- The capital of Norway, Oslo is home to nearly 720,000 people.
- The economic and financial center of the country, with major stakes in banking and industry.
- Known as Kristiania until 1925, Oslo is often listed as one of the most expensive cities in the world, contending for top marks with Tokyo.
- Nickname: The City of Tigers
- Currency: Norwegian Krone (NOK).
- Spoken languages: Norwegian (English increasingly spoken by the younger population).
- Best time to visit: from March to August for the best temperatures. Witness the midnight sun in June and July. Pack a coat, as the evenings are known to get cold.
- Arriving via airport: Oslo Airport Gardermoen is the main airport serving the capital city. It is connected to the city centre by Airport Express rail and Airport Express coach – ticket prices depend on distance traveled. Taxis charge kr599-699.
WHERE TO STAY
Karl Johans Gate is at the epicentre of the city’s hubbub, its main shopping and dining street: central and featuring a generous variety of accommodations, it’s favoured by visitors who need to be close to the major attractions. Old Town is the historic, authentic Oslo (from the time before the city turned modern), while the West End has the finest hotels and restaurants.
- Ruter supplies the city buses, trams, metro, ferries and rail system. Tickets are uniform and are priced as single-trip for kr30, 24-hours for kr80 and 7-day for kr220. Tickets cost an extra kr20 if purchased on board.
- The Oslo Pass combines free use of the public transportation system with free entry to more than 30 museums and attractions, free entry to outdoor swimming pools, free walking tours and more. The card can be bought for use within 24-hours at kr270, 48-hours at kr395 and 72-hours at kr495. It can be purchased online, at tourist centres, at Oslo S and most hotels and hostels.
- Taxis run on meter and charge kr23 for the hire plus kr12.80 for each kilometre thereafter. Night fares apply from 17.00-06.00. Dial 023 23 or 023 22.
- Drinking age is 18, and last call is 3 AM in the city centre.
- Grünerløkka is the casual hang out spot, with retro music bands, jazz acts and a laid back crowd.
- Youngstorget has an excellent variety of clubs and bars to appease any taste and budget.
- Aker Brygge is chosen by the trendy who favour lounge bars, wine lists and DJ sets.
UNIQUE LANDMARKS TO VISIT
- Royal Palace was built as the residence of King Charles III, who at the time also reigned as the monarch of Sweden.
- Fram was used in Arctic and Antarctic expeditions between 1893 and 1912. At the Fram Museum, visitors can tour the ship and witness exhibits that tell the story of how the crews survived the hardships of their journey.
- Norwegian Museum of Science & Technology is the national museum for technology, industry and science. Its innovative exhibits include the first Norwegian computer NUSSE.
- Norwegian Museum of Cultural History is an open-air museum and the country’s largest for cultural history. It is sited near the Viking Ship Museum, the Kon-Tiki Museum and the Norwegian Maritime Museum.
- Munch Museum holds the world’s largest collection of artworks by Edvard Munch, Norwegian painter who redefined 19th century Symbolism and Expressionism.
- Visit Kirkeristen (the bazaar ehind Oslo Cathedral), an interesting trove of handicrafts and antiquities alongside cafés and restaurants.
- Spend the afternoon in Frogner Park and its Vigeland Sculpture Park. The green lung is a wonderful recreational area, while the works of Gustav Vigeland are an interesting touch.
- Discover the leafy neighbourhood of Ekeberg, place of inspiration for Edvard Munch’s painting “The Scream.”
- Watch the action at Sofienbergparken, where the locals go to for picnics, Sunday ball games, and summer barbecues.
- Tap water is of excellent quality and often better than the bottled kind at the supermarket.
- It can be hard to find cheap accommodation – Oslo is one of the most expensive cities in the world. Bookings should be made well in advance if wanting to stay central.
- Where to find good cheap eats: Torgatta and Grønland have a wide selection of oriental restaurants and take-away joints, while Mathallen runs an indoor food hall.
- Dangerous areas: Oslo is considered very safe for tourists. In any case, this is a major city – exercise caution while walking alone at night.
RECOMMENDED OSLO GUIDE BOOKS
- Oslo on a Budget: Money-Saving Tips for the Savvy Traveller
- Oslo Marco Polo Guide
- Lonely Planet Norway
Recommended trip duration: 3-4 days