How to get the most out of a short trip if you start in Oslo? Oh, we have got that question more than once. So let’s say you have 5 hours? You can get to the fjords in that time, but definitely not back again. So I would rather recommend to get as much into the trip as possible, that is mountains, lakes, valleys, mines, stavkirke, and world famous history all wrapped up in amazing scenery.
It requires a car of course, and probably a gps if you are not prepared to draw some lines on a map, which is fun as well. Just make sure you have someone capable of reading maps for you. So from Oslo you head west towards Drammen. The oldest beer brewery in Norway is just at the riverside there if that can be of any interest. It is not a long drive there, but you should continue to Kongsberg. This is a technology city, but even more interesting might be the old silver mines. Have a short stop there and check it out.
Then proceed towards Notodden, which holds a great blues festival every year. You might miss the event itself, but put on a cd with some nice BB King or similar to get in the right mood as you pass by. You are now heading towards Rjukan, and a bit off Notodden you will find the first Stavkirke on the road. These churches are up to 1000 years old, so they are worth a short stop.
Further on you will drive along Tinnsjøen, which is the third deepest lake in Norway, 460 meters deep. It holds some secrets as well, but you can try to discover those when you are there. Entering Rjukan you are in a very narrow wally that runs east/west, hence there are not much sun in the winter. But the inhabitants of Rjukan have found a way. They have put up a mirror on top of the wally on the northern side. Have a stop at the main square and see for yourself. There are also a cableway/funicular up on the same side, with a restaurant on top. Perfect place for a lunch I would say.
Now for the world famous history. Go just a bit up the wally towards the west, and you will find Vemork. Check that out and see why it is famous, and tell us about it after you come back. There is also a museum, and the possibility to make a bungee jump into the canyon there if you like living a bit on the edge. I believe it is only there in summer, so take the season into the equation here.
From Vemork, you go back through the city and bare right up towards Gaustadtoppen. This mountain is 1883 meters high and you can see 1/6 of Norway on a clear day there, and even Denmark if you are lucky. It is a two hour walk to get up, but behold, there is a shortcut. Inside the mountain, there is a lift! It is not for free, so check the price before you decide to go all the way to the top. If you skip it, there are still amazing views on the road over to the other side.
When you head back towards Oslo, you will have time to check out variations of stabbur along the road. These small buildings served as food storage in the old days, and there are a lot of them in this region. You should be back in Oslo in about 5 hours, just in time to have a nice dinner and tell us how your trip was. We are looking forward to hear all about it.