Akershus fortress is one of my favorite places in Oslo. Here you can wander around the fortress, imagining the stage set to the 17th century, or the 14th if you prefer. If you like you can listen to the history being told from the 14the century till today. Students can get an audio guide for 50 kroner, but the fortress is only open Saturdays and Sundays, from 12-17.00, in the winter season. Anyway I use to just walk around in the outdoor area which is open every day, watching the harbour and closing my eye just a bit so that I only spot the sail boats. Imagination does the rest:)
If you are more into the rough Vikings, a trip to the Viking ship museum might be the thing! The exhibition itself is a bit dull; ships and some things on display in a very “museum –ish” way..but when remembering that these are actual Viking ships from the 9th century, both used as vessels and as graves for powerful men and women –then they are quite amazing! The museum is open every day from 10 – 16, also in the winter season. Students can enter for 35 kroner.
Norsk Folkemuseum is the next on my list. It´s best in the summer when a lot of young guides are hired to give life to the outdoor area, but any nice winter day with the sun smiling down it will be a nice experience anyway. The museum is an outdoor museum with 155 antique buildings from different districts in Norway. Sounds nice! Student price is 85 kroner, and the museum is open every day from 11-15 (11-16 in the weekends). A tip from Kasper is to bring some food and have lunch among the old buildings. It´s possible to walk the one hour trip back to the city, or you can take the 30 bus even further to “Huk“. There you can stroll around on the beach (it´s more rocks than sand, but anyway) at Bygdøy, while watching the sunset.
Old houses: If you like old houses not placed in a museum, it´s good to know that some streets of Oslo have small tree houses from the 18th century. I love walking in those streets! They are still being used as normal houses, but are making a wonderful atmosphere to be enjoyed for all –without a ticket. Good streets are i.e. at Grünerløkka where “Telthusbakken” is nice, or go to “Maridalsveien” from Alexander Kiellands plass and upwards. “Fjellgata” and “Langgata”, close to Sofienbergparken, are also nice streets with the same vibe.
..and old factories! A stroll up the river from Grünerløkka to Nydalen will also reveal the old factories, built in bricks, where the working class heroes spent their lives in the 19th century.
Oslo Winter Walks is another great concept. Every day of the week there are different tours around Oslo for 150 kroner per person. You can discover the area west of the royal palace on Mondays, or you can get guiding in the areas of old houses and factories at Grünerløkka (described above) on Wednesdays. You can learn about Edward Munchs life in Oslo on Fridays or have some guiding in the Vigeland-park on Saturdays. Check it out!
I wish you all a great winter holiday in Oslo!
- Winter fun in Oslo
Just half an hour away from the town center you’ll find one of our favorite things to do in Oslo in winter: go sledging in Korketrekkeren! It’s the perfect way to experience winter Oslo without need of any special skills or equipment. The 2,6 kilometers long roller coaster ride of a hill might be a bit scary for the youngest and most fainthearted, but otherwise Korketrekkeren can be recommended for all – both young and old. Rosy cheeks, shrieks and laughter guaranteed!
A historic sledging route
Sleding, sledding or tobogganing as some call it is an ancient concept and the oldest sledge known to man dates back to 6500 b.c! “Korketrekkeren” (eng. “The Cork Screw”) or “Korken” (eng. “The Cork”) as some call it is named after it’s twists and turns that might remind you of exactly that. It was landscaped in the beginning of the 1900s and goes from Frognerseteren to Midtstuen. It housed huge sledging competitions in the 1920s and the first ever World Cup in sledging in 1955. Nowadays it’s visited by all kinds of people, but mainly amateur sledgers like you and me.
So, how does this work?
Take metro #1 westward to the end stop Frognerseteren. You can use your own sledge or rent one from Akeforeningen or Skiservice. On their web pages you’ll also find updated information about the slope, if it’s open and what condition it’s in. Skiservice also offers pickup at the bottom of the hill on Saturdays and Sundays. See prices below. Now you’re ready to go! And there’s not much to know, just kick off and stick your feet in the ground if you want to slow down. The trip takes about 6-9 minutes. And when you get to Midtstuen you can take the metro back up to Frognerseteren and do it again – as many times as you want! You pay for a full day even if you only go down the hill once and we guarantee you’ll want to go at least two times, so make sure you’re not in a hurry.
Insider tips: the hill is usually prepped every night and is at it’s best when it opens. On weekdays most times are good, on Saturdays and Sundays it’s usually calm till 11 or 12 am.
Have fun, but be careful
In order for everybody to have fun, you have to show a bit of caution. Use a proper sledge and a helmet and common sense. The breaks are your feet. Use them! And don’t stop in the middle of the track. If you DO fall off though, get to the side. There might be someone right behind you that might not be able to stop. Otherwise: enjoy!
Cocoa and cream
After a few trips we strongly recommend that you stop by beautiful and historical Frognerseteren at the top of the slope for a cup of cocoa (cream in the fridge!) and perhaps some of their famous apple cake? Yum! Together with the spectacular view it should make for a perfect ending to fun winter day.
Kids under 18 years: 80 NOK
Grown ups: 100 NOK
Helmets are free if you rent a sledge
Only debet cards, not credit cards like VISA, Mastercard, Amex etc.
Kids under 16 years: 100 NOK
Grow ups: 125 NOK Family (2 grownups+1 kid): 280 NOK
Extra kid: 80 NOK
Pick up of sleigh (sat & sun): 25 NOK per sleigh
Groups/schools: contact for prices
You can also rent helmets, pants and jackets.
Text: Tara // Photo: private
Published: Thursday 17th of January 2013
Stuck in Oslo for Christmas? What on earth to do?! Here’s our guide to Christmas-Oslo and an explanation to some of the odder Norwegian Christmas traditions.
The Norwegian word for “Christmas” is “jul” and you’ll quickly begin to recognize it as most things related to Christmas contain this word in some or other form, like “God jul!” (Merry Christmas!)
Advent – the purple holiday
The four weeks before Christmas we, as many others, celebrate advent and the big it-colour is purple. In the church this color symbolizes repentance and improvement, but even though most people probably don’t think too much about that we still all stock up on purple candles for our advent candlesticks. Every Sunday we light a new candle and we have our own advent songs with new verses for each new candle we light.
There’s a lot of baking before Christmas and some people still try to fulfill an old tradition of making all “de sju slagene” (“the seven sorts”). Many a housewife- or man have sweated and sworn in their aprons trying to get all the cakes ready in time for Christmas. Wanna give it a go? “De sju slagene” are goro (traditionally means good advice), krumkaker (curvature cakes), fattigmann (poor man!), sandkaker (sand cakes), sirupsnipper (syrup cakes), Berlinerkranser (Berlin wreaths), smultringer (donuts). But the most is probably to only bake one, two or three sorts and pepperkaker (gingerbread) is the most popular. You’ll also find a lot of the sorts for sale at shops, bakeries etc.
Romjul?! Does that mean we drink rum?
In Norway Christmas eve, the evening of the 24th is the big day and the 25th is mainly spent trying to polish off the last of the Christmas dinner and trying out our new presents. Christmas eve is called “julaften” and we also have quite cute names for the days leading up to julaften: 23rd of December is “lille juleaften” (little Christmas), 22nd is “bittelille julaften” (tiny Christmas).
The period following Christmas eve is called “romjul” and for many there’s a tradition of going out to party or club the 26th. Perhaps because people by then are getting tired of just sitting around stuffing their faces? 24th and 31st of December most shops are open half the day and some people also people work half days. 25th and 26th of December are the only actual holidays, so all other days most shops will be open.
Vinmonopolets (The wine monopolies) opening hours:
All of Vinmonopolets shops are closed 24th-26th of December, 31st of December and 1stof Januar 2013. You’ll find opening hours for all their shops here.
What do we eat?
Every family have their own traditions. Some swear to pork, while people from the west coast often eat lamb ribs. Other yuletide hits include lutefisk (dried white fish) and cod. Turkey has also has become a big thing here, though most people probably save this for New-years eve.
The desert classic is riskrem (rice cream pudding), often with a red sauce. And usually people hide a blanched almond in the pudding, and the person who finds it wins a marzipan pig. Yes, a marzipan pig!? Not kidding!
You probably can’t go to an Norwegian Christmas party without being offered gløgg (mulled wine). The most used type is Tomtegløgg that can be bought at all shops and spiked up to your own liking with wine or spirits. The more hardcore make their own and there are thousands of recipes on the world wide web. Gløgg is usually enjoyed with nuts and raisins.
There’s a lot of good christmas beers to be had. Our favourites include Nøgne Ø’s “Underlig jul” and Handbryggeriets “Nissefar” (Santa dad) and “Nissemor” (Santa mum). If your budget can’t handle expensive beers how about trying some julebrus (Christmas soda)? Most local breweries have their version, so it comes in every variation of colour and taste – all on the intensely sweet side of things! And people are very patriotic when it comes to defending their julebrus as the the best one on the market.
And last but not least: to burn off some of the fat people often have an aquavite after finner – often combined with a beer! Mmm.
Other odd traditions
Land of the Christmas tree? Yup, that’s us! But even though we export trees to other countries some people still love their blinking plastic trees. Whatever tree you have traditional decorations often include homemade paper decorations, lights, norwegian flags and a star on top. And after Christmas dinner we “går rundt juletreet” (walk around the christmas tree) singing Christmas carols. This can take ages and some have long lists of songs and song activites they have to go through. Following the going around the Christmas tree session time usually has come for Christmas presents. Finally!
In “romjul” you might get unexpected visitors at your door, as people go their rounds of “julebukk” (Christmas buck), a kind of Christmas caroling. Most people dress up as Santa or the likes, but some kids just turn up and ask for sweats so make sure you’ve stocked up!
What can you do?
Become a Norwegian – go skiing! Oslo is surrounded by woods perfect for skiing and we also have several parks and other places calling you to sledge and make snowmen. Try Korketrekkeren, the old bob track where you can rent your own sledge! For more winter acticities check out the winter section of Streetwise!
Christmas Shopping! Still haven’t got all your presents in order? Check our Streetwise-guide for tips to good places to go shopping. And try to avoid the big mall Oslo City unless you want some hussle and bussle. Otherwise there’s also a big Christmas market in Karl Johanns gate, right in front of Grand Hotel. Here you’ll find both food and gifts and all kinds of Christmas things.
Do something for someone less fortunate: put some money in “julegryta” (the Christmas pot), The Salvation Army’s pot for collecting money to warm winter boots, food, fire wood etc. There are several spread around town, but you should find one in the middle of Karl Johannsgate. Or buy the street magazine =Oslos Christmas special. The magazine comes out monthly and speaks the voices of the poor, drug addicts and other disadvantaged groups. They’re sold from most street corners and half of the money goes directly to the sales person.
And how about Christmas Eve? Join somebody elses celebrations! Christmas is all about sharing.
God jul og godt nyttår (Merry Christmas and happy new-year) from all of us at Use-It Oslo
Text: Tara // Photos: sxc.hu
Wednesday the 19th of December
Do you like to read? Or maybe you want to take the Thorbjørn Egner -tram? This weekend it´s time for the book festival here in Oslo. More than 200 writers come to more than 200 events. We talked to the festival-boss Åse Garten Galtrud about adventurous books, crazy book parties and other events this weekend.
What will happen tonight?
Tonight is the grand opening in Spikersuppa, in the middle of Karl Johan. Ragnar Hovland (famous norwegian writer) will play Ukulele, and the norwegian princess Mette-Marit wil officially open the festival.
Deichmanske bibliotek, the public library in Oslo, also has their legendary nachspiel with licor served between the bookshelves. While listening to “writer-DJs” you can be part of this unique event, and maybe even dance on the bookshelves?
Is it something you particulary want to recommend the upcoming days?
Very much! Tomorrow Linda Eide from “Norsk Attraksjon” (Hilarious norwegian Tv-show ) will have her power-point show. She has made a book about conversations with her mother -I have seen it before, and it´s incredible funny!
I also want to recommend “Vår ære og vår mat” ( directly transelated: Our honour and our food) where Gert Nygårdshaug and Torgrim Eggen (Norwegian authors) have made a cooking book about their literary characters and their relationship with food.
Tomorrow there will also be “Litterary Death Match tomorow evening. The american Todd Zuniga travels the world to make the “Idol” of litterature. He choose four new young writers to meet three established writers through 2 rounds and an epic final! This will happen tomorrow night at Victoria National Jazzscene (also in Karl Johan, located quite close to the parliament).
Is there something else you want to add?
It will happen loads of stuff in the city as we are the biggest book festival in Norway. Check out oslobokfestival.no for program. The festival is free and open for all! Velcome!
You can also find more information about Oslo book festival at our cultural calendar Kult Oslo:
Oslo bokfestival 2012
Written by Tara, translated by Odrun 14. sept
To day is the opportunity to really get a grasp of what Oslo has to offer on the cultural side. It´s said that we have more cultural events than any other main city in Europe, and today you can check out a good persentage of them. It´s time for for a full culture night in Oslo!
It has in fact already started. Almost all the culture institutions have special arrangements and other cool stuff going on. And everything is free! Do you wanna try out Aikido, celebrate fair trade, experience good concerts or wandering around to hidden places at the norwegian folk museum? That´s just some of your options… Check out an english version of the program at prosjekt-oslokulturnatt.oslo.kommune.no
There are many ways of exploring a new city. You can read about it and explore for yourself, you can buy guided tours around the city and you can buy a one day ticket and ride around with public transportation.
Alternative Oslo however has a guided bike tour around town and is a great way of getting to know new people and Oslo. This is what they say on their website:
Oslo is a city of contrasts. It’s divided by the Akerselva river, and west and east Oslo are completelly different. The alternative Oslo Bike Tour will go from the medieval ruins, to the super modern buildings of Aker Brygge. From the busiest working areas to the relaxing green parks, and so on…
The idea is to show you mainly the idioncrasy of the norwegians, the curiositries that make them special.
We start at the Opera House, a big white modern building, very easy to recognise, and only a few meters from the Central train station (Sentralstajonen).
The tour lasts around 4 hours. Groups are never larger than 10 people, wich is good size to be all together, and it’s easy to adapt the speed to the rythm and level of the group.
You will realise as soon as you arrive that Oslo is sorrounded by mountains, so you may be worried about the slopes… Don’t panic! The itinerary goes mainly in flat areas or friendly slopes, and we have enough time to do it.
We will visit:
Gamlebyen- The Medieval Park -Kvadraturen – The Akershus Fortress – The City Hall – Aker Brygge – Vika – Frogner – The Vigeland’s Park – Telthusbakken – Damstredet – The Akerselva River – Grünerløkka – Grønland – Kampen – The Opera House
Check out their website for more information and booking here: www.alternativoslo.com
This is the best day of the year! On June 2 there will be 30 stages all around Oslo City centre. Every stage has it’s own music style so you can easily pick your favorite and listen to good music the whole day. All the conserts are free! See www.musikkfest.no and pick your liking!
You can check the weather for the day on www.yr.no.
Enjoy the day! (Ps.: The Use-it office is open this day, as always on Saturdays:))
May 17th is our national day, so you should really go out and see the city that day! This is the most celebrated day of the whole year where we celebrate the signing of the Norwegian constitution from 1814! On May 17th all norwegians go out in the streets to celebrate.
The children will be walking in parades from ca. 10-13 around in the city. 112 schools will be participating in the parade in the city center from Akershus fortress – Torgata – Youngstorget – Stortorvet – and the last stop: the Norwegian Castle where the royal family greets the parade from the palace balcony. (You can try to sneak in to the train and wave to the royal family.)
And you can also check out the norwegian “russ” (graduates from secondary school who have been celebrating since the end of April) from ca. 15-17 in the afternoon at Youngstorget.
We all have several things we usually do this day so here is a checklist for you guys to try out:
- Start around 9 o’clock
- Eat salmon and eggs for breakfast with some water or wine – whichever you prefer:)
- Dress up
- Go outside an check out the children’s parade
- Buy a Norwegian flag and wave it:)
- eat a “wienerpølse i brød” (a sausage/hotdog in bread or potato cake)
- Eat an ice cream
- See the “russ” parade/arrangement
- Say “Hipp hipp hurray”!!
- …and this year, make sure to bring a raincoat because they say it will rain!
We hope you will enjoy the day as much as we will! “Hipp hipp hurra!”
So you’re in town, or you’re planning a trip to Oslo, but what are you planning to do? You could always drop by our offices and ask what’s up this weekend, but if you want to plan ahead you should check out our new calendar.
The website is primarely in norwegian, but thanks to todays wonderful technology, namely google translate, it’s possible for everyone to make good use of the site.
Check out the english translated site. (You can switch the translated language to your likings)
You’re planning a day of galleries and museums but it’s a very beautiful day outside and really not an indoor-day. Museums can wait till a rainy day, go outside and stimulate your mind with the various street art Oslo has to offer. Why not go to Blå first.
From downtown Oslo it’s a short walk, maybe 10 minutes. You can basicly follow Møllergata up to Hausmania and from Hausmania it’s a short downhill road to Blå. Why not start your trip at the Use-It Oslo Office which is in the start of Møllergata?
“The story seemingly ends at the corner only to unravel an epicenter of art crowned by a beautiful light crown in the middle”
So you’re here, and you’re walking down the street towards Blå following a wall of continuous grafitti. The sun is shining and you’re enterpeting stories that many artists and street artists are communicating through their art. The story seemingly ends at the corner only to unravel an epicenter of art crowned by a beautiful light crown in the middle. The old factory walls are covered with grafitti and paintings. The stairs to your right follows up to the art school and Brenneriet Gallery and you should take a look to see if an exhibition is up. Take a moment — take it all in.
Continuing on your exploration through the area you will find the nightclub Blå to your left. Maybe it’s open, depending on the time. Take a coffee or a refreshing drink in a friendly enviroment right next to the river Akerselva. Or continue towards the bridge crossing the river. Take a moment here as well, look closely at the trees and you will discover more art. From here you can follow the road up to Grünerløkka, a charming city area with parks, cafés, small independent stores and nightclubs. Or you can follow the river Akerselva to the end. It’s a very nice walk.