16 May 2012

Oslo and Bergen Travel Guide



Getting there
  • There are about 12 NOK to the pound. Dividing by 12 is annoying, but develops good mental strategies at Level 5.
  • The Flytoget train from the airport is 140 NOK one-way to the city centre.
Where NOT to stay
  • We made the mistake of booking the Radisson SAS Park Hotel, which is in Lyseker, a bus and train ride, and with poor facilities.
Sightseeing
  • When shopping or sightseeing in Oslo you will spend most of your time walking between the National Theatre and the Central Station along Karl Johans Gate
  • Buy the Oslo Card - you can choose when it starts and then you have 1, 2 or 3 days to travel and sightsee for free. 180 NOK for 24 hours up to 360 NOK for 72 hours.
  • Museum of Modern Art (Samtidskunst) - buy your ticket, then put your all bags in the lockers (10 NOK coin needed) then go in to the gallery. Failure to follow these rules will mean getting shouted at.
  • On Bygdoy, get the boat from the Radhus to the second stop for Fram, Maritime, and Kon-Tiki. Then get bus 30B to the Viking Ship Museum and walk to the Folk Museum. From there you can catch the 30 back into town.
  • Line up for the 10am Stortinget tour on the north side of the building at 9.45am
  • If you really want to see the Vigeland Park, full of weird nude sculptures, and you can face 30 coachloads of old bored American tourists, catch trams 12 or 15 from the Central Station or the National Theatre. You get to see some nice suburbs on the way.
Eating out
  • Cafe Europa does ciabattas for 70 NOK and main courses for 120 NOK all day with cheap drink prices. It's quiet and has good service. It's north of the National Theatre on the corner of St Olavsgate and Fredriksgate.
  • Clodion Art Cafe is a trendy cafe with great decor and does great house specials. The street it's just off, Bygdoy Alle, has lots of nice design shops. Get off buses 30/31/32 at Frogner Kirke or Olav Kyrres Plass.
  • Dolly Dimples has many branches. You eat with your hands unless you ask for cutlery. The pizzas are big and one 40cm pizza will do for 2 people.
  • Pasta Basta is pricey (140 NOK main course) but the food is far better presented than most Italian restaurants.
  • At 100 NOK for a large plate, Vegeta Vertshus has a vegetarian buffet with salads, hot dishes, pizza, potato cakes, and the drinks are cheap too. It's just south of the National Theatre on Munkedamsveien
  • MacDonald's and Burger King are all over town. A 'menu' i.e. meal deal, is usually 70 NOK
  • Avoid eating in Aker Brygge if you're on a budget, most main courses are about 200 NOK
Shopping
  • Karl Johans Gate is mainly clothes shops and tacky tat. There are some good bookshops at the National Theatre end.
  • For internationally-known stores and some decent food courts try OsloCity, just north of the Central Station
  • Narveset are the equivalent of WHSmith and are everywhere. For international magazines try the Central Station or National Theatre branches
  • If you're from the EU, you can claim tax back on purchases over £25 or so - look for the signs in the window - you need your passport with you - but beware stores who 'have run out of forms'
  • Not all credit cards work in all stores - our VISA was rejected by a big music store - so have back-up plans
  • The second-hand record market is on Storgata, running north-west from the Central Station - it looks like a wild-west saloon!
Getting about
  • The most useful leaflet is the bus/tram/metro 'Visitor's map Oslo' in Tourist Information
  • Any journey within city boundaries by bus, tram or metro is 22 NOK. A day card is 50 NOK and must be stamped at the start of the first journey. Oslo Card holders travel free.

BERGEN:

  • The station is very small, but the ticket office is an ideal place to buy your Bergen Card and Norway In A Nutshell tickets
  • Radisson SAS Hotel Norge
    • It's very central and you can walk with your cases from the station round the lake, though you may prefer to take a taxi.
    • The fitness centre has a swimming pool, get a key from reception.
    • There is a library (not very good books), a bar, and an activity room with table tennis, table football and Playstation.
  • Sightseeing
    • The Bergen Card gets you into almost everything free. 165 NOK for 24 hours, 245 NOK for 48 hours. Only buy it when you want to start using it.
    • The Floyen funicular runs from 7.30am every half an hour. For a fun ride, catch the 'kindergarten express' at 8.30am weekdays.
    • Bergen Art Museum on the lake is in three buildings. The main one requires you to put bags in lockers (10 NOK required).
    • Norway In A Nutshell is a must. Pick up leaflets and timetables and plan which time you want to travel. We recommend doing Flamsbana then boat then bus.
    • If you're really adventurous, combine the Nutshell tour with travelling between Bergen and Oslo - it saves doing the same 2 hour journey twice. You may have difficulty with heavy cases.
  • Shopping
    • While the shops on Bryggen are very nice, watch out for getting short-changed - this happened to us twice in one day
    • The main shopping centres are Galleriet in the centre of town, and Storcenter near the station. They have good supermarkets and cheap eateries.
  • Eating out
    • Dolly Dimples has many branches. You eat with your hands unless you ask for cutlery. The pizzas are big and one 40cm pizza will do for 2 people.
    • Pasta Basta is pricey (140 NOK main course) but the food is far better presented than most Italian restaurants. The one on Torget does excellent 'Tagliatelle alla marinara', and the tiramisu is fabulous.
    • MacDonald's and Burger King are all over town. A 'menu' i.e. meal deal, is usually 70 NOK
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