Lonely Planet Writer

Just back from: Oslo, Norway

Oslo3 Kat (right) and colleague Jacky enjoy some downtime on their trip to Oslo © Katharine Nelson

Katharine Nelson, Lonely Planet's Head of Marketing, recently returned from a trip to Oslo, Norway.

Tell us more… After a work trip I had the option to spend a couple of days in Oslo so I jumped at the chance. It’s a beautiful city to walk around, and with an Oslo Pass you can jump on and off trams and ferries indiscriminately (well, nearly). The pass was particularly helpful as there was pretty heavy snowfall while I was there, and this was in May after a sunny spell so I was totally unprepared.

Top spot? Despite the weather, I managed to time my visit to the top of the Oslo Opera House perfectly and was rewarded with spectacular views. If you can head up there when the sun is shining you won’t be disappointed. Join the other people lying on the roof, staring out over the fjord, taking selfies, eating picnics or being intimidated by large seagulls like I was. The views over Oslo are amazing, and better still, it’s free!

Oslo2 The seagulls are understandably protective of their gorgeous view © Katharine Nelson

What else did you get up to? As I had my Oslo Pass, I decided to see as many of the museums and galleries as possible. I started with the National Gallery, where the highlight for me was the chance to see some of Munch’s most famous paintings.

I also went to the very cool Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art. I loved the architecture of this building. They have a permanent collection with works by artists such as Damien Hirst, as well as a temporary exhibition, which at the time of my visit featured works by Takashi Murakami.

Fave activity? The Polarship Fram Museum was a real surprise to me. I didn’t think I was particularly interested in polar exploration until I visited this museum. I ended up spending a few hours there, reading everything there was to read and exploring inside the Polarship Fram, said to have sailed further north and further south than any other wooden ship.

I found it fascinating to be able to see into the rooms of explorers like Roald Amundsen, imagining the ship marooned in Arctic ice. There’s even a polar simulator where you can experience what it might have been like when the ship was being crushed by ice at the South Pole – it’s cold!

Oslo The perfect lookout to enjoy a plate of fresh seafood © Katharine Nelson

Good grub? I had two really amazing meals in Oslo: one at Louise restaurant in Aker Brygge (the fish soup starter was like no soup I’ve ever had before – lemony and buttery and delicious) and one at an amazing little restaurant that I had to take two boats to get to, called Lille Herbern. It’s on the tiniest island and the second boat trip took approximately 30 seconds.

I ate fresh prawns right next to the water while a huge group of Norwegians in national dress celebrated a confirmation – it was a really memorable experience.

Defining moment? One night my colleague and I decided to walk through the Royal Palace Gardens. It turned out that it was the night of a huge party to celebrate the King and Queen’s 80th birthdays, and we stumbled across a beautiful display of candles that the palace staff had laid out in the shape of hearts to welcome them home. It was really beautiful and a telling symbol of the pride Norwegians have in their royal family.

Want more behind-the-scenes adventures? Check out where Destination Editor Lauren Keith has just got back from.