I must implore you, if you go on an Oslo city break, take comfortable footwear so you don’t miss out on any of the city’s incredible landmarks and sites. During the short time I was there, I managed to cram in visits to the Royal Palace, the scenic town of Holmenkollen and the historic Tjuvholmen. On arrival at Gardermoen Airport, I was immediately struck by its comforting ambience – it must be all the natural materials used to build it that give it an almost homely feel. Using public transport in a foreign country (or even the UK if I’m honest) is usually a daunting prospect, but after asking a transport attendant, “Snakker Du Engelsk?” (do you speak English?), he was happy to converse in fluent English and show me where to purchase tickets and how to use them on various types of transport on my Oslo city break. The bus, trams and metros are extremely efficient and very clean!
As I am an ardent fan of architecture and history, my first port of call during this Oslo city break was The Royal Palace. With its expansive grounds and occupied sentry boxes, in many ways it is like palaces around the world. What was different here, though, was that I could have knocked on the front door at any time and nobody would have batted an eyelid! I wasn’t sure of the reception I would receive though, so I left that for the more daring traveller.
Next on my list was a visit to charming Holmenkollen. The town is home to a new ski jump, which was built in 2010 and is, perhaps, unusually considered a local landmark. After enjoying the incredible views of Oslo, I headed to the stylish café at the Park Rica Hotel.
Seen as the newest uptown area of the city, Tjuvholmen is definitively worth a visit if you take an Oslo city break. It is bursting with history and I am told it used to be home to thieves - its name, roughly translated, means “Thief Island”. Today, Tjuvholmen is a hive of more convivial activity and I enjoyed strolling through the galleries and stopping to people-watch in a few of the hip cafés found here.
As a frequent traveller, I have been fortunate enough to stay in some amazing accommodation, but the Grand Hotel is in a league of its own. On arrival, I entered into a realm of exquisite splendour. The marble reception gives a mere taste of the true magnificence of the hotel. Staff members are impeccably dressed in morning suits and were only too pleased to take me on a tour of the rooms and suites. Apparently, each year the Nobel Prize winner resides in the hotel’s Nobel Suite and after seeing the overwhelming luxury of the room, I am now racking my brains for a prize-worthy idea. I’ll keep you posted…