Oslo is the capital of Norway with approx. 650.000 inhabitants and growing. We think it is quite busy here but if you come from a world metropolis you probably think you have come to a small village. Oslo is both a county and a municipality. The city is divided into 15 sectors all with their own political administration. Yes, why do it simple when you can do it complicated! To your information, Norway has 19 counties and 427 municipalities (sight)…………….. We are working on that one!!
Oslo is very nice to visit in the summertime that is if the weather is good. We never know from year to year. It always comes as a surprise. Jippi the sun is here! But we are optimistic……… always! Winters can be hard, and most people will be covered in clothes up to over their head.
Arriving at Oslo airport
If you arrive in our main airport Gardermoen, I have a small secret for you. The airport is located about 50k from Oslo, and you will need some kind of transportation to get into the city. You can choose between a private car (that is if you know someone who can pick you up and then it probably would be free of charge), taxi, train and bus. Do not take a taxi it is very very expensive! Take the train.
You have two possibilities. The airport express train will cost you 170 Norwegian kroners (24 dollars, 17£ or 19€) and that is a lot cheaper than a taxi. But here is the secret: you can take the NSB train (governmental) and you will get the ride for almost 1/3 of the price. Follow the signs to the trains. Keep left and buy your ticket at the red boxes with the sign NSB. The airport train ticket box is orange. The airport express train takes you to Oslo in 19 minutes the NSB train in 22 minutes. How about that! Regarding bus – it is almost the same price as the airport express train.
The train will bring you to the Central Station which is located almost in the center of town. Walk out the main gate cross the street and take a stroll up our main street Karl Johan. Half way thru you will spot the castle where our royal family live. Ask your way to Aker Brygge. Aker Brygge is a long pier with restaurants, bars, cafes, a lot of people and a vibrant life. You can drink Norway's most expensive beer or lick an ice crème in the same price range. But go, see and then take your business to another location.
Grünerløkka and Akerselva
As I told you, Oslo is divided into 15 sectors or city centers. One of the most exciting to visit is Grünerløkka. Yes I know our language is difficult to pronounce. Write it down and ask people they would be happy to help. That is if you actually meet a Norwegian and not another tourist on his way somewhere. Then just keep on asking.
Take the tram number 11, 12 or 13 and exit at Olaf Ryes Plass. Buy your ticket in advance or else you will end up paying a lot more if you do it on board. There are ticket boxes around, or you can easily buy them from kiosks like Narvesen and Seven Eleven. It will cost you 30 Norwegian kroner. They are good for 1 hour and allows you to hop from tram to city bus to the Metro within the hour. If you like to walk it is about 2 kilometers.
OK Grünerløkka. As I said you exit at Olaf Ryes Plass. It takes about 10 minutes with the tram. Here you will find a city in the city. A lot of young people lives here, and it is very popular among artists. Small shops, restaurants with outside service, bars and to your surprise inexpensive compared to Aker Brygge. Be prepared that it will be crowded on a nice summer day.
On your way back to the city center ask your way to Akerselva. This is a river with walkways, and you can walk all the way down to the Opera House. It is quiet, green and really lovely. On your way down you will pass our food market, and I assure you it is expensive but nice to visit anyway. I suggest you pay a supermarket a visit buy something to eat and drink and relax by the river for å while!
For now – welcome to Oslo and I will be back with more tips.