There’s a lot to love about vibrant Oslo. With a population of just 650,000 people, though its population may be small, area wise Oslo is one of the largest cities in the world. Home to many world-class museums, Oslo is these days a world cultural capital and where the Nobel Peace Prize is presented every year. The central parts of Oslo buzz with cafes, restaurants and bars but just a short trip on the metro will take you to a different world. Be warned - the forest wilderness of Nordmarka and the shore of the Oslofjord will both make it very hard for you to leave.
Oslo’s surprisingly compact city-centre is the obvious place to start your journey of the city’s attractions. Catch a glimpse of the Royal Palace then continue to City Hall, where the Nobel Peace Prize is presented every year. A short walk will then take you to the Akershus Fortress, built in 1290s upon the scenic harbour cliffs. The National Museum is one of the many centrally located museums while The Viking Ship Museum and Norwegian Folk Museum are two of the most celebrated. Add to your museum list the Munch Museum, located east of town. A little further out but easily accessible by train is Holmenkollen, a ski museum and home of a huge ski jump tower that fills with thousands of locals on competition days.
Oslo is home to countless fine places to dine and visitors will find an excellent selection of food from all over the world. Waterfront Aker Brygge has numerous outdoor restaurants and bars and is a good place to feast on some fresh North Atlantic fish. Another good place to delight your senses is at the recently opened Mathallen, which is a gigantic food hall and home to more than 30 stalls. Those wishing to dine on the delicacies of Oslo’s large migrant population should take their pick from one of the numerous cafes and restaurants at the multicultural Grønland district, while Grünerløkka district has the most choices of where to drink.
Where to Stay
Oslo is home to plenty of accommodation and room standards are generally high. If kroners are no object to you, do as the Nobel Peace Prize winners do and book a room at The Grand Hotel. The Rica Hotel G20 is a cheaper but equally stylish option with comfortable and unpretentious rooms. Those with a love for Scandinavian design should consider harbour-side boutique hotel, The Thief. Despite its name it’s really not that expensive! For a lovely country retreat in the city, Lysebu is the perfect choice and is located near the Holmenkollen ski jump in a tranquil location overlooking forests.
Oslo is home to numerous shopping districts and bargains can still be found despite the city’s reputation for high prices. Bogstadveien is one of the city’s most popular places to shop and is lined with places to fill your suitcase. Buying local brands is a good way to save kroners and Hegdehaugsveien is home to Norwegian fashion brand Moods Of Norway’s flagship store. Emerging Grønland these days has many boutiques to shop at and is a good place to find unique wares, while Byporten and Oslo City are two of Oslo’s leading shopping malls.
Oslo Like a Local
Perhaps what locals love most about Oslo is leaving the city behind. Very much an outdoor city, much of the city’s area is taken up by forests and parks. There aren’t many capitals in the world where you can catch the metro to the ski fields but the sprawling forests at Nordmarka are just over thirty minutes from the centre of town by train. During winter locals love the area for cross-country skiing, while come summer the area fills with locals hiking, mountain bike riding, freshwater fishing or heading off to the nearby Oslofjord to sunbathe and swim. Whoever said you can’t have your cake and eat it too hasn’t been to Oslo.