When I first discovered Vlad’s inspiring travel blog, what stuck me first was the name – Eff It, I’m On Holiday – which pretty much sums up my thoughts when I grab the credit card to pay for yet another trip. His philosophy is to: ‘discover the world, one holiday at the time’ and he’s visited an eclectic mix of cities around Europe and offers up great travel tips – I found his Bucharest hints very helpful when I went earlier this year. Vlad is kindly sharing his wonderful trip to Oslo in Norway from the stunning Oslofjord to the beautiful scenery, it looks like a must-see destination.
Over to you, Vlad…
I look for a little bit of everything. I love going to the beach, but I get bored after two days, so I always choose a destination knowing I’ll have plenty of options: sightseeing, culture, delicious food, peaceful places and so on.
Where did you go?
I visited Oslo, Norway, in the middle of July last year.
I had already planned a trip to Paris to see the fireworks on Bastille Day, but I knew I wanted to add another city. At first I was looking for options close to Paris (such as Normandy), but then I saw cheap flights to Oslo thanks to Ryan Air and I remembered how much I’ve dreamed about seeing Norway so I didn’t hesitate and pressed the ‘Book Now’ button.
I was accompanied by my five best friends, so that made the whole trip more fun.
Where did you stay? How did you decide?
Oslo is known for its high prices and often puts off travelers interested in the city. I was worried we’d have to spend a fortune for a few nights, but when I found Gaustad Hotel I knew I didn’t have to look any further.
It was a hotel located 10-15 minutes by tram from the city center, the tram stop being literally a few steps away from the entrance. The rooms were comfortable and clean, though some may argue it’s not too modern. We had a huge bathroom, especially compared to the teeny weeny thing we left behind at the hotel in Paris! The best part, however, was the breakfast was included in the price of the room. You had SO many things to choose from, including traditional Norwegian delicacies. I found all this on my go-to site for reservations, Booking.com, for only €60 per night for a double room.
Are there plenty of activities for the kids?
While it wasn’t a family holiday, Oslo has many activities for kids, including an amusement park, many interactive museums and islands with charming beaches.
Your most memorable moment/s of the trip?
My favorite moment from the trip is probably my favorite travel moment last year. After we’ve arrived and checked in, we went out to explore the city a bit, without a definite plan. We were hungry after a few hours spent on buses, airports and plane, but finding a restaurant wasn’t an easy task, since they close rather early.
After wandering aimlessly we finally found a place that was still open and were happy to sit down for a meal and a beer. Luckily, we still had money when we left! After finishing our meal, I suggested we should check out the iconic Opera House, since it wasn’t too far from where we were. We spent a great amount of time being in awe with the sights, as well as taking selfies and laughing our asses off at them.
What did you get up to? Any sights, activities you want to shout about?
Since all the main attractions are pretty close to one another, I got to see most of them without rushing around. All the famous museums are on the Bygdøy peninsula, where you can see the Viking Ship Museum, the Fram Museum with the largest wooden ship that sailed around the world, or the open air Norwegian Folk Museum, where you can see many traditional houses or learn about different Norwegian customs such as dances or making bread. My favorite part however was taking a relaxing two-hour cruise on the Oslofjord, where I admired the gorgeous scenery while enjoying the warmth of the sun.
Was it good value for money?
If you do your homework beforehand, know the prices and what to do to save money, then yes, Oslo is good value for money. I had a strict budget of 3000 kr (around €350) for 4 days and I even came back home with some coins left. I wasn’t stingy, either, how many times do I have the chance to visit Oslo? Eff it, I was on holiday, right? 🙂
Your top tip/s for the area?
The best tip to save money is to buy the Oslo Pass, it will save you A LOT. It has free entrance to a lot of the main attractions, as well as free public transportation. In addition to all this, you have discounts at some restaurants with delicious food. Another good tip is to buy souvenirs/gifts from certain shops, because you can get a tax refund at the airport. And who doesn’t like to receive money back?
Which photo is your favourite and why?
I had read a lot of articles about Oslo when I was planning the trip and I found one that seemed interesting: the Kragstotten statue and viewpoint. It was a bit far from the city, but had a beautiful view and in my quest for finding off the beaten path attractions, I decided it was worth checking out.
On our last day, we still had some time before going to the airport so we took the metro (T-Bane) a few stops, got off and started walking to what we believed was the right way. It wasn’t and no one was around to help us. Eventually, we noticed someone and thankfully, they did speak English and pointed to where we were supposed to go. After a bit of hiking, we finally found the statue and the view up there was breathtaking, you could see Oslo, the fjord, as well as the forests surrounding it.
Would you recommend to a friend? Would you go back again?
I think the number of posts I’ve wrote and the fact that I’m always mentioning Oslo whenever I get the chance is proof that I definitely want more people to visit and fall in love with the Norwegian capital. I would definitely go back again, while writing this I even found a few places I have missed the first time and must visit in the future.
What are the five holiday essentials you couldn’t live without?
I cannot travel without my camera, I love taking photos and when I travel I can easily fill a few memory cards with snapshots. The other four holiday essentials would be: my phone (because it keeps me connected to the world – hooray for wifi), my Kindle (what else can you do on a long flight?), my shampoo (because my hair only likes a certain brand) and green tea (because I can’t function in the morning without it).
What is your most favourite place in the whole world and why?
After thinking about it for a while, I can say that my favorite places are Barcelona and Lisbon. I love both cities the same, I’ve visited them twice and each time I had that same enthusiastic feeling, as a kid at Disneyland. The reason why they are my favorites is simple: I can easily see myself living there one day.If you would like to be featured on Holiday Snapshots, please email me at [email protected] and I look forward to including your travel stories.