The fact that Oslo is not among the top travel destinations in Europe is startling to many visitors that actually have the chance to be exposed to what this small city has to offer. Perhaps the rest of Norway, which offers some of the most amazing landscapes and natural wonders of the world, overshadows the country’s capital city as a travel destination, something that surely will change very soon. Effortlessly chic, and an old city with a modern touch, this alternative travel destination definitely has some surprises in stall for you.
Oslo is on the cutting edge when it comes to architecture, and the Norwegian architects have transferred the city into a modern and cosmopolitan art scene in the latest years. Travelers who love modern design, architecture, art and photography will love walking around the streets and letting themselves be inspired by the clean lines and colors and the interesting angles. Some of the places you need to visit is the Oslo Opera House and its surroundings, Spikerverket Housing, Barcode project, Storebrand Lysaker, the Tjuvholmen area, Vulkan and Grünnerløkka.
By the waterfront along the fjord of Oslo, lies this area filled with seaside restaurants, cafes and bars. This is the perfect spot to enjoy on a summer day, drinking wine in the sunset or eating ice cream by the docks. On the pier at Tjuvholmen, you can have one of the most delicious ice creams in town from the Italian ice cream bar Paradis Gelateria, which also serves creamy gelato in the city center of Oslo.
This island is a wonderful city escape, which makes it a must visit on hot summer days. The lush forests and various promenades along the water are what makes this oasis in the city so relaxing, and why it is such a popular recreation area. There are two beaches here, Huk & Paradisbukta, both of which are crowded during summer days. Even if you prefer staying inside, Bygdøy has a lot to offer, as most of the city’s museums are located in this part of the city. The most famous one is the viking ship museum, where you can explore the fascinating history of the vikings that used to live in Oslo fjord, and view the world’s best preserved viking ships, built in the 9th century.
Make sure you don’t leave Oslo before you’ve tried all of their mouth watering seafood dishes. Being a country with a long stretched coast, it is natural that most of the traditional Norwegian cuisine consists of fish or seafood. The Norwegian salmon is considered to be one of the finest in the world and is consequently also very commonly eaten in Norway, prepared in countless different ways. Other delicacies from the Norwegian ocean include halibut, cod, sea urchin, crayfish, shrimps, crabs and mussels. A wonderful suggestion is eating at the Lofoten fiskerestaurant and the Solsiden restaurant, both serving a wide and well thought out range of exquisite seafood dishes.
This is the world’s largest sculpture park made by a single artist. Vigeland himself designed the structure of the park as well as the beautiful art pieces inside. Visiting this garden museum is a great way to spend a few hours in the shade.
This summer, Oslo is a hot spot for music, welcoming several world renowned artists across several different music festivals.
Norwegian wood: This festival kicks of the summer between 10th and 13th of June in Woodville, with headline artists as Ben Howard, Patti Smith, Ray Davies and Mark Knopfler.
Over Oslo: The next festival is held from the 17th until the 20th of June, and is an intimate festival with a spectacular view, visited by many Scandinavian artists.
Oslo Gay Pride: The pride week from 19th until 28th of June is also a festival you surely should not miss out on during a summer vacation in Oslo, as it this year has a tightly planned schedule, filled with amazing events, that for sure will generate a festive ambiance.
Piknik i Parken: Next up is PiP, which will actually be held in the beautiful Vigeland Park, between the 26th and 28th of June, and features artists like Paolo Nutini, Jose Gonzalez, Passenger and James Blake.
Oslo Fjordfest: This three day festival will take place from the 15th until the 18th of July, with both international and Norwegian artists on stage, and it will be held in the modern neighborhood Bjørvika.
Øya festival: In August, temperatures will still be high enough for long nights outdoors, and it is time for the popular Øya festival, held in Toyenparken between 11th and 15th of August.
Where to stay during your visit to Oslo:
Anker Hostel – This is a backpacker hostel with great standards just a short walk from the central train station of Oslo as well as the lively street Karl Johan. Book a room from 25.80 EUR. (And if you prefer a hotel or an apartment rather than a hostel, check out Anker Hotel or Anker Apartment).
Oslo Youth Hostel Haraldsheim – Here is a perfect option for backpackers who wish to stay in a calm area with possibilities to explore the Norwegian nature. The hostel is also easy to reach from the city center using cable car. Book your room from 33.67 EUR.