It’s pretty and laidback.

But, be warned – this is 2012’s most expensive city in the world, so you’ll need to budget accordingly, and take advantage of as many deals and freebies as you can.


10:00 Set up your weekend with a feed at Colletts Cafe (mains from £9, Colletts Gate 33, 1069 Oslo. Tel. 00 47 22601929), which serves omelettes and full English breakfasts.

Then invest in an Oslo Pass, which for £30 covers you for all public transport and most museums and sights for 24 hours.

It’s a must-buy to keep costs down.

11:00 Make your way to Bygdøy, a peninsula on the western side of Oslo, which is packed with museums. Not surprisingly, almost all of them are boat-related.

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First stop on your list here should be the Viking Ship Museum (£6.50 or free with Oslo Pass).

Pretend you’re a bearded chieftain as you check out the old Viking boats that fill the main hall.

12:00 A short walk from here at the Fram Museum (£6.50 or free with Oslo Pass), you can clamber aboard what is allegedly the strongest wooden ship ever built, or learn about Norway’s most famous explorer, Thor Heyerdahl, at The Kon-Tiki Museum (£6.50 or free with Oslo Pass).

13:00 All that talk of the high seas will have given you an appetite, so head to Kaffebrenneriet (mains from about £8, Grønlandsleiret 32, 0190 Oslo. Tel. 00 47 22461390) for artisan sandwiches stuffed with cheese and ham.

14:00 Once you’ve refuelled, get back on the culture trail with a visit to Vigelandsparken Sculpture Park (free), where you’ll find some spectacular statues, including the Monolith, a 14m-high column carved out of a single stone with 121 human figures intertwined on it, among many others.

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15:00 By now you’ll be itching to see some of Oslo’s beautiful outdoors, so do it the budget way and head to Vippetangen Port, where you can catch public ferries to take you on a 40-minute circuit of the inner fjord, stopping off at some of Oslo’s islands if you feel like it.

17:00 Go for a quick wander round Oslo’s Opera House.

You might not have the inclination, or the cash for that matter, to take in a performance, but the award-winning architecture  inspired by the shape of an iceberg is jaw-droppingly impressive.

19:00 Treat yourself to a meal at Dinner (mains from £20), a rather swanky Chinese restaurant serving delectable dim sum and Szechuan cuisine.

21:00 Follow up with a few drinks at the Beer Palace (500ml from £5.50), a multi-storey on Aker Brygge, a regenerated former shipyard complex.

This pub serves more than 70 different kinds of the amber nectar – a palace indeed. 

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10:00 One of Oslo’s best-value backpacker hostels is Haraldsheimen (dorms from £26),  which is just 20 minutes away from the city centre by tram.

Breakfast is included with each stay, so get some toast, eggs and coffee down you before heading out for the day.

11:00  On your way into town, stop to take a mid-morning stroll around the scenic Sognsvann Lake – that should clear away any cobwebs from last night’s beery session.

13:00 In the city centre, head to Karl Johans Gate for a bit of shopping. The main souvenirs on offer are figurines of ugly trolls from Nordic folklore or, of course, helmets, horns and anything else Viking-related.

14:00 You’d be crazy not to sample Norwegian shrimp at some point during the weekend, so go to the dock for lunch.

At Fisherman’s Coop (Rådhusbrygge 3/4) you can get peeled shrimp with a baguette for around £5.

16:00 Squeeze in a visit to the National Gallery, which houses one of the original series of Edvard Munch’s The Scream.

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More contemporary works, including a large collection of Damien Hirst’s works, can be found in the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art.

Has all this left you feeling overwhelmingly existential? Better find a pub…

18:00 Seek out a cosy corner at Champagneria (wine from approx £7, Frognerveien 2, 0257 Oslo. Tel. 00 47 21948802) for some stylish pre-dinner drinks.

20:00 Move on to Ekeberg Restaurant (mains from £16) for a final dinner of seasonal Norwegian tucker, such as grilled fish and roasted vegetables.

They change the menu to suit the best ingredients of the day, so you know it’ll be good.

Fly from London Stansted to Oslo with Ryanair from £32 return

Photos: Nancy Bundt, Terje Borud / Innovation Norway, Getty