Posted on February 22, 2012 by Beth Yost
I admit it: navigating a foreign city by bus and train intimidates me at times, especially when I’m tired, traveling solo, and just want to give my brain a recess from the typical day-to-day concerns of travel. Sometimes it’s just nice to have someone to do it for you.
I flew into Oslo, Norway after an extraordinary week in Iceland navigating the countryside and bouncing around the villages in my little rental car. It was both exhilarating and exhausting and I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way—but I was tired.
I exited the train station to a surprisingly large and buzzing city, pulled out my map in the rain, and tediously traversed my way though the streets with my oversized backpack and tired feet. Hostel, need to find hostel.
Despite my lethargy, I was excited to be in Oslo and knew just what I wanted to see—the same things everyone wants to see in Oslo: Viking ships, the angry boy, and the ski jump. I just needed to figure out where everything was, what bus goes where and what time, how much, when it’s open, and where can I get some lunch. I’m starving.
Or, I could just take a bus tour. The idea had never really appealed to me—until now.
I bit the bullet. I took a bus tour. And I liked it. The Oslo Highlights bus tour provided the opportunity to see all of these wonders of Oslo without the worry of self-navigating through a new city. That’s right, you can put your map in your purse—or man bag. All you have to do is find City Hall, and then sit back, relax, and enjoy a knowledgeable and friendly guide while stopping for just enough time to explore and experience each must-see destination on your own. Ahhh, simplicity amongst hectic travel. It’s almost better than recess.
I took a tour called the Grand Highlights tour. It lasted approximately 4 hours and runs year round with a live, energetic, multilingual guide; there’s no pre-recorded, monotone soundtrack during off-season. The buses always meet on the side of City Hall where a tour schedule is posted.
H.M.K Oslo Sightseeing tours offer lots of other bus tours catering to your specific interests and allotted time to explore. Choose from a number of tour options: Grand Highlights, Highlights, Panorama, Best Choice, and Selected Highlights.
Itinerary for the H.M.K. Oslo Grand Highlights Tour
10:15 am: Meet at Oslo City Hall. Drive through Downtown where your guide will point out places of interest such as the Parliament building, Royal Palace, National Theatre, and the Foreign Ministry among the many other beautifully ornamented buildings in the colorful downtown of Oslo.
10:40-11:15 Vigeland Sculpture Park. Take 30 minutes to walk through the park to view Gustav Vigeland’s naked and nameless sculptures representing the many emotions and stages of life. Here, you’ll see the famous angry boy, but I hope you’ll take note of his three, less dramatic siblings.
My, how we reward a hissy fit with loads of attention.
11:30 – 12:00 Holmenkollen. View the ski jump, peruse the gift shop, grab a snack or coffee at the café. (30 min)
*Go back to the city hall to drop off those on the Panorama tour (2 hour tour) and then continue on to the Viking Ship Museum.
12:45-1:25 Viking Ship Museum. The museum entrance fee is included in the tour ticket (NOK 340/ 170 child). View the excavated Viking Ships from approximately year 800, the bones of the two queens buried with one, and the items found within the three ships.
1:30 Take a short boat ride back to the city hall. Choose to get off there or stay on the bus and the guides will gladly drive you to the Opera house if you wish to conclude your tour there.
The Grand Sightseeing Tour of Oslo includes an additional museum visit. Instead of taking the short boatride back to the City Hall, choose from one of three museums to explore for an additional hour: Fram, Kon-Tiki, or Norwegian Maritime. Once finished exploring your museum of choice, board the bus and it will take you back to the City Hall or drive you to the Opera House.
The tour conveniently ends in the heart of the city where it’s easy to continue exploring by foot to nearby shops, restaurants, the Oslo Harbor, the Akershus Fortress, art galleries, and other popular museums.
Thanks to www.getyourguide.com for sponsoring this tour.