September 19-20, 2018
When I arrived in Oslo it was quite late but fortunately I had taken the train to Oslo central station where all the transit comes together. I hopped on the subway to my second couch surfing experience. I had the correct subway line (#5) and the correct direction (west) but to keep things interesting, Oslo public transit runs two subways on the same line with the same number but going different directions. I checked google maps and noticed the blue dot far off course, jumped off the subway and readjusted.
Norway has a super safe vibe so although it was after 11 pm and I was wandering through subway stations, a dark tunnel, and then a football field to go stay at the apartment of a stranger I found through the couchsurfing site on the internet, I wasn’t worried.
After a fantastic sleep and shower with another great couchsurfing host and I was ready to explore Oslo! If you haven’t tried couch surfing yet, give it a chance. Especially in places like Oslo where a simple hostel bed is over $80/night.
Feel free to copy this short itinerary if you have with a day (or less) in Oslo.
1. Start at Vigeland park – this is the famous park full of naked statues. Such an amazing place! It is actually the largest sculpture park created by a single artist and it is huge! Get there before 9 am as that is when all the tour buses seemed to arrive.
2. Walk over to Majorsteun where there are a multitude of shops and cafes as you head down Slemdalsveien street.
3. Cut through another park, Slottsparken and you’ll end up at a bunch of the touristy sights (the gallery, museum, theatre, skating rink, etc)
4. Hang out in this area but do not leave this area until you stop in at Raw in the Eger building. Vegan or not, you must go here and try the cakes. This was a serious trip highlight for me. I can’t say enough about the Snickers cake. Raw has other locations if you want to indulge a few times throughout your day.
5. Head down to the opera house where you’ll see some of the most incredible architecture as the building meets the ocean.
6. The opera house is on a harbour promenade called Havnepromenaden. This promenade extends for 9 km where you can wander (or bike) past many of Oslo’s sights including the fortress, city hall, the maritime museum and more shops and restaurants. There is even a cool little floating sauna you can try.
7. The opera house is right beside the central train station so if you have to depart that day as I did, it is a logical place to end your self guided tour of Oslo.
Throughout my day wandering through Oslo I gained a greater appreciation of this city. On the surface it seeks like any other city but as you get a feel for it, you realize that behind the beautiful (and I mean beautiful, the people in Norway are just attractive) faces and fast paced purposeful hustle are some of the kindest people I’ve met travelling.
After a half day in Oslo, I retrieved my bags from the luggage storage at the train station (70 NOK for 24 hours) and jumped on the regional train to Oslo airport (101 NOK – note: this is half the price of the airport train you see advertised).
General Oslo tips:
– no need to being cash. Everywhere takes card. Even the public toilets.
– everything is expensive. Even the public toilets.
– use free toilets as you have the chance. Otherwise you could end up paying 20 NOK per use for public toilets. I know I keep mentioning the toilets but it is essential knowledge!
– if all the whale meat menus, stuffed dead animals in store windows, and fur everywhere are getting to you, check out the vegan Norway app for some ethical animal friendly places to eat and shop.
– if taking the metro, Oslo central station is actually called Jernebanetorget on the subway (T bane) system
– I found information on the train to the airport lacking online, specifically which is the airport station and schedule on the NSB lin so took some time to figure this out while I was in Oslo. To get to the airport you will want to take a regional train to Oslo Lufthavn. All over central station you will see signs for the airport train. This is NOT the cheaper option. The regional train to Oslo Lufthavn departs at :24, :34 and :54 past the hour (sept 2018) and takes 23 minutes to get to the airport. You can purchase the ticket from the red self serve kiosks for 101 NOK or online from the NSB website (central station is listed as Oslo S)
– lastly, plan on having some variable weather and have a back up plan of cool indoor things to do (perhaps some of the museums) as Norway weather can get a bit wild!