Oslo may be cold, expensive and overshadowed by other Scandinavian capitals. Yet, having lived there for almost a year, I am biased by heart that the city is enchanting blessed with a Nordic beauty.
Here’s my personal top things to do and see in Oslo, the raw diamond of Norway.
1. Visit Vigelandsparken
Vigelandsparken is the famous sculpture park in Oslo. As masterpieces of Gustav Vigeland, the sculptures shaped as human beings represent the flow of life. Full of emotions, the park is an artful open museum that is one of a kind. Beautiful during on a sunny as well as on a snowy day, Vigelandsparken is also a popular dating spot.
The park is at a walking distance from the metro stop, Majorstuen. After enjoying the artistic scenery of the park, you can drop by in one of the many cafes around the area to taste the Norwegian specialties, like cinnamon rolls or blueberry cheesecake.
2. Wine & Dine at Aker Brygge
Aker Brygge is an arm of the Oslo Fjord, full of cafes and restaurants along with some shopping stores. If you are looking for a special place to eat out, Aker Brygge is the answer – given that you are aware of how expensive is to go for a main dish in Norway.
Around the area, you can also visit the Akershus Castle as well as the City Hall. Moreover, if you would like to take a small fjord tour, your boat will be ready at Aker Brygge.
3. Climb up onto the Opera House
Having spent millions of euros on the building, Norwegians are proud of their opera house built in 2007. Indeed, the architectural beauty of the Operahuset accompanied by the climate of Norway is a sight worth seeing.
Despite the fact that Oslo does have some glorious architecture examples, like Vigelandsparken and the Opera House, the royal palace is not one of them.
Located at the end of Karl Johan’s Gata, you can see how humble Norwegians can be and enjoy a walk within the park of the palace.
Scandinavia goes hand in hand with the idea of Vikings. While visiting Oslo, it would be a pity to ignore the history of the area. One of the most astonishing options for history lovers is the Viking Ship Museum.
Located at Bygdøy, the museum exhibits one of the oldest ships in the history. Moreover, nearby you can also visit the Kontiki Museum, which might ring a bell thanks to the movie.
6. Drink coffee at Tim Wendelboe
Featured on the Times as well, Tim Wendelboe is granted as one of the best coffee shops in the world. Indeed, it is more than that. It is a roastery as well as a school for coffee.
Founded in 2007, Tim Wendelboe is located in the Grünerløkka area. A popular spot among the locals, the area is full of lovely cafes as well as vintage shops.
7. Get to know the painter of “Scream”
Edvard Munch is a unique painter associated with expressionism and symbolism. Glorified for his use of expressive colors and depiction of sadness and despair, Munch is one of the most well-known Norwegian artists, especially by his famous painting Scream.
The museum of Edvard Munch has a strange history with having encountered theft issues more than once. Moreover, it is closed from time to time during the year. If you are planning on visiting the museum, it is best to check online to ensure that the museum will be open during your trip.
8. Watch the sunset at Holmenkollen
Holmenkollen is the skijumping center in Oslo. It is one of the few examples where a skicenter is located “within” the city. Reachable by metro, there is also the museum for those who are interested in the history of skijumping in Norway.
The area is rather high and has a beautiful overview of the city. Hence, I recommend you to watch the sunset from above as the view is quite precious.
9. Go shopping on Karl Johan’s Gata
Oslo might be one of the most expensive cities on earth but Scandinavian fashion is taking over the world, meaning it is hard to avoid shopping in this city.
Karl Johan’s Gata is the main quarter where you can find many Scandinavian brands. Monki, being one of my favorites, has a store looking like an artwork itself. You can also explore more brands like Gina Tricot, Cubus and Bik Bok coming at affordable prices.
10. Go partying at Blå
On a Saturday night, Blå is the ultimate place to party. Located at Grünerløkka as well, the venue is surrounded by street art.
Although there is an entrance fee with the exception of Sundays, Blå also hosts concerts and performances on a regular basis.