On a city break to Oslo…
One of the things I love about living here in Stockholm is that in just over an hour, I can find myself in a new country, which makes taking city breaks on a whim with my family part of our lifestyle.
So, as a Lonely Planet assignment pathfinder, I recently collaborated with Booking.com and Lonely Planet to go on an overnight city break to Oslo, Norway. As a bonafide traveler in her own right, I took my daughter along on the assignment because Scandinavia may very well be the kid-friendliest region on earth. Many amenities for kids including public transportation are free.
I booked my accommodation via Booking.com – a site which I already love and use almost exclusively for booking stays. Plus, on this city break to Oslo, I got to explore Aker Brygge and Tjuvholmen districts of Norway’s contemporary capital as well as made sure not to leave town without exploring its most iconic architectural masterpiece – The Opera House.
Be sure to get your own Booking.com discount at the end of this post.
But first, the digs…
I love checking out boutique hotels that have their own unique flair. Places where you know creative attention has been made in terms of every detail. Down to the stickers that seal toilet roll flaps shut. Eco-friendly Oslo Guldsmeden was my choice for our Oslo city break. A mere five-minute walk from the Nationaltheatret train station (which is also a stop on the Airport Express train), the hotel combines décor reminiscent of Balinese villas in Indonesia and indigenous Sami-style reindeer pelts.
It also has a Turkish steam bath and sauna which I didn’t try because it was the height of summer when we arrived. Guldsmeden provided that cosy “home away from home” feeling. A plus especially if you’re parachuting in and out of a place quickly with a small child.
Breakfast was simple unpretentious organic fare at this Le Manon restaurant which sources local produce and serves sustainable food.
The Views – Aker Brygge and Tjuvholmen
What I also enjoyed about Oslo Guldsmeden in all its Instagram-friendly glory is that it is also located a five-minute walk from Aker Brygge and Tjuvholmen harbor area which is Oslo’s relatively newer glitzy neighborhood that has been revitalized from an industrial area and old shipyards. Think high end fusion restaurants, expensive condos with impressive waterfront views, and lots of entertainment that brings out the city’s affluent bunch.
Our first order of business after our breezy check-in at the hotel was to go find some food. Tons of new Asian-inspired restaurants using fresh Nordic ingredients have been sweeping across Scandinavia recently. From ramen noodle shops and Southeast Asian street food trucks to high-end Michelin-starred dining and contemporary chefs with their own Nordic twist on various Asian cuisines.
Tjuvholmen itself has a ton of interesting architecture and is known as an art and design district because of the many galleries, museums, and outdoor sculptures found in this part of town.
The Icon – Oslo Opera House
Beyond exploring specific districts in town, we couldn’t leave Oslo without visiting its impressive vertigo-inducing Opera House with its walk-on roof.
A gargantuan building made from white granite and marble imported from Italy, the Opera House opened in 2008 and was designed by Norwegian architectural firm Snøhetta. The house is home to both the National Ballet and National Opera.
The building’s inclines are reminiscent of a massive floating iceberg and watching my daughter race across those angles and explore the intricacy and unusual design is one of the reasons I love traveling with my kids.
Expanding their minds so they know what others might deem impossible is actually quite possible with a little bit of imagination and creativity.