When on city breaks it is likely that the places at the top of your must-visit list are the main attractions that the city has to offer, including particular museums or landmarks. We are no different if we are on a city break; the likelihood is we only have a certain amount of time. Therefore, want to see the things the city is famous for. However, many cities have a different side to them, one which is just waiting to be discovered and that is just off the typical tourist trail and Oslo is certainly one of them.
Booking through TripAdvisor
We booked the Oslo SuperSaver: Modern City Center and Bohemian Grünerløkka walking tours through TripAdvisor. Having used TripAdvisor for years for checking out hotel and restaurant reviews and, of course, adding pins to our Travel Maps, we were aware that you book hotels and flights through the website but booking tours, attractions and tickets was a new thing to us. The process is super easy, we typed in Oslo in the Where To? box at the top, clicked the tab entitled ‘Things To Do’ and chose ‘Tours and Tickets’. We then scrolled through all our options before choosing the tours which sounded right up our alley. Each of the two walking tours were 2 ½ hours long, we also had the option to take them on different days or on the same day. We opted for the later.
Heading to Grünerløkka
We met our tour guide, Romy at 10 am, at the fountain in the centre of Youngstorget, a large square on the eastern side of Oslo. The sun was shining and the streets were quite quiet as a few people wandered around and a large Thai market was being set up. We walked across ‘fairytale bridge’ which is the unofficial starting point of Grünerløkka; it is not easy to miss as it has large sculptures on every corner, depicting different stories from Norwegian folklore.
Once over the bridge, to my surprise (jokes), hipsters did not descend on us from every direction wearing Doc Martins and reeking of beard wax. Instead, we found ourselves in a very laid back neighbourhood with lots of little boutique and retro shops and street art which reminded me instantly of the Northern Quarter in Manchester. Together with many craft bars and cafes which screamed out Shoreditch, London. This part of the city instantly made me feel at home and somewhere that I’m glad we chose to explore with a tour guide.
Reasons to Take an Organised Tour
Of course, we could have wandered around Grünerløkka ourselves, however, the likelihood is we would have missed some of the good stuff and/or not really known what we were looking. Therefore having Romy there to explain things and to ask questions of was invaluable. Especially about one of Grünerløkka’s most famous residents, Edvard Munch, painter of the world famous Scream painting. Even though she was not from Grünerløkka herself, she is obviously has a lot of knowledge of the area and gave us some great tips and recommendations about what to see and do and where to eat and drink in the area should we return on our own. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the chance to go back, we simply ran out of time but if we ever return to Oslo, we know where to head straight away.
Some of the Hot Spots
Grünerløkka is packed full of hotspots including the market (only open on a Sunday), the Norwegian National Academy of Fine Arts, the house where Munch painted a number of his famous pieces and the Cemetery of Our Saviour, where many local people are buried including the world famous playwright Henrik Ibsen, and Edvard Munch himself. Together with a number of traditional Norwegian houses and of course Insta worthy walls, there is something here to pique most people’s interests.
We finished the walking tour in the award-winning Vulkan area located on the western bank of the Akerselva River which once was an industrial area. Now it is virtually self-sufficient when it comes to heating and cooling the buildings in the area. It is also home to a number of bars, restaurants and shops and Oslo’s first food market hall which include stalls selling every food imaginable. It was a great place to grab a bite to eat, a drink and relax for a while before heading back to the centre of Oslo to take the Modern City Centre part of our walking tour package.
Grünerløkka is a multi-faceted district and one that we highly recommend taking a tour of.
- Our tour was provided on a complimentary basis from TripAdvisor.