In this post you will find a quick guide to discover Oslo in a 36 hours getaway, as well as the essential information you need to know when traveling and getting around the city; you will also find ideas to choose from the many tourist attractions offered by the city of Oslo.
In addition, Oslo is a friendly and an extremely walkable city with many attractions and activities to enjoy.
I aimed to chase the Northern Lights in Tromso, but as I made to Norway I stopped by in Oslo and try to make the most of 36 hours. There is so much to discover though that it’s impossible to get to know everything in a limited amount of time, for that reason you need to find out in advance what would like to visit and prepare an itinerary accordingly.
Equally important is to take into account the schedules of the shops and tourist sites. In the winter tourist attractions close at 16:00 pm and shops at 18:00 pm (from Monday to Saturday) and on Sundays do not open.
Before you go
In the first place, take a look to these websites which will help you when planning your visit.
The official travel web to Oslo, Visit Oslo, offers a super complete information about Oslo.
With Oslo Official City app you will have up-to-date information about events, visits, schedules, transportation and more.
The Oslo pass grant access to unlimited public transport for the time you purchased it (but not the journey from the airport to the city center), and access to over 30 tourist attractions. There are 24, 48 and 72 hour cards.
In this link you can see what’s included and how to get it.
How to get to Oslo
From Spain there are several airlines that fly to Oslo. With Skyscanner.com you can see when they come out cheaper.
How to get from the airport to Center Oslo
When traveling to Oslo, Gardermoen is the international airport you land in at. It’s located 47 km north of Oslo. From there, there’re several options to get to the center city by public transport: by train, bus, and taxi.
This is the fastest and cheapest option.
Note that there is 2 types: Regional and Express (Flytoget Airport Express Train). Regional train tickets price is 105 NOK and the Express train costs 190 NOK. The journey takes in both trains the same time: 20 minutes approx. The main difference between them is the schedules; there’re 3 regional train departures per hour, while every 10 minutes an Express train departs to the center.
For Regional trains, lines R10, R11 (Regional Train) and L12 (Local Train) take you to Central Oslo Station. You can purchase the tickets at the machines, just before entering the platforms at the arrivals terminal exit. If you don’t have the approximate amount in cash, you can pay by credit card.
It has 2 services:
- Flybussen. It takes 45 min to 1 hour, depending on the stops you make. The price is 189 NOK.
- OSL-ekspressen connects the airport with eastern Oslo.
In Oslo, taxis have fixed prices for transfers from the airport to central Oslo. If you want to take one, go to the taxi counter in the arrivals terminal where they inform you of the fixed rates. There are several companies, and prices may vary somewhat, but they range about 800 NOK. The journey takes about 40 minutes.
How to get around Oslo
The transport network works efficiently and city areas are well-connected by the tram, metro, bus, and taxi. The one-way ticket costs 37 NOK, and you can use it for bus, metro, and tram for 1 hour 30 minutes. Meaning that, since you validate the ticket, can use during 1 hour and a 30 minutes all the transports you need as many times as you want.
There are also 24-hour tickets that cost 108 NOK and 7 day ones that cost 249 NOK, valid for all transports too.
You can get the tickets by downloading the RuterBillet App.
Check for more information about transportation and application here.
When using the app, a counter on your mobile tells you how much time you have left to use the ticket. What people do is to buy the ticket 2 minutes before getting on the transport so that at getting in is already valid.
If you don’t use the application, you can get the tickets at Narvesen Shops, 7 Eleven, Trafikanten (in front of central station) and in the machines at the metro and bus terminal stations.
The Norwegian currency is the Norwegian Krone (NOK).
During your stay in Oslo you will mainly use the credit card as it works on absolutely all sites and has no limitations to pay small amounts. If you want to, you need not exchange money at all.
Where to stay in Oslo
To begin with, accommodation in Oslo is one of the most expensive of the world, however they range all categories and prices. I stayed at the Oslo Citybox hotel, and I highly recommend it.
This hotel is 5-minutes walking from Oslo Central Station and tram stop right outside the hotel. It was all spotless, and with common areas where you can use a microwave and fridge. Regarding the hotel staff is friendly and willing to help you in whatever you need.
Where to eat in Oslo
Coupled with the accommodation, the second most expensive thing are restaurants in Oslo, but however you can always find affordable options.
I recommend the restaurants I tried, and I found them being good value for money (according to Oslo’s standard):
- Italian restaurant Olivia’s brand in Aker Brygge or Karl Johans Gate. I ate at the one in Karl Johans and the food liked very much, besides that the portion was plentiful. A frutti di mare pasta course and an American coffee cost 252 NOK.
- Louise Restaurant & Bar at Aker Brygge Pier. Its menu presents a variety of traditional Norwegian cuisine, and the portions are plentiful. I dined Lofoten salmon with white wine sauce and found it top-notch.
However, for the shake of shaving, at both restaurants I drank water, which they offer you always for free.
What to do and see
The touristy activities I list below are the ones I chose, and I really loved them all very much, but check here the compiled list of all the ones in Oslo, for sure you will enjoy:
I did not buy the Oslo Pass, the price information given here are the usual ones without discounts.
– Sightseeing tour with tram 12
With a regular ticket, you can take the tram number 12 and tour for the major tourist spots.
This tram runs between Majorstuen (west) and Kjelsås (north) and its journey allows you to see the contrasts between the different neighborhoods of the city which is very interesting. The entire tour is 1 hour long, and you can get off and get on the tram as many times as you want.
– Aker Brygge Wharf
The pedestrian area along the waterfront is filled out with restaurants with fantastic views of the marina and the Oslo Fjord.
Don’t miss it, you will find a vivacious atmosphere both during the day and at night.
Getting there: Tram nº 12 Aker Brygge
– Stroll through Karl Johans Gate
This is the principal street where are the Royal Palace, the Cathedral, the Parliament, the University, the National Theatre, and also plentiful shops and restaurants.
Getting there: Tram Stortorvet
– Oslo Cathedral
Its construction dates from 1697. Although on the outside it looks like a simple church that does not attract attention, the interior strikes some impressive paintings in the vault, coupled with the stained glass windows, certainly very beautiful.
– Skating rink – Spikersuppa
Next to Karl Johans Avenue, you will find this lively skating rink.
Admission: free. You can rent the skates for 150 kronor
Opening times: 11:00 to 20:00, from December to February/March.
Getting there: Metro Stortinget
– Opera Building
Impressive original architectural work, you can walk along its roof and enjoy the views of the city and the fjord. The building’s inner is built almost all of wood, and the main lobby has an original horseshoe shape.
If you want to see an opera play, here you can see information on how to buy the tickets.
Opening times: 12:00 to 21:00.
Getting there: Oslo Central Station/Jernbanetorget metro
– Akershus Fortress (Akershus Fortress) and Medieval Castle
The Castle was built around 1300 and in the mid-17th century transformed into a Renaissance palace. Nowadays take place all government representative acts.
Admission: 100 NOK
Opening time: Monday to Saturday 10:00 to 16:00, Sundays from 12:00 to 16:00
Getting there: Tram nº 12: Kontraskjaeret
It’s possible only walk around its different buildings and enjoy the views both to the center and the Oslo Fjord for free.
– Vigeland Park
This famous park contains over 200 bronze and granite sculptures. It’s take the name after his sculptor Gustav Vigeland (1869-1943), who throughout his life built and designed the architectural/sculptural ensemble of the park.
The most representative statues are: the Monolith, the Crying Baby and the Wheel of Life. It’s a total luxury to stroll through its well-kept gardens.
Opening times: open all day
Getting there: Tram nº 12: Stortorvet
– Bygdoy Peninsula
In this area are located the main Oslo’s museums. Among those, stand out the following ones:
- Norsk Folkemuseum
It is a very interesting open-air museum, you can see actual buildings from different periods of Norway, and know how its people lived.
In my opinion, the most remarkable building was the spectacular medieval black wooden Stavkirker church, it truly amazed me.
I also really enjoyed learning about the Sami ethnic group and getting to know more about its fascinating culture.
Admission: 160 NOK
Opening times: 10:00 to 16:00
Getting there: bus nº 30 Folkemuseet. April to October operates the Radhuset ferry, Bygdoy stop.
- Viking’s Ship Museum
In this museum you will find 3 impressive Viking ships, very well-preserved. They found these boats in 3 royal tombs, near the Oslo Fjord.
Admission: 120 NOK
Opening times: 10:00 to 16:00
In addition, If you want to get to know more about Viking culture (religion, mythology, ships) a part from having a wonderful time experiencing a virtual reality adventure, you can not miss THE VIKING PLANET.
The Viking Planet Center shows viking culture on large, interactive screens and 270-degree movies. The highlights are 15 minutes of virtual reality depicted in a fight on a storm viking’s ship, where you are the absolute protagonist.
I have to say I loved this experience, I highly recommend it.
Opening times: 10:00 to 20:00
Getting there: Metro Stortinget, Fridtjof Nansens plass 4.
36 Hours in Oslo quick guide Wrap up
I loved the time I spend in Oslo and highly recommend you don’t miss these activities and if you plan staying longer, you can mix these options with other equally interesting ones.
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