If you are on a budget, then visiting the most expensive City in the World can be terrifying. But there is no need to skip the city if you stick to our Oslo Guide and use an Oslo Pass.
And if you choose to go in the off-season, like we did in October, then you are likely to save even more money and miss the crowds over summer and winter. Just be warned that it may mean some places will have limited opening hours.
Oslo Panorama from Holmenkollen Ski Jump
The first thing you will want to lay your hands on is the the Oslo Pass. It is guaranteed to save you money with free entry to over 30 museums, free public transport around Oslo and a few extra savings like discounts on meals.
You can choose between the 24, 48 or 72 hour cards. We had the 72 hour card (495 NOK or US$87) and it was perfect for the autumn season, because we didn’t have to rush around trying to fit everything into 48 hours. Plus it is just too cold to get started too early in the morning or carry on late into the night.
If we didn’t have the Oslo Pass then we would have spent 860 NOK (US$151) on transportation and entry fees. That’s a saving of 365 NOK (US$64). And to be honest, we probably could have squeezed a few more attractions in if we really wanted to.
3 Day Oslo Guide – Recommended Sights
While we were busy in Oslo and saw a lot, we were not run off our feet and exhausted each day. Plus it was the middle of October and the temperature hovered around 6 degrees Celsius. So we didn’t like spending too much time outdoors even though we do love the cold.
We also used our Oslo guide book, that comes free with the Oslo Pass, to plan our days to maximise the time spent in each area.
Holmenkollen is situated about 20 minutes out of Oslo city on the Metro 1 line and well worth the trip. We spent a few hours checking out the HUGE ski jump overlooking the city of Oslo.
As well as the world’s oldest Ski museum, which tells this history of skiing through the ages from several thousand years ago. A must for any snow adventure lovers like ourselves.
We have never been more confused by a park than we were at Vigeland Park.
We have no idea what the statues represent or why they even exist, but surely a man being attacked by four flying babies is a little bit weird in anyone’s book?
What about creepy babies riding on the back of a naked lady with her hair braided between her teeth?
While completely freaky, the Vigeland Park is the world’s largest sculpture park made by a single artist (Gustav Vigeland), and is one of Norway’s most popular tourist attractions. We highly recommend that you go and check it out for yourself and have a laugh.
Noble Peace Center
The Noble Peace Center was probably the highlight for both of us. Especially as they currently have an incredible exhibition on Mahatma Gandhi showing. While he is the world’s most famous Peace activist, he has never won the Noble Peace prize.
It was also enlightening learning a little bit more about the Noble Peace prize as we were both surprised at how little we actually knew about some of the worlds greatest Peace activists who have won over the last century.
You can easily spend a day over at Bygdøy, so catch the ferry across (or Bus 30) in the morning, and spend the whole day exploring the Peninsula. While there are six museums on the Bygdøy Peninsula, we only had time to check out three of them.
The Viking Ship Museum is home to three well preserved Viking Ships that give an insight into the conquerors who ruled the seas several thousand years ago. Still can’t believe they used to sail these ships across the North Sea to pillage the UK.
The Polar Ship Fram exhibition provides a detailed insight into the lives of the Norwegian Polar explorers from the beginning of the 20th Century.
You can follow in the footsteps of heroes such as Roald Amundsen, the first man to make it to the South Pole, onboard the Polar Ship Fram and see what their lives were like when they took these crazy adventures.
Memorial at the Holocaust Centre to the Norwegians killed during the Holocaust.
While extremely moving, the Holocaust Centre is a must for anyone that wants to learn a little more about the Holocaust and how it affected Norway.
We were the only ones wandering around the graphic displays and barely spoke to one another the entire visit. And when we did speak it was barely a whisper. Very sobering, but a must visit for everyone.
The Akershus Castle sits prominently above the Oslo harbour protecting the city from invading forces. While the cannons may now be clogged up and pigeons the greatest invaders, the views and scenery are worth the stroll around the grounds.
Unfortunately we didn’t realise that the Castle was closed during the week in winter so missed out seeing inside. But it is free to wander through the gardens and snap the autumn colours.
Oslo Guide to Getting around
While the city is easily walk-able with most of the main attractions within a 20 minute walk of one another, there are a few that you will need to catch public transport for. And if you have brought the Oslo Pass, then you are sorted.
Just jump on any of the trams, buses or metro line to get around Oslo. Also highly recommended if you are visiting in late Autumn or during Winter when it gets pretty cold!
Oslo Opera House from the Batservice Hop-on Hop-off Ferry
If you have the 72 hour Oslo pass then you also have the chance to use the Båtservice Hop-on, Hop-off ferry to explore the Oslo Fjord for free. The ferry runs year round and stops at the city center, the Opera House and across the harbour to Bygdøy Peninsular for a few popular museums.
Extra Travel Information
Get your Oslo Pass from any of the visitor centers or you can buy it online.
We stayed at the Radisson Blu Scandinavia with their awesome buffet breakfast.
We don’t recommend flying into Oslo with Ryanair because you actually land 120 kms from Oslo City center and it costs US$130 return on the bus! We found out after we booked.
Visit Oslo during the shoulder-season, such as October, to avoid the crowds and higher prices.
Disclaimer: We were provided with an Oslo Pass from the Visit Oslo Tourism Board but all our recommendations are always our own and we would definitely have brought one anyway!
Making the Most of a Trip to Monaco
Monaco is one of the hottest destinations in travel right now, and there has never been a better time to explore the principality that attracts over 320,000 visitors a year from all around the world. While Princess Grace Kelly of Monaco helped plant Monaco firmly on the movie-goers map, and the winding roads and glorious hill-scapes send our minds back to James Bond-esque car rides, there is another side to Monaco that gives itself as the perfect stopover for the adventure holiday-maker.
Monaco in Brief
Nestled on the French coast on the Mediterranean Riviera, Monaco is the richest nation in the world – not just for the celebrity yachts and sports cars that glint in the Monegasque sun – as according to The World Bank, the people of Monaco earn more per capita than any other nation, which is evidenced in how luxurious a place it is. But, it doesn’t just have to be a destination for those with laden pockets. With a population of around 30,000, Monaco was founded as a colony of Genoa in 1215. The House of Grimaldi presided over Monaco ever since (with a brief period of French rule from 1789 to 1814) – with the Prince of Monaco acting as supreme ruler. That is until 1911, when Monaco became a constitutional government, with the monarchy acting as a figurehead, much like Great Britain’s. But what can be done in Monaco?
Monaco, of course, is well known for the Monaco Grand Prix, a Formula 1 race held annually on the Circuit de Monaco. Begun in 1929, and forming 1/3 of the Triple Crown of Motorsport, the race is considered one of the most prestigious in the world. The streets of Monaco are transformed into the circuit, which makes it naturally one of the most dangerous and difficult to manoeuvre through in the world. The track changes, corners, and elevations combine with the luxurious atmosphere to make the winner of the tournament extremely lauded over. While participants clearly can’t rock up to join the race, finding your wheels on the same streets is a sure adrenaline burst, especially for sports fans.
Thanks in part to Casino Royale, Monaco is on the map for the extensive connection it has to casinos, and more specifically the iconic Casino Monte Carlo, that the nightlife of the city-state revolves around. In the beginning of roulette, the wheel had been modified in order to ensure the player’s odds were high enough to have a chance of winning with the single zero machine, Monaco accepted the game developed by Louis Blanc of Germany. Until 1933, roulette was played exclusively in Monaco, and the game helped place Monaco on the map for being a high stakes, exuberant place. As such, the roulette wheel was at the centre of the night out, that spilled into nearby bars and clubs. Monaco continues this tradition of bustling bars and celebrity-spotting clubs, replete with live music, cabaret events, and special guests, with the Living Room and La Racasse providing as glamorous an evening as James Bond would indulge in.
Located on the Avenue de Princess Grace, Lavrotto Beach is home to not only beautifully clear water and scorching sand, but a variety of water-sports for the nautical adventurer. From canoeing and kayaking under The Rock, to snorkelling and scuba diving to discover the shoals that live beneath the deluxe city-state and rival those of the Great Barrier Reef. For those who are into faster experiences, jet skis are available to cruise the blue lagoon, and flyboarding can be done in the bay. Motorised water-sports are extremely popular and an easy way to get that heart rate going.
Seeing Monaco from the Sky
France is extremely popular for its hot air balloon rides, and Monaco has adopted this pastime as well. The perfect way to take all 202 hectares in is to soar above it propelling by a canister of liquid propane gas. The hot air balloon ride can be as exciting or as leisurely as you make it, and can form the basis of a picnic high in the sky. Alternatively, you can don your swimsuit and hop onto a parachute behind a speedboat, to see Monaco from above while parasailing. Both methods allow you to feel the wind in your hair and witness the beauty of Monaco.
Monaco is a magnificent place; and a definite spot for anyone wanting an exciting break – just a short trip down from France, and a perfect stop for any time from a day to a week. While the excitement may differ from bouldering and white water rafting, the thrill in the air of being amongst the yachts, the beautiful scenery, and the scent of celebrity is enough to get hearts racing.
5 Unmissable Northern Ireland Attractions
Northern Ireland is a beautiful part of the world, yet one which often lies off the usual tourist track. However, there are many great places to visit and things to see and do in this region – offering the perfect getaway from packed tourist destinations and a chance to see a largely unspoiled natural landscape.
Despite this, there are still many different attractions within the area that are well worth a visit. From city scenes to geological wonders, the sheer versatility means that there is guaranteed to be something for everyone in the region.
If you are thinking of paying Northern Ireland a visit, here are five of the best attractions that the area has to offer – just waiting for you to arrive!
Instantly recognisable and famed across the world, the Giant’s Causeway is a definite must-see. Northern Ireland’s only UNESCO world heritage site, the Causeway is a unique example of natural beauty and wonder. Take time out of your schedule to explore, clambering over the rocks and discovering the science, myths and legends behind this ancient monument. A Giant’s Causeway tour also makes the ideal way to learn about the Causeway and get to know the area, as you are shown around by a knowledgeable tour guide.
Northern Ireland’s capital, Belfast is a city steeped in years of history. Boasting plenty of varied attractions, there is guaranteed to be something to suit every taste in Belfast. Spend some time wandering the streets and exploring the city’s shops and eateries, or instead, head out and visit one of the dedicated tourist attractions. As the birthplace of the ill-fated Titanic, history buffs are sure to enjoy a visit to Titanic Belfast, the museum which commemorates the ship and the tragedy that followed her maiden launch. Alternatively, a visit to Crumlin Road Gaol is another favourite on Belfast’s tourist trail. Explore the gaol and learn all about its rich history, right through to its eventual closure as a working prison in 1996.
Murlough National Nature Reserve
For those who prefer a taste of the great outdoors, head out to the stunning landscape of Murlough National Nature Reserve and spend some time getting back to grips with nature. Ideal for a fun-filled family day out or a relaxing day spent exploring, the reserve offers the perfect example of an unspoiled wilderness situated in the picturesque Irish countryside. There are plenty of walking routes and trails dotted across the reserve, so pick your favourite and head off to explore more of the beautiful scenery!
Brooding and full of a unique atmosphere, Dunluce Castle is a perfect example of cultural history and architecture. Located on the coast, this impressive ruin offers stunning views across the water and is also an understandable favourite among budding photographers. A must-see landmark along the Antrim coast, the castle offers a real mix of Irish history and different time periods.
Perfectly combining tradition and history with a quirky, contemporary twist, Derry is Northern Ireland’s second-largest city – a city with something to suit everyone. From its vast array of quaint cafes and eateries to the traditional architecture, history buffs are sure to want to pay Derry a visit. If you do decide to head down to Derry, make sure not to miss the historic city walls. Striking and memorable yet also enlightening, a walk around the walls is sure to help you step back in time and discover Derry’s past and rich history.
Are you feeling inspired? These are just a few of the many exciting places to visit on offer within the region. Northern Ireland truly is a hidden gem – why not discover the beauty of this area for yourself on your next trip?
Worlds’ Best Surfing Breaks: Lanzarote’s El Quemao
Lanzarote plays host to some serious, world-class level surfing. The volcanic island rises straight up through the water, and because it lacks a continental shelf the waves it gets from the Atlantic are completely unobstructed. With low precipitation, balmy winds and endless sunshine, this laid-back island is every surfer dude’s dream.
In the northwest, El Quemao is a commanding left and right-hand reef break. You can experience colossal swells of up to five metres high, rivalling those in Hawaii. This area is meant for the expert. The waves continuously form quick tubes with vertical descents, perfect to enter, descend and ride the tube.
Seven of the Best Restaurants on Lanzarote
Table Arrcife Known for their burgers, tapas and their large selection of beer.
Casa de la Playa, Arrieta Go for authentic Canarian seafood cuisine overlooking the beach.
El Mirador, Playa Blanca Enjoy seafood by the ocean!
Cofradia de Pescadores, Playa Blanca Specialising in seafood; ask for the fresh fish of the day.
Restaurante del Diablo, Timanfaya This lunch-only restaurant utilises volcanic heat to cook their various meat dishes.
El Tenique, Tiagua They offer delicious meat fare. Their popular Cabra is served on Sundays.
El Chupadero, La Geria Situated in wine country, enjoy a glass of vino, tapas and live music.
Hippy Holidays – Low Impact Lanzarote
Pack a lunch and explore former Hippy Heaven, Papagayo, by bike. There is a family-friendly beach with calmer waters to paddle in and swim. There are also out-of-the-way places for older children to explore.
Visit Timanfaya National Park. It is 50 km² of expansive plains, volcanic ash, fossilised lava, geysers and boulders. Amp up the exotic by joining a Camel Train to explore this region.
Consider getting around by bicycle to get exploring areas off the beaten path, as well as beaches, finding smaller towns and farmers’ markets.
Fancy a Holiday in Malta? Now You Can Fly from Southend
As of October 29, 2017, EasyJet is scheduled to fly twice weekly from London Southend Airport to Malta year-round. London Southend has its own train station that runs up to six trains per hour to and from central London. This will carry passengers from Essex to the South End.
Malta, south of Sicily, has grown in popularity. The weather is great year-round (19 to 30 degrees). It is also the home of three World Heritage Sites.
Inland from Alicante: Seven Out-of-the-Way Places
Alcoy Here you will find Barchell Castle, the convent of St. Augusti and church of Santa Maria. The Moors and Christians festival is a must see.
Le Romana See cave houses; there are some cave properties currently in use.
Aspe Grapes grown in this region are tied to a custom of eating 12 grapes at New Years.
Cocentaina While at the village of La Villa, visit the Comtat Palace.
Ontinyent Archaeological finds around the area date back to the Bronze Age and Iberian period.
Bocairent Cobbled streets and architecture allow you to see what life was like many centuries ago.
Guadalest Go see the castle of San Jose. Access to this fortress is via a natural tunnel through the rocks.
Benidorm by Drone
Viewing Benidorm by a drone shows the magnificence of this area. The ocean is a stunning blue-green; the eye never tires of it. Numerous apartments and hotels hug the beaches of Playa Poniente and Playa Levante. In between these seafronts lies the Canfali vantage point with the majestic Mal Pas cove at its foot. You can also see the energetic lights of theme parks. Benidorm has five of them. The Las Vegas-style Benidorm Palace can also be seen. The beautiful Villaitana golf course looks smaller than its actual two 18-hole golf courses. These landmarks invite you to come and play.
Responsible Travel – Surfing in Lanzarote- https://www.responsiblevacation.com/vacations/lanzarote/travel-guide/surfing-in-lanzarote
Surfing in El Quemao http://www.hellocanaryislands.com/surfing/lanzarote/surfing-el-quemao/
Surfinglife.com (by Rich) http://www.surfinglife.com/surfing-in-lanzarote-canary-islands-3/
Meet Cole and Adela
We have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...
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