48 hours in: Oslo
Norway's cool capital combines achingly hip bars and clubs with a plethora of great museums, galleries, culture and cuisine. But be warned: It doesn't come cheap,
“Thief Island was once rife with robbers but today is packed with independentlyowned cafes and bars, restaurants, galleries and an outdoor bathing area”
Day 1: Vikings and views
Morning: Oslo is set in a large circular bay dotted with islands and inlets and the easiest way to get a feel for it is to jump on a tourist boat from the main harbour. The boats hop across to Bygdoy, a peninsula which is home to a number of museums.
The Viking Ship Museum (khm.uio.no) has full-scale recreations of the original longships as well as artefacts and historical films; the
Kon Tiki Museum (kon-tiki.no) tells the story of explorer Thor Heydryal, who set out to prove it was possible to travel from South America to Polynesia by wooden craft – and succeeded; the Fram Museum (frammuseum.no) pays moving tribute to Norway's Polar explorers; and the Norwegian Maritime Museum (marmuseum.no) honours the country's shipbuilding, fishing and marine history. Each costs 100KR (around £10), but there are discounted tickets for multiple entries or buy an Oslo Pass for 395/595KR (24/48 hours) for free entry to 30 museums, free public transport and discounts in shops and restaurants. Lunch/afternoon: There’s a lovely lunch spot where the Kon Tiki, Fram and Maritime museums are clustered, with a large grassy area with benches for picnics and a beach. If it’s warm, grab a few provisions from a local supermarket, or you'll find kiosks outside the museums selling good-quality fast food such as hotdogs. Alternatively, restaurant Lille Herbern (lilleherbern. no) is in a stunning setting overlooking the bay and specialises in local seafood dishes. The return boat leaves from here.
Evening: Start in the city's newlydeveloped waterfront area – Tjuvholmen, or 'Thief Island' – so called because it was once rife with robbers and drug-dealers. Today you'll find it packed with one-off cafes and bars, restaurants, galleries and an outdoor bathing area. There’s even a cool hotel named after the area (thethief.com).
Clients visiting in the summer should take the glass lift up the Tjuvholmen (literally ‘the sneak peek’) tower 54 metres up for stunning city and bay views. Oslo’s nightlife is expensive but if you fancy a late night drink head back to the centre to Magic Ice (magicice.no), where everything from the bar to the furniture is carved from ice. Alternatively try the rooftop bar at the Radisson Blu Summit Bar (radissonblu.com) for cocktails and a hipcrowd.
Day 2: Brekkie & battlements
Morning: Start your day the Norwegian way with smoked salmon and a hard-boiled egg. If you want to venture out of your hotel then Kaffe Brenneriet (kaffebrenneriet.no) is in a prime spot overlooking the harbourfront. From here it's a short walk to the Akershus Castle complex – it's free to wander around the outside, to a pond, plenty of battlements and grassy areas for kids to run around. The site incorporates the Norwegian Resistance Museum (forsvaretsmuseer.no), an exhibition detailing the Nazi occupation. Those with time on their hands shold head to the Munch Museum (munchmuseet.no), showcasing the work of the city's most famous artist.
Afternoon: A 35-minute walk takes you to Oslo's trendiest neighbourhood, Grünerløkka, a former industrial area popular with artists and packed with boutique shops selling original clothes from young Norwegian designers, vintage clobber, jewellery, ceramics and art. Check out Mathallen (mathallenoslo.no), a large indoor food market which showcases independent food producers. Grab a snack and enjoy it in Birkelunden Park or along the river bank.
From the top: Oslo's futuristic Opera House overlooks the harbour and has a walkable roof; the Damstredet district of central Olso has cobbled streets and old wooden houses dating back to the 1700s; Akershus Castle from the sea