How the cool city of Oslo surprised me

I am reading Jo Nesbø’s crime novel “The Snowman” as the bus pulls out of Rygge Airport. I wonder what secrets lie behind the deep dark Norwegian woods we are passing en route to Oslo…
It’s something I will have to discover some other time; the next few days Oslo will get my full attention, the result of a dirt-cheap ticket and a curious attitude.

Today is bank holiday in Norway, the weather is balmy and crowds occupy Oslo’s terraces and beer gardens to soak up the first rays of sun this year. At the Royal Palace, preparations are underway for the Norwegian’s Constitution Day a few days later.

things to do in Oslo things to do in Oslo

On a sunny day like today, locals and tourists alike head for Aker Brygge, the former shipyard, nowadays home to a lovely promenade filled with bars and restaurants. It’s a nice stroll along the water with views over the fjord, the Rådhus and the Akerhus fortress.

things to do in Oslo Aker Brygge things to do in Oslo

But Oslo is more than just the city centre. The fjord invites you to discover one of the many surrounding islands. It’s merely a 15 minute ferry ride to the Bygdøy peninsula or “museum island” as it is also called. Between the Viking Ship Museum, the Maritime Museum and the Kon Tiki Museum, there’s no shortage of museums to immerse yourself into Norway’s maritime history! I opt for the Fram-museum, which gives an overview on how Norwegian adventurers managed to sail the treacherous waters of the North and South Poles. An absolute must, seriously one of the best museums I’ve ever been to!

Back to the city and feeling more adventurous than ever, I head for the Akerselva river. It used to be sawmills and factories that lined both banks, but nowadays the river banks have developed into a paradise for dog walkers and nature lovers. There’s even a few bars to quench your thirst! Several waterfalls gush down beside the path and, if that’s not enough to convince you to go for a stroll, a wooden red-painted house is home to a café that serves the best fresh waffles of Oslo! The buzzing city centre is only a few hundred meters away, but the “Hønse Lovisas Hos” is an oasis of peace and quiet!

things to do in Oslo things to do in Oslo

Talking about peace and quiet, it’s time for a rest! And what better place to lie down than on the roof of the opera house? Yes, you read that correctly! In Oslo one of the best places to lie down, take in the views and get a tan is on the rooftop of the Opera House! The sparkling white building slopes down to the water and is built for people to walk on! How cool is that?

things to do in Oslo

And there’s more “coolness” in Oslo! I was told not to miss Grünerløkka, Oslo’s very own “hipster” district! Strolling around on a Friday night, the main thoroughfare is packed with bars spilling out onto the pavement! For some reason it doesn’t grab me… I am more charmed by the multi-cultural district of Grønland where between kebab-shops, samosa vendors and chadors, I discover some of my favourite bars. “Oslo Mekaniske Verksted” is an old metalworker’s studio converted into a cosy bar, ideal for relaxing and deep conversations. And what to say about “Crowbar & Bryggeri”, where they serve Norwegian beer from local micro- breweries?

On my last day, I finally feel ready to tackle Oslo’s number one tourist attraction: Vigelandsparken. 212 sculptures made of bronze, granite and wrought iron attract over a million visitors every year! I can see why: the details and expressions of the sculptures are incredible!

In café Laundromat, I finish “The Snowman”. The book was just as captivating as the city itself…

Have you ever been surprised by a city that you didn’t have high expectations of? Where was it?
Looking forward to read it in the comments!

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12 Replies to “How the cool city of Oslo surprised me”

    • Els Post author

      Thanks for your comment! It’s definitely worth going to, so much to see and discover, I hope you’ll make it soon!

      Reply
  1. antonette - we12travel

    Even though I thought Norway was super expensive I can’t wait to go back. Oslo is among the places I’d like to visit, I can’t imagine it’s not a nice place after all those other Norwegian towns I’ve been too. I loved Snowman btw … and most other Nordic crime writers for that matter 🙂

    Reply
  2. Cristina Luisa

    I’ve never been to any Nordic countries, unless you count that layover in Stockholm, which I don’t! Thanks for the informative post. Oslo definitely looks super cool- especially the opera house and those fun statues. I can’t wait to eventually go there!

    Reply
  3. Jakob Gibbons

    Wow, beautiful. I always picture Norway as dark and grey and cloudy year-round, so I’m surprised to see so many lush green photos! Gorgeous photos, I’ll certainly remember this when I get around to planning a trip to Oslo.

    Reply
  4. alison abbott

    Ever since my husband visited Oslo, I have been dying to see it for myself. I can see why the sculpture park of Vigeland gets so many visitors-what an unusual and interesting group of pieces you have chosen to highlight. Nice post.

    Reply
  5. Karilyn

    I have been dying to go to Oslo! It looks fabulous. I think I might have really enjoyed the coolness factor pre-child, but I bet I can find some cool kid gems too 🙂

    Reply
  6. Melody Pittman

    I was there only for a day on a scandanavian cruise. LOVED IT! The Vigeland Sculpture Park was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. That is on my list of places to revisit in the future. Great post!

    Reply
    • Els Post author

      Thanks Melody! Absolutely loved Oslo too! Sometimes when you expect the least, it turns out a great surprise! 🙂

      Reply

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