Visit Oslo, Norway and enjoy family skiing packages while learning a bit of Viking history.
The story of the indomitable Sondre Nordheim, credited as the ‘inventor’ of modern skiing, and the popular success of the Oslo (1952) and Lillehammer (1994) Winter Olympic Games have contributed to making Norway a skier’s fantasy destination. In 2000, Oslo celebrated its 1,000-year anniversary of the first Vikings settling on the banks of the River Lo, and skiing is still the national pastime. In fact, winter is the time to fully appreciate the country’s capital, where ski in/ski out means taking your Nordic (cross-country) skis just 20 minutes beyond the National Theater Station to miles of groomed trails in the Nordmarka Forest.
Passage Tours (800/548-5960) offers a variety of see and ski packages from Newark Airport to Norway, including a 5D/4N Oslo Weekend where you can combine sightseeing with snowplay. Family choices include the comfortable Bondeheimen Hotel just off Oslo’s main square or the century-old, very elegant Continental next to the National Theater. (Rates change depending on airfare, and also include hotel and daily breakfast; add-on fares available from Chicago and Seattle; kids <12 discounted about 30%.) [FTF Note: Passage Tours has stopped offering their winter tours for the past few years, however, during the 2007-2008 season, they will start weekend packages for the winter season. This itinerary will vary slightly from the originally highlighted tour and there will be a personal tour guide available. Also, Passage Tours will be traveling further north this time in order for visitors to experience the Northern Lights and go King Crab fishing. Direct flights are no longer offered to Oslo, therefore, travelers will need to get connecting flights from Stockholm or Copenhagen. Please contact Passage Tours for more details regarding these new packages.]
After breakfast, take the kids to the Viking Ship Museum, then to the Maritime Museum (+47 24 11 41 50) to see the Polar Ship Fram, a monument to the city’s maritime history. Older kids may enjoy the Munch Museum (+47 23 49 39 00) (however, his most famous work The Scream is in the National Theater) and skiing around the collection at the outdoor Vigeland Sculpture Park.
If a whole weekend of cross- country skiing sounds even better, book the Holmenkollen Park Hotel Rica (+47 22 92 20 00), an old timber lodge on a ridge 400 meters above the city with a gourmet restaurant, pool and spa. You can ski out the front door onto hundreds of trails, many overlooking the modern city, the nearby fjord and dense forests.
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