7 tips for discovering Oslo

Norway isn’t always the first of the Scandinavian countries that come to mind when people are thinking of city break destinations, however it has a lot to offer no matter your budget. The country discovered large oil reserves during the 1960’s and successive governments have since used that new found economic boost to invest in public services.

vigeland in oslo

Moreover, the country still culturally subscribes to the concept of Jante’s Law which, although fictional rather than an actual law, promotes equality of all citizens and places an emphasis on society rather than the individual. The result of this is a destination in which you’ll usually find a more accepting attitude if you’re part of the LGBTQ+ community.

Although Norway is known as an expensive place to visit, if you know your way around, it doesn’t have to be. In this article, we’re going to look at 7 ways you can discover Oslo, without breaking the bank.

Head to Grünerløkka district if you want to party.

If your idea of a great vacation is connected to great nightlife, then the bars you’ll find in the Grünerløkka district are everything you’ll need. Considered one of the most fashionable districts in Oslo, this originally working class area has increasingly become known for its mix of street art and relaxed café culture during the day, and its live music destinations that come alive when the sun goes down.

Sample some culture in Frogner

If you’re looking for something with a little more cultural capital, then Frogner is the borough for you. Home to Frogner park (also known to tourists as Vigeland park) a 45 hectare park which forms part of the Frogner manor grounds and contains a permanent installation of sculptures by Gustav Vigeland.

The manor itself is the base for the Oslo Museum holding both the Oslo city museum and the Theatre museum within it. So there’s plenty to explore if you want to know more about the history of the city itself, and its heritage of performing arts.

Grandiosa pizza

If you’re staying somewhere that you can cook for yourself, then you need to try a Grandiosa Pizza. It might sound strange in a city where there are so many great places to eat, but this frozen pizza is available at any supermarket in Oslo, and to some is considered to be the unofficial national food. At less than $5 it’s not going to take a lot out of your budget and it’s a great way to get a taste of something local without any fuss.

Try vacationing the Koselig way

No doubt over the last few years, you’ve heard about Hygge, the Danish concept that tells you to get away from the grind and relax. Norway has a similar concept and luckily it’s easy to follow while you’re in Oslo. Koselig means nature, companionship and cosiness promoting personal wellbeing. The key here is to enjoy the slower side of Oslo, take a walk along the Akerselva river and check out the Ankerbrua (Fairytale Bridge) before settling down in one of Oslo’s great café’s for some traditional Almond cake and a coffee.

Hop on a ferry to the nearby islands

If you want to get out of the city for a little bit, you can hop on one of the ferries from the waterfront and take a trip to one of the nearby islands. Hovedøya is the closest of the small islands at only 8 minutes travel, but whether you’re looking to explore its nature reserve, spend some time on the beaches there or check out the islands monastery which has existed since 1147, there’s plenty to keep you occupied.

The best part is that the ferry rides themselves are fairly cheap at around 30 Kroner which works out under $5 a ticket, so you can explore without having to factor in much additional cost.

Visit during Pride

I mentioned at the start of the article that Oslo’s culture makes it a great place for travellers in the LGBTQ+ community, and that translates into a pride festival like no other. Unlike other cities where you can experience the usual parade and maybe a few events, Oslo’s pride festival truly lives up to the name with 10 days of events. There are screenings, art exhibits and even political debates which all lead up to the Saturday parade that culminates the event.

Alternatively, visit during Christmas

Lastly, although it can be a difficult time of year to get away, Oslo truly comes alive near Christmas. The markets are an amazing experience for foodies while you can enjoy the festive atmosphere as the city is covered in decorations. Given the climate, it’s also highly likely that you’ll get to experience the elusive white Christmas, with Oslo experiencing 5 of them between 2009 and 2019.

It’s worth remembering that as Norway is part of the Schengen area, so if the country you’re travelling from is part of that agreement, you may be able to visit for up to 90 days with just your passport. If you’re travelling from a non-Schengen country however, you may need to apply for a Schengen visa in order to visit.

Jake Carver is a writer for the Immigration Advice Service.


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