I had the pleasure of visiting Oslo for two weeks in late 2013 while my husband attended a conference. A friend recently found herself in the city for a business trip and asked me to share any tips. Here they are.
We stayed at an airbnb apartment and loved it. I suggest you do the same, if you too are keen to avoid a cookie-cutter hotel room.
I recommend walking on and around the opera house, ensuring you spend a little time admiring the adjacent iceberg sculpture that sparkles in the sea. If you’re a fan of contemporary art, do visit the Astrup Fearnley Museet. You will be confronted, challenged and leave with plenty to think about.
Have a poke around the stores. I loved looking at all the linen napkins, gorgeous dusters and fire bellows on offer. Norway Designs provides a carefully edited underground adventure, with an entrance at street level which takes you down to themed rooms (stationery, clothing, jewellery, bathroom goodies and other homewares).
Røst is charming and sparse; where whimsy meets function.
I purchased two scarves at Heimen and could have consumed the whole store (budget and suitcase permitting); there are high quality folk costumes on display, plus decadent napery.
If you want to avoid retail pottering, hop on the #12 tram to Vigelandsparken and roam among the statues. Hop on a tram in the other direction and head to Ekebergparken, opened in 2013 (#18 or #19 tram). We also thoroughly enjoyed exploring the Munch Museet which houses an array of the artist’s work. When we visited, the museum was celebrating the 150th anniversary of Munch’s birth.
Walking around the grounds of the Royal Palace is very peaceful, with views over the compact city. The houses in that area (behind the palace, go via the pond complete with ducks) are smart and charming in equal measure, with paintings, ginger jars and flowers spotted through the windows.
Conversely, Grünerløkka offers a grittier experience, with street art, independent stores and dimly lit wine bars. We had a colossal meal at The Nighthawk Diner, all the tastier thanks to a super-friendly waiter.
Our culinary adventures were admittedly rather limited, thanks to my husband’s dietary requirements (no reindeer meat on our plates). WB Samson is perfect for catching your breath over something tasty after a morning spent exploring on foot. Dinner-wise, we had the best Indian we’ve ever eaten at Mister India. Make sure you order a blue cheese naan (scrumptious buttery goodness). This little pizza bunker is also delicious (#12 tram).