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How to spend 48 hours in Oslo: The Great Art Tour

Art_oslo_guide
Art_oslo_guide

Oslo might be the economic and governmental center of Norway, but it is also home to some of the greatest international artists, writers and cultural installations. Take this specialized art tour around Oslo with our two-day guide and make the most out of your weekend! But don’t forget, avoid Mondays as most museums are closed.

Day 1

Sights:

__> Total walking distance: 3.7 km __ Tour Time: Approx. 2-3 hours
Google Walking Map

Have breakfast at the hotel and then start your day bright and early from outside the center with a visit to The Vigeland Park.This is one of Norway’s most popular tourist attractions and is the largest sculpture park in the world. Take a walk around the more than 200 sculptures in granite, bronze and wrought iron all made by one artist, Gustav Vigeland.  The park holds his entire life’s work but not only did he create all the sculptures he was also in charge of designing the park itself. The park was completed between 1939-1949 and is open all year round, 24 hours a day for visitors.

After a long stroll through the park you’ll probably be quite hungry. So, if you’re up for some fancy French cuisine with a Norwegian touch, take a 15 minute walk to Brasserie Blanche; a top rated restaurant on TripAdvisor. But maybe you’re more into Japanese? Check out another local favourite, Alex Sushi.

When you’re full, continue your walk towards one of Oslo’s first major parks and protected cultural monument Slottsparken (Castle Park) that still features natural construction that prevailed as garden art in Europe mid-1800s. Be sure to also get a snapshot of Det Kongelige Slott  (The Royal Palace) when you’re there. Depending on when you arrive to the park, there is always a ton going on, so be sure to like the park’s Facebook page to stay updated on special events.

When you’ve walked through the park carry on towards Karl Johans Gate to see the famous Ibsen quotes (“Ibsen Sitat” in Norwegian). These quotes are a permanent work made with steel letters incorporated into the sidewalks of Karl Johans Gate. The quotes you see are by late Henrik Ibsen, a major 19th-century Norwegian playwright, theatre director, poet and one of the founders of Modernism in theatre.

Norske grafikere

Photo: Norske Grafikere

Nearby you'll find Norske Grafikere (The Association of Norwegian Printmakers). It is situated in the centre of Oslo, and has more than 4000 prints from more than 300 artists. Founded in 1919 by, among others, Erik Werenskiold, Edvard Munch and Harald Sohlberg this gallery is Norway’s main place to view and buy contemporary prints. Their selection is wide and includes prints from the aesthetics of the 1970’s to contemporary complex art expressions. They highlight new emerging artists, as well as more established artists.

Finish the first art day by just heading down the street and visiting Fotografiens Hus (Photography House) a gallery and library that opened in February 1999. It is a shared house of the secretariat of the Norwegian Photographer Federation (NFF), Norwegian Advertising Photographers (NRF) and the Institution Photographers Association IFF. So if you are into art photography, this is a must see.

By now it should be late afternoon and you are now conveniently back in the city center. Head back to the hotel, grab some dinner and have a great night’s sleep. Day 2 is coming up!

Day 2

Sights:

__> Total walking distance: 3.2 km __ Tour Time: Approx. 3-4 hours
Google Walking Map

Good morning, today is dedicated to visiting Norway’s most popular museums with a first stop at The Munch Museum! This museum is dedicated solely to the work and life of the great Norwegian artist Edvard Munch. Here you’ll find the world’s largest collection of Munch’s art. The art collection holds around 28 000 pieces of his art and includes audio guides, film screenings and guided tours. And, of course, a souvenir shop and a café if you feel like spending some money!

Another must see today is the Norwegian Centre for Design and Architecture – DogA. The property consists of several combined buildings and was originally designed as a transformer station. Today, it is a meeting place for design, architecture and related areas. The Cultural Heritage Management Office rates DogA as a “yellow”, which means that is is on a list of buildings worth preserving which, in itself, may be worth the visit. In 2006 DogA was awarded the National Building Prize, in 2007, the City Prize and in 2008, St. Olav’s Rose, the hallmark of Norwegian heritage.

If you’ve been spending a few hours at the two museums and haven’t already eaten you’ll probably be hungry by now. So two really nice tips on restaurants nearby is Café Sara that serves a variety of easy cafe food or Delicatessen Tapas bar that offers some fresh salads and sandwiches during lunch hours.

nationalmuseum

Photo: Nasjonalmuseet

If you started the day big, you might as well finish it in the same spirit! You’ll have to travel a bit to get to next stop which is Nasjonalmuseet (The National Museum) which holds, preserves, exhibits, and promotes public knowledge about Norway’s most extensive collections of art, architecture and design. Here you’ll find both permanent and temporary exhibitions. Make sure to visit their website for more information on what’s going on at the moment.

There you have it, two days packed with artsy tours across the streets of Oslo!

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