Oslo is a breathtakingly beautiful Nordic city located between a fjord and the forest that with several parks and numerous recreational activities. Add to that castles and its intriguing Viking history and you have the perfect city for an international family vacation adventure.
The Akerhus Castle was built as a medieval castle in the 13th century, before becoming a fortress in the 16th century and finally being rebuilt in the 17th century as a renaissance castle. The castle’s chapel and royal mausoleum are open to the public and the Norwegian Armed Forces Museum and Resistance Museum are also housed there.
Explore the castle grounds, where you’ll find old canons strategically set around the castle that were once used to protect the fortress that now serve as a jungle gym, perfect for active children to climb on and panoramic views of the city.
Vigeland Sculpture Park
Oslo is also home to Vigeland Sculpture Park. The park designed in the style of a classical European garden, has fountains, cafes and a children’s playground. There are also more than 200 bronze, granite and cast iron sculptures created by sculptor Gustav Vigeland depicting people engaged in various states of physical activity such as running, wrestling and dancing, all in the nude, which caused giggles and squeals from my 7 and 10 year-old daughters.
A ride on the Hop On – Hop Off Mini Cruise takes you past some of Oslo’s most interesting sites, like the City Hall, the Opera House and the Akershus Castle before stopping at Bigdøy Museum Island. A cluster of museums can be found on the island, including the NORSK Folkemuseum, Maritime Museum, Kon-Tiki and the Viking Ship Museum.
The Kon-Tiki Museum documents the expeditions of world famous scientist Thor Heyerdahl. The original Kon-Tiki raft that Heyerdahl used to cross the Pacific Ocean in 1947 is on display, as well as the reed boat Ra II and a variety of artifacts from Heyerdahl’s travels.
At the Viking Ship Museum the three best-preserved Viking ships known to exist are on exhibit. The ships, discovered in large royal burial mounds in the Oslo fjord, contained burial chambers and an extensive collection of burial gifts for the vessels wealthy “passenger” to use in the after life.
Nobel Peace Center
The Nobel Peace Center introduces visitors to Alfred Nobel, the peace laureates and their works using exhibitions and interactive technology. One such exhibition is the light and sound display of the Nobel Field exhibition that presents a brief biography all of the past laureates, including Barak Obama, Mother Teresa and the late Wangari Maathai.
For more information go to www.visitoslo.com.
Monique is a native Californian who has spent the last decade living in Europe and is using it as a launch pad to travel the globe with her family.
Disclosure: The Oslo Tourism Office provided me with a Family City Card, which granted us access to many of the activities listed above.