In this comprehensive city guide to Oslo, we uncover the vibrant essence of Norway’s capital. As we embark on this journey, we discover the tantalizing aroma of hot dogs permeating the air, reminiscent of the cultural significance they hold in Norwegian cuisine. But Oslo’s culinary landscape has evolved far beyond its humble hot dogs. With a flourishing coffee shop culture, innovative fusion cuisine, and the recent addition of three Michelin-starred restaurants, the city’s food scene is thriving.
Situated at the head of Oslofjord, Oslo has long remained a hidden gem overshadowed by its Scandinavian counterparts, Copenhagen and Stockholm. However, this lack of tourist congestion is a boon for visitors, allowing them to appreciate the city’s design, culinary delights, and architectural marvels without the crowds.
Curtis Rojak, founder of Viking Biking & Hiking, attests to Oslo’s underrated charm as we cycle along a newly developed 5.5-mile promenade. This path connects various neighborhoods that have emerged from the transformation of former industrial land, including iconic landmarks like the Oslo Opera House, the newly minted Munch Museum, and the striking Barcode architectural project. Our cycling excursion culminates at Sørenga Sjøbad, an urban waterfront beach and seawater pool that perfectly embodies the Norwegian concept of friluftsliv – celebrating outdoor experiences regardless of weather conditions. Oslo’s commitment to sustainability and nature is evident in its recognition as the European Green Capital in 2019, thanks to its car-free streets and abundant tree coverage.
Continuing our exploration, we venture uphill along the picturesque banks of the Akerselva river, which meanders through the city, offering scenic views and cascading waterfalls en route to Oslofjord. Curtis shares his enthusiasm for the salmon run during the season, while we savor waffles topped with tangy, nutty brunost (brown cheese), basking in the warm sunlight. Oslo’s ascent as a vibrant city becomes undeniable, capturing the essence of a destination on the rise.
Top Attractions and Activities:
Munch Museum: Home to 26,000 works by Edvard Munch, including multiple versions of “The Scream,” this museum is a must-visit. Don’t miss the 12th-floor Bistro Tolvte or the stunning view of Oslofjord from Kranen, the top-floor cocktail bar.
National Museum of Norway: With its striking new waterfront location in the Aker Brygge area, this museum showcases over 400,000 objects, including works by Picasso, Van Gogh, Matisse, and a dedicated room for Munch’s art.
Grønland: Immerse yourself in the diverse neighborhood of Grønland, filled with tantalizing aromas from Pakistani and Turkish restaurants. Explore the Intercultural Museum and discover architectural gems like the landmark Grønland Church and the Central Jam-e-Mosque.
Ekebergparken: Just a short tram ride from the city center, Ekebergparken beckons with its 155-acre sculpture park featuring installations by renowned artists like Louise Bourgeois and James Turrell, as well as ancient rock carvings and ruins.
Oslofjord: Embrace the year-round activity of swimming in Oslofjord, relax on Opera Beach, or dive into the refreshing waters of Sørenga Sjøbad. Rent a floating sauna or embark on a scenic raft tour when the fjord is free of ice.
Oslo Opera House: Anchoring the Bjørvika district, this iconic architectural masterpiece invites visitors to stroll along its sloping roof and enjoy panoramic views of the city. It’s not just a