Since the dawn of cinema, we have been inundated with characters who drop everything in their lives, and fly off on exotic month-long adventures. As wonderful as this sounds, the vast majority of us opt to instead stare at our busy schedules, desperately trying to find a few hours of peace. Should you manage to keep your weekend free or carve out some hours during your week, we want to inspire you with a selection of insider guides; detailing how to make the most of those precious hours, with spectacular city breaks.
The neighbourhood of Tjuvholmen has propelled Oslo into becoming synonymous with Contemporary Art. It is located on a peninsula, which reaches out from Aker Brygge and into the Oslofjord, and its name quite literally translates to “Thief Islet.” This is because, Tjuvholmen was once famed for housing Norway’s thieves, drunks and smugglers. However, since undergoing an urban rejuvenation, this region has been transformed into an upmarket cultural hub. This charming area is now home to a glorious city beach, extravagant outdoor spaces, and a plethora of museums and galleries. With contributions from around 20 different architects, the buildings alone create an intriguing display of modern architecture and innovative design trends. A marvel to behold.
On your first day, you are probably going to be in awe of your beautiful accommodation and everything it has to offer. However, if you ready to embrace Oslo’s sights and nightlife, then why not visit Blå? With an ethos of wanting to “surprise, challenge and engage you in a new expression you didn’t know you liked,’ Blå is considered to be one of the best jazz clubs in Oslo. Blå consistently thrives to expand beyond playing only jazz music, and thus you can expect to find performances from new artists and international names; in genres spanning across hip-hop, dubstep and soul. One of the most interesting features of this venue, is its location by the river. Described as an ‘eco-lighthouse,’ the greenery along Blå’s outdoor terrace can be enjoyed throughout the summer months.
Drawing on Tjuvholmen’s rich history in namesake only, THE THIEF luxury boutique hotel promises that the only thing it will be stealing is “guests away from their everyday lives”. Rated one of the best hotels in Oslo, THE THEIF certainly lives up to this promise, by delivering many personalised services; such as in-room spa treatments, superior spa facilities, 24-hour room service, and 24/7 free gym access. The chic rooms embody the concept of indulgence by featuring everything from rainforest showers and private balconies, to in-built sound systems and Nespresso machines; you name it, it’s there! THE THEIF has a rooftop terrace, which serves authentic Norwegian food; as well as a relaxing swimming pool and sauna. However, both these brilliant features can be outshined by the fact that the city beach is located a mere 1 minute walk away, with the Aker Brygge Restaurant district just across the footbridge. Most importantly, if you have a few hours to spare over your weekend trip, THE THEIF can provide you with what seems like an endless list of activities and events to suit every one of your needs.
For those of you who prefer more traditional accommodation, the Camillas Hus hotel can be found 0.9 miles away from Tjuvholmen, in Parkveien, Frogner. Considered the most exclusive region of Oslo, Camillas Hus is adjacent to the Royal Palace gardens and was originally designed by the palace architect. Each of its seven rooms are individually decorated with classic designs that seek to both reflect the history of the building, whilst also surpassing modern standards of comfort. In your room, you will find L’Occitane bath products, a safe, minibar, and Electronic Tablet for personal use. Camillas Hus are the owners of distinguished restaurant, Park 29. Situated in Oslo’s oldest wooden-built villa, Park 29 have played host to numerous festivals over the years, and serve French and Italian inspired cuisine. However, should you venture away from the hotel, the surrounding area of Frogner boasts a wealth of restaurants and shopping, as well as nature trails and sightseeing tours.
Dorothy you’re in the land of Os (lo); and as your official welcome, why not head over to have breakfast at Grilleriet. Famed for their buffet serving style and impeccable blend of local and international flavours, Grilleriet will prepare you for the rest of your day in the best way possible. You can expect a wonderful array of breads, meat, sweet treats and breakfast favourites; whilst being immersed in Grilleriet’s truly Scandinavian interior.
Opened in late 2012, and designed by world renowned Italian architect, Renzo Piano; the Astrup Fearnley Museum is unique in comparison to other establishments of its kind. Rather than focusing on specific periods or movements, it devotes itself to collecting individual, poignant works. You can expect to be thrilled by the varied range of modern and contemporary pieces; as well as rotating exhibitions that showcase artists worldwide. There are various Art Chats designed specifically for adults, children and families; so be sure to find out which sessions suit your needs and travel dates. Whilst here, don’t forget to venture out to the renowned sculpture park!
Prepare for an adventure like no other on the Island Hopping Tour of Oslo. This exciting tour sends you on a 5-hour adventure, exploring 3 of the city’s most preserved islands. You’ll gain exclusive access to ancient ruins, summer seaside villages, hidden beaches, and sea cliffs. The tour is designed to show you the very best of Oslo and the origins of Norwegian culture. After a cosy picnic, in and amongst the water and hills landscape, you will arrive back at the city centre. Here, you’re exploring continues, as your ticket grants you entry into the port. You can expect to see significant sights such as, the old fortress of Akershus Festning, City Hall, and the revitalised port of Aker Brygge.
Once you’ve finished getting ready for the evening; head over to Statholdergaarden for dinner. Fronted by head chef, Bent Stiansen, Statholdergaarden received a Michelin Guide Star in 1998. Eager to maintain and build the reputation of this fine dining restaurant, Bent and Torbjørn Forster work hard to create sensational 6-course gourmet menus, which will tease and appease your palette. Bent combines his classic training in French cuisine with Norwegian flavours and produce, to produce dishes such as; Whale, with rhubarb, Jerusalem artichoke, pomegranate and thyme.
After a magical meal, why not go for drinks at a magical venue and keep the spark of the night alive! The Magic Ice bar offers an experience that can’t be missed. It is an entire venue completely constructed out of ice, even down to details such as the glasses. You’ll feel like you just walked into the Disney film Frozen; except with LED lights, club music and alcohol – So an infinitely better experience.
When the novelty of the Magic Ice bar begins to falter, head over to a true slice of Oslo’s nightlife; Jaeger. In the centre of Oslo, Jaeger will indeed capture your heart with it’s house and techno beats. Their ethos is to promote an atmosphere that “breaks free from the mundane” and “inject life into the dull drums of everyday life.” This venue includes unique features such as, a rotating DJ booth, and the legendary courtyard sauna booth.
Hopefully you’ve spent your morning exploring beautiful breakfast venues, or getting to grips with leaving your luxury hotel behind; either way, we have one last activity recommendation. Unwind before your flight, at the TusenFryd Amusement Park. What happens in Oslo, stays in Oslo – So don’t worry about screaming your lungs away on the gravity defying rides; rated on a scale of Intense, Moderate, and Calm. TusenFryd is home to the very first 5D attraction in Europe. In the aptly named attraction, ‘Nightmare’ you become a part of the 3D movie. With realistic wind and smoke effects, you have to shoot at demonic creatures as they pass by your seat, to earn points.