I have put together an Oslo city guide, which will help you plan to spend a couple of days in Norway’s cool, modern capital city…
Oslo City Guide
Oslo is the capital city of Norway. This small city packs a powerful punch, mixing a rich history with modern architecutre, culture and thriving food scene. I spent two days in Norway’s cool capital; one at the start of the trip and one at the end. I’ve put together an Oslo city guide, containing a selection of my favourite things that the city has to offer.
~ What to Do and See ~
1. Visit the Royal Palace
Constructed in the early 19th Century as the residence for King Charles III (the then King of Norway and Sweden). The Palace continues to serve as the residence for Norway’s monarchy. I thought of it as a more colourful Buckingham Palace, complete with its own palace guards and surrounding gardens. As with Buckingham Palace, there is a changing of the guards ceremony, which takes place each day at 1:30pm. The palace is set in the centre of Oslo, at one end of Karl Johans gate.
2. Take a visit to the Opera House
The opera house is a stunning piece of contemporary architecture; constructed from glass, metal and granite. The building’s white granite roof is set at a shallow angle, running down to the ground level. This creates a surrounding plaza which visitors are welcome to walk around. It’s a good spot to people watch and enjoy the views: central Oslo to one side and a fjord to the other.
The opera house attracts some of the most revered names in the world of opera and ballet, so you could think about taking in a show one evening. Over the summer months, the opera house puts on a number of outdoor plays and concerts to enjoy.
The Opera House was my favourite building in Oslo. It’s quirky, modern design caught my eye. Of all the things to do in Oslo, I enjoyed people watching and photographing at the Opera House the most.
3. Museums, Museums, Museums
If you enjoy museums I have some good news for you; Oslo is home to a hell of a lot! There are museums dedicated to a variety of subjects, including vikings, art (more on the art galleries at number 4, below), exploration, natural history, Nobel Peace and architecture. Most of the museums do have an entrance fee (although you can avoid many of these by using the Oslo Pass). We didn’t hit up too many of the museums because the weather was generally good during our short stay. If you do visit and are subjected to rain, there are more than enough museums to keep you busy (and dry!).
4. Enjoy some famous works of art
Oslo’s National Gallery houses a large selection of Norwegian art, the pinnacle of the display being the Munch section. ‘The Scream’, which I like to think of as the original emoji, was my artistic highlight. I liked the museum because it was small and a couple of hours provded more than enough time to enjoy the various exhibits. This was perfect because I find that my concentration levels are not the best in art galleries.
For those of you who are more art literate than myself, there is a whole museum dedicated to the life and works of Edvard Munch: the Munch Museum. This museum holds the largest collection of Munch artwork in the world, housing a mind boggling number of works. According to the museum’s website, there are some 1,150 paintings, 18,000 prints, 7,700 drawings and watercolours as well as 13 sculptures.
5. Explore Akershus Fortess
Akershus is a medieval fortress which looks out over Oslo fjord and the bustling harbour-side district of Aker Brygge. Visitors are free to enter the grounds and walk them at their leisure. If you are a history buff, jump onto a guided tour for a detailed overview of its history – from its construction in the 1200s as a castle and royal residence, its later development into a protective fortress in the 1500s and its eventual return to a castle in the 1600s.
6. Stroll through Aker Brygge
Aker Brygge is the trendy, vibrant waterside district in southwest Oslo. Its the perfect place to take an afternoon stroll along the boardwalk, watching the boats and enjoy the fresh air. Its wide range of restaurants and shops also proved to be a lifesaver when there was a deluge of rain.
7. Enjoy the Parks and Gardens
In addition to the Royal Palace’s gardens, there are plenty of other green areas in Oslo. There are two particularly well known sculpture parks: Vigeland (set within the larger Frogner Park) and Ekebergparken Sculpture Park, which both contain a vast array of sculptures to have a look at. Oslo also boasts a botanical gardens which house over 1,800 different species of plant and flower.
~ What to Eat ~
Elias Mat & Saint: Oslo has a thriving food scene. Sadly, due to Norway being an expensive country to visit (for tips on keeping costs down when visiting, read this), we had to limit eating out, especially as we had splashed out and spoiled ourselves in Bergen. On our final day in Oslo, it rained all afternoon. We decided to treat ourselves to some wonderful local cuisine. Given that the day was damp and drizzly, I wanted comfort food. Their reindeer stew delivered beyond measure. The chunks of meat were gloriously tender. The complimentary sweetness of the cranberries was an absolute winner.
Have you been to Oslo? What did you think and what else would you recommend adding to a city guide? Let me know, below…