A gorgeous canvas where modern architecture is interspersed with heritage buildings—some of which date back to the medieval times—Oslo, the capital of the Kingdom of Norway, has a great number of picturesque landmarks that often make it to travel books and magazines. We visited some of them, and not only did we think they were Instagram-worthy, but we were intrigued by their stories as well.
OSLO OPERA HOUSE
An modern architectural marvel, the Oslo Opera House (Operahuset) was conceptualized by design firm Snøhetta and was completed in 2007. Majestically sitting at the head of the Oslofjord, it serves as the home of The Norwegian National Opera and Ballet.
Straight from the airport, I went to the Oslo Opera House to witness one of the first showings of Elysium, a science fiction-themed masterpiece by one of Norway’s leading contemporary composers, Rolf Wallin.
OSLO CITY CENTER
The day after I arrived, we set off to explore the city center of Oslo. Our first stop was Karl Johans gate, the city center’s main street where nice cafes, hip clubs, and trendy restaurants are mingled with an eclectic mix of shops and shopping centers.
We continued walking and saw the Oslo Cathedral, a heritage parish church completed way back in 1697. Interestingly, it was where Haakon, Crown Prince of Norway and Mette-Marit, Crown Princess of Norway were married in 2001.
Next, we found ourselves outside outside the Storting building (Stortingsbygningen), which serves as the seat of Norway’s parliament, the Stortinget. A couple of blocks from it, meanwhile, is the impressively preserved National Theatre (Nationaltheatret), which was built in 1899.
We stopped for a quick rest outside the Oslo City Hall (Oslo rådhus), which as the name suggests, houses the city council and administration.
The Akershus Fortress (Akershus festning), built in the 1290s, is a castle from the medieval times. It was used to protect Oslo from attacks—at one point from the Swedish. It was also used as a prison for rebels and criminals. Within its grounds is Norway’s Resistance Museum (Norges Hjemmefrontmuseum), which focuses on the Norwegian resistance during the German Nazi occupation.
Designated as a national heritage park, Ekebergparken is located in the elevated neighborhood of Ekeberg. What draws visitors in are the park’s sculptures by Norwegian and international artists, such as Lynn Chadwick, Richard Hudson, and Per Ung, among others. Be sure to spot Venus de Milo aux tiroirs by Salvador Dalí, a bronze sculpture from 1936.
Aside from the sculptures, visitors also come to the park to see the panoramic views of Oslo the park offers, as well as its museum.
Vigeland Park (Vigelandsparken) is the one of Oslo’s most popular tourist draws, attracting more than a million visitors a year. Like Ekebergparken, it’s also a sculpture park, featuring the life’s work of Gustav Vigeland (1869-1943). More than 200 sculptures, set in bronze, granite, and cast iron, are scattered across the park, which Vigeland designed and architecturally outlined himself.
Among the notable works are Angry Boy (Sinnataggen), Monolith (Monolitten), and the Wheel of Life (Livshjulet).
The Oslo Pass gives free entry to more than 30 museums and attractions, free travel on all forms of public transportation, free parking in municipal car parks, free entry to outdoor swimming pools, and free walking tours. It also provides discounts on sightseeing, ski simulator, Tusenfryd Amusement Park, concert tickets, climbing, and ski and bike rentals, as well as special offers in restaurants, shops, entertainment and leisure venues. For more information, check out this link.