Oslo, the Viking city, the culture city, the winter capital, the city of rolling green hills and spectacular fjords is the capital city of Norway, aptly credited with many adjectives. The city breathes adventure with rich history pulsing through its veins. Soak in the beauty of the Vigeland Park and feel the wind in your hair as you ski down the jewelled snow clad slopes of Oslo. To make the most of your holidays in Oslo, we have listed the top highlights of Oslo such as the top landmarks, top bar and must do activities in Oslo. We have also painted a picture of the communication, transport system for your easier navigation in Oslo.
Akershus Fortress (Akershus festning):
The construction for Arkeshus Fortress was started under the reign of King Haakon V to defend Oslo against invaders. The fortress is medieval in structure and has had a colourful history throughout its existence. This medieval structure has been used as a prison housing some notorious criminals. There is a Royal Mausoleum in the castle where the Norwegian Royalty lies buried.
National Gallery (Nasjonalgalleriet):
The National Gallery offers a feast for the art lovers as it houses a vast collection of sculptures, paintings and drawings. Not to be missed are the paintings 'Madonna' and 'Scream' by Edward Munich. The older exhibits of the museum prominently feature artworks from Norway. French impressionist paintings and artwork by artists from all over the globe is housed here.
The Norwegian Opera & Ballet (Den Norske Opera & Ballett):
The Opera House sits amidst the Old harbour and makes a spectacular architectural landmark for the area. For the first time visitors can literally walk on the roof of the Opera house. You can buy great collections of CD's at the Opera and there are many gourmet opportunities for the food lover. A workforce of over 600 people is employed for the smooth management of the Opera House.
The Polar Ship Fram - Come aboard the 'Fram' the polar ship to travel to the farthest north and south corners of the earth. The tales of the explorers as they charted the ship through water and ice, literally, makes for a fascinating journey. Visitors can have a close look of this legendary ship at the museum. A lot of paraphernalia related to polar expeditions is housed here.
Natural History Museum (Naturhistorisk museum):
The star attraction of the museum is 'Ida' the fossil of an early primate. It is the most complete and also the oldest fossils known today. The exhibits for the museum have been collected and preserved for a span of almost 200 years. It is an interesting journey through the geographical and zoological museum. The Botanical gardens are rejuvenating while also being informative and enlightening.
The Kon-Tiki Museum:
The Kon-Tiki museum houses the collection of exhibits from the famous expeditions of the Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl. It has exhibits from the expeditions of Tigris, Kon-Tiki, Fatu-Hiva , Easter Island and Ra. The raft used for his journey from South America through the Pacific Ocean to the Polynesian islands is stored here. A whale shark, the largest fish in the world has found a home in the basement of the museum.
Norwegian Museum of Cultural History (Norsk Folkemuseum):
The Norsk Folkemuseum is an open air museum with over 150 buildings. Notable among these is the medieval Gol Stave Church that dates back to 1200 A.D. The life and people in different regions of Norway through different periods are exhibited here. The dissimilarity between the way of life for country and town, among different social classes is also highlighted in these exhibits.
The Viking Ship Museum (Vikingskipshuset):
The Viking ship museum is a foray into the life and culture of Vikings. The star attractions of the museum namely the Viking ships Gokstad, Tune and Oseberg. Different domestic items, sledges, carts, tools, jewellery and textiles from the Viking age are displayed here. You can buy replicas for the Viking ships, jewellery, wood carvings and even bouts dedicated to Vikings from the museum store.
TusenFryd Amusement Park:
Featuring dozens of scintillating rides, the TusenFryd Amusement Park is wonderful for the enjoyment of the whole family. A part of the park is dedicated only to younger children so even your tiny tots can have a blast at the park. There are many games to be played and many delicacies to be savoured at the amusement park. Beach volleyball, a river, a swimming pool and a triple slide are the added attractions during summer.
Vigeland Sculpture Park (Vigelandsparken):
The Vigeland Sculpture Park is a world renowned attraction of Oslo and a popular landmark. The park is over 80 acres and has sculptures designed by Gustav Vigeland in granite and bronze. There is a section of the park dedicated to children where bronze statues of children engaged in play are portrayed. The whole theme of the park is the human condition and portrays figures in different moods.
Smudget is a godsend for music lovers. It hosts over 600 live music concerts in a year. The audience coming to the club ranges from all age groups and amounts for a vivid and charged atmosphere. Fans of jazz, blues, funk, soul, rock and R&B can find their home here!
Located right along the Akerselva River, Blaa sports a great atmosphere and is a pleasure to visit at any given time. This is a hot and happening place for followers of house, jazz, hip hop and electronic.
Bar Boca is a throw back to the 50's and 60's. It takes you back in time with its vibrant atmosphere accompanied by delightful cocktails and drinks catered by professional bartenders.
The Parkteatret is a great place to hang out whether you are in the mood for a drink, coffee or a light snack. It houses a quality selection of cocktails and drinks along with rich coffee and tasteful sandwiches from Hotel Havana.
Champagneria has a lot to recommend itself for, ranging from a tangible live atmosphere to quality drinks served in a thrilling ambience. For the wine buffs there is a wide variety available with or without bubble in all price ranges!
Fishing in the Oslo Fjords:
A trip to Oslo is incomplete without exploring the amazing beauty of the Fjords. The islands near the Fjord have their own distinct character and will enjoy exploring inch of it. Discover the abbey ruins at the Hovedøya, find rabbits at Gressholmen and relax in cosy cabins at the edge of the water in Bleikøya, Lindøya and Nakholmen.
Experience the thrill of skiing at the Oslo Winter Park Tryvann (Tryvann Vinterpark). Take the rides of your life while alpine skiing, snow boarding and skiing at this winter park. There are slopes that will suit children, youngsters, adults and even beginners.
Bicycling in Oslo:
There are many cycle routes in Oslo that offer splendid views. You can explore the forest trail on a mountain bike or discover trails along the Round Nøklevann Lake route offering scenic views of the rolling hills and the Ulsrudvann Lake.
Norwegian Evening Cruise on the Fjord:
Climb aboard a traditional wooden sail and cruise through the network of green islands, adorned with summer houses in the Oslo Fjord.
The Akerselva River is the pulse of the Oslo city. It never remains the same and changes form throughout the different seasons that is fascinating to observe. The river offers a wealth of outdoor opportunities such as swimming, fishing, hiking, walking, bathing and bicycling along the river.
Oslo mini cruise:
Embark on a boat from Oslo City Hall to explore the breathtakingly beautiful islands of the Oslo Fjord and the inner harbour. Here uncover the history of the medieval Akershus fortress that protected Oslo from sea attacks in times of lore.
There are many popular routes for sledding in Oslo. Feel the exhilaration and thrill of the embracing snow as you rush down snow clad paths. Some of the popular places for sledding in Oslo are from Akebakken and from Frognerparken.
Oslo City Hop on Hop off tour:
Climb aboard a Double Decker bus with an open-top view of the most interesting locations of the city. You can plan your itinerary at your own pace. You can view some of the best attractions in Oslo this way. Bus stops include the focal sights of Oslo such as the Vigeland Park, Folk Museum or the Fram Polar Ship Museum.
Oslo features many happening clubs and bars in the city. It is particularly notorious for its jazz scene. Many clubs just serve food during the day and turn into a nightclub when the sun goes down with pulsing music, pounding beats replete with DJ's and cocktails.
Oslo has a rich culture and a deep history that can be journeyed through the various museums dotting the city. The Fram Museum makes us live the adventures of the polar explorers while the Viking Ship Museum brings alive the daring and courage of the Viking warriors.
Q.1) What are the museums located at Bygdoy and is it possible to visit them all in a day?
Ans: The museums located at Bygdoy are Norwegian Maritime Museum, The Viking Ship Museum, Kon-Tiki Museum, Norwegian Museum of Cultural History, Fram Museum and the Oscarshall museum in summer. One day is sufficient to visit all these museums.
Q.2) Why is Oslo, called a Viking city?
Ans: Oslo has a rich and adventurous history of Vikings. Many artefacts belonging to the Viking age are proudly displayed at the Viking Ship Museum. With Vikings forming such an integral part of the Oslo soil it is natural for Oslo to be hailed as the Viking city.
Q.3) What are the attractions for children in Oslo?
Ans: Oslo is a very children friendly city and there are plenty of attractions for children in Oslo such as the TusenFryd Amusement Park, International Museum of Children's Art, the open farm at with animals at Bogstad, the Natural history museum and many more.
Q.4) Is Oslo gay friendly?
Ans: Oslo is liberal in its views and there are many places in Oslo that are popular gay hangouts.
Q.5) Where is the tourist information centre located in Oslo?
Ans: There are three tourist information centres in Oslo. The centre at the cruise ship terminal is open when a cruise ship arrives. The information centres at the City Hall and Central station are open throughout the year.
Q.6) What is the most popular tourist attraction in Oslo?
Ans: The Vigeland Park is the most popular and visited destination in Oslo. Entry to the park is free and the sculptures at the park are a spectacular sight to behold.
Q.7) Is Oslo safe for tourists and are there any places that I should avoid??
Ans: Oslo is considered as one of the safest cities in the world. You should avoid the Central Station and the area south of Karl Johan's Gate as it's a red light area, though it's perfectly safe.
Q.8) How do you say yes and no in Norwegian?
Ans: For yes you say 'Ja' and for no you say 'Nei' in Norwegian.
Q.9) Is Oslo expensive for a tourist?
Ans: Oslo has often made it to the top list for the most expensive cities in the world. However travelling to Oslo on a budget is entirely possible.
Q.10) Can I enjoy outdoor activities in Oslo?
Ans: There are a lot of opportunities to enjoy the outdoors in Oslo both during the summer and winter.
Q.11) When is the best time to visit Oslo?
Ans: The best time to visit Oslo is from March to August in the spring and summer months.
Q.12) What is the best time for skiing in Oslo?
Ans: Travellers will have great opportunities for skiing in the winter months from September to February.
Q.13) What is the official language spoken in Oslo?
Ans: The official language spoken in Oslo is Norwegian.
Q.14) What is the currency of Oslo, Norway?
Ans: The currency is Oslo is the Norwegian Krone (NOK)
Q.15) Which vaccinations are advised before arriving in Oslo?
Ans: There are no specific vaccines that you need to take before travelling to Oslo. However it is recommended that you take routine vaccines such as DTP, MMR, hepatitis B and poliovirus. Flu shots should also be considered due to the weather in Oslo.
Oslo has good infrastructure for public transport and a dense network of roads, rail routes and T-Bane (underground routes) for the easy communion of buses, railways, taxis and trams. Around 8 different tram lines are spread throughout Oslo. Tickets can be availed from various stations through vending machines.
Board a ferry from City Hall to explore the many museums on Bygdoy Island. The museums at the island are located close to each other so they can be easily explored on foot. Other ferries operate from Vippetangen to the other small islands of the Oslo Fjord.
Oslo also offers plenty of opportunities for pleasant walks while leisurely admiring the scenic beauty of Oslo.
Availing the service of car hire companies in Oslo is also a great way to explore Oslo on your own terms.
Oslo has a vast and comprehensive bus system. Around 50 different bus routes operate throughout the city. Tickets are available for purchase from the drivers and buses leave from Jerbanetorget which is located opposite the Oslo station. The frequent and varied bus routes makes travelling by bus in Oslo a comfortable experience.
When you arrive at the Oslo airport it is best to order a taxi from the booth at the terminal. Coming outside and flagging one usually costs more.
Taxis can be hailed in Oslo from the street or from the many taxi ranks available all around the city. It is not necessary to select a taxi that is front in line at the taxi rank. If you wish to pay by credit card, inform your driver about this at the start of your trip. Widely used cards such as American Express, Visa, MasterCard, Diners Card and Eurocard are accepted.
You may have to wait a while if you want to hail a taxi at rush hour or during late hours at night.
The Oslo Central Station forms the nucleus for railways of Norway. Daily trains are available from Oslo to reach the beautiful cities of Stockholm and Gothenburg in Sweden and Copenhagen in Denmark.
Trains running in Oslo are managed by the Norwegian State Rail Operator (NSB). You can travel by train to reach Bergen, Stavanger, Trondheim and Kristiansand in Oslo.
Local and regional trains can also be taken from the underground station Nationaltheateret which lies below subway station also called Nationaltheateret.
Availing the services of a car rental company is a popular method of exploring Oslo among tourists. Car rental companies can provide a car at the airport immediately after you land in Oslo or alternatively have a car delivered at your hotel.
You need to be at a minimum age of 21 years to be able to drive in Oslo. A national driving licence is necessary to be eligible for driving in Oslo. Credit cards have to be provided as security. There are many and varied cars available to choose from as per your budget and preferences. Insurance is compulsory for any car hire. Insurance costs are mostly included in the cost of the hire.
Oslo can be explored on city bikes except during the winter. You can rent a key card from the Tourist Information Office to use the bikes available at bike stations throughout Oslo. A single credit card used as deposit enables you to use 2 bikes at the maximum. You can use the same bike for the whole day or change at the bike station provided you check in at the station after every three hours.
Boats commute from Vippetangen, located close to the Akershus fortress to the beautiful islands in the Oslo Fjord. To explore the many culturally rich museums at Bygdoy, ferries from Aker Brygge can be availed. A cruise at the Oslo Fjord can also be experienced at discount rates.
Departures in the evening, specifically during winter may run thin. So be sure not to miss the last departing boat!
The communication network in Oslo is fairly wide and vastly comprehensive. There are many internet cafes located in Oslo. Varied shops in Oslo sell telephone cards. They generally have internet access. There are also many free Wi-Fi zones at the Oslo Central Station and on the subway station at Gronland.
The telecommunication and postal division of Oslo falls under and is managed by the Norwegian Post and Telecommunications Authority.
Telenor is responsible for the distribution of television, mobile broadband services and telephone lines.