Oslo Airport is at Gardermoen, about 30 miles north of Oslo. The airport is served by many major international carriers, but none provide non-stop service from Chicago. You'll likely get the best connections on British Airways, SAS or KLM. Unless the sale fares that were offered in late April and the first week in May are extended, you should expect the lowest fares on those airlines to run $650-$775. Seats and travel dates may be limited.
THE OSLO CARD
This is a pass that grants you admission to almost every museum and onto most forms of public transportation. One-day family pass (two adults and two children) $45; one-day pass $21 adults, $8 children; two-day pass $34 adults, $10 children; three-day pass $45 adults, $13 children.
Many of the sights in Oslo are within walking distance of one another. But you will need a form of transportation other than foot power to get you to the following attractions:
Viking Ship Museum: The ferry to Bygdoy Peninsula leaves from the piers in front of City Hall. Cost of ferry is included in the Oslo Card. Also on the Bygdoy Peninsula are the Kon-Tiki Museum, The Fram Museum and the Norwegian Folk Museum. A privately owned tram runs the circuit among these museums for about $4.
Vigeland Park: Take the tram (electric bus) between central Oslo and Vigeland Park. Cost of this tram is included in the Oslo Card. Or, take a cab between Vigeland Park and the royal palace (Slottet) for about $10.
Holmenkollen ski jump: Take the T-bane (subway/rail system) between central Oslo and Holmenkollen. A cab ride between Vigeland Park and Holmenkollen costs about $15.
IF TIME IS SHORT
See these first: Vigeland Sculpture Park, Viking Ship Museum.
See these second: Akershus Castle and Fortress, Munch Museum, Norway's Resistance Museum.
If Oslo is your only stop in Norway: visit the Norwegian Folk Museum; otherwise, some of the things you'll see here -- sod-roof cottages, stave churches, folk arts -- you may see elsewhere in Norway.
Nice but optional: Holmenkollen, for the view. The ski jump is on a mountain that's 1,368 feet above the fiord. You can see all of Oslo, much of its fiord and a vast pine forest from up here.
Don't feel bad if you miss: the interior of City Hall and the room where they award the Nobel Peace Prize.
Clarion Royal Christiania: a business-class hotel that feels like an Embassy Suites, with modern rooms and central atrium. Good location, near the central train station, Domkirke and lots of shopping. Its small health club and swimming pool are the perfect antidote to trans-Atlantic flights. Rates start at $210/night.
Holmenkollen Park Hotel Rica: an atmospheric hotel built in "dragonstyle" -- parts of it are more than 100 years old -- atop the same hill as the ski jump; spectacular views. Rates start at $180/night.
Tulip Inn Rainbow Hotell Munch: a clean, tourist-class hotel near the royal palace. Rates in the budget range at $80-$108/night.
A travel agent may be able to book these hotels at discounted rates. Other lodging options include youth hotels, guest houses and farm stays.
Gamle Raadhus: Old World atmosphere and rich decor define this upscale restaurant housed in the former city hall, which dates from the mid-17th Century. Near Akershus at Neddre Slottsgate 1. A meal for two -- vegetable lasagna with polenta, fried pike with blood pudding and mashed potatoes, the house burgundy, dessert and coffee -- totaled $85. Reservations a must: in Oslo, phone 22-42-01-07 (from the United States, add 011-47 prefix).
The Great India: Just to prove Oslo has an international dining scene. Across from the National Gallery. A meal for two -- spinach soup, vegetable stew, tandoori chicken, rattan biryani, beer for one person, tea for the other -- came to $60.
Stortovet Gjestgiveri: Just to prove all meals in Oslo don't have to be expensive. At the corner of Mollergata and Grensen. A meal for one of salmon salad and a glass of wine totaled $14.
Holmenkollen Kafe: Lunch with a bird's-eye view of Oslo. At the base of the ski jump. Serving is cafeteria style. A meal for two added up to $41.
At various points of interest such as the Norwegian Resistance Museum and Akershus Castle and Fortress, you can mail postcards that will bear the cancellation mark of that particular attraction.
Pack a raincoat and a sweater. Average highs/lows (degrees Fahrenheit) for Oslo are 69/51 in June, 73/56 in July and 69/53 in August. Though Oslo is less rainy than Bergen, Norway's second-largest city, there's a reason the countryside is so green. Average rainfall per month in days/inches are 8 days/2.4 inches in June, 10 days/2.9 inches in July and 11 days/3.9 inches in August.
Norwegian Tourist Board: 212-885-9700; or at visitnorway.com.