48 hours in Oslo at Christmas time

Fri Dec 7, 2012 11:20am EST
 
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By Victoria Klesty

OSLO (Reuters) - Oslo dresses up in white lights ahead of Christmas but keeps the spirit of the season partly under wraps as befits a reserved Nordic capital with a winter shroud of darkness and some of Europe's highest food and drink prices.

Norwegians are a bit preoccupied with home and hearth in December, and many hotels close just before Christmas until after New Year's. But this city founded a millennium ago puts out a surprisingly warm vibe in the snow.

Reuters correspondents with local knowledge help visitors get the most out of a 48-hour visit.

FRIDAY

5 p.m. - From Oslo Airport take the express train labeled "Drammen" to the National Theatre station.

Stay at the nearby Grand Hotel (+47 23 21 20 00) or Hotel Continental (+47 22 82 40 00) if you're well heeled. More economical? Try the Thon Hotel Cecil (+47 23 31 48 00), though it's closed between Christmas and New Year's.

6 p.m. - Wander among food and gift booths surrounding the Spikersuppa ice-skating rink, bracketed by Parliament and the ornate National Theatre. Overlooking the scene is the Royal Palace, windows aglow.

7 p.m. - Next door to the Grand, check off some holiday gift-buying at the century-old Freia chocolate shop.   Continued...