What Beach? Oslo, Norway Is The Cold Weather Vacation You Need Right Now
Most of us don’t think about traveling to a cold destination when we think about getting away for a little while, but many non-tropical locations have much more to offer than balmy temperatures and airline prices that are affordable.
I recently had the opportunity to spend a few days in Oslo, Norway, which shares a border with Sweden, and Norwegian Airlines got me there in no time. Around this time of year, the high temperature hovers right around 40 degrees, but with the help of Blacklane and Nordic Car Service, keeping warm while exploring the country was easy. Between the food, the arts and the culture in Oslo, I didn’t miss the beach at all.
The Stylish Accommodations
The Thief Hotel is an ultra-modern Norwegian hotel in the heart of downtown Oslo. Located at the edge of the gleaming waters of the Oslo Fjord, the nine-story Thief is the most impressive in the Nordic Hotels & Resorts chain. And it’s just a few minutes’ walk from the high-end Aker Brygge shopping district.
The Thief might sound like a strange name for a 5-star hotel, but it makes sense once you learn the history. The hotel is located in Oslo’s Tjuvholmen neighborhood and Tjuvholmen translates into “Thief Islet.” Many years ago, the location was a refuge for smugglers, robbers, and scoundrels of every type—hence the name The Thief Hotel.
The rooms are elegantly decorated, with huge windows that give beautiful cityscape views, and private balconies that offer opportunities for both entertaining and intimacy. All the rooms are Wi-Fi equipped and there’s 24-hour room service offering the best Nordic cuisine, wine, and spirits.
Visitors can relax in The Thief Spa, savor cocktails at the rooftop bar, or use the services of a personal trainer. Limo service, babysitting, personal shopping assistance, and on-call medical personnel are available upon request. How’s that for foreign hospitality?
The International Cuisine
The country of Norway might be nestled deep within Northern Europe, but its capital city Oslo is truly an international destination. And the proof is in the food. Scandinavian cuisine, though lesser known than food from other European countries, is diverse, tasty, and representative of many cultures.
Hanami offers an East Asian change of pace to your dining itinerary. Specializing in the Robata Grill charcoal cooking style, Hanami serves authentic Japanese food and freshly caught sushi. The well-stocked bar offers spiced Japanese drinks in a relaxed setting and the desserts are all homemade.
Der Peppern Gror serves an incredible variety of Indian food that’s prepared in a one-of-a-kind open kitchen. This means that your curiosity will be just as satisfied as your taste buds, as the world-class chefs are eager to answer any questions you have about Indian cuisine.
At Smalhans restaurant you’ll experience Spanish tapas—Norwegian style! Each course is served on a single plate that the whole table can share. The variable menu depends on which fresh materials the chefs have on hand, but you can expect a delectable small plate experience no matter what’s available.
If you’re looking for authentic Scandinavian fare, look no further than Ett Bord restaurant and the town of Mathallen Oslo. With an emphasis on sustainability, community, and healthy eating, Ett Bord offers a uniquely Nordic dining experience. Guests sit at a large 24-person table that brings an intimate feel to a truly sophisticated dining experience. The menu changes daily, with chefs preparing seasonal meals that use only the best local ingredients.
Another wonderful culinary experience can be had in the many cafes and specialty shops of Mathallen Oslo. Modelled after the finest European food courts, Mathallen Oslo offers an assemblage of eateries that are sure to satisfy even the most sophisticated of palates. The shops of Mathallen Oslo are a celebration of food, drink, and everyday life.
The Arts & Culture
Staying at The Thief affords you access to the renowned Astrup Fearnley Museum, which is right next door. But you don’t have to leave The Thief to be surrounded by art. Impressive examples of modern art are on display throughout the hotel—in the common areas, in the elevators, and on the walls in the guestrooms. You’ll find works from artists at the National Museum of Art that range from Andy Warhol and Queen Sonja of Norway to Charles Ray and Bryan Ferry.
Art and history are everywhere in Oslo—indoors and out—so make sure you set aside a couple of days for sightseeing and don’t forget to add the opera while in the city. To get a quick overview of the city, I went on a Ourway Tour, which is perfect for anyone who wants a true taste of Oslo culture. You’ll visit:
The Viking Ship Museum, which is home to some of the most impressive nautical monuments in the world. Touring it is like traveling through time as many of the exhibits are well over a thousand years old.
The Vigeland Park is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It’s the largest sculpture park in the world featuring the work of a single artist—sculptor Gustav Vigeland. With over 200 iron, granite, and bronze sculptures, this astonishing collection represents Vigeland’s life work.
Holmenkollen Ski Jump where you can have a wonderful time with or without skis. , and see what’s on display at the on-site Ski Museum.
The tour concludes with a leisurely sightseeing drive through the beautiful inner city of Oslo.
All of this is just a sampling of what you can experience is Oslo, Norway. A visit to this timeless city is time well spent.