Oslo’s main street of Karl Johans Gate is a charming route which passes many of the city’s most beautiful buildings. The Stortingsbygningen is Norway’s parliament and reflects an unusual synthesis of European influences in its architectural style. By contrast, the Royal Palace, where the reigning monarch still resides, is a more traditional, classical affair. Passing around its grounds to Henrik Ibsen Street, the Nobel Institute is where every winner of the Nobel Peace Prize has been chosen since 1904. Then moving down to the waterfront, Akershus Fortress is in a strategically vital position overlooking the Oslofjord and has withstood a number of sieges throughout the ages.
The Vigeland installation in Frogner Park (more commonly referred to as the Vigeland Sculpture Park) contains more than 200 stone and bronze sculptures, all of which were completed by Gustav Vigeland between 1924 and 1943. Among the most famous of these are The Angry Boy, The Monolith and The Wheel of Life, with each one symbolizing a different stage in the journey of mankind.
Oslo’s white-marble and glass Opera House is a masterpiece of contemporary design that was created by the architectural firm Snøhetta at the turn of the 21st-century. The roof angles gently downwards to the ground, reflecting the country’s love of mountaineering while also allowing for a comfortable walk to its summit, where the views over the waterfront are well worth the climb. Finally, the red brick Functionalist style City Hall is where the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded every December, making it one of Oslo’s most famous buildings.
Your tour begins with a drive past the Akershus Fortress, Royal Palace, Parliament and the National Theatre to arrive at the largest sculptural park by a single artist in the world. The unique installation of Frogner Park, more commonly known as Vigeland Sculpture Park, contains more than 200 stone and bronze sculptures, all of which were completed by Gustav Vigeland between 1924 and 1943. Among the most famous of these are The Angry Boy, The Monolith and The Wheel of Life, with each one symbolizing a different stage in the journey of mankind.
The tour continues through one of Oslo’s most expensive residential neighbourhoods to reach Holmenkollen and the world-famous Holmenkollbakken ski jump. Since 1892 this jaw-dropping run has hosted an annual ski festival, multiple world championships, regular cross-country biathlons and the 1952 Winter Olympics. The jump has been rebuilt a total of 19 times, including a complete replacement and modernisation in 2010. Even without jumping, the views across the city and Oslofjord are truly incredible.
The last stop is the Viking Ship Museum, which features longboats taken from the burial mounds of Oseberg, Gokstad and Tune. All three remarkable ships are considered to be the best preserved in existence, with the Oseberg Karve having survived completely intact for over a thousand years. The museum also features archaeological discoveries from the chieftain grave at Borre in Vestfold County. These exhibits are some of the finest examples of art and craftsmanship, as well as objects of daily use, made in Norway 1100 to 1200 years ago.