1 Oslo Norway from £40 Today Oslo is a thoroug

first_img1. Oslo, Norway from £40*Today, Oslo is a thoroughly pleasant and green city packed with hip coffee shops and chic clothing stores – but when it was founded 1000 years ago, it was a considerably-less-chic Viking stronghold, full of warriors who couldn’t tell a flat white from a mochaccino. They could probably handle a battle axe a darn sight better than a hipster could, however. King Harald III (aka Harald Hadrada) established a trading outpost at Oslo in 1048, in between terrorising residents on the Danish coast, but in 1066 he turned his nefarious attention towards England. Ultimately, Harald, and with him the Viking Age, was brought to a violent end by the English king Harold (with an ‘o’), who himself was smited mightily just days later at the Battle of Hastings. You can find out all about Oslo’s fascinating and bloody Viking past at the city’s Historical Museum (open Tuesday to Sunday, 10am to 5pm; adults 80 krone), which boasts the only complete Viking helmet ever found, and make sure to see the stunningly preserved 9th-century Viking longboats at the Viking Ship Museum (open daily 9am to 6pm; adults 80 krone). And if you just can’t get enough Haralds in your life, take a guided tour of the Royal Palace (open daily 11am (12pm on Fridays) to 5pm; adults 85 krone), which is home to Norway’s King Harald V.Read more about the best things to do in Oslo RelatedTop 15 attractions and things to do in OsloSitting pretty on the banks of Oslofjord, Norway’s essential city break destination combines natural beauty with avant-garde flair. Explore folklore, forested islands and ‘new Nordic’ food with our top suggestions on what to do in Oslo.Bargains of the Week: St Petersburg | Oslo | PragueBargains of the Week: St Petersburg | Oslo | Prague5 Flights for £60 or lessLooking for a great value getaway? Then we’ve got a flight for you: 5. Gothenburg, Sweden from £67Sweden’s second city is nicknamed ‘little London’, and it has more than enough gentility and handsome buildings to spare. In Trädgårdsföreningen park it has the Swedish equivalent of London’s Kew Gardens, and the comparisons don’t end there – this elegant botanical garden is even home to a 19th-century palm house that was built in the style of London’s long-lost Crystal Palace. Thankfully, this version is still standing, unlike the London original – which was lost to fire in 1936 after a mysterious explosion in the women’s cloakroom. To add a bit of glamour to your Gothenburg trip, make sure to stop off at Karingo Oyster Bar, where you can indulge in oysters with champagne – all served in a hot tub.Want more Sweden? Read about the top 10 things to do in the nation’s capital, Stockholm 4. Copenhagen, Denmark from £61We already know that nudism is de rigeur on the paradise beaches of Formentera, but did you know that naturism is hugely popular in the rather less hospitable climes of Denmark? Nudism is perfectly acceptable in the country, so don’t be surprised to see young and old baring all on the nation’s beaches – although naturists are expected to retain consideration for the clothed by remaining at a reasonable distance. Amagur Beach Park right in the centre of Copenhagen is probably the city’s most popular beach, but if it’s naturism you’re after, then the most popular nude beaches are much further along the coast at Tannisbugten and Skagen. However, if you fancy releasing your inner nude in the inner city, then head to the Frederiksberg Swimming Baths on Sunday evenings, when the Danish Naturist Association organises skinny dipping – followed by a nude sauna.Read more about how to get around Copenhagen on a budget 6. Helsinki, Finland from £108Probably the most exciting thing about Helsinki is that it’s home to an utterly massive sea fort called Suomenlinna (free entry; check website for opening times). This impressive fortification can be found on an island just a short ferry ride away from the city, and in the past it was fiercely fought over by the Russians and Swedes – although since 1973 it has been open to civilians. Nowadays you’re far more likely to see picnicking city dwellers than marauding Russians, and the island has become a hotspot for artists – there’s even a theatre. But perhaps its star attraction is a decommissioned submarine, which offers a rare opportunity to witness life from the perspective of a sardine.Read more about the top nine things to do in Helsinkilast_img read more