Scandinavia is one of those places I’ve always wanted to go, and now seemed as good a time as any to finally get up there! To be fair, I didn’t know too much about Norway before we booked our trip – I knew Oslo was the capital, their salmon was the best in the world and they were known for fjords. Beyond that, I was going in blind.
I left having seen some of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen, here’s what my trip entailed:
Friday: We landed in Oslo (2.5 hour flight from London), took the train to Central Oslo, dropped off our stuff at the Airbnb and began exploring. We headed down the main drag, had a celebratory ‘travel beer’ (as we always do when we travel) overlooking the palace and then headed to the water.
The city itself wasn’t at beautiful as I had imagined, not that it’s rundown by any means but it just didn’t scream European elegance like so many other cities Ive seen. But, I always find the water/port area of a city to be the prettiest and Oslo was no different. There is a food truck area – where we snagged a quick sushi hand roll – that lines one side, a strip of bars and restaurants on the other and at the end of it was a beautiful Modern Art museum. There was a free outdoor concert going on that we enjoyed while sitting on the ledge overlooking the water, it was a perfect way to spend the afternoon.
Once we got showered and changed, we went down to dinner in an area called Grunerhagen, it’s a gritty warehouse district with a lot of graffiti. It’s very unassuming until you make it to the rooftops and then the views alone are worth the trip! Luckily, the sun didn’t go down until almost 11pm, which gave us over two hours to enjoy a tasting menu with a view of the entire city – perfection.
Here’s what the tasting menu entailed:
- Mushroom quesadilla (with cream cheese + truffle)
- Beef tartare with spicy mayo
- Shaved asparagus salad with cashews and dijon vinaigrette
- Norwegian salmon in miso and seaweed salad
- Papaya salad in a light tangy dressing
- Potato salad with an avocado dressing
- Pulled pork tacos with a spicy chili sauce and coleslaw
Saturday: We had a train to catch at noon, which gave us enough time to explore a little bit more of the city beforehand. We went down to the water and stumbled across the Opera House, what a structure this thing is. Extremely modern and built in a way that allows you to walk all the way up to the roof – you can see the entire city! At noon, we were off to Bergen!
A few weeks ago and I hardly knew this city existed, now I want to move there. It’s THAT beautiful, just perfect in every way. It reminds me of a mix between a town in Cape Cod, Nantucket, Venice and Sintra (Portugal) all rolled into one. That’s my idea of perfection! Our train got in around 7pm, so we only had a few hours to spare – we quickly dropped our bags at our Airbnb and sprinted down the hill to the city center.
The downtown area was packed, but my husband and I knew exactly what was our first stop – the fish market. There’s about 20 stalls with the freshest seafood you’ve seen and they cook it fresh for you while you eat outside on checked tablecloths and plastic cutlery – the cutest! My husband and I shared the seafood platter of just about every type of seafood you can imagine – scallops, shrimp, mussels, clams, crab and lobster.
It started to drizzle around 9pm and we knew we had to rush to take the tram to the top of the mountain before the rain took over. The tram only took about 10 minutes, but when we got up there the rain had stopped completely and a rainbow was in its place – sigh, things do work out! We took in the sights and let me tell you, if you make it to Bergen (and you absolutely should) this is a must. You can see the entire city and infinite open water, it reminded me so much of Santorini – takes your breath away.
Sunday: We were off on the train/adventure trip that was the reason we came to Norway in the first place. We took a train to Voss, then a bus to the fjords and these are more spectacular than you could imagine.
We took a 2-hour, open-air ferry through the fjords and it took my breath away the entire time. Every which way you look is prettier than the next. This is one of those must-sees in your life, absolute beauty.
Once the fjord tour was over, we took the train back to Oslo and spent our last few hours at Museum Island. We aren’t the ‘museum type’, but it’s worth a visit if you make it to Oslo – it feels like a summer vacation island where ‘true’ Norwegians live and felt very authentic.
We then headed to the airport, and will be looking at these pictures for quite a while. This was a once-in-a-lifetime trip, one we’ll never forget and have the pictures to prove it.
Cheers to many more weekend adventures to come!