If you go to Oslo, Norway in the winter, you better bundle up like Ralphie’s brother a la “A Christmas Story.” So bundled that if you fell over, you would be stuck in the snow starfish style. The cold aside, Oslo has a lot to offer travelers even in the dead of winter.
Spikersuppa is an outdoor skating rink located in the city center between the National Theater and the Parliament building. The rink is free to everyone and skates can be rented from the pavilion next to the rink for about 100 kroner (NOK) a day. A trip to the Royal Palace is especially scenic in the snow, but if you are interested in warmer activites, Oslo boasts over 50 different museums around the city, including everything from modern art to viking ships. The Munchmuseet, or the Munch Museum, is an art museum dedicated to the life and works of Norwegian artist Edward Munch. Another source of national pride is the Vikingskipshuset, the Viking Ship Museum, which is part of the Museum of Cultural History and is associated with the University of Oslo. Another way to celebrate the great indoors is by seeing a show at The Norwegian National Opera and Ballet. The architecture of the opera house is one of its most celebrated aspects.
The first thing I did when I arrived in Oslo was bundle up and brave the cold for a walk down to the palace, and I am glad I did because it was some of the most beautiful winter scenery I have seen. I walked further down to the harbor where it was especially serene with the quiet, snow covered ships seemingly waiting for spring. From the docks, I hiked up to the Akershus Fortress. The fortress has quite a history. Built in the 13th century, it was originally meant to protect the city. It was later used as a prison and is now a resistance museum that documents Norway’s role in World War II. There are many interesting sites all within walking distance of the city center.
On my independent walking tour around Oslo I came across some impressive snow castles. If you don’t have sand, use what you’ve got, right? I don’t think anyone appreciates the snow more than Norwegians. They don’t merely tolerate it, they actually enjoy, even thrive on it. It does not deter them from getting outside, being active, and enjoying nature, and I respect that. The ice rinks were filled with children skating, the sidewalks were filled with Norwegians heading out for a ski, and open snow-covered spaces were filled with people just playing in the snow.
Don’t let winter deter you from a trip to Oslo. Get in that Norwegian spirit and embrace that wonderland that is Oslo in the winter.