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FTF's family guide to the best of Norway includes the two major cities of Oslo (the capital) and Bergen (2nd biggest city) and a guide to the Fjord tours.
Whether you’re itching to visit one of the many art museums in Norway’s capital city of Oslo or longing to cruise up and down any of the many fjords, this is your guide to Norway’s natural and cultural beauty. The Norwegian Tourist Board (New York City offices at 212/885-9700) welcomes inquiries about hotels around the country.
Great Fun for the Kids
(Toddlers to Age 8)
Tusenfryd Amusement Park
Outside of Oslo, Norway
+47 64 97 64 97
Leave modern Norway for a stroll through the Viking Age, 1000 years ago. This theme park, especially recommended by the Norwegian Tourist Board as a great activity for small children, displays daily life in a Viking community’s farm and market places. Viking Land is located next to TusenFryd, Oslo’s amusement park, offering amusement for children of all ages.
International Museum of Children’s Art
Lille Froens vei 4
47 22 46 85 73
This museum featuring the over 200,000 works of art produced by children and teenagers from over 180 countries worldwide presents a vast collection of orginal child drawings, paintings, sculptures and handicrafts. Activities for children include music and dancing. (Picture provided by Museum)
The Street Train, which looks like a chain of dune buggies, runs through Oslo between May and early September. It leaves Aker Brygge for a 30-minute ride around the city center. During peak season the Oslo Train runs continuously between 11:00am-11:00pm.
47 55 55 71 71
This aquarium has one of the finest and most extensive collections of marine fauna in Europe. There are more than 60 tanks, including 3 outdoor pools containing seals, penguins and carp. The Aquarium extension contains a nestling cliff, open-plan aquariums, and a supervideograph. Also featured is the 3-D Cinema which airs films about animals (most recently polar bears) and the importance of the environment. Trainers also put a on a great show with scheduled daily feedings.
Norwegian Museum of Science and Technology
47 22 79 60 00
This is an interactive museum with a large number of items to push and touch. Different exhibitions cover themes spanning from oil, energy, industries, transport, communications and aviation, computing and telecommunications.
The Viking Ship Museum
Huk Aveny 35
47 22 13 52 80
A favorite for tiny travelers, this museum shows three of Norway’s most famous Viking ships, Oseberg, Gokstad and Tune, this museum is part of the University Museum of Cultural Heritage. Take Bus no 30 to Bygdøy, which leaves every 30 minutes from Jernbanetorget (by Oslo S) and the National Theatre.
Bergen Cable Car Ulriken
47 55 20 20 20
This cable car brings you 642 meters (2106 feet) to the top of Mount Ulriken, which offers Bergen’s most magnificent view of the fjords, islands and coast. There are well-marked trails through the unspoiled mountain wildness and a sightseeing bus.
Floibanen, the funicular
47 55 33 68 00
This 5 to 6-minute ride to the top of 320 meter-high Mount Floyen (1049 feet) runs every 15 minutes and continuously during the busy moments offering magnificent view over Bergen and the suburbs. The ride is ideal for reaching mountain walk spots. Enjoy concerts every evening during the summer.
Railway Museum & Steam Railway
Garnes Stasjon, 5263 Trengereid
47 55 91 77 80
Train enthusiasts in your family will enjoy a ride on an old steam locomotive running along the 18km line between Garnes and Midtun in Bergen.
Rosenkrantz gate 8 (Hotel Bondeheimen)
47 23 21 42 10
In this kid-friendly eatery, children can enjoy themselves in a fun play room while waiting to be served. The restaurant has a long history of serving traditional, homemade Norwegian food of high quality. They are located only about 100 meters from the main street Karl Johans gate and the Parliament building, right in the center of Oslo.
Fun for Older Children
(Up to age 18)
Norwegian Folk Museum
47 22 12 37 00
This museum presents Norway in a nutshell, with 155 authentic houses and numerous exhibitions from all major regions. The open-air display includes wooden barns, stables, storehouses and dwellings from the seventeenth to the nineteenth century. Also, see the 800-year-old Gol Stave Church. Various crafts are demonstrated, including weaving, and sewing national costumes. Ongoing events during summer include folk dance, concerts, etc. The main building has displays of national costumes, Henrik Ibsen’s study, Sami crafts and more. The museum offers various activities for children as well as children’s exhibitions. To the left, a Stave church.
Postboks 85, 3521 Jevnaker
Outside of Oslo, Norway
47 61 31 64 00
A great daytrip from Oslo. Make a journey through design, culture and history at Hadeland Glassverk. Located at Jevnaker, an approximately 1-hour drive on the E18 expressway northwest from Oslo, Hadeland Glassverk is one of the most popular Norwegian tourist attractions. On display is nearly 250 years of Norwegian glassware artistry. Visit the biggest glassware museum in Scandinavia, watch some of Europe’s most skilled glass craftsmen, try blowing your own glass, or do some shopping at the factory outlets. There are plenty of activities for children, and there is a pewter factory on the same grounds.
Bryggen in Bergen
47 55 55 20 80
“Meeting Point” Bryggen- is comprised of a maze of characteristic wooden buildings with pointed gables facing onto the harbour. The old Bryggen Hanseatic warf is architecturally unique and is included on UNESCO’s list of world heritage of history and culture. There are 58 orginal buildings that remain, many of which are currently used as artist studios.
48 55 58 80 10
A cultural history museum based on discoveries made during the archeological excavations at Bryggen between 1955 and 1972, showing the foundations of the city’s oldest buildings from the 12th century on their original site.
Frederiks gate 2
47 22 85 99 20
Norwegian history from the Stone Age to the Middle Ages. Viking and medieval artifacts are on display alongside Arctic exhibitions, Norwegian coins and much more.
The Royal Palace
47 22 04 89 53
Norway is a constitutional monarchy, and the current head of state is King Harald V. Located on Bellevue Hill at the upper end of the Karl Johan Street, with a statue of Karl Johan situated in front of the Palace (king of Sweden and Norway from 1818 to 1844). The Royal Palace was completed in the spring of 1849 and has been recently renovated. Every year on 17th May (Constitution Day), marching bands, dancing children and at least half the population of Oslo parade past its balcony, waving to the Royal Family. Public tours of the residence are actually a recent development as they only started in 2002.
Torget i Bergen
47 55 31 56 17
Bergen’s famous Fish Market. You will also find fruit, vegetables, flowers, handicrafts, and souvenirs.
47 55 58 80 10
This is the Hall of a medieval castle that was built during the reign of King Haakon Haakonsson between 1247 and 1261. It was the largest and most imposing building of the royal residency in 13th century Bergen, then the political center of Norway.
Fun for the Family
The City Hall
47 23 43 16 30
At the edge of Oslo’s colorful harbor is a modern twin-towered landmark building which was opened in 1950 to celebrate the city’s 900th anniversary. Its interior is marvelous, with colorful frescos and murals depicting daily life, Viking gods and Norwegian cultural figures. Many leading Norwegian painters and sculptors contributed to the decorations. The Nobel Peace Price is handed out in the Main Hall each December. Guided tours are offered Monday-Friday and last about 45 minutes.
The Norwegian Parliament Building
Karl Jonas Gate 22
47 23 31 35 96
This building was completed around 1850 and it is located on a small hill about half way down the Karl Johan Street. The Legislature is a unicameral one made up of 165 members. The Monarch officially appoints the prime minister.
There are many art museums in Oslo. These include The Munch Museum, The National Gallery, The Ibsen Museum, The National Museum of Contemporary Art, Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, The Oslo Museum of Applied Art, The Stenersen Museum, The Vigeland Museum, and The Norwegian Museum of Architecture.
Oslo Military, Akershus
47 23 09 39 05
This is Norway’s most important medieval monument – built around 1300. Overlooking the harbour, the fortress is used today for state occasions, but make sure you pass by it. The Akershus Castle contains dungeons, plush upper floors with banquet halls and staterooms, and the chapel used for royal events. The chapel holds the crypts of King Haakon VII and King Olav V. See also the Defense Museum and the Resistance Museum displaying the resistance movement during World War II.
The Natural History Collections
47 55 58 29 20
These collections include an extensive, partly restored zoological collection, botanical and geological exhibitions and a botanical garden.
City Sightseeing Oslo
+47 27 20 89 24
This is the same type of hop on, hop off bus tour offered in many major cities around the world. It departs every 30 minutes from 14 different stops in Oslo, including most of the sites in this guide and others as well. Original departure is from the Tourist Information Center by City Hall, leaving every 30 minutes between 9:30am-4:30pm. Commentary is in English, and the duration is 1 hour and 15 minutes. The ticket is valid for 2 days, and there is a 20% discount available with the Oslo Pass.
47 23 35 68 90
Batservice features sightseeing in the Oslo fjord by boat and city sightseeing by coach. They offer a wide variety of tours, including a mini cruise, a lunch cruise, and combination bus/boat tours. During the summer high season, there are more than 30 departures daily from pier 3 in front of the City Hall.
Fjord Tours of Norway
This is the only Norway-based fjord tour company. Many tour options are available departing from Oslo, and most are round trip. You can also use their outlined tour itineraries as guidelines for a self-guided tour by rental car. On their website, http://www.fjord-tours.com, select “travel directions and prices” for a map of each tour. The tours are all easy to manage and offer train and/or bus travel. Most of them are also customizable, so you can choose a tour and elect to stay in a city on that tour’s itinerary for the length of time that works for you. Their tours include:
- The World Heritage Tour, The Sognefjord: This tour was recommended by Scanam World Tours, the official US travel booking agent of Fjord Tours, as a great option for small children due to the tour experience being on a boat with less moving around. They also recommend an extra night’s stay in Balestrand and Flam to experience those towns and their fjords. (1-2 days, or more)
- Norway in a Nutshell (1-3 days, or more)
- The Royal Fjord Tour (1-3 days, or more)
- The Golden Route, Geiranger (1-2 days)
- The Triangle Tour (recommended 3-4 days)
All of these tour packages have recommendations on where to stay overnight. For example, some may say they recommend you stay overnight in Bergen or another city to discover its charm. The website also provides a hotel booking service, which you can use once you’ve decided on a tour and where you’ll be spending some extra time.