Founded more than one thousand years ago, Oslo received the status of the capital only in 1905. Three-quarters of its territory is a real countryside, with forests, lakes, and islands. Even the geographical center is in a huge forest area. Oslo is the only capital in the world where you can go skiing in the winter and relax on the sunny beach in summer. At the same time, there are dozens of art galleries, about 50 museums, and an unusually rich cultural life. Here’s all you need to know before you take a trip to Oslo.
Entertainment and attractions
The best view of the city opens from the banks of the Oslo Fjord. From here, you can enjoy probably the most famous building in Norway and the main attraction of the capital: the red-brick town hall, where the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony takes place every year.
The high left bank of the fjord seems even higher because of the medieval Akershus fortress located on it. The low right bank is known for its modern houses on the Aker Brygge waterfront. When the weather’s great, its cafes and even wide wooden steps are always filled with crowds of holidaymakers.
Another locals’ favorite place for meetings and Sunday walks is the Gustav Vigeland sculpture park: 227 nude figures carved in stone or cast from bronze that depict the entire man’s life path. This is the world's largest collection of works of one artist.
The Oslo Pass tourist card is a real gift that allows you to optimize your trip budget. Its owner can travel across the city via public transport free of charge and gets free access to 30 best museums and art galleries, including the Ibsen Museum, the Oslo National Gallery, the Viking Ship Museum, the Norwegian Maritime Museum, the Norwegian Ethnographic Museum, and the Munch Museum. In addition to these benefits, the pass allows tourists to take part in walking tours around the city for free. As a pleasant bonus, you get discounts in several restaurants and shops and for some excursions, including a 20% discount for an excursion to the Opera and the Tusenfryd amusement park.
Oslo Pass is available for purchase at the Information Centers at the airport, at the Central Railway Station, at the Aker Brygge waterfront, in some hotels and museums, as well as online at the official website.
Beaches of Oslo
The most popular beach in the city is called Hukkoden. It’s located on the Bygdøy Peninsula. You can reach it by bus from the National Theater or by boat from the Aker Brygge waterfront. Here you can find cafes, water bike rentals, and beach volleyball courts. To the north, in 10 minutes’ walk from Hukkoden, is a beautiful and less crowded beach with a meaningful name “Paradisbukta” (Paradise Bay). The entrance to all the beaches of Norway is free.
There is over 2600 km of tracks for cross-country and downhill skiing in Oslo. Even the city’s public transport is equipped with special sections for ski equipment. The largest ski resort in the capital is the Tryvann Winter Park, located in the upper part of the Holmenkollen district. You can reach it from the city center in 20 minutes.
Tryvann offers 18 slopes of all degrees of complexity, from black to green. The length of the longest slope is 1500m. 11 lifts, including a 6-seat chairlift express lift, transport skiers to the slopes. All the trails are lit and open until 10 pm. Skiing season lasts from late November to mid-April.
Hotels in Oslo
Oslo offers its visitors hotels of all categories, from five-star resorts to modest apartment hotels. A large part of them belongs to Scandinavian chains like Radisson, Scandic, Thon, and Clarion Collection. The main thing that unites all hotels in Oslo is high prices.
Five-star hotels are perfect spots for rich businessmen looking for a luxury place to spend a week or two with a companion from some VIP dating service. The prices range from 1600 to 4000 NOK for a double room. The costs of rooms in 4* hotels are 1000-1700 NOK. The most popular 3* hotels offer rooms at the price of 800-1400 NOK.
Hostels are a great choice for those who spend money wisely. The room for two in such places costs 660-720 NOK. If you travel with friends, you can rent an 8-bed room for 1840-2080 NOK. There’s one small thing to consider: you need to buy bed linen and towels in hostels separately for 45-70 NOK per person. Another budget option is an apartment with a mini-kitchen for those who prefer to cook their own meals. The prices start at 650 NOK.
Metro, bus, tram, and ferry routes cover the whole city and allow you to quickly get to any of its spots. Two-story City Sightseeing Oslo buses run along the ring route from April to September from 9:30 am to 05:00 pm and make 18 stops in the most interesting places of the Norwegian capital. You can also rent a cab at one of the specialized parking lots or hail one. The prices start at 13.50 NOK per 1 km, and the minimum trip costs around 109 NOK. In the evening (after 5 pm) and at night (after 10 pm), tariffs rise by 20, 40, and even 60%.