Three Days in Oslo with Kids

Friluftsliv. Free Air Life. Norwegians live by this phrase, meaning they embrace their surroundings and live life outside relishing in the clean air.  After all, did you know the entire highway system in Oslo is underground? In order to eliminate traffic and make pedestrian friendly streets, provide ample green space, and fresher air, most motor vehicles are underground.  About 70% of Norway is green space and people are free to hike and camp on any of it (barring its use for farm or other production). From its crisp, blue fjord to the modern architecture and many green spaces, every aspect of Oslo mesmerized us.

Overall, we had three beautiful, sunny days in Oslo, Norway to start the European chapter of our family gap year. Although three days wasn’t nearly enough time, we spent every moment soaking up all the city had to offer.

Day 1: After a three hour wait in immigration, we finally arrived at the Bob W. hotel, threw our bags down, and left to explore Oslo on foot.  We strolled along the fjord waterfront and admired all the alfresco cafes, ran up the stairs at the Oslo Opera House, walked by the Nobel Peace Center and enjoyed a gelato at Paradis as we watched the sunset behind the fjord. 

Family walk around the Oslo Opera House

Walking around the Opera House

Evening stroll along the Oslo Fjord

Strolling by the Oslo Fjord

Gelato at Paradis in Oslo

Gelato at Paradis

Day 2: We woke up at noon on the second day as we tried to make up for the lack of sleep on our overnight flight.  The croissants and coffee from Baker Hansen never tasted so good! We walked over to the National Museum and spent several hours viewing clay sculptures, examining the history of Oslo, and admiring Edvard Munch’s paintings (like the Scream). They had many interactive experiences for kids with opportunities for kids to display their own artwork in the museum! We had a lovely al fresco Italian dinner at Olivia’s and capped the evening off with gelato as we strolled back to our hotel.

Kids drawings at Oslo National Museum (Nasjonal Museet)

Manji hanging is own rendering of a sculpture at the National Museum

Kids drawings at Oslo National Museum (Nasjonal Museet)

Bingo and Goose draw at the National Museum

Day 3: For our last day, we took a bike tour of the city through Viking Biking. We wanted to absorb as much history as we could given such a limited amount of time. And this tour took us on an eight-mile route through the most famous sites.  We visited Oslo City Hall, Vigeland Park, the Parliament Building, and rode by many of the embassies as we enjoyed the beauty of the city. Our amazing tour guide Kat told us that Norwegian people are peaceful and quiet (Manji had difficulty embracing this 😉) and that there are very few restrictions if you are respectful to everyone around you.

Viking Biking bike tour around Oslo

Viking Biking

Family swim at the beach on Hovedoya island

A swim in the Oslo Fjord on Hovedoya

Hovedoya Monastery ruins

Exploring the Hovedoya Monastery Ruins

Afterwards, we grabbed a quick lunch at Backstube followed by a ferry to the island of Hovedoya.  Our guide Kat kept suggesting this as a fun activity for the afternoon and she was right! It was an eight-minute ferry ride over to the small island. And once there, we discovered hiking trails, monastery ruins, a beautiful beach and a couple of basic restaurants. We embraced Norwegian life and took a swim in the chilly fjord water.  Afterwards, we ventured through the ruins before heading back via ferry to Oslo. A quick dinner and we were off to rest up for our next destination…Copenhagen!

Overall, we were sad that our time in Oslo had come to an end so quickly.  We felt so comfortable here and would have happily spent a month just living. The people are incredibly friendly, the city is easy to navigate and very safe. Finally, the focus on outdoor activities left us wanting more of this majestic country!

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