JOIN ME IN AN INTERVIEW WITH NATALYA COSI FROM OSLO, NORWAY!
Natalya Cosi is a thirty five year old photographer, traveler and a mother based in the city of Oslo. Since the green city of Oslo is a photographer’s paradise, Natalya considers living there no less than a blessing. She is currently learning the history of Norway and dedicating her free time to photography, making Oslo alive in pictures.
Oslo, the capital and most populated city of Norway, is located only few hours away from Europe’s major cities like Moscow (2.5 hours), London (2 hours) and Rome (3.5 hours). It is also officially called Europe’s Green Capital for its effort to conserve its natural richness.
Oslo with its ground breaking architecture, burgeoning food scene, urban sauna culture and cleanliness is a fast growing capital. The Oslo Norway harbor is one of Oslo’s great attractions. Situated on the Oslo Fjord, the harbor front is a popular destination for both tourists and residents. The Nobel Peace Center, the Town Hall and the castle are all located around this picturesque harbor.
When is the best time to visit Oslo?
Oslo is an year round destination, however I would say the best period to visit Oslo is from May till September because the weather is good and it is easy to stay outside long hours wandering around the city. Also it’s an excellent time to see all the beauty of green Oslo, its islands and fjords. From March till May is the Spring time when weather becomes warmer and days longer. Snow starts melting thereby creating waterfalls everywhere.
It’s nice to visit Oslo in December because of the Christmas preparations and Christmas Market with the skating rink in the center of Oslo. For winter sports and for snow lovers the best period to visit Oslo is from January till March.
What are the different modes of transport available from the airport to the city?
You can fly to any of the two airports OSL at Gardermoen (47 km northeast of Oslo) or Sandefjord Torp (110 km south of Oslo) to reach Oslo. Several low cost airlines fly to Sandefjor Torp, however, the most used and main airport of the city is OSL (Oslo Lufthavn) at Gardermoen.
The cheapest way to get to Oslo from the OSL (old name Gardermoen) is Flytoget, a direct train from Oslo Airport to City Center Oslo S and Nationaltheatret station. The Flytoget Airport Express Train departs from Oslo Central Station every 10 or 20 minutes and runs from 5.35 am to 12.35 am. Duration to the airport is 19–22 minutes. You can also take a local train VY (previously called NSB or Norges Statsbaner) from the airport to the city for much cheaper with almost same duration of journey, however the frequency of NSB is less than Flytoget.
You can take Flybussen buses too which runs several routes between Oslo city centre and OSL. The travel time increases to forty-five minutes with a bus. Or you can order a taxi but it’s a bit expensive.
If coming from nearby cities like Stockholm, Gothenburg or Bergen, train is a convenient mode of transport. Oslo Central Station where all the trains arrive is located right in the city center and is the country’s largest railway station with many shops an eateries.
Which is the most convenient and favoured transport of Oslo?
The most convenient transport in Oslo is metro which is called T-bane here, it is fast, it connects all the most important points of the city and suburbs. Besides metro there are buses (green for regional and red for local), trams, ferry boats to reach islands, bicycles and scooters. To use all the public transports you can simply buy a Ruter card easily available at numerous points in the city.
What are the top three must visit places in Oslo?
My top three are the following –
Vigeland Sculpture Park : Brainchild of Adolf Gustav Vigeland, a renowned Norwegian sculptor who also designed the Nobel Peace Prize Medal, is a unique park of sculptures located in the center of Oslo. There are over two hundred statues made from bronze and granite in this stunning park with a centerpiece, The Monolith. All of which were single handedly done by Gustav. The Monolith is 46 feet tall, and depicts 121 figures climbing in and around each other, all fighting their way to the top. Once done with the park you can also visit Gustav Vigeland’s home converted into a museum. Oslo tram is a good way to reach Vigeland park.
Norsk Folkemuseum : Norwegian Museum of Cultural History in the open air is an amazing place which will leave you speechless. All the structures that you see there have been moved from all parts of rural Norway to give the feel of historic life in Norway. Alongwith the 155 traditional houses and the Gol stave church, the museum also has indoor exhibits which gives us an insight into the Sami culture. No matter which time of the year you visit this museum, there is always something going on there. Check the event calendar to know here.
The Norwegian Opera and Ballet : It is located right in the harbor. Modern architecture invites you on the roof from where you can enjoy panoramic views of Oslo and the fjord all year round. You can take a free tour inside the Opera and learn about the history and construction of the Opera House and to know the rich and varied program.
Apart from these, if time permits you can visit the Norwegian Gallery to see Edvard Munch’s famous painting The Scream and Madonna and Gustav Vigeland’s Mother and Child sculpture. You can also visit the the Munch Museum in Tøyen to see all of his paintings in one place. Visit Akershus Fortress to discover Oslo’s history. It is also the burial place of Gjest Baardsen, Norway’s most notorious criminal. Watch changing of guards at 1330 hours at the Royal Palace located at the top of Karl Johans Gate.
What are the best day trips for nature, culture and history from Oslo?
There are hundreds of lakes and viewing points around Oslo which can be reached by metro like Sognsvann lake which is a recreation area for swimming an sunbathing.
The Bygdoy peninsula in the west of Oslo is home to several museums including the five national museums: The Viking Ship Museum, the Fram Museum, the Norwegian Folk Museum, the Kon-Tiki Museum and the Norwegian Maritime Museum. Its beaches and beautiful trails are popular for recreation during the summers. City bus line 30 is the best transport to Bygdøy.
Several historical museums can be reached by ferry boat or a bus. Holmenkollen Ski Museum and Tower is an Olympic ski jump which is can be easily reached by metro. A panaromic view deck, an excellent ski museum and a ski simulator makes this Ski jump worth a visit. Frognerseteren, which is a restaurant and cafe at the top of Holmenkollen. It offers panoramic views of Oslo and Oslo fjords. The metro T-bane of Oslo is covering the city with its five lines. Metro line 1 is the best transport to reach Holmenkollen Ski Jump.
Tusenfryd, Amusement Park is the largest amuseument park in the country with many fun rides for adults and kids, even the smallest of them. It also has a water park inside it called BadeFryd which opens in the Summers. You can also hike to Grefsenkollen from Oslo.
Or take an easy boat trip to visit islands like Lindøya, Nakholmen, Bleikøya, Gressholmen, Langøyene and to see the fjords. Hovedøya is the main island with a lot to do in summers and is only a five minute ride away. You can easily take a ferry from the pier in front of Oslo City Hall.
What is the most celebrated holiday of the year in Oslo?
Norwegian Constitution Day is the national day of Norway and it is an official public holiday observed on May 17. It’s a big bright celebration to commemorate the signing of the constitution on that day. It takes place in the Norwegian Royal Park.
What is the most loved local food of Oslo? Is it a vegetarian friendly city?
Oslo is definitely a vegetarian friendly city where you can find many vegetarian cafes and restaurants. Salmon is the staple food in Norway. It is also the world’s largest exporter of salmon. It can be served with boiled potatoes and pickles, also lamb, lutefisk, whale steaks, pickled herring, Fårikål, apple cake and waffles etc. Also, Norwegians are the world’s biggest coffee drinkers after Finland. Must try their drink light roasted coffee.
Where to head for shopping in Oslo?
There are two main streets in Oslo city, very central Karl Johans gate and Bogstadveien, where many world and Scandinavian brands are concentrated and they do market days twice per year. Bogstadveien is popular among locals for its high street stores and boutiques. In the city center you will find Hegdehaugsveien which houses small boutiques run by Scandinavian designers. Grünerløkka is a cool hangout places with myriads of shopping and eating options. Main shopping malls in Oslo are Oslo City and Byporten and the country’s biggest department store is Steen & Strøm.
You can find flea markets on Saturdays and Sundays (Birkelunden Sunday fleamarket in Grünerløkka) in the school yards or central streets, there are also several farmers markets which are moving from one place to another and can be found by online calendar. They sell ecological eggs, meat, sweets, Norwegian natural honey, elk burgers and much more.
Which is the local craft or souvenir of Oslo?
The most popular things you can bring from Oslo are of course Norwegian knitted sweaters and other wool garments, trolls, cloudberry jam, elk or reindeer meat and Akevitt (Norwegian flavoured spirit). Norway invented the cheese slicer so both Norwegian brown cheese (sweet cheese) and cheese slicer are worth taking back home.
Which are the best streets of Oslo worthy of taking a stroll on?
Most beautiful streets would be Grünerløkka and Frogner neighborhood where the Vigeland Sculptures are installed. It is also an expensive place to live in with numerous high-end shopping options and a wide variety of restaurants.
Aker Brygge is a vibrant area where you can walk along the quay and enjoy fresh breeze. It’s dotted with cool shops and restaurants. It’s also quite popular for al fresco dining in summers. When in Aker Brygge also visit the Fearnley Museum of Modern Art for its modern and contemporary art collection and Nobel Peace Center for the story of Alfred Nobel and exhibits on the famous prize.
Karl Johans gate, Oslo’s grand boulevard, is a great place to walk in with all main touristic attractions, Parliament, Grand Hotel Oslo, Hard Rock Café Oslo, the Cathedral and Royal Palace at one end.
Majorstuen for an easy walk or visit the Olso transport museum for its largest collection of veteran trams and buses. The shopping street Bogstadveien is two minutes from Majorstuen.
Bojrvika for fresh architecture, shopping and urban swimming. It has recently been transformed from a container port into a modern borough.
Kampen in Gamle Oslo is Oslo’s wooden village.
Can you suggest a place from where one can get the best view of Oslo?
The best view of the city you can get from Oslo Opera House, from Clarion Hotel the Hub, from Ekeberg Park viewing point, from Holmenkollen Ski Tower.
Would you suggest any shows in Oslo to drama, music or art lovers? Where can one spot street art in your city?
Street art like street music and shows can be spot in the main street of Karl Jonas gate and Grunerlokka, and there are a lot painted houses can be seen in Grunerlokka and Toyen.
The best shows like ballet and spectacles can be seen in Oslo’s Opera House, many world famous singers are giving their concerts at Telenor Arena. Art lovers can find a lot of interesting in Astrup Fearnley Museet, where collected modern and contemporary art.
Would you recommend any local apps for food, transport or hidden gems in Oslo?
VisitOslo, OlsoTravel guide, Ruter public transport app, Oslo Pass App.
Do you want to give any suggestion to tourists coming to Oslo?
I would advise to check the forecast and to bring some good waterproof and windproof clothing according to the forecast especially if you plan to make some trips outside the city.
Second is to buy Oslo city Pass which gives free entrance to more than 30 museums, free public transport, free walking tours and a lot of discounts. Oslo Pass can be bought from the Oslo Visitor Center or Oslo Pass App (Iphone & Android) which can be downloaded and used both online and offline.
Visit the Oslo Fjords.
Things to know :
Visa : You can travel to Norway with a Schengen Visa. Click here to know the general required documents for a Norway Visa application.
Tap water : Drinking tap water is safe in Oslo.
Electric Socket : In Norway the standard voltage is 230 V and the frequency is 50 Hz.
Drones : Large parts of Oslo is under no-flying zone. Check these drone footage regulations before flying your quadcopter.
In Oslo on Sundays pretty much everything is closed aside from small convenience stores, some small tourist shops, and some restaurants and cafes.
IF YOU ARE TRAVELLING TO OSLO OR WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT NATALYA’S TRAVEL EXPERIENCES THEN BE SURE TO FOLLOW HER ON INSTAGRAM
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To know more about Norway, check our interviews with Norwegian locals from Lofoten Islands, Tromso, Bodo.