Break away from Norway’s capital and embark on five new adventures that take in the very best of the Scandi lifestyle.
700 years in the making, this robust building and icon of Oslo’s identity has seen its fair share of the city’s most significant and salacious figures come and go. Since its formation in the 13th Century, it has been used for many and varying purposes – from a prison and parliamentary hub to a mausoleum for Norway’s royal family and a military museum.
Not only does its sea flanking side serve a highly advantageous strategic function, but a very appealing one as well. A pleasant walk alongside the fjord will not only allow you to take in the immensity of the fortress block, but also provide a breath of fresh air for the onward journey.
The Akerselva River and its lush ecological surroundings are very much considered to be the ‘green lung’ of the city and many traces of its once vital role in Norway’s industrial past have long since evaporated.
Tracing the gently winding waterways, spotting frozen falls and walking the woodland trails is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon, but if you’re in need of serious refreshment, we suggest you don your trunks and dive right in. Though the lakes here may be a tad on the chilly side, we guarantee you’ll feel reinvigorated when you emerge.
Though the thought of visiting a lumber museum may not strike you as the most exhilarating activity, you’d be doing yourself a great disservice to miss out on this most unique of experiences. Get up close and personal with an ancient industry and learn the secrets of the trade by not only seeing, but doing.
As well as taster workshops in the converted factory and tasting delicious local delicacies in the museum café, you’ll also have an opportunity to walk across the mighty Glomma (Norway’s largest river) on a boardwalk made of the very same wood that surrounds you. With the Nordre Øyeren Nature Reserve also on the doorstep, there’s room for adventure at every turn.
Almost everything about this serene fishing village looks as though it has been pulled from a storybook. From the absurdly dramatic fiery sunsets – for which the town is renowned – to the otherworldly floating ice in the harbour, this is old-school Norway at it traditional best and you’d be mad to miss out on the culinary and cultural offerings (try the lutefisk, if you dare).
Festive fun doesn’t find a much more permanent home than the nearby islet of Oscarsborg (a short boat ride away) where an all year round Christmas exhibit delights those with a serious holiday hankering. A quick trip to Santa’s Post Office should ensure that even those on the naughty list get at least a little something in their stocking.
As the only settlement in all of Scandinavia with its defensive walls intact, the Old Town of Fredrikstad certainly warrants an excursion. As you might expect, the rich red buildings lean firmly towards the fortified, but the architecture is by no means stern or austere, making perusal of the local shops a very pleasant experience.
Whether you spend a day walk along the ramparts and getting a bird’s eye view or visiting one of the seriously offbeat museums (Football, Whaling and Humour museums are all on the table) you can always rely on something intriguing falling into your path.
1 hour 15 minutes