- Download our Moving to Oslo Guide (PDF)
Norwegians treasure their weekends and rarely work on Saturday and Sunday, unless they work in retail or in emergency health services. Many Norwegians have holiday homes in the mountains, on the coast, or both. Plenty also have boats.
Weekends are a great time to enjoy those luxuries with family or friends, or even alone. One may be invited to a colleague’s hytte (cabin). This is an honour and a privilege that should not be passed up on.
There are so many choices of what to do and where to go on weekend breaks. It is recommended that one leaves before 3pm on a Friday in order to avoid traffic, as there are only a few major roads leaving the city. Trains and buses are another possibility and reach most places.
Weekend breaks from Oslo
Spend the weekend hiking through this wild, forested park and stop to camp along the way, in tents or at any of the numerous cabins dotted throughout the park. Trails are marked.
The border is only an hour and a half's drive from Oslo, and a large percentage of Norwegians drive over the border to Svinesund on a Harry Tur, which is another term for a cheap shopping trip. With Swedish prices around 20 percent below Norwegian prices, it makes financial sense to make the trip, even after paying for gas. Past the border is the western city of Gothenburg, with many attractions, such as Liseberg Amusement Park. Sweden’s western coastline and archipelago is also known for its natural beauty and great sailing.
Copenhagen and Frederikkshavn are just a ferry ride away. Ferries leave the Oslo harbours daily, and weekend- or 24-hour trips are popular. Some ferry companies have special offers during the low season, and on holidays they offer themed crossings. Lodgings range from simple to luxury. The only complaint is that a lot of Scandinavian passengers use the ferry to stock up on and imbibe as much tax-free alcohol as possible. One can also reach Denmark by bus or train from the Oslo Jernbanetorget.
Kiel is a popular destination on the Color Line ferry. It departs from the dock at Vika, west of Oslo centre.
A quaint fishing town with typical Norwegian homes, nice boutiques and a Santa Museum. Situated on the coast, one can reach Drøbak by bus or ferry, but only in the warmer months.
Tønsberg and Verdens Ende
An hour west of Oslo on the coast lies Tønsberg, a city popular for its great weather, laid-back lifestyle and Nøtterøy golf course. Verdens Ende, 'The end of the world', lies at the southern tip of the island of Tjøme, 16 miles (26km) south of Tønsberg. This outcropping is well known for its beautiful scenery, small islands, fishing, swimming and dramatic views.
Risør in Sørlandet
Risør is a picturesque, whitewashed city within the limits of Sørlandet, the southern region of Norway, which stretches down to the southern tip of the country. This traditional fishing village is now a regional capital of arts and crafts. It is inhabited by fishermen and artists and has several galleries, theatres and small inns. It features a wooden boat festival which is staged in the first week of August every year.
Bergen and Flåm
A highly popular 48-hour trip is the one titled 'Norway in a Nutshell', which begins in Oslo and crosses to Bergen by train, with a side trip on an old locomotive to Flåm, a dramatic area characterised by waterfalls and picturesque landscapes.
With Ryanair and Norwegian Airlines flying to most European cities at affordable rates, it is feasible to escape for a weekend to any European capital.
►For information about transport, see Getting Around in Oslo
►See and Do in Oslo provides a list of sightseeing must-sees
"Special advice? Always load up on alcohol, it's duty-free! Otherwise, you will be schlepping to the Swedish border for a shopping trip! Alcohol is especially pricey here."
Check out our interview with American expat Laura to learn more tips and tricks for navigating life in Oslo.
Are you an expat living in Oslo?
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