Oslo is top of the list for most international visitors, not least because the vast majority of international flights arrive here. As the country’s capital and biggest city, it offers a wide variety of sights, activities and experiences to suit all tastes. No trip to Norway would be complete without at least a day spent exploring Oslo!
What to do
Something that surprises many tourists is Oslo’s proximity to the “great outdoors”, offering more outdoor opportunities than perhaps any other city of its size. The city is surrounded by water and forest, so in the summer there are awesome hiking, biking, and sailing opportunities, while in the winter you are never more than a 20-minute public transport ride from a cross-country ski trail.
On that note, perhaps Oslo’s biggest attraction is the Holmenkollen Ski Arena and Ski Jump. Offering stunning views from its position high above the city, it’s a modern sporting icon for a modern sporting city. Down at the fast-developing fjordside area, the modern architecture of Oslo Opera House allows you to walk all across its roof, while across the bay Akershus Fortress guards the secrets of Oslo’s past.
Further along the waterfront comes modern Oslo in the form of Aker Brygge and Tjuvholmen, modern developments of apartments, shopping centres, bars, restaurants, and a thriving boardwalk, perfect for people watching. Away from the water, the hipster paradise of Grünerløkka offers boutique shopping and interesting cafes, bars and restaurants.
Oslo is a cultural centre, hosting a wide variety of festivals and events throughout the year.
Where to stay
Oslo is notoriously expensive but good value can be found in accommodation. The more budget-conscious might consider the city’s campsites (summer only!) or one of the hostels. And of course, there’s always couchsurfing if money really is tight!
Bear in mind that if you’re visiting in the winter, you will really appreciate the comfort and warmth of a centrally-located hotel. Sometimes, it’s worth spending the money! The quality of hotels varies wildly, so check out our suggestions for the best hotels in Oslo.
Oslo’s public transport system is excellent, and particularly welcome in the winter! The city centre is compact and easy enough to navigate on foot, but with many attractions located further afield, investing in a transport pass is a wise move.
Although dated and slow, the tram system is particularly useful for tourists, linking the entire city centre with attractions such as the Vigeland Statue Park, the shops and bars of Aker Brygge, and the boutique shops of Majorstuen and Grünerløkka.
The T-Bane metro system takes you further afield, to Holmenkollen ski jump, the national Ullevaal Stadium, and into the forests surrounding the city.
Where to eat
Like any city, restaurants in the main tourist areas are expensive. Better value can be found at the city’s diverse range of Chinese, Thai and indian restaurants between Storgata and Grønland, many offering daily specials. If you like to splurge, the restaurant at Frognerseteren offers an atmospheric dining experience with locally-sourced food, but be sure to book.
For lunch or snacks, it’s best to avoid the kiosks (Narvesen, 7Eleven, Mix, etc) that offer all things sweet and salty at inflated prices – although the coffee is often good value! The best of the bunch for food is Deli de Luca. Some supermarket chains offer salad bars at reasonable prices.
Shopping in Oslo
Firstly it’s important to remember that all shops except small kiosks and tacky souvenir shops are closed on Sundays! Read our guide to shopping in Oslo for more details.
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