Grand Hotel Oslo
They’ve certainly got something to sing about throughout Norway and particularly in Oslo. They live life to the full but in a fun way that will thrill teetotalers; well, for most of the week anyway. Oslovians tend to let their Viking hair down only at weekends but, even then, the off-licence closes early on Saturday and remains closed on Sunday. They love their music too and are fiercely loyal to Norway’s most famous pop-group, A-Ha – remember them? You need to go back to 1944, though, for the classic stage and film Norwegian hit based on the life of composer Edvard Grieg … Song of Norway.
Menus at hotels and restaurants in Oslo do feature meat, but there is a noticeable emphasis on salmon and seafood. After a while the saying; long time no see/sea, can take on a more wistful meaning. That said, winter warming menus are essential in Oslo and the presence of Fårikål serves as a welcome treat. Fårikål is a really delicious mutton and cabbage based stew. It has been designed to - and really does help to - keep the cold out. It even has its own annual feast day; a celebration justified by the unusual absence of fish? Other meat dishes figuring on menus in Oslo’s restaurants and hotels, include veal and - not very appealing to avid believers in Father Christmas - reindeer. Cheese-lovers may also be tested by the brown cheese, Brunost. Sushi-type dishes are another national favourite throughout Norway. In this buzzing and friendly city of Oslo; Italian, French, Greek and Chinese restaurants are also represented in good numbers.
The hotel is a prime feature of any visit and on landing at Oslo’s Gardermoen Airport, there’s plenty of choice. Instantly on arrival, there are a number of hotels near the airport, including one with fully soundproofed rooms that is only a short and covered walk from the terminal. For most visitors, though, the priority is to hit the centre of Oslo as soon as possible. This can be done via bus or by Flytoget. The latter is Norway’s only high-speed train service and it gets you to Oslo’s Central Station in only 20 minutes. Then you can tumble off the train and into a number of hotels that are adjacent or near to Central Station. There are, though, throughout the city; hotels, guesthouses, hostels, apartments and pensions to suit all preferences and budgets. If you’re very hard-pressed financially, you can even pitch your tent for free in Oslo’s own forest or on the island of Langoyene. There really are accommodation options for everyone in Oslo.
Area-wise, Oslo is the largest city in Norway. It is overflowing with things to do and hotels in the city carry detail of these and of money-saving initiatives; all designed to add to your enjoyment. During the summer months there’s a real buzz in the restaurants and shops in the area around Oslo’s waterfront. On the entertainment front, the Telenor Arena stages major pop and classical concerts throughout the year. Then there’s a list of annual events which includes the Jazz and Wood Rock Festivals. When planning your sightseeing itinerary, bear in mind the money-saving Oslo Pass. This is a valuable asset and incorporates free access to museums and galleries, plus free transport and parking. Although sporting attractions always feature on Oslo’s calendar, not everything here is spectator-based. The winter, for instance, takes off - quite literally - and you can involve yourself in skiing, ice-skating, tobogganing and other fun, snow and water based activities.
There’s so much to see in Oslo. The ultra-modern Opera House, for example, stages opera and ballet productions and offers guided tours. Plus, those views from the sloping roof are inspiring. Then there is Norway’s National Museum which houses the famous Edvard Munch painting, The Scream. Further afield, attractions include the medieval castle of Akershus Festning, which dates back to 1299 and the wooden houses of Bygdoy and Holmenkollen that are picture postcard perfect. Bygdoy is also home to the fascinating Viking Ship Museum. At Frogland Park you’ll see over 200 granite and bronze statues and the Kon-Tiki Museum revives memories of Thor Heyerdahl’s famous expedition. Outdoor pursuits figure prominently in Oslo and The Holmenkollen Ski Museum is the oldest museum of its type in the world. It is also charismatically located inside the famous Ski Jump. Many hotels in Oslo carry detail of all attractions and are more than happy to advise and assist with arrangements.