Norway is a dream destination for many, and yes, my dream came true. Recently I had the opportunity to visit Norway, and I can’t wait to be back there and explore even more. While we will, of course, touch upon Oslo. In this post I would like to mention some other great places, such as Halden, that catch the Norwegian vibe.
You may wonder why … well, nature, in my opinion, is one of the most distinctive features of the country.
We’re starting with Halden, a small city close to the border of Sweden. Halden has a lot to offer, especially if you want to explore more of Norway’s nature. It would be a loss to go to Norway and skip dipping into the clear water of a least one lake.
Halden has a small, cute harbour on the Tista river – part of the Iddefjord – which hosts not just boats but local restaurants and bars. Taking a walk there, you can also enjoy a cold or warm drink. The city of Halden is an interesting, quiet place to visit for a couple of days. It’s cheaper than Oslo, but you can easily catch a train to the city and spend the day there.
But we’re going to dive into the capital a bit further in the story.
Trolls lurking in the woods
Personally, I really enjoyed the Halden Troll path, which is a community outdoor project. Volunteers painted more than 50 trolls hiding and lurking in the woods back in 2016. It is a hiking trail around a small lake approximately 15 kilometres away from Halden. There you can enjoy time with friends marvelling at the beauty of Norwegian nature.
It doesn’t take long to walk the entire path, but it’s really fun to just look for the trolls hidden in the whole forest, their cute faces peeking from behind trees and stones.
Not far from the troll path are lakes where you can spend a few days swimming in the summer or just chilling on the rocks. The sun is nice but beware you can very easily burn. To my surprise, getting sunburned in Norway was way easier than expected!
The lakes are all surrounded by these magnificent forests and you will not want to leave.
When you decide to visit Oslo, you can hop on a train and be there in two hours. A daytrip means you don’t have to spend money on hotels in the capital city and you’ll still get the chance to experience it.
A definite must-see is the Edvard Munch Museum, home of “The Scream” and its variations. To see all three of them, you need to spend at least two hours at the museum. Due to their fragility, they are exhibited one-by-one every hour. Keep this in mind when visiting.
I was lucky to catch two of them changing but had I known this, I would have planned my visit there better. Besides the museum, I found the parliament building very impressive and interesting. From the Munch Museum, I decided walked to the Frogner Park and just explored the city.
Needless to say, it was a very long walk but totally worth it. You never know what kind of gems you’re going to discover while you’re wandering the streets of an unknown city. One of my happy discoveries was a little restaurant hidden behind a castle. It had such a cosy atmosphere and a great summer vibe. We had ice cream and coffee and soaked up the atmosphere.
Palaces and parliament
On the way we also saw the Royal Palace, which is surrounded by a beautiful park. During the summer season it is also open to the public. This building has been the symbol of Norway since 1814. Built in the neo-classical style, the palace is owned by the state and placed at the disposal of the head of the state.
At the end of our walk was Frogner Park, full of stone statues. Never have I seen such detail in carvings. This is the biggest park in Oslo and is open to the public at all times. There are a few sites, including the Vigeland installation of sculptures.
The sculptures feature 212 bronze and granite sculptures designed by Gustav Vigeland. At the end of the park is an enormous sculpture called the Monolith. The granite used came from a quarry in – you guess it – Halden.
Besides its historical and cultural aspects, the park is just a lovely place for a picnic or walk. It is spacious, quiet and if it is to your liking, you can just chill there.
Polya Plamenova Pencheva is a young Bulgarian journalist based in Groningen, Netherlands. Polya holds a Master's degree in journalism from Rijksuniversiteit Groningen and loves writing and telling the untold stories of interesting people. You can find her dining at cute café, shopping at markets, scouting second-hand shops or just chillin' at home with something great to read.