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Oslo


Exploring Oslo

Snuggled up between mountains and fjords, the capital of Norway offers both magnificent scenery and buzzing city life. This Scandinavian metropolis is just small enough for a weekend trip, but it's a buffet of amazing experiences. Uncover Oslo's amazing food scene, beautiful architecture, and local hidden gems. Or use Oslo as a starting point for day trips in the Greater Oslo area.

A Day in Oslo

Start your morning in the bohemian neighborhood of Grünerløkka. Order a coffee and a cinnamon brioche at Kaffebrenneriet. Find a table outside and watch life passing by at the busy Olaf Ryes Plass. Head out to explore the former immigrant neighborhood turned hipster hub. Grünerløkka is scattered with vintage shops, small designer boutiques, and weekend flea markets. Spend the morning searching for treasures. 

When finished, follow the path along Akerselva. Walk under the trees, passing old, industrial buildings once home to Oslo's textile industry. A little downstream, you will find the neighborhood of Vulkan. The former industrial site is now a hip residential area. Visit the Mathallen, a foodies paradise in a large factory building. A great stop for lunch or for shopping for local specialties. 

Continue downriver. Pop in at Blå, an iconic music venue, and bar located in an old factory building. At night when the lights are lit and the jazz is playing, this is a must-visit. During the day they are open for coffee or a cold beer. On weekends, Blå also hosts a Sunday market. Looking for more nightlife gems, Ingensteds across the river is worth a visit too.

The path along Akerselva can take you all the way to the harbor. Pay a visit to the impressive Oslo Operahouse. The building's roof in marble and glass is walkable and a spectacular place for a rooftop rest.  

Make your way to Sørenga Sjøbad at the tip of the hip new neighborhood, Sørenga. A public recreational area with a large seawater swimming pool. Grab a table at one of the many restaurants along the waterfront or buy your dinner at a nearby grocery shop. Enjoy your dinner with views of the Oslo skyline and Hovedøya Island. A perfect ending to a long day of walking.

Getting There

By Plane

Oslo has one international airport, Gardermoen, just 45 kilometers outside the city. The airport has easy access to downtown Oslo. Flytoget, a shuttle train, will take you downtown in just 20 minutes for NOK 160 one way. 

Taxis are also available from outside the airport. Bear in mind, the taxis in Oslo are expensive. A trip from Gardermoen to Oslo city center will easily cost you NOK 800. Uber is a little less expensive, but a trip from Gardermoen to downtown Oslo can still cost you a little under NOK 700. 

By Train 

Oslo is connected by train with several larger cities in Scandinavia. All trains, both local, regional and international will arrive directly in the city center at the Oslo Central Station

By Bus 

You can travel to Oslo by coach from cities around Scandinavian. Flixbus or Vy Bus4you will take you to Oslo from either Stockholm, Sweden, or Copenhagen, Denmark. 

By Car 

Driving in Norway is both comfortable and safe. The roads are in general well kept, but city traffic can be a hassle. Oslo roads are subject to tolls. The price differs between the type of vehicle and the time of day. The larger roads inside Oslo city are underground. The underground highways are signed but can be difficult to navigate.  

By Boat 

You can reach Oslo by ferry from Copenhagen or Frederikshavn, Denmark with DFDS. DFDS offers modern facilities, restaurants, and tax-free shopping. Travel time from Copenhagen is 17 hours. Oslo is also connected by ferry to Kiel, Germany with Colorline. Just as the DFDS, Colorline offers facilities for entertainment and dining. The sailing time is 20 hours. Both are car ferries. 

Getting Around

By foot

In Oslo most attractions are within walking distance of each other, making Oslo a perfect city to explore on foot. 

Public Transport

Using the public transportation system is an easy and convenient way to get around Oslo. The Oslo Ruter Public Transportation is clean, extensive, and well-organized. It consists of the metro, the tram, and several local bus lines. 

The T-bane is a 5 line metro covering most of downtown as well as a few suburbs. Look for the round sign with the blue T. 

The trams and busses cover all of Oslo, including the suburbs. Both are reliable and easy to navigate. Making them a great way to visit sights, like Holmekollen or Maridalsvannet in the outskirts of the city. 

Fares are determined by a zone system. Zone 1 covers all of downtown Oslo. A single ticket is NOK 38 for adults and NOK 19 for children and seniors. It's also possible to buy a 24-hour ticket costing NOK 114 for adults and NOK 57 for children and seniors. 7-days tickets and 30-days tickets are also available. 

Purchase the ticket beforehand, when buying a ticket onboard a quite substantial surcharge applies. 

By Bike

Oslo's city bikes have 250 city bike stations around Oslo. Download the Oslo bysykkel app that unlocks the bike and go. A day pass will cost you NOK 49. Keep in mind that you need to change your bike every 60 minutes. The app can tell you where to find the nearest city bike station. 

If you wish to avoid changing bikes every 60 minutes, it is also possible to rent bikes. At Viking Bike Rental, you can choose between different kinds of bikes including kids bikes, bikes with child seats, mountain bikes, or even electric bikes. Rates differ depending on the type of bike. 

Donkey Republic is a combination of the cheap and easy city bike and a classic bike rental. Using an app you can pick up and drop off a bike at any of the drop-off locations. It is possible to keep a Donkey Republic bike for up to a week. 

When to Visit

Oslo is charming all year round. In the end, it all comes down to the clothes you pack in your suitcase. Expect freezing temperatures and fewer daylight hours during Winter. It may be cold and dark, but winter is perfect for combining a city escape with winter sports or to enjoy the city's magical Christmas lights. Just make sure you bring your warmest clothes.

Summer is the most popular time to visit. The daylight lingers for long, making the nights short. Temperatures and weather can vary, from hot and sunny to chilly and rainy. Bring a sweater for colder days and a raincoat for summer sprinkles. 

Spring and fall in Oslo are beautiful as well. Just remember to pack clothes for all seasons, you might get them all in one day. 

Where to Stay

Accommodation in Oslo is plentiful but can be pricey. 

If luxury is your thing, the Clarion Hotel The Hub, placed between the Central Station and the Royal Castle will put you within walking distance of all of Oslo's city center sights. As does the Amerikalinjen Hotel in the heart of Oslo. 

Downtown doesn't have to mean expensive. Hotell Bondeheimen offers a central location at reasonable prices. As does the elegant Cochs Pension. The Comfort Hotel Xpress Central Station provides simplicity and comfort right next to the Central Station. 

A little further out, the budget-friendly Anker Hostel offers easy access to the city center. The Oslo Hostel Ronningen may be off the beaten track but offers free bikes, a coffee bar, and wonderful views. 

Airbnb is an option too. Choose between cozy studios, luxurious penthouses, small townhouses, or even a boat on the fjord. Oslo is full of unique accommodation possibilities for every budget. 

Budget

Oslo, and Norway, can be hard on your wallet, but even though the capital might be the world's most expensive place to buy a beer, it is still possible to visit the city on any budget. 

When traveling to Oslo on a luxury budget (NOK 2000 or more per person a day) anything is possible. Stay at a luxury hotel overlooking the Oslo fjord. Eat out every day. Try Oslo's best restaurants like Rest or Smalhans. Choose the wine menu. Hail a taxi when you are ready to head home. Spending money in Oslo is effortless. 

Oslo on a medium budget (around NOK1000 per person per day) requires being a little bit more mindful. Oslo offers some great mid-range accommodations like The Comfort Hotel Xpress Central Station. Choose an Airbnb a little outside of the city center. Renting a room instead of a whole apartment also helps keep the cost down. Eat home most days, if your accommodation allows it. Try eating out for lunch instead of dinner, lunch menus are often cheaper. Use public transportation or take a bike. A medium budget can involve a couple of paid attractions or museums.

Traveling on a low budget (of NOK600 or less) can be more of a challenge, but not undoable. Stay at hostels, preferably shared rooms. Cook all your meals yourself. Buy groceries at cheaper stores like Rema 1000 and Kiwi. Avoid going out for drinks. A few beers can easily add NOK 100 or more to your budget. Walk when possible. Take the bike or public transportation occasionally. Enjoy free activities like window shopping at Bogstadveien shopping street or swimming at Sørenga Sjøbad. Visit Frognerparken or hike in the Oslomarka. Oslo Free Walking Tour offers free tours of Oslo. Where there is a will, there is a way.

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