Our brief visit to Oslo marked our first-ever trip to Norway and allowed me to tick another country on my long bucket list. It was the start of a 10-day Scandinavian trip with our two daughters aged four years old and three months. Although only there for 36 hours, we managed to see a fair few sights and get a feel for Oslo.

It isn’t a large city and we were able to do most of our exploring on foot. Buses and trams are abundant though with plenty of room for buggies.

Oslo, Norway

We flew into Oslo with Norwegian, an above average budget airline with plenty of leg room. As soon as we got off the aeroplane, Oslo welcomed us with a clean, chic, Nordic-style airport with the longest luggage conveyor belt I have ever seen, snaking around the baggage hall. There were plenty of staff on hand to help when we arrived around 6pm and the train was easy to catch although we did have to navigate a few steps inside the carriage. Fortunately we had some help from fellow passengers as we hadn’t exactly travelled light!

We got to the hotel around 8pm and despite our tiredness decided to head out for some sushi. The baby slept while Mrs T managed to keep her eyes open as we tasted some of the most delicious sushi we have had. With Norway’s reputation for fresh fish it was a good choice and Alex Sushi is apparently one of the best sushi restaurants in Norway. Price wise, it was expensive but around what we would have paid in a top sushi restaurant in London for food while the wine was around £15 for a glass (ouch)!

Wander Mum and Mrs T enjoy sushi at 'Alex Sushi'

We woke up the next morning to sunny, blue skies and headed to the Royal Palace. Built in the 19th Century for the French-born King Charles III of Norway, it is the official residence of the reigning Norwegian monarch. Not that you would know it. You can get extremely close to the palace and wander around it without any fuss.  During the summer months it is possible to see inside as part of a guided tour, English ones are available.

The Royal Palace, Oslo

Guards wearing funny hats stand to attention outside the palace. Their faces partly obscured by what looks like long black horse hair sprouting out of their helmets. As the Royal Palace was close to our hotel (we stayed at the Radisson Blu), it was our first stop so we missed the changing of the guard which happens daily at 1.30pm.

A guard stands to attention at the Royal Palace, Oslo

The regal building is surrounded by parkland which was filled with joggers and families on the sunny,  Saturday morning. Close to the palace there are some beautiful gardens which are also open to the public and are worth a look. Mrs T thoroughly enjoyed exploring its flowers, sculptures, lake and ducks.

Mrs T plays in the Royal Palace gardens, Oslo

She was also keen to check out a statue. Upon closure inspection I saw it was of Camilla Collette by the Norwegian sculptor Gustav Vigeland. Collette is described as Norwegian’s first feminist and was involved in the suffragette movement. Four years old and my daughter is already a supporter of the women’s equality movement. That’s my girl.

Royal Palace, Oslo

Once finished at the palace, we headed down Karl Johans Gate, the main pedestrianised road which runs from the Royal Palace through to the heart of Oslo.

Karl Johans gate, Oslo

Not far from the palace is the National Gallery containing Edvard Munch’s Scream painting. As it was such a sunny day, we skipped the museums and simply admired the buildings from the outside, walking the cobbled streets filled with cafes and passing some of Oslo’s other landmarks such as its university and the Norwegian parliament building.

Parliament building Oslo

Karl Johans Gate eventually turns into the main shopping street and suddenly it was filled with Saturday shoppers. We stopped off at Oslo cathedral which is worth a glance. By this time our tummies had begun to rumble and we decided to try to find the Mathallen indoor food market following a recommendation. It took around 10 minutes to walk there from the cathedral taking us along Oslo’s canals as we glimpsed a different side to the city.

Oslo, Norway

Mathallen Food market forms part of a trendy area which reminded me a little of London’s Shoreditch. We passed what looked like pop-up shops and restaurants and  there was a music festival going on at a nearby park. The market is a good place to try different foods and buy fresh produce with alfresco dining available too.

Mathastall indoor market

After filling up on tapas, I took the opportunity to use my selfie stick – rather badly – but it’s not often we get photos of all four of us.

Wander Mum and family at the indoor food market, Oslo

We then headed to the harbour area, hopping on a bus to get there. The harbour was filled with families enjoying the sunshine and activities there. In the shadow of Oslo’s City Hall, a tractor event was going on which was a hit with the children.

A tractor event taking place outside the City Hall in Oslo

We also passed the Nobel Peace centre which showcases the annual prizes awarded every year and is open to visitors.

The Nobel Peace building

I then had a wander up to the Akershus Fortress stopping short of going right around it due to the pushchair (I’m sure it possible but I didn’t fancy navigating it). The medieval castle was built in the 1290s to protect Oslo and has also been used as a prison.

The Akershus Fortress from the harbour, Oslo

There are great views from the top looking out onto the fjords. From where I climbed up, I still managed to get a good view of the sea and harbour area.

Oslo harbour

At around this time, our four year old started to flag after waking up around 6am (Norway time, so 5am UK). My husband took her back to the hotel for a sleep while I walked past the fortress with a sleepy baby in her pram to the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet building which was around a 10 minute walk. On the water opposite the opera building is the unusual She Lies sculpture designed by Monica Bonvicini which rotates on its axis depending on the tide and wind.

She Lies sculpture, Oslo

The unique design of the Opera House  was the result of a public competition and opened in April 2008. You can walk up its sloping roof which is great in theory but with a pushchair and sandals I got about an eighth of the way up before deciding it wasn’t a good idea. I recommend taking it in turns with a partner to go up as it is not buggy friendly.

Oslo Opera House

It was then time to go back to the harbour to meet the others. A bubble man had become a focal point with my daughter chasing after the giant bubbles while my husband indulged the woman selling candy floss by getting a banana flavoured stick for £4! Along the harbour edge, a car convention was taking place showing off some rather impressive cars.

The Harbour area in Oslo

The quay area of Aker Brygge is one part of Oslo’s waterfront which has gone through a large, regeneration project. Judging by the amount of cranes I saw around Oslo (and which kept getting in my photographs!), there is clearly a lot more work going on.

We ate at a good, fairly up-market fish place, Lofoten Fiskerestaurant, along the waterfront then headed back to the hotel through the redevelopment, a pedestrianised area boasting office space, art sculptures and alfresco dining. Further along there are architectural features such as the Bar Code buildings.

Bar code buildings, Oslo

We could have done with another day in Oslo to have a nose at some of its museums, visit the Vigeland sculpture park and the forest and even gone on a Fjord cruise but I felt like we got a good overview. The city is pretty expensive so you probably don’t want much longer than a weekend there! Read my post on how to save money in Oslo here.

I felt very relaxed in Oslo. Unlike many city trips, it really felt like a break (despite doing lots of walking). As a small city of around only 700,000 people, it has a calm vibe and it’s a clean and safe city. Some of the tourist sights are busy but nothing like our home city of London. Most of the people we met were friendly and willing to help and as a family we felt welcomed even late at night in restaurants. There were many buggy-friendly ramps and paths and lots of families out and about in the city which is always a good sign. We went in late August and got some really good weather – it was around 22 degrees.

I would like to revisit Oslo as part of a larger trip exploring Norway, its fjords and natural beauty. One Norwegian we spoke to told us we have to go north, try out the skiing there and, of course, the Northern Lights are firmly on our list. Norway, we shall return.

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How to spend 36 hours in Oslo - with kids

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65 Comments on 36 Hours In Oslo With Kids 

  1. Lolo
    September 13, 2016 at 7:42 am (11 months ago)

    Oslo does look pretty relaxed! And what a difference between Buckingham Palace and the Royal Palace as to how close you can get! #CityTripping
    Lolo recently posted…The BEST Tips to AVOID Looking Like a TouristMy Profile

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      September 13, 2016 at 8:32 am (11 months ago)

      I know! We were really surprised at being able to walk next to it with ease.

      Reply
    • Wander Mum
      September 13, 2016 at 2:06 pm (11 months ago)

      Haha! It was. They had ladders to get on them.

      Reply
  2. Jennifer (aka Dr. J)
    September 13, 2016 at 10:02 am (11 months ago)

    Looks like you managed to pack a lot in! I recall we did a similar 10 day Scandinavian trip about 10 years ago. We had 3 days centered around Oslo. We read in Rick Steves’ book on Norway that if you go to Oslo and don’t see the fjords you should have your passport revoked. With this in mind, we signed up for a 24 hour ‘Norway in a Nutshell’ tour where we traveled from Oslo to Bergen and back again using all sorts of modes of transportation in just 24 hours. We saw the fjords and it definitely made for a memorable addition to our trip! #citytripping
    Jennifer (aka Dr. J) recently posted…5 Places to Stop for Coffee Near the High Line in New York CityMy Profile

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      September 13, 2016 at 2:06 pm (11 months ago)

      Haha! He has a point. That sounds like an amazing trip…in 24 hours. Wow!!

      Reply
    • Wander Mum
      September 13, 2016 at 2:04 pm (11 months ago)

      Yes, I do too!

      Reply
  3. Allison
    September 13, 2016 at 12:51 pm (11 months ago)

    The She Lies statue looks very Unique. I think I would like Oslo. I enjoy the smaller, less crowded cities over the monstrous ones.
    Allison recently posted…5 Reasons We Love the Giggle JungleMy Profile

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      September 13, 2016 at 2:04 pm (11 months ago)

      I tend to agree with you. For me it’s good to have a change. As I live in London it’s great to go to smaller places when I go on holiday.

      Reply
    • Wander Mum
      September 13, 2016 at 2:03 pm (11 months ago)

      Oh, definitely!

      Reply
    • Wander Mum
      September 13, 2016 at 2:52 pm (11 months ago)

      You should! Was impressed with Norwegian

      Reply
    • Wander Mum
      September 13, 2016 at 2:51 pm (11 months ago)

      I know. I took a bit of inspiration from your post Tanja x

      Reply
  4. Mandy
    September 13, 2016 at 5:26 pm (11 months ago)

    Oslo looks fantastic! Definitely on my bucketlist! 🙂 #citytripping
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    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      September 14, 2016 at 10:43 pm (11 months ago)

      It’s a great city

      Reply
  5. Christine
    September 13, 2016 at 7:46 pm (11 months ago)

    It sounds like you squeezed a huge amount into the time you had. I’ve been to Norway during the winter but never Oslo itself. A beautiful country but probably a little too expensive for us at the moment. One for the future when the kids have left home! #citytripping
    Christine recently posted…Visiting the Old Bailey and Inns of Court, LondonMy Profile

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      September 18, 2016 at 11:11 pm (11 months ago)

      Thanks Christine, yes definitely one to visit at some point. There are ways around some of the expense but accommodation is pretty pricey too.

      Reply
  6. Notmyyearoff
    September 13, 2016 at 8:54 pm (11 months ago)

    You did so much in such a short space of time and it looks like it’s definitely a place worth exploring. My kids would love those gardens and I think I’d love the market! #citytripping
    Notmyyearoff recently posted…Zouk Tea bar and Grill Cookery SchoolMy Profile

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      September 18, 2016 at 11:12 pm (11 months ago)

      Yes, we certainly saw a lot in our short time. The market was great and gardens beautiful – very peaceful.

      Reply
  7. Upeksha
    September 13, 2016 at 10:31 pm (11 months ago)

    What an interesting city! I love the combination of new and old buildings and sculptures. Your post is a really good guide on what to do there in a shop space of time. Thank you! #citytripping

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      September 18, 2016 at 11:13 pm (11 months ago)

      Thank you! Glad you enjoyed it.

      Reply
  8. pc
    September 14, 2016 at 2:06 am (11 months ago)

    Great sharing on Olso. It really look like an uber-cool but relaxing city. I love spending a day on walking in any city! So much to see and to learn (and eat)! Will keep this in mind, along with Northern Lights;). #citytripping

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      September 14, 2016 at 10:41 pm (11 months ago)

      I do too – it’s a great way to see a city and good when it’s small enough to walk.

      Reply
    • Wander Mum
      September 14, 2016 at 10:42 pm (11 months ago)

      I know! They do have strange regulations on alcohol – something we’re quite unfamiliar with over here

      Reply
  9. Ruth
    September 15, 2016 at 5:28 am (11 months ago)

    Oslo looks and feels better than I thought. During my trip to Europe, we met a couple from there and learned a lot of exciting things about the city and the country. It makes me want to visit the country even more.
    Ruth recently posted…Budapest with Yellow Zebra Bike ToursMy Profile

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      September 18, 2016 at 11:14 pm (11 months ago)

      I didn’t have too many expectations but was pleasantly surprised. I’m really up for seeing more of the country too.

      Reply
    • Wander Mum
      September 19, 2016 at 4:20 pm (11 months ago)

      It’s really laid back. We thoroughly enjoyed it. Glad the pics brought back some memories for you.

      Reply
  10. Van @ Snow in Tromso
    September 15, 2016 at 3:32 pm (11 months ago)

    I’m not a big fan of Oslo as it’s definitely one of the least Norwegian cities in the country but the royal palace is definitely one of my favourite spots there! I love that you can just roam around the park so close to the king 😉

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      September 19, 2016 at 4:21 pm (11 months ago)

      That’s interesting! We are definitely keen to explore more of what Norway has to offer. The Royal Palace and park was a highlight for us.

      Reply
  11. Cathy (Mummytravels)
    September 15, 2016 at 6:28 pm (11 months ago)

    Oslo sounds a great city to visit (apart from the £15 wine!) and that’s a great introduction. I am sure my daughter would like to visit Arendelle (Bergen) so maybe we should save up for a Norway visit. #citytripping
    Cathy (Mummytravels) recently posted…City Tripping #44My Profile

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      September 18, 2016 at 11:15 pm (11 months ago)

      Yes! We really need to go there too. We’re considering adding Bergen onto this trip but was just too much!

      Reply
  12. Ahila
    September 17, 2016 at 2:20 am (11 months ago)

    Enjoyed reading about the story behind the design of the opera house and the She lies sculpture. Haven’t visited Oslo but my parents seemed to have enjoyed it very much during their visit, that I have been meaning to travel there someday.
    Ahila recently posted…Swedish Food I missMy Profile

    Reply
  13. Vlad
    September 17, 2016 at 2:39 pm (11 months ago)

    Oslo is amazing, easily one of my favorite cities in Europe. I’m planning on going back to Norway to explore more parts of the country, but I know I’ll spend some time in Oslo again too 🙂
    Vlad recently posted…Edinburgh From Above: The Best Panoramic ViewsMy Profile

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      September 21, 2016 at 2:02 am (11 months ago)

      Is it Vlad? I really enjoyed it too – very relaxed – I’m sure we’ll return.

      Reply
  14. Wave to Mummy
    September 17, 2016 at 3:09 pm (11 months ago)

    Ah this looks amazing. I’ve always wanted to visit Norway and Oslo and ha ha after reading this I feel like I have! Alcohol is really expensive over there… many tourists that come over from Sweden often bring their own beers 🙂

    Thanks for hosting #citytripping!
    Wave to Mummy recently posted…A fun family day out at The O2My Profile

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      September 21, 2016 at 2:03 am (11 months ago)

      I know, the whole alcohol restrictions are a bit bonkers.

      Reply
  15. Nell (the Pigeon Pair and Me)
    September 19, 2016 at 11:16 am (11 months ago)

    This is a really interesting post; when I went recently I was child-free, so it’s good to read it from the persepctive of someone who has kids with them. The fish ans sushi restaurants sound good – I’ll have to check them out when I’m there.
    Nell (the Pigeon Pair and Me) recently posted…Eurocamp kids’ clubs at La Garangeoire, FranceMy Profile

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      September 22, 2016 at 3:21 am (11 months ago)

      Ah, how lovely. Oslo is really great with kids…maybe an excuse to go back sometime! X

      Reply
  16. Trish @ Mum's Gone To
    September 19, 2016 at 12:51 pm (11 months ago)

    We had a great break in Oslo in 2014 and did many of the things you mention here. I agree, its a super city for walking around, lots to see and very stylish too. We stayed in the Aker Brygge area (in the Thief hotel) and I remember seeing that fish restaurant.
    You would love the Vigeland sculptures – one for next time.
    #mondayescapes
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    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      September 22, 2016 at 3:22 am (11 months ago)

      Oh lovely. Wish we had stayed there – awesome hotel! Yes, we will have to return one day.

      Reply
  17. Claire at Tin Box Traveller
    September 19, 2016 at 4:49 pm (11 months ago)

    I love chilled out city breaks. It’s nice to come home a little de-stressed, even if you are exhausted from all the walking. This is my second visit to this post and I’ve only just noticed Mrs T’s face at the sushi restaurant – brilliant! Oh, and your selfie-stick skills are better than mine 🙂 Thanks so much for linking up with #MondayEscapes. I promise to get over to #CityTripping soon…maybe not tomorrow (full of excuses!!) x
    Claire at Tin Box Traveller recently posted…Monday Escapes 43My Profile

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      September 23, 2016 at 2:43 pm (11 months ago)

      Haha – selfie skills are improving. Oslo was really chilled out…shame the rest of the trip wasn’t quite as relaxing…more on that in future posts! X

      Reply
  18. Lauren (The Helpful Hiker)
    September 22, 2016 at 3:51 pm (11 months ago)

    I’m really keen to explore Scandinavia, mainly to do some walking but it would be good to see some cities. Oslo looks great and it’s good to hear it’s so family friendly. Definitely on the list! #MondayEsapes
    Lauren (The Helpful Hiker) recently posted…Our Best Family Camping BuysMy Profile

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      September 23, 2016 at 2:44 pm (11 months ago)

      I found Scandinavia as a whole to be really family friendly so you won’t go wrong. I wish we’d done some more of the countryside…our trip was a bit city heavy!

      Reply
  19. Mandy
    September 28, 2016 at 2:37 am (11 months ago)

    Wow! You got up to so much! It sounds like the food is a huge draw and I think I’d love all the fresh fish and seafood. I once learned a tiny bit of Norwegian as part of a free language taster course. I’d love to visit one day and practice my skills.
    Mandy recently posted…An Anniversary Meal at the East Coast Dining Room, WhitstableMy Profile

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      September 28, 2016 at 1:13 pm (11 months ago)

      Oooh get you with your language skills! That’s great! Even more reason for you to visit.

      Reply
  20. beatravelling
    September 29, 2016 at 1:12 pm (11 months ago)

    So fun to see Oslo from your perspective 🙂 Haven’t been to Alex Sushi yet. Hear it is overrated…
    beatravelling recently posted…A Teak BeautyMy Profile

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      September 30, 2016 at 8:51 pm (11 months ago)

      Thanks Bea. I have to say I was very impressed with Alex Sushi – great vibe and food.

      Reply
  21. Wandermust mummy
    February 1, 2017 at 7:39 am (7 months ago)

    I would love to visit Norway to see the fjords but Oslo looks amazing. Love all the sculptures! I think I would probably not drink in a weekend away in Oslo now having seen the price of wine 😮. Thanks for linking up to the first ever #fearlessfamtrav! Hope you can join again next month!
    Wandermust mummy recently posted…Fearless Family Travel #1My Profile

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      February 4, 2017 at 11:23 pm (7 months ago)

      I know! It’s pricey! I was very restrained!

      Reply
  22. Jonny (Daisy the bus)
    February 1, 2017 at 9:31 pm (7 months ago)

    You really packed a lot into 36 hours didn’t you? Especially impressive considering you also had kids in tow! Coincidentally, I have only been once to Oslo and also for around 36 hours, most of which was spent divided between the (amazing!) Vigelund sculpture park, a Viking boat museum, and checking my restaurant bills for possible errors… Ouch! Great read – thanks! #FearlessFamTrav
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    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      February 3, 2017 at 2:33 pm (7 months ago)

      Oh definitely do. Great little city to visit!

      Reply
  23. Susan Mann
    March 29, 2017 at 10:27 pm (5 months ago)

    I have never been here before, but it looks and sounds amazing definitely a place I’d love to visit. Adding it to my bucket list and glad it’s great for kids too x

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      April 3, 2017 at 1:36 am (5 months ago)

      Thank you Susan! A really easy city to wander around with kids!

      Reply
    • Lisa - FlipFlopGlobetrotters.com
      July 14, 2017 at 1:02 pm (1 month ago)

      Love the selfie! We don’t have a lot of pictures of the three of us either and I seriously have to ask hubby to make a picture of me and our little boy once in a while, because I’m always the one with the camera. I’m impressed by how efficiently you spend your 36 hours considering you had your 3-month old along! Olso looks like a great city to visit. Aaaagh, guess we have to add yet another city to our ever growing bucket list 😉
      Lisa – FlipFlopGlobetrotters.com recently posted…Top 10 tips for gluten-free travel with kidsMy Profile

      Reply
      • Wander Mum
        July 24, 2017 at 11:22 pm (1 month ago)

        Thank you! We didn’t do too badly! Yep, I’m always the one with the camera. Oslo is a lovely city. I’m keen to see more of Norway now!

        Reply
    • Wander Mum
      April 3, 2017 at 1:34 am (5 months ago)

      Yes, exactly! I love the market hall in Madrid too!

      Reply

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