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DISCOVER NORWAY

Five great things that you can do for free in Oslo this winter

Don't let the cold put you off, there's plenty to see and do in Oslo in the winter months. Here are our picks.

Pictured is Holmenkollen.
These are some of the best things you can do in Norway. Pictured is Holmenkollen. Photo by Michael Ankes on Unsplash

There’s no escaping the fact that Norway is an expensive place to call home or visit as a tourist. Therefore one might think that a decent day out in Oslo might cost an arm and leg and leave your wallet trembling with fear.

However, that doesn’t have to be the case, and there is plenty to see and do without paying a princely price.

Luckily, there’s plenty to cater to everybody’s needs too. So whether you want to get active, find somewhere warm to hunker down or soak up some culture, there are plenty of ways to keep yourself entertained for almost nothing.

Ice Skating

A fun activity with others, there are plenty of skating rings in Oslo to choose from, and the vast majority are free for the public to use.

Spikersuppa is the most famous of these and is located between the National Theatre and Norway’s parliament.

The rink is open for business every day, Sunday’s included. If you don’t have your own skates, you will have to pay for rental.

Another smaller spot, that weather depending, really lets you soak up some spectacular scenes is located by the Diechman Bjørvika library.

This rink is on the smaller side but offers views of the Oslo Opera House and Oslo Fjord. However, there are some downsides, as there are no rentals available, and if it’s too warm, it’ll be a puddle rather than an ice rink.

If you want to skate for completely free, then the Voldsløkka ice rink in Sagene offers free rental.

There are also other places you can borrow equipment for winter sports completely free (more on that below).

Toboggan run at Korketrekkern 

If doing a few laps of an ice rink might be a bit too pedestrian for you, then you might want to take things up a notch.

The toboggan run at Korketrekkern is over 2km long and takes around 10 minutes to complete. Kokketrekkern is Oslo’s most popular toboggan run for good reason. Once finished, you can ride the metro back up to Frognerseteren from Midtstuen for another go.

The toboggan run is, you guessed it, free, and you can bring your own sled. If you already live in Oslo, you’ll either have your own or know someone willing to loan you one.

If you don’t have a sled, then you can rent one for 150 kroner.

Similar to ice rinks, the toboggan runs are weather dependent.

Vigelandsparken

Home to over 200 sculptures by Gustav Vigeland, designer of the Nobel Peace Prize medal and the famous Angry Boy statue, Vigelandsparken is an essential destination all year round.

The park in Frogner, west Oslo, is at its best during the winter months after fresh snowfall. If it’s icy or the snow has started to melt somewhat, then it may be worth postponing.

Vigelandsparken makes the perfect place to take in some crisp winter air while also being able to see some of Norway’s most prized sculptures.

Deichman Bjørvika            

If you are averse to the cold weather, then hunkering down in the Deichmann Bjørvika library may be an attractive proposition this winter.

The library, adjacent to the Oslo Opera House, boasts over six floors, a cinema hall, stages and workshops for people of all ages.

Each floor has a different atmosphere, and the library is a delight for fans of modern architecture.

The library regularly hosts free events too. Whether it’s a children’s cinema or practicing your Norwegian with others, there’s plenty to do.You can see the library’s list of events here

Cross country skiing 

There are more than 2,600 kilometres of prepared cross-country ski trails that run deep into Oslo’s forests. For night owls, there is also 90km of floodlit tracks.

An added bonus is that you can take public transport to some of the best locations that Oslo has to offer.

You can take the number 1 metro line to Midtstuen, Holmenkollen, Voksenkollen or Frognerseteren. The number 3 line will take you to Skullerud or Mortensrud, and the number 5 line will get you to Songsvann.

You won’t need to fork out a fortune when it comes to equipment, either. This is because you can rent equipment for free from the Norwegian Volunteer Centers or frivilligsentralen. 

Sagane Frivilligsentralen has free rental for ski equipment, ice skates and toboggans, meaning you can complete everything on this list completely cost-free.  

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DISCOVER NORWAY

Five stunning train trips to take in Norway this summer 

Norway is home to some of the world's most picturesque train journeys, and what better time to take them than when the sun is shining and the weather is warm. 

Five stunning train trips to take in Norway this summer 

Some of the best Norway has to offer can be seen sitting down from the comfort of train seats. Much of the country’s rail system is draped around stunning scenery, giving passengers close-up views not possible when flying or driving. 

Such is the beauty of the country’s railway lines, it’s no surprise that a number of different routes are featured on lists of the world’s most scenic train journeys. 

With summer on the horizon, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best to take a trip on this summer. 

The Bergen Line

One of the busiest and most popular of Norway’s railway lines, the Bergenbannen acts as a greatest hits of Norway’s landscape. The line which connects Oslo in the east to Bergen in the west makes its way through mountains, valleys, fields, fjords and forests. 

The first leg of the trip from Oslo to Geilo passes through mountain scenery before ascending to Finse and passing along the Hardangerjøkulen glacier. 

There is also plenty of connections to other great train journeys. A popular transfer is to Myrdal station, where you can take the iconic Flåm Line. 

Film buffs and Sci-Fi nerds alike may want to make the pilgrimage to Finsewhich was the filming location for the ice planet of Hoth in Star Wars.

 
 
 
 
 
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Vy is the rail operator which runs trains on the line. You can book tickets for the seven-hour journey here

Word to the wise, tickets for this train can cost a lot if you leave it late- so be sure to book in advance.

The Flåm Line

Famous for the green locomotives which operate on the line, the Flåm Line is the perfect trip for those who like to keep things short and sweet as it is just over an hour long. 

One of the steepest railway lines in the world, around 500,000 passengers take the hour-long train ride from Myrdal to the village of Flåm, located on the interior of the Aurlandsfjord, each year. 

For those with a keener interest in trains, the Flåm Line is also a technical marvel. For starters, there is an elevation change of 866 metres on the journey. Secondly, two locomotives are required to get passengers to their location- one at the front and one at the back. And for those who like to dive into details, each carriage has its own specialised braking system.  

If you prefer nature to the mechanics, there is plenty for you. The journey takes you along mountainsides and passes the Kjosfossen waterfall. The train stops at the waterfall so people can enjoy the views, get some fresh air, and take pictures.

 
 
 
 
 
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Compared to other trains on this less, the interior of the carriages is a lot more retro and a lot less modern, which will add to the charm for many travellers. You can book tickets here

Rauma Line

High peaks, jagged rocks and windswept plateaus are all things the Rauma Line has in abundance. The 114-kilometre-long journey is stunning all year round. The trip will see you cut through the Romsdal valley, speed past the river with which the line shares its name, and cross the impressive Kylling Bridge. 

 
 
 
 
 
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Until recently, this train was more of a hidden gem than the more famous Flåm and Bergen lines. 

This line doesn’t have as many departures as some others on this list, so it’s better to book in advance and plan the trip accordingly. 

Like the Flåmsbana, the journey is brisk at 1 hour and 40 minutes. Tickets are booked with SJ Nord.

The Norland Line

Nearly as impressive in length as it is in scenery, the Nordland Line connects central Norway with Bodø in the north. 

Even though the 11-hour trip will take you to Hell (the town), the journey should be a fantastic experience overall. 

Summer is the best time of year to make the journey as due to the long days and midnight sun, once you cross the Arctic Circle, very little of the landscape will be lost to darkness. 

However, there are only two departures per day, and one of them is a night train. However, the night train may be better in the winter due to the prospect of being able to spy the northern lights. 

The Nordland Line boasts the title of being the only train in Norway to cross in and out of the Arctic Circle.

 

Trains start in the forests and farmland of Trondelag before crossing the Saltfjellet mountain range and meandering along the Arctic coast. 

 The Røros Line

Norway’s most historical line, opening in 1877, connects Hamar in southeast Norway with Støren. The line is easily accessible from both Oslo and Trondheim.

The scenery will feel more rugged and remote than other train lines, but the train will also pass through the forests of Østerdalen, and passengers may be able to spot moose, bears and lynxes. 

History lovers can disembark at the UNESCO-listed mining town of Røros. SJ Nord operates the route. 

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