TRAVEL ALERT! Important information about the Coronavirus situation in Norway
close
Dynamic Variation:
Offers
x

There was not an exact match for the language you toggled to. You have been redirected to the nearest matching page within this section.

Choose Language
Toggling to another language will take you to the matching page or nearest matching page within that selection.
Search & Book Sponsored Links
Search
or search all of Norway

THE LOCALS’ GUIDE TO OSLO

Top insider tips

The capital of Norway is growing steadily, and so is its vibrant cultural scene. A city break in Oslo includes everything from interesting food and cool galleries to live music and urban nature. And the best part? Most things are within walking distance.

Here’s how to spend a long weekend in true Oslo style: cultural Friday, Saturday with the locals, and urban Sunday walks.

The Astrup Fearnley Museum in Oslo .
Photo: NLE Film
The Astrup Fearnley Museum in Oslo .
Photo: NLE Film

Cultural Friday

“In Oslo, there is only a short distance between several world-class attractions for those who are interested in culture”, says Karin Hindsbo.

Oslo main library Deichman Bjørvika .
Photo: VisitOSLO / Tord Baklund
Oslo main library Deichman Bjørvika .
Photo: VisitOSLO / Tord Baklund

The Danish art historian is the director of the National Museum in Oslo. Before she moved to Bærum just outside of Oslo, she lived in several European cities, including Copenhagen, Berlin, and Paris.

Oslo main library Deichman Bjørvika .
Photo: VisitOSLO / Tord Baklund
Oslo main library Deichman Bjørvika .
Photo: VisitOSLO / Tord Baklund

The Danish art historian is the director of the National Museum in Oslo. Before she moved to Bærum just outside of Oslo, she lived in several European cities, including Copenhagen, Berlin, and Paris.

Photo:
Karin Hindsbo .
Photo: Annar Bjørgli / Nasjonalmuseet

Hindsbo’s tips for cultural experiences in Oslo

Culture by the Oslofjord: Many of Oslo’s most exciting cultural attractions can be found along the harbour promenade, a five-kilometre stretch that runs from Filipstad to Sørenga. A few highlights to explore are the modern art museum Astrup Fearnley, Oslo City Hall, Oslo Opera House, and the main library Deichman Bjørvika. We can also look forward to two major museums opening next year: the National Museum and the Munch Museum.

Pit stop: Enjoy a tasty and reasonably priced meal in the Vippa food hall, just by the fjord.

Lido and sculptures: If you need to cool off when you arrive at Sørenga, you can go for a dip in the sea. For more art, the Ekebergparken sculpture park is just up the hill. This is a wonderful recreational area with a good mix of natural and cultural experiences.

The National Museum: In June 2022, a revamped National Museum will open its doors to exhibition areas that cover a total of 10,000 square metres in 90 rooms. Dive into art, design, and architectural goodies from the classical age up to our time. Be sure to check out Lyshallen, a brand new showroom with a seven-metre-high ceiling. The museum will also have a roof terrace, where visitors can get a drink or something to eat while they enjoy a grand view of Oslo City Hall, Akershus Fortress, and the fjord.

The sound of music: Treat yourself to a performance at The Norwegian Opera and Ballet in Bjørvika. And remember that Oslo has a highly regarded philharmonic orchestra. Their magnificent concerts are internationally renowned and definitely worth a listen.

Great grub: Katla in Universitetsgata serves up an eclectic mix of Nordic, Asian, and Latin American flavours. Try a few tapas at the bar or go for the whole enchilada, which in this case consists of a set menu with eight dishes.

Gallery Thursday: Arrive a day early and start your stay with a gallery evening. Many galleries, museums, and other venues around the city open new exhibitions on Thursdays.

While you’re here: If you want a gastronomical adventure, Oslo has several Michelin restaurants. For more inspiration, check out other cool activities Oslo has to offer.

Portrait of Karin Hindsbo, Norway
Karin Hindsbo.
Photo: Annar Bjørgli / Nasjonalmuseet

Karin Hindsbo

Saturday with the locals

“Every neighbourhood in Oslo has its own charm. Diverse Grønland. Hipster Grunerløkka. Trendy Tøyen. And of course fashionable Frogner, and lively Majorstuen, where you can pick up vintage bargains at the flea market Vestkanttorget every Saturday”, says Helle Øder Valebrokk.

Syverkiosken in Oslo .
Photo: Didrick Stenersen
Syverkiosken in Oslo .
Photo: Didrick Stenersen

Valebrokk is one of Norway’s most famous food and travel writers. She has published a cookbook and runs the blog helleskitchen.org.

Syverkiosken in Oslo .
Photo: Didrick Stenersen
Syverkiosken in Oslo .
Photo: Didrick Stenersen

Valebrokk is one of Norway’s most famous food and travel writers. She has published a cookbook and runs the blog helleskitchen.org.

Photo:
Helle Øder Valebrokk .
Photo: Private / Helle Øder Valebrokk

Valebrokk’s tips for a Saturday with the locals in Oslo

Fashionable Frogner: Follow up a stroll in the Vigeland sculpture park (Frognerparken) with a visit to the lovely café Anne På Landet. Have some quality coffee, try a rum-spiked hot chocolate, or opt for a rhubarb slush with or without alcohol. They also have a selection of yummy buns and cakes. Be sure to pop into the shop Dècouvreur, which have a cool combination of art, interior design and fashion, plus delicacies like homemade chocolate. There’s nothing like it in Oslo! Two other hot tips are to stop for a coffee at Eckers or an affogato at Gioia. Enoteca is a top-rated restaurant in Bygdøy Allé. This is the place to be if you want to rub shoulders with some of the richest people in the country – don’t be surprised if you see a member of the royal family. The food is Italian, but the atmosphere is 100 per cent Frogner.

Food market: There’s a Farmer’s Market with local produce most Saturdays, either at Vinkelplassen in Majorstuen or in the Birkelunden park in Grünerløkka.

Fresh fish from the fjord: Hop on a wooden boat to the restaurant Lille Herbern, or take the ferry to Nesoddtangen and have a meal at Signalen. Munching fresh shrimps on a bench in the harbour is an exotic experience for tourists and locals alike. Grab a bag straight from the fishing boat at Rådhuskaia. There’s plenty more fish at Vulkanfisk, a shop and eatery that serves shrimps, crabs, fish soup, and mussels. It is located in the food hall Mathallen, which houses numerous other good restaurants, too.

Cake with a view: Take the metro to Frognerseteren, where you can tuck into a scrumptious apple pie while looking out over Oslo.

Top eateries and water holes: Enjoy oysters and organic wine at Eff Eff in Fredensborg. Go for a walk among the wooden houses at Telthusbakken before having another glass of wine and perhaps a snack at Nektar. Crow Bar in Torggata has a wide range of beer on tap and a fantastic rotisserie pork shawarma. For the very best service by the most energetic waiting staff, head to Grunerløkka and Skaal Matbar, which is also known for their legendary snacks.

Cocktail o’clock: Three reliable cocktail bars are The Swan, Andre til høyre, and Himkok. Be sure to try a cocktail with aquavit, Norway’s national spirit. Himkok also has a cider bar and an outdoor kitchen in the backyard.

The best coffee in town: Tim Wendelboe is a world-renowned coffee legend. A trip to his café on Grunerløkka is a must for anyone who wants to familiarise themselves with Nordic-style coffee.

Cheese in the city: Winther at Aker Brygge is an artisan cheese factory and farm shop. They also serve delicious Italian dishes and sourdough pizza.

Typically Norwegian: Vaaghals in Bjørvika has beautiful food with a Norwegian focus. Bibliotekbaren at Hotel Bristol has satisfying sandwiches and afternoon tea. If you have budgeted for something a bit fancier, Rest is a cool place to visit. They describe their concept as “fine dining on food waste”. To minimise waste, they create gourmet dishes from ingredients that would otherwise have been thrown out. If you are curious about the most Norwegian of all shops in Oslo, head over to Fenaknoken where you can learn about our food heritage and taste local specialities.

Sausages and waffles: Stop by Syverkiosken, also known as hotdog heaven, for an impressive selection of sausages and homemade condiments. Unless you’re more in the mood for a waffle, that is. At Haralds Vaffel, you get classic Norwegian-style waffles with toppings like sour cream and jam or brown cheese. At both Syverkiosken and Haralds Vaffel, you can also try a rare combination from the city of Moss: a sausage in a waffle.

Quirky places: Smalhans at St. Hanshaugen is known for its simple but delicious food. Just around the corner, you’ll find Restaurant Schrøder, which is not to be missed for fans of Norwegian crime author Jo Nesbø and his main character Harry Hole. Don’t expect anything elegant, but it sure has plenty of charm. A great place to sit down with a pint.

Bistro chill or crazy grill: Ostebutikken in Grünerløkka is a cheese shop during the day and a cosy bistro in the evening. Those who prefer their dinner served with a lot of energy should check out Palace Grill at Solli Plass, where the atmosphere often builds up to complete mayhem during the evening. Hang out at the bar and listen to country music before you take a seat in the restaurant.

While you’re here: There are so many fantastic eateries in Oslo that your only problem will be to choose which ones to go to. Plan ahead and start exploring the cafés, bars, and restaurants!

Food writer Helle Øder Valebrokk
Helle Øder Valebrokk.
Photo: Private / Helle Øder Valebrokk

Helle Øder Valebrokk

Sunday city walks

“Oslo is Norway’s only metropolis and a wonderful place to explore on foot. It’s big enough to go for long walks without having to leave the urban area. I love strolling through the different parts of the city, and explore the differences between the east and west side”, says Hanna Norberg.

Grefsenkollen in Oslo .
Photo: Fredrikke Wiheden / Making Waves / Visitnorway.com
Grefsenkollen in Oslo .
Photo: Fredrikke Wiheden / Making Waves / Visitnorway.com

A true Oslo patriot, Norberg was nominated Oslo Citizen of the Year in 2016. She is a journalist who has published two books about Oslo – one about the best walks around town and one about the best things to do with kids. She has also run the Oslo photoblog “Stakkars oss” (“Poor us”) for eight years.

Grefsenkollen in Oslo .
Photo: Fredrikke Wiheden / Making Waves / Visitnorway.com
Grefsenkollen in Oslo .
Photo: Fredrikke Wiheden / Making Waves / Visitnorway.com

A true Oslo patriot, Norberg was nominated Oslo Citizen of the Year in 2016. She is a journalist who has published two books about Oslo – one about the best walks around town and one about the best things to do with kids. She has also run the Oslo photoblog “Stakkars oss” (“Poor us”) for eight years.

Photo:
Hanna Norberg .
Photo: Oda Hveem

Norberg’s tips for urban Sunday walks

Asphalt jungle: Oslo has everything from coffee shops and skyscrapers to primeval forests and beaches. What more could you want? Well, while the asphalt jungle is fabulous, it is also nice to take a break in one of the city parks – and there are plenty to choose from. Plus, the best coffee in the world is always within reach when you stroll around the streets of Oslo.

The best city walk ever: In 2015, Havnepromenaden opened. This eight-kilometre-long walk along the Oslofjord must be one of the finest city walks in the world. Like a Kinder egg, it’s full of surprises and you get urban, nature, and fjord experiences all in one. Start in Frognerkilen and make Kongen Marina your first stop. This is an uber-cool bar, restaurant and shop by the water with deck chairs and a sauna. A great place to eat is the organic restaurant Mohn in Filipstad. Feel free to add a photo of the “Tree of Ténéré” – an artificial tree that lights up with 125,000 LED lights – to the already existing collection on Instagram. Sip a take-away coffee from Aker Brygge as you stroll past Akershus Fortress. And can you resist the street food at the Vippa food hall or from the food trucks at SALT? The trip ends in Bjørvika, where you get another Kinder egg trio; the main library Deichman Bjørvika, Oslo Opera House, and the lido at Sørenga.

Along the river: The Akerselva river divides the city in two, and it’s also the main artery in the capital. The river flows all the way from Oslo’s largest lake Maridalsvannet, which serves as the city’s main drinking water supply, and down to the fjord. Along the way, you can explore everything from tranquil nature to lively cafés and industrial history. It is easiest to start at the Ankerbrua bridge at the lower end of Grünerløkka. From there, you just follow the river upwards. If you want to bring a packed lunch, the food hall Mathallen is within easy reach – and with such a wide choice, it’s impossible not to find something you like. Leave room for dessert at Hønse-Lovisas Hus, a café located on the steepest hill next to a waterfall. Tuck into a waffle, a piece of blueberry pie, or a cinnamon bun. Give the rhubarb slush a chance too! The remaining part of the walk along Akerselva is flatter, calmer and quieter, as you get further and further away from the busy city centre.

River paddling: How about a bit of paddling? Join a guided SUP board or kayak tour along Akerselva with Mad Goats. Wet and wild!

Wow factor: Where do you get the best view of Norway’s biggest city? Just venture a little bit outside of the centre. Take the metro or tram to Storo and bus 56 to Akebakkeskogen. From there you walk up a steep but short road through the forest to the top of Grefsenkollen. One thing is for sure – once you reach the top, your first thought will be “wow!” The view is absolutely stunning. Just like the restaurant up there – it’s hard to beat a pizza and a beer on the roof of Oslo.

Sauna time: After the walk, you have deserved a visit to one of the floating saunas on the fjord. Any time of year! Thanks to the hot steam, everyone can enjoy a refreshing dip in the fjord. At the moment, it’s probably the coolest and at the same time the hottest thing you can do in Oslo. There are several saunas to try: Kok Oslo, Oslo Sauna Association in Bjørvika right by the Opera House, and Greenboats at Aker Brygge.

Go skiing: Take the metro from the city centre to Frognerseteren. From here you can look forward to some lovely cross-country skiing with amazing views. Follow the trail down the hills to Ullevålseter, a nice forest café where you can rest your legs. Back at Frognerseteren, you can complete your Norwegian experience by ordering sour cream porridge with a glass of squash in front of the fireplace in Kafé Seterstua.

Without skis: Not a fan of skiing? Try Korketrekkeren instead – the mother of all toboggan runs! It goes all the way from Frognerseteren to Midtstuen – that’s 2 kilometres with a 255-metre drop! Take the metro back to the top and do it all over again.

While you’re here: Other suggestions for a Sunday in Oslo are to explore the city by bike, go for a walk in the forest, and visit a climbing park. Find more outdoor activities in Oslo.

Plan your trip to Oslo today! Get the best offers from our partners Radisson Blu Hotels, Scandic Hotels, Nordic Choice Hotels, and Thon Hotels.

Portrait journalist and writer Hanna Nordberg, Norway
Hanna Norberg.
Photo: Oda Hveem

Hanna Norberg

Oslo also offers …

Ready to explore? Get the full overview of top attractions, things to do, and places to stay.

×
  • Filters
    Filter Your Search
    TripAdvisor Symbol
    • Show More
    • No available filters
    • Show More
    • No available filters
    Clear Filters
  • View
  • Sort By
Filter Your Search
TripAdvisor Symbol
  • Show More
  • No available filters
  • Show More
  • No available filters
Clear Filters
Back To Top

Go on a city break to …

Dynamic Variation:
Your Recently Viewed Pages

Back to top