24-Hours in Oslo, Norway
Updated: Apr 21
Nestling between the Oslofjord and forested hills, Olso, with its historic buildings juxtaposed against modern architectural masterpieces, vibrant art and music scene, and the reputation as one of the safest destinations on the planet, is a ‘must’ for any tourist. The city’s dedication to eco principals gives it the feeling of a large outdoor park rather than a capital city, and has deservedly earned Oslo the 2019 Green Capital award.
Here are some handy tips for the best places to see when visiting this enchanting city.
Back to Nature in Hovedøya
The tiny island of Hovedøya is one of several set just off the coast of Oslo. The 800-meter wide island covers an area just.4 km2 but is renowned for its beautiful setting with an abundance of trees, flowers and safe bathing. It is popular among locals and just a quick 20-minute ferry trip away on the B1, B2 or B3 ferries from Aker Brygge. The island feels far removed from the city and is the perfect place to unwind during the day before spending an evening exploring the town.
The Sunday Market River Walk
The Aker River flows through the centre of Oslo and the river walk is a popular (and free) Sunday outing. The river starts at Maridalsvatnet (the Maridal Lake) and runs straight into the Oslo Fjord. Pathways and roads along the way will allow you a glimpse into Oslo’s industrial past, while the Aamodt Bridge offers beautiful views over the waterfall to the Oslo University of the Arts campus. You can pick up the walk at any point along the river, but make sure you visit the markets in Grünerløkka, the hippest area of Oslo, where close to the popular Blå and Ingensteds restaurants, you’ll find local markets filled with knitwear, jewellery, glass, ceramic, antiques – in fact, everything a market lover could possibly want! (Photo:Travelettes.net)
Snap a Sculpture Park Selfie!
Frogner Park with its beautifully laid grounds attracts over a million visitors a year, thanks not only to its breathtaking setting, but also the unique Sculpture Park that lies within this ‘must-see’ venue. Over 200 bronze, granite and metal sculptures by the famous Norwegian sculptor, Gustav Vigeland (who also designed the layout of the park), prance, posture and leap in a joyful celebration of playful, and sometimes provocative, poses.
This is a paradise for the selfie-generation, offering a host of possible snaps, from the serious to the outright bizarre!
Retail therapy in Oslo, the Mecca for Records.
There is no way to soften the blow, but prices in Norway are amongst the highest in the world, averaging 20% - 40% more than cities such as London and Paris. A small plus to this is, as a tourist from out of the region, you can have your 25% VAT on purchases refunded when you depart at the airport. Ensure that you tell your sales assistant which country you are from when making a purchase so they can complete the necessary documents.
Although all of the world-famous brands are on offer, it is Oslo’s record shops that are the best known among serious collectors of all genres of music. Some of the best stores to find rare and collectable pressings include Big Dipper Records (Toggata 16) who specialize in new vinyl releases. Norway's Black-Metal bands are world-renowned, and fans of this niche market flock to Neseblod Records (Schweigaards gt 56) and Katakomben (Youngstorget 6), who offer the widest choice in this growing market. The widest selection of new and second-hand vinyl, from early Jazz, Pop and Reggae, to Electronica and Classics, can be found by browsing Råkk & Rålls (Akersgata 39), who also has an eclectic collection of kitch, appliances and strange treasures that will bring a smile to your face. (Photo: Råkk & Rålls - credit:thevinylfactory.com)
The Astrup Fearnley Museum Pop-Art collection
Here is your chance to see iconic modern works of art first-hand! This architectural gem, designed by renowned Renzo Piano, consists of three pavilions housed under a single sail-shaped glass roof, with stunning views over Oslo’s harbour.
The numerous curated pieces, including Damien Hirst’s formaldehyde animals, and works by David Hockney and Gilbert & George, are just a part of the paintings, sculptures and installations that make up one of the most important and culturally significant collections in Europe. This excursion through modern masterpieces dating from the ‘60s and ‘70s to present day is a memorable treat for any art lover. (Photo: visitnorway.com)
Getting to know the locals at the Oslo City Museum
Many consider Norwegians to be shy and reticent, even a little aloof, but nothing could be further from the truth. Once you take time to get to know them, Norwegians are friendly, warm and welcoming.
One of the best ways to understand the locals is by visiting the Oslo City Museum (Frognerveien 67) for an insight into Oslo’s history through the eyes of the local population.
Fascinating displays help explain a way of life that often seems far different from elsewhere in Europe, while tableaus give glimpses into the private homes of local families, and help unfold this country’s intriguing past.
While there make sure to take the free 15-minute tour of the City Hall, home to Oslo’s administrative body and the seat of the City Council. The building’s exterior belies the wealth of Norwegian art that adorns the walls, depicting everyday life, the culture, and the history of these fascinating people. Make sure not to miss the frescos in the grand hall. (Photo: oslomuseum.no)
The Øya Music Festival
Oslo has a well supported and vibrant music scene hosting double the number of live shows than Stockholm and Copenhagen combined. The Øya Festival, held in August, started in 1999 and has quickly grown over the years. 60,000 music fans now gather for the largest outdoor festival in Norway that draws international top names like Michael Kiwanuka and Emilie Nicolas. This urban music festival rivals Glastoberry for line-up, while surpassing it for comfort, amenities and weather. In true Oslo style, the whole location feels like a beautifully designed VIP area, without the hordes of campers associated with other major festivals of its nature.
If you aren’t lucky enough to be visiting in August and want a great live-music experience, just scour the pages of any local music guide for information on who is performing at the many music venues that dot the city.
Comfort Inn Karl Johan (Karl Johans gate 12), is an affordable, centrally situated hotel ideal for exploring all that Oslo has to offer. It offers comfortable rooms, a gym, and in-house bistro for light meals, cocktails and a Continental buffet breakfast
The Foodie Walking Tour:
Explore the culinary heritage of Oslo with a tasteful ‘foodie tour’. Led by expert guides, it is the best way to discover the gastronomical delights of the city. Food tours in Oslo.
Finding out more:
Scour the official Visit Oslo website for all the additional information you need
Your passport to Oslo
The Oslo Pass is a value-for-money pass that gives you access to free transport (car, tram and boat) and free entry, or substantial concessions, into many of the city’s main attractions. including discounts at select restaurants.
Article compiled and written for Red Flower-UK
© Andrew Knapp – The Design Train
NOTE: The author does not own the copyright of photos and images used within this article and credits have been given where possible