Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Oslo, Norway

Location: Oslo, Norway

Time Frame: July, 1 night, 2days.


Type. Since we had 3 kids and were only staying one night, we opted for a holiday apartment at the Catalina Apartment Hotel.  It was a two bedroom apartment located in a residential area of Oslo.

Cost. For one night at this apartment, the cost was 1590 NOK (about $269).

Amenities. We had two bedrooms, one with a double bed and one with two twins (which is also where we put the baby cot).  There was also a full bathroom that included a clothes washer and dryer.  The apartment had a living room, with cable television and internet connection, as well as a full kitchen, which included all dishes and cookware.

There was a small parking lot on site, but was not available for guests.  We had to park on the street, which was free overnight (from 17:00 - 07:00).  The hotel was quite close to a large kid friendly park.

Other. The hotel was a fair distance outside the city center, but within walking distance (as long as you had a stroller).  The neighborhood was very quiet.

Kid Friendly Rating: I would give this hotel three stars (***) for kid friendliness.


Driving. You can drive fairly easily in Oslo.  We "drove" from our home in Germany.  It actually required about an 8 hour drive to Kiel (a port city on the northern coast) and an overnight ferry ride from Kiel to Oslo.  This ferry was pretty pricey (about $800), and only included the transportation of yourself and a car and a stateroom for the overnight portion.  Fuel in Norway (as with the rest of Scandinavia) was fairly expensive, so you may want to cut down on the driving you do.

Public Transportation. There are buses in Oslo, but we did not use them.

Walking. We drove to several locations when we first arrived, but after checking into our hotel, we walked everywhere.  Oslo was quite pedestrian friendly and has a large pedestrian zone in the downtown.


Since we stayed in an apartment here, we prepared our own meals.  We packed enough food for this in our car, and purchased perishables (such as milk) at a local shop.

Fast Food. Just like the rest of the world, Oslo is home to many of those restaurants which we know and love (McDonalds, Burger King, etc). They also have several that are more cultural.

Sit Down.There were a large variety of sit down restaurants ranging from casual cafes to upper crust fancy places.


There is a nice walking area in the downtown of Oslo, near the Royal Palace, as well as a nice open walking area near the harbour.  You can also walk by the Nobel Peace Prize building (and the very ugly American Embassy).

Norsk Folkemuseum (Norwegian Museum Of Cultural History)

15.09.2010- 23.12.2010Mon - Fri11:00- 15:00
15.09.2010- 23.12.2010Sat, Sun11:00- 16:00
26.12.2010Sun11:00- 16:00
27.12.2010- 30.12.2010Mon - Thu11:00- 15:00
15.05.2011- 14.09.2011Mon - Sun10:00- 18:00
Note: Other hours may apply on public and school holidays.

Adults: 100 NOK
Seniors and Students: 75 NOK
Children (6-18): 25 NOK 
Children (0-6): Free
Families: 200 NOK

Comments: This is another of the Scandinavian open air museums.  There are a variety of buildings exhibiting the history of Norway.  There are several guided tours which can show you the major sights of the museum.  There are many animals (which you can touch) and a large number of historically dressed individuals.  You can also visit a 12th century stave church (which is a bit of an uphill hike).  We even had the chance to buy some sweet bread, which is still made the traditional way (it was very good).  It was very accessible with a stroller.

Parking was available across from the museum for a reasonable price.

The Viking Ship Museum

01.05.2010- 30.09.2010Mon - Sun09:00- 18:00
01.10.2010- 23.12.2010Mon - Sun10:00- 16:00
27.12.2010- 30.12.2010Mon - Sun10:00- 16:00
02.01.2011- 20.04.2011Mon - Sun10:00- 16:00
Note: Other hours may apply on public and school holidays.

60 NOK
Children 7-15 years
30 NOK (7-16)
35 NOK
Groups min. 10 pers.
Per person
35 NOK
Family ticket
140 NOK (2a+2c)
Children under 7 years
Free entrance

Comments:  This is a small museum which houses several Viking era ships that have been excavated in Norway.  They are displayed, along with a variety of artifacts related to Viking burial rites and life in the Viking age.

Akershus Fortress  

Mon - Sun06:00- 21:00
Note: Other hours may apply on public and school holidays.

Costs:  Free Admission

Comments:  This Festning (or fortress) is located in downtown Oslo, near the waterfront and can give you an idea of Norwegian military history...plus some great views of the harbour.

The Kon Tiki Museum

01.01 - 28.02: 10.30 - 15.30
01.03 - 31.03: 10.30 - 16.00
01.04 - 31.05: 10.00 - 17.00
01.06 - 31.08: 09.30 - 17.30
01.09 - 30.09: 10.00 - 17.00
01.10 - 31.10: 10.30 - 16.00
01.11 - 31.12: 10.30 - 15.30

24, 25, 31 of December.
1. January and 17. May

Adults NOK 65
Children up to 5 years free
Children from 5 years NOK 25,-
Family NOK 130
Groups NOK 45 (min. 10)
Students/Seniors NOK 40

Comments: We didn't visit the museum on our visit, but my husband had been on a previous solo visit.  It is all in homage to Thor Heyerdahl, Norway's great explorer, and his ship Kon-Tiki.  There is pay parking near the museum, and even if you don't want to go in, there is a park area where you can picnic.  We stopped at the museum merely to visit the park area, have lunch, and since there is access to the water, have a dip in the cool fjord.

Oscarsborg Fortress

Ferry schedule:
From Sundbrygga:

06:45*1 07:00 07:15*2 07:40 08:30 08.50
09:50*3 10:50 11:50 12:50 13:50 14:50
15:50 16:50 17:50 18:50 19:50 21:50
22:50 23:50*1

From Sjøtorget/Drøbak town:
09:00 10.00*3 11:00 12:00 13:00 14:00
15:00 16:00 17:00 18:00 19:00 20:00

From Oscarsborg

06:35*1 06:50 07:07*2 07:30 08:10 08:45
09:45*3 10:45 11:45 12:45 13:45 14:45
15:45 16:45 17:45 18:45 19:45 20:30*4
21:45 22:45 23:45*1 00:30*1 01:00*1

*1 Må bestilles innen kl 19.00.
*2 Only during the week.(saturday and sunday by order)
*3 Only saturday an sunday.
*4 Only FROM Oscarsborg wednesday-saturday.

Tickets can be bought on the quay or on the ferry.
The price for a round trip is NOK 70 for adults, and NOK 50 for children. There is also a family ticket (2 adults and up to 3 children) at NOK 180. Access to the fortress is included in the price of ferry ticket.

Comments:  Located a short way from Oslo proper, Oscarborg is an impressive island fortress.  It is most famous for it's protection of Oslo Fjord during the First World War, with it's most famous action being the sinking of the German ship the Bluecher.  You can explore the fortress and see exhibits about what life was like for the men who served here.  You can also get some impressive views of the fjord and Oslo (in the distance).  If nature is your thing, there are plenty of small trails through the islands that you can walk and explore.


When you travel with little ones, bathrooms are an important thing to be able to find. Europeans are generally not big on public restrooms.

Availability: Public restrooms can be found, but are scattered and not always easy to find. Your best bet is to make sure to make use of restrooms offered in the restaurants, museums, and other attractions that you visit. Most of the major attractions have restrooms.

Public/Private: Most available restrooms are actually going to be in some type of business, whether it is a restaurant or attraction.

Cost: Costs for restrooms can run from free to around 1 euro per person. Occassionally bathroom attendants will allow an adult to take a child into the restroom and only charge for one person (I did this with my kids, and even when I took both potty trained children, I usually only had to pay for me).

Nearby Amenities

Laundry: We were lucky that we had laundry machines in the apartment.  We didn't notice any other laundry facilties near our hotel, but scattered around the city we did see some laundry facilities. Ask your hotel where the best facilities are located.

Groceries: There are a variety of grocery stores all over Oslo, from larger chains to small local shops. You can ask at hotels or tourist information points for locations.


This was a great trip, and the fact that we were able to some by boat was amazing (Color Line Ferries).  It would have been nice to have a little more time to explore, but the two days we spent there was actually pretty well filled.  The weather does get cool at night, even in the "high" summer, so make sure you have the appropriate clothing.

Trip Highlights

-Oscarborg Fortress
- Open air museum
- the cruise into Oslo Fjord

Overall Rating

Olso is a 4 star location.  It doesn't rank 5 stars, merely because of the difficulty in getting there.

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