There’s a certain appeal about Scandinavian countries, they are not as frequently visited as other western European countries, at least in my circle of family and friends. What has drawn me to visit Norway is mainly the northern lights; my research concluded that to have a bigger chance to witness this incredible natural phenomena, my best bet is Tromsø, an island situated at the far north of Norway close to the Arctic circle. Managed to squeeze in a couple of days in Oslo prior as well.
Oslo is a small city, one of the smallest capitals I’ve ever been to. You will find stuff to do, but don’t expect too much. Stayed near ‘Bislett Stadion’, as I read that this area is home to several restaurants and bars. However, I was not too impressed by the neighborhood and hardly found anything to do. Luckily, Oslo is a small city where you can literally get to the outskirts of it within 20 minutes of walking. The trendy neighborhood in Oslo was Grünerløkka, it contained a much more lively vibe, with great food options and outstanding themed cocktail bars. If you fancy some gin, ‘Chair’ is a great gin bar situated in that area. On another note, the ‘sentrum’ was another area worth visiting; walking distance to Tjuvholmen, which is a pier-like area with breathtaking views of the Oslofjord. When around the center, a speakeasy distillery called HIMKOK is not to be missed.
The museum of contemporary arts, Astrup Fearnley, is located in Tjuvholmen. The Noble Peace Center is situated there as well. The area has lots of high-end shops, waterfront bars and restaurants. It was clearly one of the more classier neighborhoods in Oslo.
Here are a few more photos of Tjuvholmen to help your imagination.
Among the ‘should-sees’ (not must) is the Royal Palace, which was built in the 1800s as a home to King Charles III of Norway and Sweden. The palace contains 173 rooms and can be toured, only in the summer.
That’s all I have on Oslo. If you’re looking for a relaxing-expensive city to visit, Oslo can accommodate. I spent 3 days there which was enough for such a small city.
The northern lights stop, Tromsø! I was here to see the northern lights, but ended up meeting great people, and carrying out lots of other activities while here. It is greatly recommended to keep yourself busy with activities other than the northern lights, to avoid disappointment in case you don’t see them. A viewing of this phenomena is never guaranteed. I wrote a post on the northern lights and how to avoid the expensive tour agencies to view them, which can be found here. Consequently, I will not go over the details, but here are some photos I took:
Among other activities to do in Tromsø, is visiting the Fjords, which are narrow paths between cliffs created by glacial erosion. This northern region of Norway contains many of these. Additionally, cross country skiing, hiking, cable cars and slope-skiing can all be done around the island, and neighboring islands. The ‘Arctic Cathedral’ is a stunning piece of architecture that should be visited as well.
One last piece to mention about Tromsø, accommodation there is pretty pricy, so is dining. Hostels are non existent and transportation at night is unreliable. A car rental is highly recommended, private or shared Airbnb rooms are suggested.