Friday, September 22, 2017

Travel on a Budget: Five Free Things to do in Oslo, Norway!

Oslo holds a special place in my heart. After spending nearly a week there with one of my best friends to give me tips on where to go, we were able to see so much of the city. I thought it would be fun to share five awesome free experiences in Oslo since Norway can be quite the expensive place to visit. Don't let that deter you because this city is amazing.

Side Note: I did this entire trip with a toddler, so everything I'm suggesting is kid friendly as well!


one. Explore the statues and wonders of Vigelandsparken


Vigelandsparken is the world's largest sculpture park made by a single artist, Gustav Vigeland. This park contains all of his life's work! There are more than 200 statues made of bronze, granite and wrought iron. Vigeland not only created all of the statues, but he was also responsible for the design and architectural outline of the park. It is one of Norway's top tourist attractions which I can attest to since there were tons of visitors when we arrived around 10:00am on a Saturday morning. That didn't stop us from enjoying ourselves. While you're there, be sure to play around and mimic some of the statues. I was able to capture a sweet picture {that JP failed to mention I was holding Chlo on the wrong side!}, while JP got an awesome shot with Chloe!




Take a moment to look at all of the flowers while you're there! There are tulips in the spring and roses in the summer that fill the park with color. I'm not sure of the exact story, but the flowers themselves play a specific role in the design of the park which is about the circle of life.



The obelisk is the large white granite colomn called "the Monolith" is actually intertwined human bodies. This may sound a little odd, but since the entire park revolves around life from beginning to end, not only is it fitting, it is beautiful.




two. Take a moment to play or relax at Frogner Park 


Vigelandsparken actually sits within Frognerparken or Frogner Park. The park originally was smaller and surrounded Frogner Manor, which you can still see today, but has become a huge, well known park today. It's mostly known for the Vigeland Sculptures, but there is even more. There is a wonderful playground if you have children with you. This was an awesome chance for Chloe to play for quite a bit. It's great for kids of all ages! Frogner Park is the largest park in the city and is a great place to walk around, take in the scenery and enjoy a beautiful day in Oslo! 


three. Visit the Natural History Museum {it's free on Thursdays!}


You read that right! It's free admission on Thursdays, so if you can make it work, try to visit then. If you can't, it's only 80 NOK for an adult {about $10 USD} and children under 6 are free! The museum is awesome with tons to see including a T-Rex skeleton which obviously stole the show for me. I can't help it, I have a thing for dinosaurs! You can also learn about the geography of Norway, animals and their habitats, the island of Svalbard and more. You can read a little more about my experience here. It's definitely worth the visit and it lies within my next location of choice!


four. Walk around the Botanical Gardens


The Oslo Botanical Garden is huge with over 1800 plants! There are tons of different gardens within that enhance different senses. There is a scent garden that was designed for the blind and mentally handicapped. Granny's Garden houses plants that are no longer commercially available that were collected from old gardens and preserved there. There's also a rock garden, herb garden, greenhouses from the late 1800's and a children's garden. If you have young kids, I highly recommend this. It's a great place for your little ones to jump and run around. The entire layout of the botanical garden is beautiful with lots of paths and things to see. You can spend an afternoon walking around or even go for a morning jog or stroll! The Natural History Museum sits within the gardens, so you might as well hit up both while you're there.


five. Walk up the rooftop of the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet

Only picture that isn't mine or my family's! I didn't take one. Photo Cred: VisitNorway.com 

Because the roof is angled to ground level, you can actually walk up the slanted walk way to the top of the Opera House for amazing views of the city, harbor and fjord. It's one of the newer buildings in Oslo {especially compared to the Akershus Festning builting the 1300's} that was finished in 2007. The modern architecture is stunning against the city and fjord!



A few other options for your Oslo trip on a budget are:

  • Visit the Royal Palace and the surrounding gardens. You can tour inside the palace for about $15-20 USD with under 3 free.
  • The Akershus Festning or Fortress which you can walk around the grounds for free and tour the museum for about $10 USD. Check out more here!
  • Shop along the Karl Johans Gate shopping area! Obviously, the less you buy, the cheaper it is, but it's an awesome experience. It's a pedestrian street with tons of shopping in central Oslo!
I fell in love with Oslo while I was there for almost a week. It is a beautiful and clean city! There are flowers and parks everywhere. I had a special kind of experience since my friend lives there and was able to give me tons of options for what to do. We also had the chance to stay with them in their apartment and take each day slowly which made the experience even better. I know I'll be back one day and I can't wait! If you're thinking about visiting Scandinavia, Oslo should be at the top of your list!
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