Things to do Oslo - Understand
Oslo is a city with just 600,000 inhabitants but it feels much bigger and more 'stately' than the number suggests. Given its 60 degrees of latitude north, you may think it would be shockingly cold, but the Gulf Stream moderates winters and summers can see frequent heatwaves.
Oslo a city of the future but has managed to keep its history alive. You will find friendly people who speak fluent English almost without exception. Generally, people seem to be delighted that you come out to visit Norway.
The country is expensive and Oslo is no exception; food and drinks will cost you dearly. However, the options below will help you find exceptional places on a moderate budget.
Things to do Oslo - Safety
Even safer than other Scandinavian cities, I can hardly imagine falling victim to a crime here. Norwegians are also strikingly honest - even more than what you find in other Scandinavian countries.
Things to do Oslo - Get Around
There is an express bus from Oslo Airport to the city for $16 one-way. Inside the city, walking is the best option; I easily walked 6 miles in one day.
There are a number of bike rental places in town (for a moderate $12) that will make getting around by cycling a good option.
Don't even think about taxis and Uber
is equally expensive. Also, many roads are closed to traffic.
It is a good idea to figure out the local bus system. Drivers are friendly and the distances in Oslo are not too big.
Things to do Oslo - Sights
Oslo isn't as pretty as Stockholm and lacks its long, regal history but there is plenty to see.
Astrup Fearnley Museet
The excellent contemporary Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art has an enviable location right at the end of the Aker Brygge boardwalk by the marina.
Even if you don't want to pay the hefty $15 entrance fee (which I think is split between permanent and temporary exhibitions), you should come out here on a sunny afternoon.
On a hot day, Norwegians will flock to the seaside and surprise you with a more Mediterranean feel of Oslo.
Oslo Opera House
It is not quite Sydney, but the Oslo Opera House is right at the water's edge and deserves your attention.
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Both pictures courtesy of VisitNorway
During the summer months, Oslo's Royal Palace (home to the King and Queen of Norway) is open to the public for guided tours. Adult admission costs 135 NOK ($16).
Dronningparken (The Queen's Park) is part of the palace grounds.
Things to do Oslo - Eat & Drink
Tim takes coffee seriously - and design as well. The small but inspiring location is right next to a small park and they make espresso drinks that can hardly be made any better.
Focaccia is like pizza - right? Well, not exactly, but this shop has taken the risk and branded itself Focaccaeria and spins out delicious and cheap pieces of heaven. It closes at 6PM - so go there early for dinner.
Crowbar & Bryggeri
Drinking isn't cheap in Norway but this bar serves several great creations from tap including two IPAs. The seats outside in the pedestrian zone are rustic but allow for some serious people watching.
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Picture courtesy of Bernt Rostad
This place is really hidden and it's hard to find the door and the entrance to this Munich-style cellar. However, I'm glad I found it as the beers are quite something; the 'smokey ale' tasted like nothing I ever had. The other beers I tried were also superbly creative. I really liked this place.
Hands down some of the best tapas I've ever had. It's a small menu that is cooked to perfection by the chef. The staff are all friendly and its open windows with the setting alongside the park is fantastic. It's also not expensive. How much better can life get?
Things to do Oslo - Where to Stay
Like many Scandinavian cities, the Club Carlson brand Radisson is the leading brand in the city and has many properties to choose from. I stayed at the Radisson Blu at Oslo Airport
which is connected to the terminal and very convenient.
However, it feels too much of a' mass operation'. The mattresses were extremely soft and the breakfast uninspiring, but it's still a decent option.