Although I had been to Norway many times, I had never had the chance to travel to Oslo until March 2023. On the way to Svalbard from London, we had to travel first to Oslo then via Tromsø to Longyearbyen. Oslo is the largest city in Norway and the capital. However, the population is still relatively small for a European capital, around 635,000.
Walking around the city is interesting, to see the coastal views, parks, and a mix or older and modern architecture. One of the most striking buildings is the beautiful Norwegian Opera and Ballet. I was lucky to attend a ballet there during our stay. We wished we had some more time to sample the restaurants, as many were recommended to us. We just had one day in each direction, and I think three days would be a good length to stay. I would have liked to see the Munch museum and we didn’t have time.
This is a short guide for travel to Oslo. In general, it is really easy to get around. However, be prepared for the expensive prices!
- Akershus fortress
- Royal palace and park
- Norway National theatre
- Frogner Park
- National Museum
- Rådhuset brick city hall with interesting statues
- Norwegian Opera and Ballet
- Viking Ship Museum
- Munch Museum
- Fram Museum – Polar exploration and history
- Nobel Peace Centre
- Stortinget Norwegian Parliament
- Karl Johans gt. shopping street
- Oslo Cathedral
- Moren (The Mother) statue
- Botanic Garden and Natural History Museum
Before you go
- Oslo is the capital and largest city of Norway
- Almost everyone speaks English
- Alcohol and most things are relatively expensive
- Restaurants close earlier than in some large cities so look at the opening times
- Check visitoslo.com for upcoming events
- Weather in the winter can be very cold, snowy and icy. In the summer, the days are long and there is sunshine. However, the high temperatures are usually around 23 C
- Most places accept credit card, even for small purchases and some public toilets
- The famous artist Edvard Munch donated his art to Oslo after his death, and it can be found in the Munch and National Museums
- Tipping seems to be optional though not uncommon. However, the credit card machines ask you to put a total amount for the bill rather than a tip amount
- Oslo Airport Gardermoen (OSL) is 47km from the city centre and is the city’s main international airport. There is a fast train called Flytoget straight to Oslo city centre, which takes 20 minutes and usually runs every 10 minutes. However, the normal train with stops on the way to Oslo is cheaper so that’s on option if you have time
- Torp Sandefjord Airport (TRF) is an airport about 110km south of Oslo, which is mostly used by low-cost airlines
- Walking around the centre of the city is easy
- There is a metro and bus system and tickets are available via the Ruter app
- We stayed two times at the Hotell Bondeheimen, which is located in central Oslo about 10 minutes walk from the main rail station
- The rooms were a good size and had en suite bathrooms
- Breakfast buffet in the restaurant was excellent with lots of choice. Also, when we had to leave early one day, the hotel packed us a really nice breakfast to go
- The only complaint was that the wifi was patchy in places including part of the reception area
Our first dinner was at Nordvegan, which is a casual vegan restaurant. First, we chose it because it was close to the hotel. Second, we wanted to have something healthy with vegetables! You have a lot of choices on what you want to have mixed together. My dish was sweet potato katsu with noodles and lots of different vegetables. It was delicious and exactly what I wanted that evening.
While we were searching for potential restaurants, we tried to find a tasting menu that wad not too expensive. Luckily, we found the fish and seafood tasting menu at Restaurant Fjord. The price was very reasonable and the dishes were all delicious! The cod cheek and also cod in red wine sauce were unique dishes we had never tried before. Who knew a cod cheek was so large and tasty?
For snacks, we tried the W.B. Samson bakery for cinnamon buns, and Sverre Sætre konditori AS for macarons and chocolates. Both were tasty! I wish we had more time to try other bakeries too, as we passed many during our city walking.
One restaurant recommended by a local that we did not get to try was Frognerseteren. It is accessible by metro but we didn’t have enough time. The photos show some great nature views. Something for next time!
Q: Do I need a tour guide?
A: No, it is easy to get around Oslo and there are signs for the places of interest
Q: Do people speak English?
A: Yes, almost everyone speaks English
Q: Is it a walkable city?
A: Yes it is walkable or you can use the metro or bus systems
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