Updated: 17th May 2018
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PRODUCED IN PARTNERSHIP WITH PRINCESS CRUISES
I first visited Oslo in winter and left after less than a day to take the magical train ride out to Bergen, a remarkable city my cousin now calls home. I thought that perhaps being winter I hadn’t seen Oslo at its best but having recently returned from a Princess Cruise that included a day here, I’m still pretty convinced a day is enough in the capital of Norway.
Norway for me is Fjords and mother nature showing off, and while the capital city is clean, has cute cafes and multiple museums it just does not have the same buzz as many of Europe’s other capitals.
This article is part of a series on my Princess Cruise trip through the Baltic Sea. You can read all about the cruise here or jump to specific guides for each destination by click on its name: Oslo | Copenhagen | Helsinki | Tallinn | St Petersburg | Stockholm
Time in port: 8 am – 10 pm
(time in port can vary depending on departure date, you can check exact timings on the Princess website)
Transport/distance: Short walk or bus into the city
Excursions available: With cycling tours, city overviews, galleries or Viking ship specialised excursions, for those not wanting to explore on their own you have plenty to choose from.
Arriving into Oslo
So, if I’m honest the best part of Oslo for me was actually the arrival. Waking up super early from my cosy bed I lept to the window to be greeted by dense fog. Undeterred I grabbed my camera and headed to the top deck where a growing crowd of yawning faces were being mesmerised by small villages of cabins and near-perfect reflections as we sailed right into the heart of the city. It was the perfect last moments to have onboard the ship.
The area along the waterfront where the impressive white and glass opera house sits is very close to where the cruise ships arrive. Be sure to walk on top of the Opera house for some grand views before peeking in to admire it’s modern and minimalistic interiors.
There are also numerous cafes with stylish seating to grab a cup of coffee here and get you fired up for the day ahead.
Get out the city
As I said before, the incredible nature of Norway is what draws the crowds in and with a pretty far expanding metro system you can actually find some impressive half-day hikes at the ends of the line. While this is something I didn’t have the chance to do as I had disembarked and had all my luggage to handle that day, it’s something I would seriously recommend those who want more landscapes than lattes to consider.
The medieval castle which protects the royal residence is not far from the opera house and sits on a hill offering some excellent vantage points, and the Norway Resistance museum in the same location documents the resistance during the occupation around WW2.
Vigeland Sculpture Park
I headed here on my first visit to Oslo and while it sounds a little dull these creative works dotted through a well-kept park is actually one of the most famous and popular attractions in the city for good reason. Showing visiting art exhibitions and the sculptures created by Gustav Vigeland you could spend over an hour admiring some of the more unique pieces here and also popping into the Vigeland Museum.
Royal Palace and Park
Built in the 19th-century, this colourful yellow palace doesn’t have the same history as many in Europe but guided tours will take you through the rooms and offers an insight into the workings of the countries royal family, in particular when their was a joint king for both Norway and Sweden.
Bygdøy and Museums
This peninsula slightly out of the city offers up modern apartments and new-build dining options, but it is also home to the majority of Oslo’s museum.
Fram focuses on the story of Norwegian Polar Exploration and sits alongside the Maritime Museum while the Museum of Cultural History has an extensive collection and includes the Viking Ship Museum. Given this country’s historic life at sea, it’s no surprise so many of the museums focus on endeavours of the oceans.
This 11-day Baltic Sea cruise with Princess Cruises starts from £999pp for an interior stateroom based on twin-share*. Taking in Warnemunde Germany, Oslo Norway, Copenhagen Denmark, Stockholm Sweden, Helsinki Finland, St. Petersburg Russia and Tallinn Estonia, it offers a great chance to explore many cities in a short vacation.
*load factor, dates, availability and other factors will affect the final quoted price