Oslo’s waterfront in mid-summer with its many cafes and shops is a place to soak
up the sun and watch the world float by.
There are several cities and large towns in Norway which are well worth a visit,
either for a short 'city break' or as part of a longer tour. All of them have good
flight connections and reasonable fares from the UK, either direct or via Oslo.
Every city has its own detailed web site, but the following notes provide a brief
Norway's capital is very much an international city but is unmistakably Norwegian
in character and there is something for everyone here. The summer weather is often
fine and warm and then you can enjoy the many waterside restaurants at Aker Brygge
or sunbathe on numerous sandy beaches and idyllic islands along the Oslofjord. Visit
the Viking Ship Musuem, Kontiki Museum, Munch Museum plus many others. Marvel at
the hundreds of sculptures of the human form by Gustav Vigeland in the beautiful
Frogner Park. Experience the ski jump simulator at Holmenkollen, high above the city,
or walk or cycle in the huge area of forested hills just north of the city.
The long boulevard of Karl Johans Gate defines the city centre with the Royal Palace
at one end and the main railway station at the other. Most of the city highlights
are within 10-15 minutes by tram, underground, bus or boat and it is very easy to
find your way around.
In winter Oslo has a unique attraction for a capital city in that there is extensive
downhill and cross-country skiing within a 30 minute tram ride of the city centre.
These facilities have been extended in recent years so that it is perfectly practical
to combine both a city break and a skiing holiday. There is an open-air ice-skating
rink right in the city centre, and near the skiing area there is a very long toboggan
run where you can get on the tram at the bottom to go back up to the top ! The best
time to enjoy a visit with good snow conditions is January to March.
Bergen has the most spectacular setting of all the Norwegian cities, being surrounded
by mountains nearly 600m high, and it is deservedly known as the 'gateway to the
fjords'. The centre is a deep water harbour and cruise ships, international ferries,
leisure craft and fishing boats, plus the occasional tall ship all dock within a
few hundred metres of the city centre. The most popular pastime is to wander around
the historic harbour and the open-air fish market, and up the steep narrow side streets
among the charming old wooden houses. The funicular railway will take you to a marvellous
viewpoint above the city centre, from where you can also walk out into the woods
and mountains. The composer Grieg's home and the idyllic island of Lysoen are a short
bus ride from the centre. The excellent Aquarium is a must for children.
Hotels in Bergen range in price from about £35 to £65 per person per night sharing
a double room. Summertime is high season in Bergen and you will need to book well
in advance, especially during the classical music festival late May /early June.
Prices are considerably lower in many hotels from September to early May.
We normally make bookings at one of the hotels in Bergen listed below, but we can
book at any hotel if you have a particular preference.
Alesund is a delightful town built on several small islands with marvellous views
of the northern part of the fjord area. It is most famous for its 'jug-end' style
of architecture, particularly on the many waterside buildings in the city centre.
Alesund is well worth a visit for an city break for people who don’t like big cities,
or as the starting point for a holiday in the fjord area, being closer to the Geirangefjord
and the Nordfjord than the usual starting point of Bergen.
Kristiansand is the largest town on the south coast of Norway, which is the most
popular area for Norwegians to go on their summer holidays. It is a busy place in
summer, especially as it is also the gateway to Norway for many people from the rest
of Europe with frequent fast ferry connections to and from Denmark.
The town is laid out in a strict grid pattern and so very easy to find your way around.
There is a wonderful park and beach on the fjord close to the centre, where you can
relax in the sun, watch the boats come and go or enjoy a relaxing meal. There are
also two large areas of recreation land with walking and cycle trails not far away.
The well-known zoo and theme park ‘Dyreparken’ is about 20 minutes by car or bus,
and close by you will find one of the largest shopping centres in Norway.
Tromso is the largest city in the north of Norway,located on a large island and connected
to the mainland by a its famous bridge. It lies far to the north of the Arctic Circle
which makes it an ideal place to see the Northern Lights in winter and the midnight
sun in summer. There is sure to be plenty of snow here from January to March and
often much later, which means there are plenty of winter activities on offer, including
dog-sledding and special evenings in the wilderness to see the Northern Lights. The
scenery in the surrounding mountains and on the other coastal islands is spectacular.