If you follow me on instagram (@prudentjaime), you saw Carleton, Scarlet, and I on our most recent adventure, touring the stunning country of Norway. Our itinerary took us across the lush, green springtime hills, up snowy mountain peaks, and deep into blue fjords.
and so much more.
I now understand why the vikings believed in Valhalla.
With a perfect itinerary mapped out by Visit Norway, we traveled by air, train, boat, and even funicular to learn just what Norway was all about. Bonus, our six-year-old daughter saw the real live inspiration behind her favorite film, Frozen.
Check out our Norway Itinerary for Families, Part 1: Akershus and Oslo after the jump…
After landing in Oslo we headed right our of town to recover from our long journey, to Akershus county, which encircles downtown Oslo with lush beauty and laid back elegance.
Where We Stayed:
Quality Resort & Spa in Son, Norway: This hotel is a retreat right on the sea, with an indoor-outdoor spa featuring five pools.
What to See & Do:
Fetsund Lenser: “Walk on water” along the 200-year-old floating timber processing plant at Fetsund Lenser. Make sure to visit the Wetland Center, were the kids will enjoy interactive exhibits while learning about local Norwegian wildlife. Run around the apple trees in bloom and make a wildflower crown.
Bonus “Frozen” Info: Along the river at Fetsund Lenser you will see small black wood structures. These were used for storing ice before there was such a thing as a freezer. Ice would be coated in tree sap at the lumber plant, and shipped off to castles around Europe. Ice harvesting happened right in this spot, much like it is depicted in the first scenes of Frozen.
Walk along the beach in Son, Norway collecting shells and counting starfish. Definitely skip rocks, and if you have the skills, take a boat or kayak and go fishing. Take a walk into town, enjoying the view and the quaint seaside homes. The flowers in spring are so colorful.
Drobak: Stop for lunch in the waterfront town of Drobak. Visit the Christmas House and the local post office, where Father Christmas’ cousin collects and displays all of children’s letters to Santa from around the world.
Oslo is a magical, vibrant city where 500 year old walls but up against modern sculpture gardens, lush parks, and countless museums, all easily accesible by the cleanest public transportation system I’ve ever encountered. Secure an Oslopass at the start of your visit, which will provide you with access to all museums and transport in the city. Then grab your guide and pick your favorites. My husband, our daughter, and I spent three fulls days in Oslo and adored it from beginning to end. Here’s our suggestions.
Where We Stayed:
Thon Hotel Panorama: There are several Thon hotels around Oslo and I would recommend any of them. The Panorama is located walking distance from the major historical sites of Oslo and easily accessible to public transportation, and the hotel was clean and modern.
What to See & Do:
Akershus Fortress: Take a guided walking tour of Akershus Fortress to learn all the secrets and stories about this 500 year old castle. Frozen Bonus: Check out the exterior and interior walls of the castle for patterns in the woodwork and brick that recall the castle of Arrendelle in Frozen. This is the model for Elsa and Anna’s castle, though while we looked and looked, we never did see 8,000 salad plates.
Tulips: Spot the spring tulips all over the city. Take a portrait of your kid. Let her take a portrait of you.
Viking Ship Museum:: Hop on the tram and head over to the Viking Ship Museum. See unearthed viking burial mounds and learn everything that could fit into one viking ship. Have a popsicle on the grass outside after you’re done.
Oslo Reptil Park: This small museum is wonderful for any kid that loves things creepy, crawly, and cool. The keepers saw how much Scarlet knew about and adored snakes, they even took one out for her to play with! Oslo Reptil Park.
Ekebergparken: This stunning sculpture park overlooks the city of Oslo. Follow a map through the woods to find artworks from August Renoir to Salvador Dali to Louise Bourgeois. Afterward, kick back on a lounge chair while the kids dig for hidden treasure in the giant sand box before heading to Ekebergrestauranten for a cocktail. Have a delicious Norwegian dinner overlooking Oslo at Karlsborg, in a beautiful building from the mid 1800′s.
Grünerløkka: Take an afternoon to wander around the Grünerløkka neighborhood shopping, grabbing a coffee, or relaxing in the park. This neighborhood reminds me of Williamsburg or Silver Lake. We paused for a child-directed photo shoot.
Norsk Teknisk Museum: My husband said that if aliens landed on Earth, he would just send them to this museum to understand everything about everything. The Norwegian Museum of Science and Technology is a MUST if you have kids: It’s truly amazing. The display on the history of musical instruments and recording did make me feel a little old, but then playing with all the interactive displays made me feel young again so it was all good.
Nobel Peace Center: Don’t miss the Nobel Peace Center. Learn about past Nobel winners, contribute to the peace wall, and let the kids follow the trail to collect their Nobel laureate collector cards.
Oslo Opera House: Wake up early one morning, grab a coffee and some pastries, and climb to the top of the Oslo Opera House. Sit on the roof and watch the sunrise over the city with a little person you love.
Next stop: The Fjords!