SHARE
COPY LINK
For members

DISCOVER NORWAY

Six fantastic towns you can reach from Oslo that are perfect for a weekend trip

Want to escape the hustle and bustle of Oslo? These six charming Norwegian towns are ideal for a weekend getaway.

Pictured is the Oscarborg fortress in Drøbak
Here are six great towns you can visit for a weekend from Oslo. File photo: Shows the coastal fortress Oscarsborg in the Oslo fjord near the town of Droebak in south eastern Norway. - The fortress is best known for sinking the German heavy cruiser Bluecher during WWII . Photo by Odd Andersen / AFP.

At the top of its fjord, Oslo is a capital surrounded by nature. Sometimes, though, the demands of city living can still be a bit much. Around half of Norwegians have access to a summer house. But, even if you don’t, with an array of small towns, islands and ski resorts to choose from, there’s no reason why you should miss out on the quiet escapes.

READ ALSO: Five stunning train trips to take in Norway this summer

Tvedestrand

One of Norway’s so-called ‘‘book towns’, the white buildings (many of them book shops) couldn’t be more Norwegian. Take a boat trip through the islands to Lyngør, and you’ll find the Seilmakerfruens Kro restaurant, serving a delicious selection of seafood.

Several inlets and sounds act as natural bathing spots in summer, and the archipelago makes for perfect sailing and motor cruising (for boats fast and slow).

Though almost three hours from Oslo by car, the town is one of the capital’s most popular holiday spots, with its population nearly doubling during peak season. Furthermore, with Torp airport lying just over halfway between Tvedestrand and Oslo, it’s an option for visitors flying in for a visit.

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Visit Tvedestrand (@visittvedestrand)

Fyn

With an assortment of holiday homes, Fyn lies on the island of Hvasser (accessible over a small road bridge), below the ancient town of Tønsberg.

Close to several small beaches (including Lilleskagen) and surrounded by an array of little wooden houses, alongside plenty of campsites, its surrounding villages are charming, and its nature is characterised not only by sandy coves but also by sloping rocks.

The Tjønneberget kystradarstasjon on the island’s tip makes a nice end to an evening walk, but hiring a bicycle is a good alternative. Come in summer for camping, and in winter for bracing winds.

Tønsberg is also a perfect day trip from Oslo in itself, with an impressive fortress and Viking heritage. But, if you’re staying in Fyn, the town serves primarily as a place to stock up with supplies. The parallel Østeroya and Vesterøya peninsulas, jutting down from Sandefjord, have a similar appeal.

Drøbak

For centuries, Drøbak served as Oslo’s winter port, as the fjord froze from here to the capital. Today, it’s at Christmas the town comes alive, with traditional markets and sparkling decorations along its streets, lined with wooden houses. However, the town is equally picturesque during the summer. 

The town is home to a permanent ‘Christmas house’ (Tregaardens Julehuset), where (to the approval of some), you can soak up the festive spirit year-round. The inhabitants’ proudest moment came on 9th April 1940, when the Norwegian army torpedoed a German fleet nearby. The fleet had been sent to pave the way for Nazi occupation, and, though this ultimately succeeded, the delay it caused allowed the king and his parliament to escape to London, where they led a brave resistance.

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Marit Lein Lexau 🇳🇴 (@marilex)

The Oscarsborg fortress, from which that assault was launched, still characterises the middle of the sound off Drøbak (sitting on its own island). In the late evening, you’re treated to beautiful sunsets, both from the fortress (accessible by ferry) and from Drøbak itself.

Vesterøy

Pushing towards the Swedish border, Vesterøy is part of a collection of islands sitting comfortably below the mid-sized town of Fredrikstad. The islands are connected to the mainland by road, about one hour and forty-five minutes from Oslo city centre.

Crossing over the water, however, means entering another, more peaceful state of mind than Oslo’s hustle and bustle mindest. Take a drive through pristine meadows to the sweeping bays of Ørekroken and Storesand on the neighbouring island of Kirkeøy. Then, returning to the red fishing huts of Vesterøy, it’s about seafood and kayaking, made possible through this island’s sheltered coves and rich fishing industry. The islands around Vesterøy form national parks in two counties.

If you have a motor or sailing boat, trips to the islands of Nodre and Søndre Sandøy are well worth an afternoon outing along, perhaps, with some border hopping to the islands off Stensvik in Sweden.

Kongsberg

Developed as a silver mining base, Kongsberg today is a good hiking destination, though the legacy of the silver mines continues to draw some curious tourists.

Just an hour north of Oslo, driving up through Drammen, it’s a good place to see Norway’s interior, with forests and hills (providing some skiing in winter), all on the banks of the Numedalslågen.

Some of the best hiking is found on the Elsedam and Svartåsrunden trails, where traditional buildings can be seen on route. Alternatively, the Lågdalsmuseet in town holds a collection of thirty-two historic buildings from the region, while restaurants and cafés serve a variety of Norwegian favourites: refreshing in summer, warming in winter, all supplemented with the hiking staples of waffles and jam.

The area around Kongsberg also houses a collection of impressive waterfalls, such as Jøgerfoss, about 11km out of town, while a weir in Kongsberg’s centre only adds to its image as a relaxed resort town.

Lillehammer

Norway’s home of skiing, Lillehammer, hosted the Winter Olympics in 1994. A 5km cross-country ski course is floodlit, and, during the summer months, the former stadium is now used as a concert venue. Travel up with snow, however, and you’re treated to a resort town, not unlike those in the Alps, complete with shopping and Maihaugen: one of Europe’s largest open-air museums, near which sits the perfectly preserved Garmo stavkyrkje (wooden stave church).

Further up Gudbrandsdalslågen (about 15km north of Lillehammer), you’ll find the Hafjell downhill ski resort, with 40km of varied runs, priced around 600 kroner for a pass per day.

Lillehammer sits deep inland, surrounded by mountains, on the tripoint between Oslo and Bergen, though just two hours from the capital. The surrounding hills make for good hiking, such as ancient rock paintings at Drotten, on the left-hand side of the valley

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

DISCOVER NORWAY

Where are Norway’s Michelin star restaurants?

Norway is home to four new Michelin-starred restaurants following the recent publication of the Nordic Countries Guide for 2022. These are all the Norwegian restaurants to receive a star in the Michelin Guide. 

Where are Norway’s Michelin star restaurants?

Four new Norwegian restaurants received Michelin stars when the Nordic Countries Guide for 2022 was published this week. 

Scandinavia’s cooking elite gathered in Stavanger on Monday to award this year’s stars and individual honours for chefs in the Nordics. 

Three of the new stars awarded were given to restaurants in Oslo, while the other star was given to an eatery in Bergen, taking the number of Michelin-starred restaurants in the city on Norway’s west coast to two. 

One of the newcomers, Hot Shop, named after the former sex shop the building used to house, is located on Københavngata street in east Oslo. The canteen-style bistro serves tasting menus based on seasonal, local ingredients, which the Michelin Guide describes as “elegant, vibrant and technically adept, with delicate touches and real depth of flavour”. 

Schlägergården in Lilleaker, on the eastern outskirts of Oslo, was also awarded its first star. However, it was the fourth time restaurant manager Bjørn Svensson had received a star for one of his restaurants. The restaurant is in a converted 18th-century farmhouse with a set menu consisting of local produce, some foraged, grown, or preserved by the eatery’s staff. 

Michelin describes the food there as “pure, expertly crafted dishes which have bold, emotive flavours”.

Located right on the border of Grünerløkka and St. Hanshaugen in central Oslo is Hyde, the third restaurant in the capital to receive its first Michelin star this year. The guide credits the service and “laid-back, lively atmosphere” as major pulls for the restaurants.

Over on Norway’s west coast, Lysverket in Bergen was awarded a Michelin star. The eatery serves up creative, modern takes on Norwegian dishes accompanied by craft cocktails. The restaurant is housed in an art museum with the menus showcasing “intelligently crafted, balanced dishes”. 

The other restaurant in Oslo, boasting a glowing review from the Michelin guide, was Maaemo, which retained its three Michelin star status. The new Nordic cuisine behemoth focused on organic and biodynamic produce is located in the heart of Oslo on Dronning Eufamas gate street.

A few other chefs and restaurants received accolades at this year’s presentation. Heidi Bjerkan took home two awards, the first for excellent service at her sustainable Michelin-starred restaurant Credo. One of her other restaurants, Jossa Mat og Drikke, won a green star, given to eatery’s that excel in sustainable operations. 

A Norwegian, Jimmy Øien, scooped the award for the best young chef. Øien is the chef at Rest located on Kirkegat in Central Oslo and holds a green star for sustainable practices. The menu heavily emphasises using imperfect produce, which other places may otherwise discard. 

Several restaurants also retained their status. Renaa, with its kitchen located in the heart of the restaurant, has two Michelin stars and is commended by the guide for the quality of its Norwegian seafood dishes and the bread it produces at a nearby bakery. 

The 2022 guide also includes Kontrast (Oslo), Statholdergaarden (Oslo) , Under (Lindesnes), the biggest underwater restaurant in the world, Sabi Omakase (Stavanger), Bare (Bergen), FAGN (Trondheim), Credo (Trondheim) and Speilsalen (Trondheim), which all have one Michelin star.

SHOW COMMENTS