How To Travel Oslo: The Historical Viking Charm

Girls Who Travel | How to Travel Oslo

Oslo is a dynamic city that seamlessly blends the charm of its history with modern conveniences, making it an attractive destination for locals and visiting tourists alike.

Much more than being Norway’s capital, Oslo is also the largest city of Norway, situated on the southern coast of the country. It is a vibrant and cosmopolitan city known for its stunning natural surroundings, rich history, and modern amenities.

Girls Who Travel | Oslo For Women: How To Travel The Historical Viking Charm

Norway’s Culture And Historical Significance

Oslo has a rich history dating back to the Viking Age. (Yes, they’re all tall here!) Norway has strong ties to the Viking past. The Vikings were a seafaring Norse people who lived in the late eighth to early 11th centuries. They explored, traded and settled in various parts of Europe, leaving a lasting impact on Norwegian culture.

Concepts like “hygge” (a sense of cosiness and contentment) and “friluftsliv” (embracing outdoor life) are integral to Norwegian culture, emphasizing a connection with nature and a focus on well-being.

Historial Landmarks Everyone Should Visit:

Akershus Fortress

Akershus Fortress stands as a testament to Norway’s resilience, evolving from a medieval castle to a symbol of national pride and historic preservation. Its scenic location and rich history combine to make it a landmark in the center of Oslo. Construction of Akershus Fortress began in the 1290s during the reign of King Haakon V. It withstood many battles and invasions, becoming a symbol of Norwegian resistance.

Akershus Castle, the central building of the fortress, has served as a palace, military barracks, and prison. Today, it is home to a variety of historical exhibits and museums, offering visitors a glimpse into Norway’s past.

All these undoubtedly make Akershus Fortress a tourist attraction, attracting visitors through the historical significance, architecture, and scenic location. The castle hosts cultural events and ceremonies, and contributes for its function as a cultural and historical center in Oslo.

Viking Ship Museum

The Viking Ship Museum in Oslo is a must-visit for anyone interested in Norse history, Viking culture, and maritime archaeology. It offers a unique opportunity to see incredibly well-preserved artifacts from the Viking Age.

The museum houses three well-preserved Viking ships: Oseberg, Gokstad, and Tune. These vessels were excavated from cemetery mounds in the early 20th century and date back to the 9th and 10th centuries.

One of the main cultural details included in the museum are burial mounds and ships which emphasise the importance of burial practices in Viking culture. The inclusion of ships in burials shows credibility in the journey to the afterlife. The Viking Maritime Museum also contributes to the understanding of the maritime history of the Vikings, shipbuilding techniques, and the importance of seafaring to Viking society.

Girls Who Travel | Oslo For Women: How To Travel The Historical Viking Charm

Royal Palace

The Royal Palace in Oslo is the official residence of the Crown Prince of Norway. It is a major symbol of Norway’s parliamentary monarchy and the venue for official functions and meetings. Visitors have the opportunity to explore the surrounding area, witness the changing of the guard ceremonies, and take guided tours to learn more about the importance of the royal residence at specific times.

The grand façade of the palace overlooks the city centre and the Karl Johannes Gate, Oslo’s main street. The main entrance is adorned with a grand staircase leading to the central entrance. The palace houses the Royal Chapel for private religious ceremonies. Dedicated to the Norwegian royal family, the church is open to the public.

A daily exchange of guards is held at the royal palace. This tradition is a favourite with tourists, with a parade and changing of the guard. The Royal Guards in charge of the ceremony are part of the Royal Guards (Kongens Garde), a unit of the Norwegian Armed Forces. The guards are dressed in traditional clothes and stationed at the palace to ensure its safety.

If you’re visiting during winter, you might be able to get a glimpse of King Harald V and Queen Sonja, who predominantly reside at the Royal Palace in Oslo during the winter months. However, during the summer, the pair use the Royal Lodge (Kongsseteren) outside Oslo as their main residence.

Oslo Opera House

Perhaps my favourite attraction of all, the Oslo Opera House is a striking and modern cultural institution on Oslo’s waterfront. Known for its contemporary architecture and cultural sense, it is one of the most popular areas in the city.

The Oslo Opera House was designed by the renowned Norwegian architectural firm Snøhetta. The architecture’s design was selected through an international competition in 1999, and the Opera House officially opened in 2008. The building’s characteristics include a modern and innovative design with clean lines, a roof a down to the ground that seems to rise from the water, with Italian Carrara white marble on the exterior that gives it a unique, elegant look. Be careful, though, as when the sun is shining up high, the bright exterior of the architecture can give you temporary flash blindness which is what happened to me!

What stood out to me the most is that the visitors are encouraged to walk on the sloping roof, which serves as a large public plaza offering panoramic views of the city and the Oslofjord.

The City of Opera is home to the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet. It is a venue for operas, ballets, concerts, and other performances.

I personally think that The Oslo Opera House is evidence to Norway’s commitment to art and culture, providing a modern and dynamic venue for performances and inviting the public to engage with the building in a unique and inclusive way on the self. It has become an integral part of Oslo’s culture and a symbol of the city’s vibrant art scene.

Munch Museum

The Munch Museum is dedicated to the life and works of the renowned Norwegian painter Edvard Munch. The museum is home to the largest collection of artworks by Munch, including iconic pieces such as “The Scream.”

Girls Who Travel | Oslo For Women: How To Travel The Historical Viking Charm

The museum’s collection includes an extensive collection of paintings and drawings by Edward Munch. The artworks span different periods of his career and provide insight into the artist’s evolving style and themes.

Another standout work in the collection is Munch’s portrait series, “The Madonna,” which explores themes of love, death, and the human experience.

Vigeland Park

Vigeland Park is known for its iconic sculptures by Norwegian artist Gustav Vigeland. The park is an integral part of Frogner Park and one of the most popular attractions in Oslo.

Girls Who Travel | Oslo For Women: How To Travel The Historical Viking Charm

The park began to develop in the early 20th century, in the 1920s Gustav Vigeland worked on the sculpture until his death in 1943. In 1940 it was officially opened to the public.

The centerpiece of Vigeland Park is the Monolith, a tall column of carved granite. The main roads surrounding the monolith is decorated with 36 groups of sculptures depicting different stages of human life.

The concepts on the main axis represent biographies, covering such topics as birth, childhood, adulthood, and old age. The figures capture the complexity of human relationships and emotions in expressive situations.

One of the park’s most famous sculptures is “The Angry Boy”, a bronze sculpture of a naked boy with an angry face. It has become an iconic symbol of Vigeland Park.

Girls Who Travel | Oslo For Women: How To Travel The Historical Viking Charm

The park has a bridge decorated with several bronze sculptures depicting human figures in various poses and interactions. These images demonstrate Vigeland’s expertise in capturing the nuances of human emotions and relationships.

Sustainable Living

Oslo is committed to sustainability and environmental protection. The city has implemented policies to encourage eco-friendly transportation, including an extensive public transportation system and a focus on cycling.

Oslo has a well-developed and efficient public transport system including buses, trams, and metro (T-bane). The city encourages residents to use public transportation to reduce their reliance on private transportation.

Girls Who Travel | Oslo For Women: How To Travel The Historical Viking Charm

Oslo, just like it’s fellow Scandi comrades, has invested in bicycle infrastructure, making it easier and safer for residents to ride. The city’s bike share system and dedicated bike lanes contribute to a sustainable and environmentally friendly transportation system.

The Norwegian concept of “friluftsliv,” is embraced fully in Oslo. It allows people to spend time outdoors, hiking, skiing, and pursuing other nature-based activities.

Oslo promotes sustainable architecture and urban design. Many new buildings are equipped with energy-efficient designs, and an emphasis is placed on the use of environmentally friendly materials. The city is also encouraging the installation of green roofs, which not only provide insulation, but help improve air quality and ecosystems.

Oslo’s commitment to sustainability is reflected in its broad approach to environmental issues. The city’s policies not only address environmental concerns, but also contribute to the quality of life for its residents.

Culinary Scene

The city has a diverse culinary scene, with many restaurants serving traditional Norwegian and international cuisine. Seafood, especially salmon and cod, stands out. Lutefisk (dried fish reconstituted in a lye solution) and rakfisk (fermented fish) are some of their traditional dishes.

The Aker Brygge waterfront area is popular with restaurants and cafés. I enjoyed my time here due to the variety of restaurants with scenic views, not to mention the shopping. Its vibrant atmosphere of shopping, dining, and entertainment has made it a wonderful, vibrant city destination for women of all ages. Aker Brygge offers spectacular views of the Oslofjord and is a beautiful location where people can walk along the water’s edge. Its proximity to the water makes it a popular destination for locals and tourists. Overlooking the waterfront, Aker Brygge is a great place to sample fresh seafood. Many restaurants specialise in fish and shellfish dishes, of course.

Oslo is a Vibrant City

All in all, Norwegian culture is a strong blend of ancient traditions and modern values, shaped by a rich history and a deep connection to nature. Whether you are interested in history, culture, outdoor adventure, or you just want to experience modern urban life, Oslo offers an exciting array of attractions and experiences for people of all ages.

Rachel Galvan

Rachel is an intrepid world traveller, lifestyle connoisseuse, and Girls Who Travel's resident beauty advisor. She is a lover of the ocean, flowers, movies, journalism, and has a penchant for medium-sized tattoos. When she is not busy with life, she writes stories of her globetrots as well as tips & tricks on how to make the best out of travelling.

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