a few places for you to fit into your busy itinerary!
Stay at the Thief Hotel
Named as the best hotel in northern Europe by the world’s best travel sites and magazines, this five-star luxury hotel oozes lavishness. All of its 116 rooms and suites have private French balconies, many of which overlook the Oslo Fjord. The bathroom floors are heated to keep the icy cold temperatures at bay; you get custom designed wool slippers, blankets, toiletries, and even socks and plush bathrobes to keep you cosy.
If you don’t feel like braving the chill outside, there are plenty of in-house comforts at the hotel, from amazing food and drinks, a 800-sq-mt spa that includes a steam room, sauna, pool and a gym.
Breath in some fresh air at the Holmenkollen
If you are craving tranquillity and want to take ski lessons, hop on a metro to the top of Holmenkollen—a hill with a fantastic view of the Oslo Fjord. You can spend the entire day here trekking across pretty trails, trying your hand at skiing or dining at one of the many timbre-clad restaurants. In the evening, you can watch professional jumpers at the huge steel ski jump. Underneath the ski jump, there is a museum that has preserved rare Norwegian polar exploration artefacts and more than 4,000 years of skiing history.
Visit the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art
The Astrup Fearnley Museum houses stunning paintings by Damien Hirst, Andy Warhol and Cindy Sherman. Its modern art collection regularly features individual, groundbreaking works of young artists from Brazil, China, India, Japan, and other European countries. The structure of the museum too is quite artistic. Its glass roof lets in plenty of natural light that reflects on the steel columns inside, creating a look of sailboats in the harbour. You will need two hours to marvel at everything the Astrup Fearnley has to offer—including a cosy cafe and a huge gift shop. Bonus: If you are a guest at The Thief, you get free access to the museum!
Indulge In Coffee Tasting
While many European countries offer plenty of wine tasting excursions, the Nordic country however loves its coffee more than wine. The Norwegian coffee is lighter and has a distinct fruity flavour that makes it an essential part of each meal. Check out the many espresso bars lining the bustling streets of Oslo to appreciate how your daily cuppa is made. You can schedule a ‘sip and spit’ at the Fuglen coffee shop to taste their range of beans before selecting the one you like best. Tim Wendelboe in the same neighbourhood has a roastery onsite that will make your cappuccino drinking experience, the best ever!
See the Opera
The Oslo Opera House is a sight to behold. It has been designed in a way to encourage visitors to walk on the roof (no kidding!). The marble embellished rooftop is accessible free of charge for tourists and offers a cool sit-down experience to soak in the sights of the city from the top. You can also watch plenty of open air plays and concerts from here. Under your feet are a myriad of halls to explore where more than 600 opera and ballet professionals work. The stunning spatial design attracts a lot of international stars to perform here every year.
Eat Local Fare
Your trip will remain incomplete without getting a taste of the local cuisine. Luckily, the food scene at Oslo is quite happening—native items like beetroots, fish and Reindeer salami are very popular; you can even get cocktails made with local produce like hazelnuts, cloudberries, and Brunost—a rare brown Norwegian cheese. Walk in at the Himkok at night, rated as one of the world’s best bars, to sip on their home-made Aquavit that comprises vodka, carrot juice, grapefruit, horseradish and ginseng. Or try the herb cocktails at Torggata Botaniske, a botanical bar located at the City Center. They make their drinks with fresh plants that are plucked in front of you. For food, the Sentralen restaurant is an apt option. Also, if you are looking for a mouthful of local flavour, try the Ett Bord, a community style restaurant that has only one long table where everyone dines together.