For years I’ve had a fascination about visiting Norway. When I’m not dreaming of soaring mountains or powder fields, I’m thinking about majestic fjords, the northern lights and road trips down the Norwegian coastline. While I make plans for a longer Scandinavian adventure, I decided to end off summer with an impulse city break to Norway’s capital, Oslo.
After a 2 hour flight from London and a 45 minute train from the airport to the city centre we were in the extraordinary city. What strikes you first is the fascinating combination of modern architecture with stunning natural wonders. The south of the city is overthrown by the glorious Olso Fjord scenery, and then the east and west are covered in rolling hills of forests.
During our 2 nights in the city we squeezed in as many of the top attractions as we could including Ekeberg Park (Ekebergparken), the Oslo opera house (Den Norske Opera and Ballett), the Royal Palace, Vigeland Park (Vigelandsparken) and a Fjord sightseeing cruise.
Cross country skiing dates back thousands of years ago in northern Scandinavia where skis were used as transportation across the snowy landscape. Norway’s rich history is closely linked to skiing, and many ‘ski firsts’ happened in Norway, so it’s no wonder that the national landmark is a ski jump.
Holmenkollen ski jump
As our weekend adventure came to close, we saved the best attraction until last. Luckily my friend Andrea is a keen skier so there were no objections when I brought up the idea of visiting the famous Oslo ski jump.
From the city centre you can see the huge structure up on the hill and it is super easy to get to. Catch the number ‘1’ Metro (T-Bane) to Holmenkollen, we got on at the National Theatre and the journey took about 25mins. Once off the metro it is a fairly strenuous uphill walk to the ski jump, just follow the signposts that lead the way up the hill and you’ll see the jump after the 10 minute walk.
You can actually walk around the stadium and about the third of the way up the jump for free, but for the full experience and access to the views and ski museum you need to pay the entrance fee of 120NOK (approx £9.50).
At the first floor you can experience the top of the ski jump and view of the 60m-high drop from a skier’s perspective. The Holmenkollen ski jump is the most modern ski jump in the world. The arena has changed considerably over the years but the standing structure was opened in 2010. This new design features world class engineering, permanent wind protection, improved snow making and more.
I can’t describe how big and steep the slope looks from the top, and the photos don’t quite do it enough justice either. I can’t believe people ski off of this!
On the second floor viewing platform there are breathtaking 360 degree views of the surrounding landscape. The mixture of scenery is just phenomenal; from the sunshine glistening off the fjord, to the acres of forest, the alpine cottages and the contemporary harbour buildings. The photos can do the talking...
The museum is so much more than just a bunch of old skis on display (which is what I expected!). It opened in 1923 and is the oldest ski museum in the world. You can discover more than 4000 years of ski history here at Homenkollen, from ancient rock carvings through to the latest ski technology.
The ski jump and arena have been rebuilt many times, these are a few models depicting the changes
Collections include the development of skis through the ages, early ski clothing, Norwegian polar exploration artefacts, snowboarding history and modern day snowsports. One of the most interesting objects on display are the first ever skis used by man.
I don’t want to give too much away as I hope you will experience the surprise and joy that I did discovering this marvellous place. Olso is a fantastic and stunning city, and the ski history running through the country’s core will delight any skiers or snowboarders farther.
If you wanted to take a city break in Oslo to the next level, travel in winter and you can explore the ski areas near the city. From Voksenkollen (4 stops on the metro line after Holmenkollen) you can take the ski bus to Oslo Winterpark which has 18 slopes and 11 lifts. You can be from the centre of Oslo to the ski area in about 30 minutes... Is there anything this city doesn’t have?
Find out more about skiing in Norway