Though many people come to Norway to see its spectacular fjords, visitors of Oslo will find themselves mainly occupied with urban attractions--particularly those related to history and the arts. Among Oslo’s most famous are the Royal Palace, the Vigelansparken, Botanisk Hoge og Museum and Munch Museum. Those in the mood to people-watch and check out the city’s local flavor should head to the hip Grünerløkka neighborhood just northeast of central Oslo, or to Holmenkollen, the lofty northwestern corner of the city with an Olympic ski jump, museum and views of fjords.
Hot Tips: As with the hotels, many of Oslo¬'s attractions stand along Karl Johans Gate and parallel streets.
Where to Stay
When people think of Europe’s grand cities, Oslo definitely makes the list. What it lacks in size, it makes up for in fine architecture, wealth and fittingly lavish hotels. Given this and the country’s strong currency, krone, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a feasible “budget” lodging option in Oslo. Those looking for something affordable would be well-suited to look into the city’s hostel selection. Given Oslo’s excellent public transit system and relatively small size, visitors should consider a rental car unnecessary.
Hot Tips: Most of Oslo¬'s hotels are located in its ¬"Sentrum¬" (or Center), and along Karl Johans Gate (Street), which stretches between ¬"Oslo S Station¬"¬--the city¬'s ¬"sentrale¬" (central) train station (also called Jernbanetorget)¬--and the Royal Palace.
It’s time to get out your wallet--if there’s anything left in it after paying for your hotel! When in Oslo, you’ll find a mix of traditional Norwegian dishes, Scandinavian cuisine and a global selection of other offerings--including pizza, Asian food, Continental cuisine and Mediterranean fare. If visiting in the summer, make an effort to enjoy a harbor-side seafood meal; during any other time of year, finding a restaurant is as simple as strolling along any of the main roads or meandering side streets of central Oslo.
Caution: Norway is known for bad coffee¬--a fact that neighboring Swedes cannot stomach! It¬'s a real challenge to find non-instant coffee in Oslo.
Be Sure to Sample: Lutefisk (if vising around the holidays), gravlaks (sugar-and-salt cured salmon), game, sausage and potatoes.
There’s no better way to mingle with the beautiful people of Norway than to party shoulder-to-shoulder with them in their own nightclubs and bars. Where can you find the best collection of local jazz clubs, cafes and pubs? You guessed it: along Karl Johans Gate. However, if you’re looking for a more luxurious night out, check out the Aker Brygge--where waterfront views lend themselves to posh evenings.
Caution: You thought a night out in New York was expensive? You haven¬'t seen expensive until you¬'ve had a few drinks in Oslo.
No matter what type of Norwegian goods you’re looking for, you’ll find them in Oslo--the country’s best shopping town. The most popular areas for shopping in Oslo are along the touristy Aker Brygge and in the city center. Given the enormous costs of Oslo real estate, you won’t find any expansive malls here; instead, you’ll find yourself popping in and out of small shops and local boutiques.
Best Local Souvenir: Keep your eyes peeled for traditional wool sweaters, smoked salmon, Porsgrund porcelain and trolls.