We began our carefully planned trip to Norway in its capital city, Oslo. While some friends and even some guidebooks had suggested skipping Oslo in favor of seeing more of the beautiful fjords, I’m glad we spent three days there. It was probably the easiest of our stops in Norway in terms traveling with children, and also gave us the historial and cultural backdrop we needed to fully appreciate what we saw later on.
Like Helsinki, Oslo is a surprisingly small capital city of around 600,000 people. The city center, bisected by two parallel roads–Karl Johans Gate and Stortingsgata–with park and historic buildings in between, is easily traveled by foot. However, it should be noted that even in July the weather in Norway is unpredictable. If getting wet is a problem, or if your stay and children’s temperament allows seeing a lot of museums, consider the Oslo Pass which offers not only unlimited public transportation and discount parking, but free admission to many of the museums and attractions in and around Oslo. Read more
You don’t have to see many pictures like this one before you become fixated with the idea of going to see the fjords in Norway. We never made it to Norway when we lived in the UK ten years ago, so it topped my list of summer vacation ideas when we decided to move to Finland.
This spring, I borrowed a Lonely Planet Norway from a friend, read through it, took notes, and was ready to book something for Matt’s two week holiday in July. So I marched down the local travel agency and tried to put something together. Their first recommendation was to take the Hurtigruten up and down the coast (13 days round-trip with the opportunity for lots of trips to shore). Although that certainly would have let us see the largest cross-section of Norway in the least amount of time, the idea of being trapped on a boat, however large and luxurious, with the children for 13 days really put me off.
Instead, I asked for a quote to do something that would hit the highlights of south-western Norway: Oslo – Ålesund – Bergen – Stavanger – Oslo, with a few cruises up the various fjords on the way. Like Finland, Norway is a very long country from north to south, but not terribly wide, so I thought this tour would be very doable in the time allotted. Read more