When you have five hours to kill on an airport stopover in the Norwegian capital, what would you do? Opt for an express tour of Oslo, allowing you to see the highlights and hidden gems in a memorable flash.
The city is full of attractions, museums, shops and hidden gems and you could easily spend a day exploring it. However, if you are nearby Oslo waiting for a meeting, friend or in flight transit and time is tight, you can still get a good taste of what life is like in the northern capital.
From Gardemoen, the Norwegian capital is only a twenty minutes away if you catch the Airport Express Train taking you directly to Oslo Central Station, where your journey begins.
To see as much as possible we recommend you take the tram or metro instead of walking. There are things to see in all corners of the city, and using public transportation may save you a lot of time. You can buy tickets at any 7/11 or kiosk near the closest stop, and if you buy a day ticket, you can hop on and off any tram, metro or bus without having to purchase several tickets.
The metro is designed to surround the downtown area, providing easy access to the less known parts of the city. This guide takes you on a route that covers Frogner to downtown Oslo, Grunerlokka and then back to the Central Station for your departure back to the airport.
Try the one-day pass, giving you free access and discounts on several popular attractions and restaurants. You can buy the Oslo Pass at several locations such as the Tourist Information Center, hotels and museums. Start your trip by taking the metro from Oslo Central Station to Majorstuen. From here you can catch the popular tram number 12, the perfect route for seeing the city.
Take the tram from Majorstuen to one of the five stops at Frogner. This beautiful area located behind the Royal Castle is an old part of the city. It’s characterized by beautiful old villas and tall buildings with charming tiny balconies ornately decorated with flowers during the summer. The area is home to several boutiques with luxury brands where you can find some great treasures.
Indulge in an early lunch at authentic American favorite Café Fedora, a hip hangout and hidden gem of the area. Choose from their varied menus of delicious spicy breakfast burritos, the All-American Breakfast or Anthony’s famous Mac ‘n’ Cheese.
Jump back on the tram which passes every ten minutes. Hop off after a few stops for a visit to Aker Brygge. Enjoy delicious ice cream while overlooking the sea. This is the perfect spot for people watching. Whilst visiting this area, there are several things to see that are easily accessible on foot. The National Museum is located a few hundred meters away, as is the must-see Akershus Fortress.
Take a seven-minute stroll up to The Royal castle where you can take a tour or relax in the park surrounding it. If you are in the mood for traditional Norwegian cuisine, you should visit Kaffistova, one of the most traditional cafes in Oslo, established in 1901. It is located right next to the Castle. Their lunch menu consists of tasty sandwiches, soups, salmon and traditional “kjøttkake”.
After filling up on Norwegian deliciousness, you’ll find yourself within walking distance of many of the most famous attractions of Oslo. Karl Johan, the main shopping street are a mere five-ten minutes away. Check out the great malls Paleet, Egertorget, Glasmagasinet and Steen & Strøm.
Visit the hippest part of town
Once you are finished with this area, catch tram number 12 at Kongens gate, located about halfway down Karl Johan gate. Get off at Olaf Ryes Plass in the heart of the trendy area of Grunerløkka.
This part of the city has been up and coming in the last few years. It is a popular place to hang out and be social. The streets are lined with several cool and unique concept stores and restaurants. If you are hungry and crave some light tapas, Delicatessen is the place to go. For amazing Italian pizza, visit Villa Paradiso. For a cool experience, go to the Nighthawk Diner, an American diner with a great selection of juicy burgers, a pre-flight cocktail or beer. It’s a favorite hangout for hipsters.
For a different and highly varied culinary experience, you should visit the popular Mathallen at Vulkan. The large grounds consists of specialty shops and cafes where you are invited to try innovative foods. Taste delicious chocolates from SebastienBruno, baked goods from the French Bakery and indulge in cheese made from Den Blinde Ku (the Blind Cow).
After filling up on tasty treats you can spend a good few minutes just strolling around and discovering the various vintage and secondhand shops.
When it is time to start thinking about heading back you can simply get on the same tram in the opposite direction, taking you back to the Central Station where you can catch the Airport Express train back to the comfort of the Radisson Blu Airport Hotel, Oslo Gardermoen.