If Mother Nature was suddenly told she had to permanently live in a city and call it her home, I’m sure she would choose Oslo.
Three-quarters of the city is made up of lush countryside, with forests, lakes, and islands. You don’t have to go far to escape the crowds, cars and chaos that being in a city can sometimes bring. Oslo is the only capital in the world where you can go skiing in the winter and relax on a sunny beach in summer. At the same time Oslo has a vast tapestry of cultural offerings, there are dozens of art galleries and about 50 museums, including the world-famous Munchmuseet.
Here’s all you need to know before you take a trip to Oslo.
Entertainment and attractions
After spending his summer holidays in Oslo as a child, author Roald Dahl said in his autobiography, “Unless you have sailed down the Oslofjord on a tranquil summer’s day, you cannot imagine the sensation of absolute peace and beauty that surrounds you”. We couldn’t agree more with the famous writer, and highly recommend taking a boat trip out to explore the 100-km coastline of the Oslofjord.
Oslo Opera House
Considered a modern architectural masterpiece, Oslo’s Opera House is located right at the harbour, with an angled, white exterior that appears to rise from the water like a diamond. It invites visitors to climb its roof and enjoy panoramic views of Oslo and the fjord, all year round.
Otherwise known as Oslo City Hall, this imposing red-brick building is where the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony takes place every year. Entry to look inside is free, and you will find a large, painted mural with motifs from Norwegian history, culture and working life.
The high left bank of the fjord is bolstered by the medieval Akershus fortress located on it, while the low right bank is known for its modern houses on the Aker Brygge waterfront. It’s an eclectic area of the city. And If you’re keen to know how the royals once lived, Akershus Fortress is the attraction for you.
Fram is the strongest wooden ship ever built and still holds the records for sailing farthest north and farthest south. It certainly wasn’t easy on board, these men were subjected to extreme conditions. At the Fram Museum you can jump on board the ship and see how the crew and their dogs managed to survive in the coldest and most dangerous places on earth – the Arctic and the Antarctic.
Vigeland Sculpture Park
A locals’ favourite place for Sunday strolls is Vigeland sculpture park. A jaw-dropping 227 nude figures carved from stone, cast iron and bronze depicting the various stages of life are all on display. This is the world’s largest collection of works by one artist – art lover’s shouldn’t miss it.
We all know that Norway is notoriously expensive, so the Oslo Pass tourist card is a real gift that allows you to optimise your trip budget. With it you can travel across the city via public transport free of charge and have free access to 30 top museums and art galleries, including the Ibsen Museum, the Oslo National Gallery, the Viking Ship Museum, the Norwegian Maritime Museum, the Norwegian Ethnographic Museum, and the Munch Museum. In addition to these benefits, the pass allows you to take part in walking tours around the city for free. As a pleasant bonus, you get discounts in several restaurants and shops and for some excursions. If you decide to book a tour with us at Scandinavia Only, we can provide you with an Oslo Pass.
Beaches of Oslo
The most popular beach in the city is called Hukkoden. It’s located on the Bygdøy Peninsula. You can reach it by bus from the National Theatre or by boat from the Aker Brygge waterfront. Here you will also find cafes, water bike rentals, and beach volleyball courts. To the north, 10 minutes’ walk from Hukkoden, is a beautiful and less crowded beach with a meaningful name “Paradisbukta” (Paradise Bay). Amazingly, entrance to all the beaches are free.
There’s a saying that goes, ‘Norwegians are born with skis on their feet, and you’ll soon realise why when you discover the popularity of the sport in Norway. There are over 2600 km of tracks for cross-country and downhill skiing in Oslo. Even the city’s public transport is equipped with special sections for ski equipment. The largest ski resort in the capital is the Tryvann Winter Park, located in the upper part of the Holmenkollen district. You can reach it from the city centre in just 20 minutes. Skiing season lasts from late November to mid-April.
Oslo is small enough that you can get around on foot, though trams and trains are frequent and worthwhile if you combine them with an Oslo Pass to get into many of the city’s museums.
Holidays to Oslo
Norway for Beginners (7 nights) – Featuring the famous Flåm Railway, this holiday includes Norway‘s modern capital city, Oslo; Balestrand’s stunning fjords and mountains; and lastly, the colourful UNESCO World Heritage Site of Bergen.
Coastal & Capital Explorer (10 nights) – Many of Norway‘s most impressive and prestigious cities, linked by some of her most spectacular mountain and coastal scenery. In this holiday you will explore Trondheim, Oslo, Bergen and Stavanger – cities which all have their own distinct personality and style.