Norway’s inspiring capital city is located snuggly between dense, majestic forests and the ever present Norwegian fjord, providing locals and visitors with all of the joys of nature right on the doorstep. Although Oslo is renowned for its popularity in everything outdoors, it also boasts an outstanding selection of museums and public art exhibitions, as well as a thriving cosmopolitan culture, with an ample supply of chic coffee houses, Michelin-star restaurants and decadent night clubs.
Despite its status as a capital city the population of Oslo is surprisingly low, making it the perfect place to take in the fresh powder of the ski slopes in the morning, only to jump on a short train ride back to the beating of cosmopolitan Norway, with the best that Norwegian culture has to offer.
Oslo’s central neighbourhoods have an abundance of accommodation options, with elegant hotels alongside quirky cubbyholes and inexpensive lodgings. Among the glut of choices near Karl Johans Gate, the luxury Hotel Continental (Stortingsgaten 24-26) oozes turn-of-the-century charm, while the simple Thon Hotel Spectrum (Brugata 7) offers a more affordable alternative. Nestled in the modern canal-lined Tjuvholmen district is The Thief (Landgangen 1), a unique boutique offering with contemporary art and plush furnishings adorning its comfy rooms. Over in the west, the imposing Rica Hotel Bygdøy Allé (Bygdøy Allé 53) is a surprisingly inexpensive choice in the wealthy Bygdøy Allé neighbourhood.
The area around Karl Johans Gate is the place for local and international brands, many of which can be found in the large Oslo City Shopping Centre (Stenersgata 1). Fashionistas wanting to flex the plastic should head to nearby Akersgata, with its fashion boutiques including Mulberry (Akersgata 18). But it’s not all upscale:
Oslo may have a reputation as an expensive city, but there are plenty of cheap eats to be found. Grønland, on the east side, is full of affordable places such as Dattera til (Grønland 10), a thriving café with a bustling courtyard – Grünerløkka is also worth exploring for inexpensive cuisine. For fresh fish, head to Fiskkeriet (Youngstorget 2b), a small eatery within a fishmongers’. Come nightfall, try Delicatessen (Søndre gate 8), a lively tapas bar that’s worth the wait for a table; or, if sushi is more your thing, opt for the trendy Alex Sushi (Strandpromenaden 11). Those who really want to splash out should book a table (well in advance) at the inventive two-Michelin-star Maaemo (Schweigaards gate 15 B), whose tables are like gold dust.
This multicultural festival with South Asian origins is a great place to experience the smells, tastes and sounds of the Indian subcontinent. Taking place in City Hall Square, it’s a free event for the whole family to enjoy.
Boasting mega international stars as well as local acts among its four-day series of concerts, this open-air festival in east Oslo’s Medieval Park is the largest rock festival in the city.
Films from the South
Visitors here can discover what the best of African, Asian, South American and Middle Eastern filmmakers have to offer, as well as delving into the issues behind what’s on screen through a series of seminars.
Oslo World Music Festival
Hosting acts from across the globe, this music festival spans a wide range of genres, from African jazz to Brazilian samba. Concerts take place at various venues in Oslo over six days, so visitors will never be too far from infectious rhythms.
Oslo’s Norwegian Folk Museum is transformed into a winter wonderland with a festive focus. Christmas stalls sell gifts and warming treats, while exhibits document how the festival has been celebrated in Oslo over the centuries.