Our motorhome tour of Norway is in its final week and we have reached the capital city, Oslo. This blog article is a guide to visiting Oslo with a motorhome, including where to stay, what to see and my top tip for visiting Oslo.
Driving south on the E6 toll road felt strange because we drove on our first 3 lane motorway for nearly 2 months. The last 5 weeks have seen us driving our motorhome on mountain roads and in narrow tunnels with an average speed of probably 35mph. We have driven the famous Atlantic Road and the terrifying Trollstigen hairpin bends. Reaching a speed of 50mph today felt very strange, although much of the E6 is a huge construction project as a new motorway is being built which looks like it will take many years to complete.
Prior to arriving in Oslo we had spent 2 enjoyable nights in Lillehammer, the location of the 1994 Winter Olympics. We parked our motorhome overnight in the car park of the Olympic stadium, £9 a night, and it’s only a short walk to the fantastic ski jumps. It’s possible to walk the 900+ steps to the top or you can take the lazy way to the top and pay to use the chair lift. Just for the record we did both!
Next day, driving south on the E6 we stopped in the lakeside town of Hamar to visit Anne’s cousin. After a very hospitable welcome, and a very nice home cooked meal, which we have not had for 2 months, we continued south on the E6 building site, sorry road, to Oslo.
Bogstad Camping, Oslo.
City campsites are never the best and this one in Oslo is no exception. At £34 a night I would have expected perfection but with only one fresh water tap that I could find for about 600 pitches and very poor wifi it was poor value for money. At least it was very convenient for the bus into Oslo centre, which runs every 15 minutes.
There are other places to stay in a motorhome in Oslo. There is a large parking area at the marina, although it always appeared full when we passed it and we heard that motorhomes had been turned away due to block bookings.
There is free parking for motorhomes at the TV tower, with no facilities, but only 10 minutes walk to the T-Bahn.
Four museums in one day!
Having spent £55 per person for a 72 hour Oslo Pass, which should have cost us £72 per person, but we were under-charged, we were determined to make sure we got value for money. After arriving in Oslo centre we set off on our culture trip of the best museums and attractions. Five days of walking was about to commence before we needed to catch the ferry to Denmark.
Catching the ferry to Bygdøy, where there are many museums, our first stop was The Norwegian Folk Museum an open air museum, featuring 160 historic buildings, where you can see life in Norway from 1500.
The Viking Museum has three recovered Viking ships on display. These ships are 1100 years old and the museum also tells the story of how the Viking culture spread throughout Europe.
The Kon Tiki Museum tells the story of an expedition that defied the odds to sail the Pacific on a few bits of wood tied together.
The Fram Museum has been voted Norway’s best museum and it houses The Fram ship which sailed to the south and north poles. It was fascinating going on-board and below deck to see how the expedition team, led by Amunsden, lived for six years on-board. You can read more about the fascinating Fram expedition of 1893 here.
The Noble Peace Centre.
With aching feet after previouly having a full day walking we opted to use the Hop on Hop off Oslo fjord cruise and stayed on the cruise without doing any hopping off!
The Nobel Peace Centre in Oslo is well worth a visit. Of particular interest was an exhibition by award winning filmmaker Lauren Greenfield about the global fascination with wealth and how materialism and narcissism have replaced the traditional values of hard work, thrift and modesty.
The National Gallery was our next stop where Edvard Munch’s The Scream is on display. We were certainly getting our fill of Norwegian culture!
19 hours of daylight
It’s the longest day of the year. The sun rose this morning at 03.54 and set at 22.45 in Oslo. Back to the Norway Folk Museum to visit the Stave church that we missed the first time before walking to the excellent Maritime Museum. Amongst the many highlights was a 2,200 year old boat carved out of a tree trunk as well as the history of Norwegian shipping.
Exploring Oslo on foot
Our Oslo pass, having expired, we decided to catch the bus to Oslo centre to have a mooch around and visit as many free attractions as we could. First stop was the very impressive Opera House on the Oslo waterfront, where it is possible to walk on the roof.
If you are in need of refreshments or a coffee and cake then you could visit Østbanehallen, an old train station converted to a food hall. The main shopping road is Karl Johansgate and this is worth walking along as it eventually reaches the Royal Palace at the top of the hill. Unlike Buckingham Palace it’s possible to walk right up to the palace itself. As I had my back turned, watching the changing of the guard, I missed the royal car that came out of the gate with the king of Norway in it!
Oslo is undergoing a huge expansion and regeneration programme. I counted nearly 30 cranes in the city centre alone and the city is a modern and diverse one. Everyone we have met on our tour of Norway has been very friendly and polite and the capital city is no exeption. We have seen groups of teenagers who have been very well behaved and seen no anti-social behaviour, although we haven’t been out late at night and Oslo does have it’s problems like most major cities.
Top tip when visiting Oslo – Buy a day ticket costing 100 NOK for the bus, trams and T-Bahn. Use this ticket to take the number 1 T-Bahn to the end of the line at Frognerseteren. Walk down the hill 200 metres to the Frognerseteren Restaurant for a portion of their famous apple pie and cream. The trip alone is worth taking for the scenery and the fantastic view of Oslo at the top.
Vigeland Sculpture Park
One of Norway’s most popular, and free, tourist attractions this unique sculpture park represents the life work of Gustav Vigeland and, with more than 200 sculptures in bronze, granite and forged iron.
We have loved visiting Oslo. It’s not our first visit and due to family connections it’s a special place for us.