After the Finnish flair in Helsinki I was ready to go on my next adventure: Norway. My first stop was Stavanger. I stayed there for three nights before I left for my last station Oslo. And what can I say? I really fell in love with this small beautiful town. I chose Stavanger, because I’ve planned to hike the famous Preikestolen.
It’s a steep cliff which rises 604 m (1.982 ft) above the Lysefjorden and from where you get an incredible view. The cliff was formed 10.000 years ago during the ice age and got its shape when the edges of the glacier reached the cliff. The water from the glacier froze in the crevices of the mountain and eventually broke off large blocks. Today Preikestolen is a popular tourist attraction and gets up to 300.000 visitors every year.
A little anecdote about my way to Preikestolen
Can you believe that I almost missed to hike the Preikestolen – although it was the reason why I came to Stavanger in the first place? I didn’t know that there are seasons to visit the cliff. So in the beginning of the month October I started my way. I took the ferry and had a nice, but cold ride to Tau. There I found out that the busses to Preikestolen don’t drive anymore, they only do between April and September. I was a little disappointed and didn’t just leave again. So I decided to go hitchhiking. And I was lucky. Two nice guys drove me to the parking lot of Preikestolen. From there it’s a 2.5 hour hike to the cliff.
When I finally made it, I couldn’t believe how beautiful nature actually is. I could have stayed there forever just staring and dreaming – fascinated by this piece of heaven. I even think the photos I took don’t do it justice. Whenever you plan a trip to Norway and you’re a beginner in hiking, go to Preikestolen! If you’re seeking more thrills, the Kjerag (6 hour hike) might be an option for you. It’s a big round stone wedged between two rocks. I haven’t been there yet, but for my next trip to Stavanger it will be definitely on my list.
A beautiful town called Stavanger
Stavanger is not just close to Preikestolen, the city itself comes with a beautiful old town charm with cute colored houses and nice traditional stores. So it’s also worth it to stroll through this little town and get lost. It’s one of my favorite things to do anyway – getting lost and discovering beautiful new spots.
My way to Oslo
So after three days I was sad to leave Stavanger. But I was excited, because Oslo lay ahead. I took the bus to get to Norways’s capital which took about five hours. But I decided to go by bus and not by plane to enjoy the nature a bit more and we had a stop in Kristiansand which was also nice to visit for at least 30 minutes.
And after one of the most interesting and fascinating bus rides, I finally arrived in Oslo – the last stop of my Scandinavia itinerary. After Stavanger, Oslo felt like a clear break compared to the charming town because I was back in a big city. But it wasn’t less charming.
I really had no idea that Oslo has so many beautiful places to offer. For me, it was even a little more beautiful than Stockholm. But this is just my opinion. Here is a little collection of places that I can highly recommend when visiting Oslo.
The Norwegian National Opera & Ballet
Oslo’s Opera House is a wonderful and fascinating building with a slope ground right at the harbor. You can climb up the roof and discover all sides of the opera or just enjoy the panoramic view of the fjord. The Opera House is Norway’s largest music and performing arts institution with three stages and offers a varied program.
Karl Johans Gate
This gate is the main street of Oslo and was named in honor of King Charles III John (17th century). It directly leads from the central station to the royal palace and offers lots of shopping malls, stores, hotels, cafés and important buildings like Stortinget (supreme legislature of Norway).
Edvard Munch was one of the most famous artists in Norway and is considered as a pioneer in expressionism. So in Oslo you can visit the Munch Museum with a collection of paintings, graphical prints and drawings by the famous artist. And even a film about his life is shown all day long. The museum is usually open from 10am-4pm. Only on Thursday it’s open until 9pm.
Especially during summer the Harbor Promenade is an awesome place to chill out, have lunch or enjoy a little bit of art. They play music and serve ice cream at the Sørenga neighborhood and you can jump in the water from the Sørenga Bridge. The Aker Brygge Wharf is perfect for shopping and Tjuvholmen offers an art museum. So there are a lot of fun things to do and definitely worth a visit!
Vigeland Sculpture Park
When there was one park I loved to walk around in Norway, then it was Vigeland. The unique sculptures show the lifework of Gustav Vigeland and at the same time it’s the biggest park with sculptures made by just one artist. With over 200 sculptures I had a lot to see and enjoyed the nice atmosphere of this beautiful park.
The palace was built in the 19th century and is the official residence of the Norwegian monarch. If you are as lucky as me, you get the chance to see the Royal Guardsmen marching outside the palace. If not, it’s still worth a visit, because you can walk around to the Palace Park and have a little stroll.
Street Art at Ingens Gate
A little hidden in the urban neighborhood of Oslo you can find the great street art at Ingens Gate. This area is full of creativity and perfect for a stroll to enjoy the power and energy of art. There are also little cafés around this area which are good if you just want to hang in there for a little while and have a rest.
If you have time for a little excursion, then go to Holmenkollen! It’s up on a hill from where you have a fantastic view of Oslo. It takes about 25 minutes to get from the city center to Holmenkollen by the subway and doesn’t just reward you with a beautiful scenery, but also with the Holmenkollen Ski Museum and Ski Jump, which was amazing to see.
If you’re looking for some food options, I can suggest that you take a look on Visit Oslo, which gives great inspiration for your dinner. Especially Grünerløkka is a hip district with nice cafés and bars.
Have you ever been to Norway or do you want to add anything about Stavanger and Oslo, then let me know! I would love to read more about it for my next trip. And then hopefully I get to see the northern lights.