Oslo is the capital and largest city of Norway, and the third largest city of Scandinavia. Situated in the East of the country in a fjord extending over an inlet of the Skaggerak strait, it is surrounded by green hills and mountains and includes 40 islands and 343 lakes. Oslo is one of the world's northernmost capitals and so gets only 6 hours of sunlight in the winter. In high summer, sunlight hours soar to 18, making its climate markedly different between seasons, with cold yet relatively dry winters.
A relatively compact city squeezed into a thin strip of land along the shoreline, Oslo prides itself as one of the world's most sustainable cities. While it holds an array of historic monuments, Oslo is perhaps most famous for its modern architecture, including striking and daring projects launched at the turn of the millennium. Oslo's economy is powered by the maritime industry, high-tech and clean energy sectors. In 2010, Oslo was ranked as the world's most expensive city to live in by the Swiss wealth management company UBS AG.
Oslo is the demographic, economic and political centre of Norway. As the capital of Norway, Oslo hosts several national institutions. The city has good selection of cultural institutions and a good selection of restaurants, some world class but most ordinary, as well as night life in general. While it is an expensive city for overseas visitors, many of the best things are free of charge, notably Oslo's proximity to wild nature and variety of outdoor activities.
Name and history
The history of the city can be traced back over one thousand years. Oslo was founded in 1048, by the king Harald Hardråde. The city became capital of Norway around 1300, but lost its privileges during the Danish-Norwegian union from 1348 to 1814. In 1624, a fire devastated old Oslo, and the city was moved some kilometres west to gain protection from the fortress at Akershus. The new city was built in a strict grid plan that still appears modern, this area is now within downtown Oslo (between Akershus fortress and Oslo cathedral) and known as Kvadraturen.
The city was renamed Christiania, after the Danish King Christian IV, a name that remained until it was officially renamed on 1 January 1925 to Oslo. Traces have been found close to Ekeberg indicating settlement as far back as 10,000 bc. After the 1624 fire Oslo/Christiania was built exclusively form brick and stone, this gives a city clearly different appearance compared wooden towns like Bergen, Stavanger and Trondheim.
After the devastating 1624 fire, old Oslo (around the mouth of river Aker) was largely abandoned and the ruins converted to farmland. Today, a few church ruins are still visible under the Ekeberg hill (across the water from the new opera house, between road E18 and the railway). Beyond these ruins virtually nothing remains of medieval Oslo. Ironically, the new city Christiania was established outside the borders of Oslo, and 'Oslo' remained the name of the small, surviving settlement outside the new city borders. During Christiania's rapid expansion in the 19th century, as the capital of a new state, the site of original Oslo (old Oslo, or 'Gamlebyen') was included in the city. Due to the rapid inclusion of surrounding agricultural areas in the 19th century, a large number of remains from the city's farming history is still clearly visible in place names and farm houses. The remains of historical pastures can be found at parks such as St. Hanshaugen.
In 1814 Christiania became the capital of the new state under the Swedish crown. The city was still a small town with a few thousand inhabitants, notably smaller than Bergen. During the 1800s Oslo expanded rapidly to become a big city. In 1850 there was some 30,000 people living in the city, by 1900 this had grown ten-fold, and by 1950 Oslo had more than 500,000 inhabitants. The rapid expansion in the late 1800s was particularly related to the heavy industry around Akerselva (river) - the river and waterfalls provided water and power to the factories, ship building along fjord notably what is today Aker brygge was also important. Today most heavy industry has left the city.
Oslo, with its approximately 453 square kilometres, is one of the largest capitals in the world by area. Granted, most of this is forest, making Oslo a city in close contact with the nature surrounding it. The Oslo fjord is going northwards from the Skagerrak sea. Oslo has an impressive archipelago of islands, which in summer becomes the city's favoured playground.
Oslo is situated in an amphitheatre-like setting, with the city centre in the bottom close to the Oslo fjord, and residential areas stretching uphill from there in all directions. Behind the residential areas, the forested area of Marka (Nordmarka, Østmarka, Lillomarka) extends, with flora and fauna that is quite extraordinary for a city of this size. Moose are commonplace (easily spotted in winter), and the whole of the capital is part of Norway's wolf reserve (even if they rarely come here).
The city centre is bounded by Oslo Central Station (Oslo S) to the east, the Royal Palace (Slottet) to the west and the seafront (from Akershus fortress to Aker brygge) to the south. It's fairly compact and easily walkable. Karl Johans gate, the mostly pedestrian main street connecting Oslo S and the Palace, is the main artery of downtown Oslo. However, several of the neighbourhoods close to the centre hold interesting sights and entertainment offerings, so to explore these you should make use of the city's comprehensive public transport system.
Although well into the northern latitudes, Oslo's climate is fairly temperate thanks to warm air being wafted across the Atlantic from the Gulf Stream. Summer weather in Oslo is mild and pleasant, with frequent hot spells, and plenty of long sunny days. In winter temperatures hover just above or below freezing. Snow is most often plentiful in the forested areas and also often in the city in winter, making it a great winter sports venue. Rainfall is spread across the year, the rainiest month being August.
Oslo proper has a population of 600,000 people, or 900,000 when including its extra-municipal suburbs (such as Bærum and Lørenskog). The Oslo metropolitan area has a population of around 1.4 million. The diverse population includes some of Norway's wealthiest celebrities and socialites, as well as more than 150,000 immigrants. This has made Oslo a highly ethnically and culturally diverse city, with 28% of the city's population having an immigrant background. Accompanied by a large influx of people from all around Norway, Oslo is thus often referred to as the "melting pot" of Norway. Cultural differences have affected Oslo's society and cityscape in matters of food, shopping, crime and so on, which have all blended in to the everyday life of Oslo's population. Some areas of Oslo, especially around Grønland and Tøyen, and many suburbs east of the city centre, have majority-immigrant or majority non-ethnic Norwegian populations. Depending on the area, the most notable immigrant communities are Pakistani, Somali, Swedish, Sri Lankan, Iraqi, Polish, Vietnamese, Iranian, Ex-Yugoslavian, Moroccan, Turkish, Albanian, Filipino, Thai and Danish. Pakistani immigrants, and children of Pakistani immigrants form the largest minority group in Oslo.
The Oslo region is the country's premier business centre and has a diverse and dynamic economy with one of the highest regional GDPs in Europe. Figures published by the regional development agency for Oslo show that GDP per capita in the region was €44,190 (USD51,950) (excluding oil and gas) in 2000, compared to an EU average of approximately €20,000 (USD23,512). According to a report produced by the city's Chief Commissioner's Department and the Department of Finances and Development, the service sector dominates employment in Oslo. In 2001, Public and Business services accounted for more than 59 percent of jobs. Other major employment areas within the service sector include trade, hotels and catering, banking and insurance.
Following the latest reform of January 1, 2004, the city is divided into fifteen boroughs (bydeler). Most tourist attractions are concentrated in the city centre (Sentrum). Some other districts of note are Frogner, a hilly residential district with the namesake park famous for the Vigeland sculptures, and the Grünerløkka, hub for nightlife and the creative scene, while Munch museum is at Tøyen in the inner eastern suburb.
Traditionally, Oslo has been divided into the eastern and western parts, with the West being the more affluent, with elegant buildings and a posh character, and the East consisting of working-class neighbourhoods, growing into a home for both the artistic bohemian and poor immigrant communities.
For the short term visitor, navigation is typically related to key buildings and streets in the Central downtown area. Karl Johans gate (known merely as Karl Johan) is Oslo's main street and runs from the railway station passed and towards the Royal Palace. Key buildings are concentrated around this street, notably the University, the Nationaltheateret, the Cathedral and Stortinget (Parliament). In the adjacent streets the City Hall, Nobel peace centre (previous West station), Ministries (government buildings), the Supreme court, and major museums. The nightlife district at Aker brygge is a short stroll from Karl Johan. The new Opera house is next door to the railway station. In addition to the Central railway station, next door to the Nationaltheateret and Palace there is the second main station underground served by airport trains, local trains and all metro lines.
Oslo is served by three airports: Oslo Airport Gardermoen, Sandefjord Airport Torp and Moss Rygge Airport. Oslo Airport is the largest of the three and is the main international gateway to Norway.
Be aware that most internet flight booking sites will show flights to all mentioned airports when searching for Oslo Airport. Make sure to check the actual airport from the search results before booking. Both Sandefjord Torp and Moss Rygge are located far from the city centre, and ground transportation to Oslo is in excess of one hour.
Oslo Airport, Gardermoen
Oslo Airport, Gardermoen (IATA: OSL) is Norway's largest airport, located in Gardermoen, 37 kilometres north-northeast of Oslo. Direct flights are available to 107 airports, including 24 airports in Norway. The largest airlines in Norway, Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) and Norwegian Air Shuttle, operate direct flights to many foreign destinations from Oslo Airport, as well as large domestic networks. Flights by about 30 other airlines make this airport easy to reach from most of the world. There is free Wi-Fi at the airport. Password is sent in an SMS (a number from any country would do). As of September 2014 there are extensive expansion works going on in the terminal. Many gates are replaced by buses, part of the runway is being paved and getting around the airport itself is to some extent impaired as well. If you are transferring at Oslo, don't pick a flight with a too short connecting time.
To travel between the city and the airport:
- Flytoget (Airport Express Train), operates high speed express trains, generally taking less than 20 minutes to reach Oslo Central Station (Oslo S). Trains depart every 10 minutes. Tickets cost NOK170 when bought in a ticket vending machine or by credit card, NOK200 when bought manually from the ticket counter (NOK85/100 senior citizens, kids and students younger than 31 with a student ID). Note that regular trains also run between Oslo Airport and Oslo: they are slower and less frequent but tickets are about half the price of the Flytoget (see below). Flytoget tickets are not valid for local transfers within Oslo. Every second train continues past Oslo S to Drammen, stopping at Nationaltheateret station, which is more convenient for destinations in the western end of the city center.
- NSB operates trains via Oslo to Drammen, then on to Kongsberg or Skien. The trip takes 23 minutes, and trains depart every 30 minutes. Tickets cost NOK90 (valid for transfer in Oslo, including on T-bane, tram and bus services).
- Flybussen operates buses to Oslo city center which take roughly 45 minutes to reach the city center (NOK 160, return ticket valid for 1 month NOK250, valid for transfer in Oslo, cheaper fares if bought online, 50% discount (65NOK one way if bought online) for different groups, including students younger than 31). Purchase from the bus driver using your credit card. Cheaper fares if you have valid ticket for public transport.
- Flybussekspressen operates buses to various destinations in the Oslo area. There is an information stand inside the terminal, which can provide information about all bus services from the airport.
- Taxis can, and should, be ordered in the booth inside the terminal for different fixed prices from approximately NOK 700+ to Oslo city centre. Going outside to flag one from the queue can end up much more expensive. Always negotiate price in advance. Different taxi companies have different prices, Oslo Taxi is the most reliable. Most people with a destination in Oslo will be far better off getting the Flytoget, Flybussen or local train to Oslo S, and get a taxi or local public transport from there.
Moss Airport, Rygge
Moss Lufthavn Rygge (IATA: RYG) airport near Moss is a third airport in the Oslo area. It is now Ryanair's main Norwegian hub, and there is also some domestic service by Danish Air Transport. The airport is close to the cities of Moss, Fredrikstad and Sarpsborg, but located some 70 km from Oslo.
To travel between the city and the airport:
- Ryggeekspressen buses will meet all incoming international flights, and leave from Oslo central station for all outgoing flights. A one way ticket to Oslo costs NOK180/adults. A return ticket costs NOK320/adult, NOK250/student, slightly cheaper fares online. Buy tickets from the bus driver. One way journey will take approximately one hour.
- NSB operates trains between Rygge train station and central Oslo and Halden. A free shuttle bus leaves the airport for Rygge train station approx. 10 minutes before scheduled train departures. 3 trains per day operate from Rygge to Gothenburg, Sweden.
- Nettbuss is currently the cheapest (but not the most convenient) way to get to Rygge airport. Nettbuss buses stop at Rygge E6 which is about 2 kilometres from the airport. Price is NOK70-100 depending on departure and even cheaper for youth (up to 28 years old) if bought online.
Sandefjord Airport Torp
Sandefjord Airport Torp (IATA: TRF) near Sandefjord and Tønsberg, 118 km south of Oslo. The following airlines operate at Torp: KLM (Amsterdam), Norwegian Air Shuttle (Alicante), Ryanair (Alghero, Alicante, Barcelona-Girona, Bremen, Edinburgh, Frankfurt-Hahn, Liverpool, London-Stansted, Milan-Bergamo, Marseille), Widerøe (Bergen, Bodø, Copenhagen, Stavanger, Tromsø, Trondheim), and Wizz Air (Gdańsk, Katowice, Poznań, Prague, Riga, Warsaw, Wrocław, Vilnius)
To travel between the city and the airport:
- Torpekspressen operates between the airport and Drammen and Oslo (1 hour 45 min) and costs NOK260 for a single ticket, NOK470 for a return (discounts for students, ISIC Card Holders and senior citizens), slightly cheaper if bought online. Torpekspressen buses are scheduled to accommodate arriving flights, so after you get off the plane, most likely there will be a bus to Oslo waiting for you. If you miss the bus scheduled for your flight, you may end up waiting a long time for the next bus.
- NSB operates trains between Torp Airport Train Station and central Oslo. The train station is linked to the airport via free shuttle buses.
- Nettbuss is another option but with short interchange at Sandefjord (Fokserød). Ticket price is around NOK200-210 if bought online.
- Taxis are very expensive; a taxi to Oslo costs around NOK2000.
Oslo Central Station (Oslo Sentralstasjon/Oslo S, T-bane Jernbanetorget) is at the eastern fringe of the city centre, by the end of the main pedestrian street Karl Johans gate. Oslo S is at the centre of Norway's railway, all lines (including the airport express train) terminate at Oslo S, making Oslo S the supreme gateway to Oslo. The major express buses go to the bus station next door to the train station.
Internationally, there are three daily services to Gothenburg (Sweden) (4 hours) (schedule). Four daily trains + three daily high speed trains travel in the direction of Stockholm, (Sweden) (4 1/2- 6 hours), two of which will require a change in Karlstad (schedule). The night train on this route is sadly terminated as of January 2009. For Copenhagen (Denmark) and beyond, but you will have to change trains in Gothenburg. However, in summer a limited night train network to Malmö and Stockholm is run by Swedish train company SJ.
Tickets for the Gothenburg line are cheapest when bought at the NSB website, where the Minipris-fares run as low as 199 NOK. Tickets for the Stockholm line are cheaper if you buy them from the Swedish train company SJ's website, where the cheapest tickets can end up as cheap as SEK95. Tickets are released for sale 3 months ahead of departure, and the sooner you buy them, the cheaper they will be. Both Norwegian and Swedish pre-booked train tickets can be picked up at ticket machines in Oslo Central Station (Norwegian tickets also at other stations).
Norwegian state rail operator NSB run fairly frequent and half-efficient, though not very fast, domestic services to Stavanger, Kristiansand, Bergen and Trondheim, as well as a relatively comprehensive, but flaw-marred, local and regional service around Oslo. Their schedules are here: NSB schedules.
Long-distance trains heading south- or westwards also stop at Lysaker station at the western city border. Those heading north and east make their first call at Lillestrøm station, outside of the city.
For people using Oslo as a point of transit, it is good to note that the building just south of the main central station is still part of the train station and has lockers for rent. The small lockers are 30NOK, the medium lockers are NOK40 and the large lockers are NOK60. The medium lockers also come in two shapes, cubic and thinner but taller, make them useful for storing luggage which would not normally fit.
International highways E6 (from Malmö and Gothenburg) and E18 (from Saint Petersburg, Helsinki and Stockholm) meet in Oslo. There is a road tax of NOK25 to enter Oslo with a car. The money is used for road construction and public transport. The toll booths are non-stop, and will snap a photo of your license plate and send the bill to the car owners' house. In addition, when entering the city from the west, an additional tax of NOK12.50 is charged on the municipal border at Lysaker to finance the construction of a new highway leading westwards.
The E6 is the main north-south road of Norway, and continues north to Trondheim, Alta and Kirkenes, with branches to most Norwegian cities. The E16 runs west to Bergen and east to Kongsvinger ending up in Gävle, Sweden. The E134 runs to Haugesund and the E18 lead south-west to Drammen, Grenland (Skien/Porsgrunn/Langesund) and Kristiansand. Other notable roads into Oslo include Rv4 from Gjøvik, Rv2 from Charlottenberg (Sweden) and Kongsvinger and Rv7, an alternative road to Bergen passing Gol and Geilo..
Oslo is well served by bus from most of Europe. The biggest operators of international buses are Swedish companies Swebus and Nettbuss express. Both run inexpensive services to and from Gothenburg and Copenhagen several times a day. Swebus also run services to Stockholm. Bus4you operates a luxury coach service to Gothenburg and Copenhagen.
On domestic services Nor-Way Bussekspress is the biggest operator, with several buses to Kristiansand, Bergen, Trondheim and tons of other Norwegian destinations. These are very useful for reaching along-the-way destinations, as outside of the central parts of Eastern Norway they stop at every single stop along the way, but are tedious for travelling very long distances also covered by train. Konkurrenten drives along the west bank of the Oslofjord south to Kristiansand 4-7 times daily, while Lavprisekspressen has buses to Trondheim and Kristiansand twice a day, with cheap fares (Internet booking only). Timekspressen runs a network of bus lines in the area surrounding Oslo, most notably their line 1 to Drammen, Kongsberg and Notodden, that runs every hour, day and night, year-round. Every town and city in Norway is somehow connected to Oslo by public transport, although connections are sparse outside the main arteries.
Oslo is connected to Denmark and Germany by car ferry. Color Line runs services to Kiel (Germany) daily. DFDS runs daily services to Copenhagen (Denmark), and Stena Line provides service to Frederikshavn (Denmark).
You may also want to consider Color Lines high-speed boats from Larvik (2 hours south of Oslo on E18, or easily reachable by hourly NSB train) or Kristiansand (4 1/2 hours south of Oslo on E18, or reachable on five daily trains or near-hourly buses) to Hirtshals (Denmark). They both take some 3 1/2 hours to reach Denmark.
The port for cruise lines is near Akershus Festning, less than a five minute walk to downtown. The train station in Kristiansand is close to the ferry quay, while in Larvik the quay has been moved to a location which is a bit of a trek from the station.
Coming to Oslo in your own boat, there are some visitor's berths in Herbern Marina at Aker Brygge (to the left of the clock tower). Be aware of passenger ferries and container ships approaching and leaving the inner harbour and the Filipstad and Sjursøya terminals.
There is a comprehensive public transport system in Oslo, consisting of buses, trams, trains, metro (T-bane) and boats. The public transport is planned and coordinated by Ruter.
Ruter Service Center (formerly known as Trafikanten) is the information centre for public transport in Oslo. It is situated at Jernbanetorget, just outside Oslo Central Station, by the foot of the clock tower, as well as at Aker Brygge and at Oslo Airport (Gardermoen). They hand out free maps, give information and sell all kinds of tickets. The Ruter website has timetables, maps, route planner and search engines for all city transport in Oslo, as well as all transport in the nearby counties of Akershus, Østfold, Oppland, Hedmark, Buskerud, Vestfold and Telemark. The Oslo Tourist Information Centre is in the same office at Jernbanetorget, at the rear counters.
There are two main hubs for public transport inside the city centre: Oslo Central Station (Oslo S) / Jernbanetorget and Nationaltheateret (underground). All metro lines pass these stations, all trains pass Oslo S and most trains (including the Airport Express Train (Flytoget)) pass Nationaltheateret. Nationaltheateret is most convenient for key buildings such as the Royal Palace, the National Gallery, the Parliament, Oslo Concert Hall and Oslo City Hall.
Tickets and the zone system
The Oslo and Akershus public transport utilizes a zone system in which the price for a trip is calculated based on how many zones you pass through. For clarity, all ticket prices listed here are for one zone only.
All transport runs on the same fare scheme, and the same tickets are valid for all modes of transport. A single ticket costs 30NOK when bought in advance from a kiosk or a ticket machine, and 50NOK when bought from a bus or tram driver. After being stamped or activated (validated), the single ticket is valid for one hour of free travel in the zone(s) the ticket is valid for. You can also get a Travelcard where you load pay-as-you-go-credit for price of NOK27 per ticket.
There are also period tickets available; 24-hour ticket (80 NOK), 7-day ticket (NOK220), 30-day ticket (NOK620) and 365-day ticket (NOK6,200). Read more about the tickets and see prices for multiple zones here.
All these tickets, except 365-day ticket, are half-priced for children (4–15 years) and elders (67 and up). 7-day and 30-day tickets are also half-price for youth up to and including 19. Children under the age of 4 ride for free. Children under 16 who travel with an adult travel for free at weekends. As a side note, bringing a bike requires buying an additional child ticket. Student discounts for 30-day tickets are also available, but only if you are studying in Oslo or Akerhus area. Read more about discounts here: discounts here. For a short visit, one additional option is to buy a Oslo Pass which includes free admission to many tourist attractions and other benefits.
All tickets can be bought at Ruter Service Centre (Trafikanten) near Oslo S, at Aker Brygge as well as at Oslo Airport (Gardermoen), at most 7-Eleven, Deli De Luca, Mix and Narvesen kiosks and stores in Oslo and Akershus in addition to other kiosks and grocery shops near stops and on ticket machines on all metro stations and a few of the tram stops. All these tickets are also valid on the night lines, running every Friday and Saturday night after the regular service has shut down.
Make sure that you have a ticket with you when travelling and that it is validated before entering the metro platform or boarding the rear door of the bus or tram. 24-hour tickets, 7-day tickets, 30-day tickets, 365-day tickets, Travelcards, single tickets purchased in a kiosk as well as electronic single tickets are not valid until they are activated (validated) or stamped. On a bus or tram, the tickets are activated (validated) or stamped when you board; stamping either by the driver or in a stamping machine (for Kupongkort), activating by holding the card next to a card reader. On the metro and the large railway stations, you activate or stamp the ticket before entering the train. There are no checks getting on to T-banes, trams or buses, but if you choose to ride ticketless look out for inspectors as random spot checks are common and being caught without a valid ticket leads to an automatic fine of at least NOK750. (Read more about ticket control)
Almost all of the tickets are now available as electronic tickets, on an electronic travel card or on an Impuls card (for single tickets and 24-hour tickets), but a very few of the tickets are still available in paper format. The paper tickets will probably disappear during 2012.
Please note, these tickets are not valid on the Airport Express Train (Flytoget), the Airport Coach (Flybussen and Flybussekspressen) and Timekspressen.
Oslo has a fairly large metro system consisting of 6 lines. It is known as the Tunnelbane or mainly just T-bane in Norwegian. The metro covers the city centre and a large part of the residential areas. The metro does not cover popular areas close to the city centre such as Bislett, St. Hanshaugen, Grünerløkka and Sagene. These areas are easily reached by bus or tram.
To find a T-bane station, just look for the blue and white logo with a "T" within a circle. There are six lines, but the network is easy enough to figure out: all lines merge to one single tunnel through the city centre, from Majorstuen through Jernbanetorget (Oslo S/Oslo Central Station) to Tøyen, and then spread out into the suburbs. A loop line runs in a circle from northern Oslo city centre to the centre and back. The loop line is called "Ringen" (the ring) in Norwegian.
With rolling stock from the 1960s, the Oslo metro used to be one of the most run-down in Europe, but it has now been fully replaced with new metro trains engineered by Siemens and designed by Porsche.
When entering a T-bane station, make sure to pick the correct platform: all stations except three on the loop line (Sinsen, Storo and Nydalen) have separate entrances and separate platforms for trains going west and trains going east. If you have a paper ticket, make sure that it is valid (stamped) before entering the train. If you have an electronic ticket, you should theoretically validate the ticket before entering the train; however this is not yet enforced rigidly (but the ticket must still be valid (activated)).
By bus or tram
Trams and buses complement the metro network, and use the same tickets. They cover most of the city, and run from approx. 5AM to midnight, on some lines up to 01:00. Two bus lines, 31 and 37, runs all night, every day.
All tram lines run every 10 minutes during the day, and every 20 minutes at night and early morning (30 min at weekend mornings). The main lines cover parts of the city with no metro, and are an efficient way of getting around. The main, central tram terminal is at Jernbanetorget, where all lines converge.
Bus lines cover the rest of the city, as well as several ring lines. Nearly all central bus lines converge at Jernbanetorget. The most useful bus lines for visitors are buses 30, 31, 32, 34, 37 and 54, passing by Jernbanetorget and covering parts of the city with no tram or metro lines. Buses 20 and 21 provide central ring-line service, while buses 23 and 24 cover the highway ring road further out.
Nights after Fridays and Saturdays, night buses cover parts of the city with varying frequency. Most of these start or pass by the bus stops close to the Parliament building (Stortinget) and Jernbanetorget (Oslo Central Station/Oslo S). All regular tickets are valid.
Local trains (the NSB lines L1, L2, L3, L12, L13, L14, L21, L22) cover certain areas of the city (zone 1), and run out to the neighbouring municipalities and towns. The local train network spans across the city limits to neighbouring cities and towns. The local trains use the same tickets as the metro, trams, and buses within Oslo and Akershus counties, but a different pricing scheme is used on journeys beyond that.
Some of the cars on local trains have orange doors, with the notice "Ubetjent" and "Carriage without Conductor". These cars are usually not visited by the conductor, and you can use these cars only if you have a ticket which is stamped or pre-validated, and does not need to be stamped by the conductor. You may be fined NOK900 if you use one of these carriages with, say a single ticket, and a conductor does come to check your tickets. If you are unsure about the rules, play it safe and take one of the carriages with black doors and notices marked "Betjent" and "Carriage with Conductor".
In the centre, the main station is Oslo Sentralstasjon (Oslo S), which connects to the metro station Jernbanetorget through a direct link (escalators down by track 1/exit to Oslo City shopping centre/bus terminal) and most bus/tram lines above ground. The second downtown station, served by most local trains and several regional ones, is the underground station Nationaltheateret, and is located immediately below the metro station of the same name. Most westbound buses also stop just outside the station.
Punctuality, especially in the winter, can be an issue as the train system is quite run down. However, things have improved since a big program of refurbishment was started in 2010. Please note that regular tickets are valid on the NSB trains, but not on the Airport Express Train (Flytoget).
Boats run from Vippetangen near Akershus fortress to the islands in the Oslofjord, as well as from Aker Brygge to Bygdøy, with many major museums. The regular tickets are valid for local boats. Single tickets are sold on board for NOK50.
The departures, especially in evenings and winter, are infrequent, so make sure you don't miss the last one!
From Aker Brygge, there are also departures for Nesodden and Slemmestad. These run out of Oslo, and are not covered by the Oslo tickets. However, they provide a cheap cruise on the Oslofjord.
Except during the winter (approx. Dec-Mar) Oslo has a public bike service. Just get a keycard at the tourist office (NOK80, valid one day) or at the aforementioned web site before going to Oslo (NOK299 for the whole season) and you can get a bike at numerous places in the city. The bike can be used for up to three hours before you return it to any city bike stall. Once you have returned it, you are immediately eligible for a new one, so you can practically keep the bike all day long provided you check in and check out every three hours. There is also a bike tour company in the downtown (Viking Biking) which offers rentals on new DBS comfort hybrid bikes with different sizes for men, women and children. In addition to rentals, it is possible to take guided bike tours.
Taxis are expensive. The minimum charge with most companies is at least NOK80, increasing to a whopping NOK160 late at weekend nights. Short central hops cost upwards of NOK100, so if public transport still runs, use it. Taxis in Oslo as in most of Norway are frequently new, large and comfortable cars like Volvo or Mercedes. Most taxis wait for customers in a line in front of hotels or train stations, or you can order one by phoning one of the handful of taxi companies (for an extra charge). You can also flag one from the street, or go to a taxi stand.
Several companies compete to have the most incomprehensible price structure. All taxi companies have a starting fee (0-160 kronor) and a fee per kilometre that varies from NOK14-30. These fees vary by taxi company and time of day. Usually, there's three different rates: The lowest one is the day rate, usually between 06:00 and 18:00. The next is the evening and night rate, usually 18:00-06:00 Monday to Friday and 06:00-18:00 on Saturdays. The last rate is usually for Saturday night after 18:00 until Monday morning at 06:00, but different companies do have different time frames. Beware that some companies will operate with a special holiday rate (helligdagstakst) on public holidays, including the night before, which will result in staggering rates.
Taxi drivers in Oslo aren't a particularly jolly breed, but they usually do not speed too much, and taxi-crime towards customers is almost non-existent (towards tax authorities, however, is a different matter). Sometimes a taxi driver will attempt to charge you extra for luggage, and some companies do have a surcharge for this. The price structure should be shown on a sticker inside the car, but is always in so small print, and with an overwhelming amount of details, you can't possibly decipher it. Another thing that often disturbs visitors is that the taxi drivers' name and license is not printed inside the car itself. If you encounter any problems, ask for a receipt which will help you identify the car later, or make a note of the taxi licence number on the car roof.
All taxis accept Visa and MasterCard, and the card should be swiped in the meter at the start of the journey for card validation. The driver will usually keep the card on top of the meter so that you can keep an eye on it. If you are uncomfortable with this, it is possible to ask to get the card back, but the card needs to be swiped again when you arrive at your destination. Most meters are just swipe and sign, but some companies have EMV chip terminals where you'll need to authorize the charge with your PIN. There have been no known scams connected to credit card fraud in taxis.
Some people tip taxi drivers, or round the bill up to the nearest NOK10, but taxi drivers do not generally expect a tip - most people pay the exact amount by card anyway.
For general information on driving in Norway, see Norway.
The major roads entering Oslo is also used for travel inside the city. In the eastern suburbs, road E6 is the main north-south corridor. East-west transport can be done on road E18 as well as Ring 3 running from E18 at the western city border to E6 in the eastern suburbs. The smaller (and slower) Ring 2 connects Skøyen in the west via Majorstua, Ullevål general hospital and Carl Berners plass to E18 east of the centre. The ring roads (as well as other main roads) are great for navigation.
Beware to always give way to trams and pedestrians, unless overridden by signs or traffic lights. Never challenge the tram, they have a long braking distance and will in any case give a loud, clear warning if you are obstructing. In some roundabouts the tram is driving straight through the island while cars must circle, be extremely careful in this type of roundabouts. Trams are not obliged to yield to pedestrians, while cars must. Park your car in safe distance from the rails as not to obscure the tram (ask locals if unsure).
Buildings and structures
Architecture in Oslo may at first seem dull. Unlike Stockholm, downtown Oslo has only scattered monumental buildings where in particular the Parliament-Palace axis (upper part of Karl Johan Street) has a certain grandeur. This central area and the public buildings there were designed after Oslo became the capital of Norway in 1814. The charm of Oslo can also be found in the affluent inner-city suburbs of for instance Frogner and Fagerborg as well as above St.Hanshaugen park. The districts surrounding the very centre is characterised by the city's rapid expansion after 1850. These areas were developed when horses were still the most important transport, and blocks of flats from this period usually has a gate (known as port) from the street into the back yard where horses were kept. Oslo also has many exciting building projects, and the city's whole waterfront is undergoing a thorough change.
- Northern Europe has a distinct wooden house tradition. Wooden houses are not allowed downtown, but these charming houses can be found in large numbers in villa suburbs such as Bygdøy and Holmenkollen, or former workers' areas such as Rodeløkka, Kampen, Vålerenga, Damstredet, Hellerud or Telthusbakken. The 1624 fire destroyed much of old Oslo (some churches and Akershus castle remain) and central Oslo is dominated by the city that was designed after the fire.
- Royal Palace (Slottet) (T-Nationaltheateret, tram 13-19 to Slottsparken. Located at the end of Karl Johans gate, the city's main avenue.). The Palace is the residence and offices of the king, Norway's head of state. Council of State meetings are held there every Friday. Building of the Palace began in 1824 and completed in 1849. The Palace sits on a small mount at the end of Oslo main street, Karl Johans gate, named after the king at the time. Originally built outside the city. Neoclassical style. Tours inside the palace are arranged in summertime, starting in June 21. The tickets for the tour must be bought in advance from a post office. If there are vacant spots in a tour, they sell the remaining tickets at the Palace itself to people waiting in line who don't already have tickets. Don't count on getting tickets on the spot unless you are quite ahead in the line since a lot of people buy them at the post offices. There are about 2 tours in English on weekdays.
- Opera House (all trams and buses to Jernbanetorget or Oslo S then take the footbridge from the seaside exit of Oslo central station, next to the Airport Express train terminal). Norway's first entry into the top league of modern architecture. Awarded the 2008 prize for best cultural building at the World Architecture Festival in Barcelona, and the prestigious Mies van der Rohe award for best European contemporary architecture in 2009, its appearance is stunning. Shaped as a glacier or a ship, the amazing building seems to float by the inlet Bjørvika, giving a stunning impression. Climb the building on the marble slopes (summer only) for a unique Oslo view. The main highway, which used to pass just between the Opera and Oslo Central Station, is now moved to a sub-sea tunnel under Bjørvika. The huge road crossing Bispelokket, which has marred the seafront of Oslo for 50 years, is currently being dismantled.
- Oslo Cathedral (Domkirke), Karl Johans gate/Stortorvet (tram 11-17-18 or bus 37 to Stortorvet, between T-Jernbanetorget and Stortinget). Oslo's cathedral is none too impressive, but recently refurbished. Erected 1697, expanded 19th century using different coloured brick (still visible). After the terrorist attacks on Oslo in July 2011, the square Stortorget, in front of Oslo Cathedral, became the centre for afterthought and compassion. The square was fully covered by roses, greetings and mourning messages for weeks. Affiliated with the Church of Norway, the national Lutheran church.
- Kirkeristen (Basarene (the Bazaar)). The small, old bazaar surrounding the church is now used by artisans and craftsmen, and holds a couple of small cafes and restaurants. The current building was constructed around 1850 in neo-romantic style on the site of an older butchers' bazaar.
- City Hall (Rådhuset) (T-Nationaltheateret, tram 12 to Rådhusplassen, bus 70-74 to Vika, located by the waterfront, with Fritdjof Nansens plass on the inland side). A monumental functionalist building in red brick. Opinions are divided if this is a pretty building, but it is certainly imposing. The austere facade has a surprising number of fine details. Open to the public, with a spectacular main hall featuring huge murals with typical Nordic social democratic themes. Other rooms are also decorated with a variety of art. There are also some displays of historical artefacts in the side rooms upstairs. This is where the Nobel Peace Prize is presented to the winner every year. Although there is no public lift, disadvantaged visitors only have to ask and they can use the staff lift. On one of the towers there is a glockenspiel playing melodies at every hour, the huge instrument is about 20,000kg and stands 66m above ground. The building was opened in 1950 after 32 years of planning and construction.
- Akershus Castle and Fortress (Akershus Festning) (Tram 12 to Rådhusplassen, bus 60 to Bankplassen). A medieval castle and fortress built in 1299, located close to the city centre. There are several excellent viewpoints to the Oslofjord and surrounding areas. The stone walls create an exciting atmosphere, and you are free to roam around in tight passages and staircases. There are two museums here, both related to Norwegian military history (see museums below).
- Stortinget (Parliament) (located on the main street, Karl Johans gate, in the city centre (T-Bane, any line, Stortinget station, exit Egertorget). It has free guided tours in English and Norwegian lasting about 45 minutes, which assemble outside the back door of the Parliament (on Akersgata). There is a limit of 30 people per tour, so it is advisable to be there at least 10 minutes prior to the start of a tour.
- Barcode (Bjørvika, Dronning Eufemias gate, Located between the Central Station and the Opera). Barcode defines a new waterfront in the Bjørvika area. The plan for the new structures was adopted in 2003, and as of 2015 nine buildings are finished, and two are under construction. Three more are planned. While the buildings contribute to a spectacular waterfront, viewed from the seaside, they also block much of the sea-view from the other side, and therefore their contribution to the concept of "Fjordbyen", the initiative of the Oslo City Council to make the entire waterfront from Frognerstranda (west), to Bekkelaget (south-east) available for public recreation, is disputed. The buildings are mostly inhabited by actors in the financial and consulting business (PWC, KLP, Deloitte etc.), while the MAD building holds private apartments.
- Deichmanske bibliotek (Oslo Public Library), Arne Garborgs plass 4 (short walk from Karl Johan street). The main building of Oslo public library is centrally located next to Trinity church and Ministry offices. The library was established in 1785. The current main building is in monumental neoclassical style, views are partly obstructed by the ministry "Y-building". The building was affected by the 2011 bomb and was closed for 2 months for repairs. Free.
- Trefoldighetskirken (Trinity church), Akersgata 60. The largest church in Oslo. A monumental building in neo-Gothic style, constructed in red brick. The nave is octagonal with a Greek cross superimposed. The church is centrally located next to the Ministry offices and Oslo public library.
- Old Aker Church (Gamle Aker kirke), Akersbakken. This modest, sturdy, Romanesque church is the oldest existing building in Oslo. Built around 1100. It is one of the few Norwegian churches built in traditional basilica shape (three parallel naves). The building sits on a small hill in the northern corner of Vår Frelsers graveyard.
- University of Oslo (between the Royal Palace and Stortinget on the Karl Johans gate). The original campus and buildings of the University, completed around 1850. The buildings currently houses only the Faculty of Law; the rest of the university is situated at Blindern. Occasional concerts are arranged in the magnificent Universitetets Aula, housing 11 of Edvard Munch's pictures covering more than 200 square meters of wall. The room is only occasionally open for the public, but is one of the most magnificent rooms in all of Norway. Along with a number of other key buildings around Karl Johan, these old university buildings were erected in what was then the young capital of Norway. These downtown buildings are surrounded by a pleasant park - the University garden.
- Blindern Campus - University of Oslo (tram 17 or 18). Blindern Campus is home to functionalist landmarks from 1920-1930s. The new (1999) library building at Blindern is an imposing building in black polished stone and glass, it stands out as a landmark among the pre-war buildings.
- Holmenkollen (T-bane 1 towards Frognerseteren.). The ski jump located on the west side of Oslo, which was rebuilt for the World Ski Championships in 2011. It first opened in 1892 and has been re-built many times since then. It had more than 1 million visitors every year, and was one of the biggest tourist attractions in Norway. There is also the oldest ski museum in the world, opened in 1923. Walking and mountain bike riding are popular activities here during the summer.
- Norwegian Museum of Contemporary Art (Nationalmuseet), Bankplassen. This imposing building with elements of art noveau was the main offices of the Central Bank of Norway from 1906. Now used by the national museum for contemporary art.
- Hjula weaving mill (Hjula Væveri), Sagveien 23. This industrial complex is perhaps an unusual attraction, but the striking buildings at the waterfall in Akerselva (Aker river) are one interesting legacy of Oslo's manufacturing past. It was the first water powered weaving mill in Norway, and during the late 1800s the largest textile company in Norway. The factory operated for more than 100 years.
- Kunstnernes hus, Wergelandsveien (Royal palace park). This 1931 building includes gallery and cafe. A prominent example of functionalism in Norway at the transition from neoclassicism.
Oslo has an amazing number of museums. Many of them are located next to each other and don't take long to visit.
If you are planning on seeing several of the expensive attractions in a short period of time, then the most cost effective way to do this is to buy an Oslo Pass. It includes unlimited entry to most of the museums and the Holmenkollen ski jump (but not the Royal Palace), free travel on Oslo's quite expensive public transport (NOK270 for 24 hrs), and even limited discounts on some restaurants and other attractions. Students get a 20% discount on the Oslo pass. You could also buy a travel card allowing unlimited travel on public transport (no student discount on this) for NOK75 (24 hrs). You can buy 24, 48 or 72 hour Oslo passes or travel cards. They can be purchased at Tourist Information Offices in Oslo.
- Henrik Ibsen Museum (Tram 13-19 or bus 30-31 to Slottsparken. Located in the crossing between Arbins gate and Henrik Ibsens gate.). This museum has just re-opened, and is a treat. Included in the Oslo Pass. NOK85/adult.
- Munch Museum (T-bane, bus 20-60-67 to Tøyen). Features paintings by the Norwegian painter Edward Munch. Be aware that some of Edvard Munchs more famous pictures may actually be shown in the National Gallery, so don't complain that "The Scream" is not on display! Included in the Oslo Pass. Munch also produced huge paintings (more than 200 square metres in total) for the grandiose walls of the University of Oslo Aula. Munch's paintings for the Aula are key works within monumental painting and includes iconic paintings The Sun, History and Alma Mater. The Aula is not generally open to the public. NOK 95/adult.
- National Gallery, Universitetsgata 13, e-mail: email@example.com. featuring Norwegian art from the national-romantic period, as well as some art by international artists. Included in the Oslo Pass. NOK50/adult, NOK30/concessions, Free/children under 18, Free to all on Sundays.
- Nobel Peace Centre (Tram 12 to Aker Brygge, bus 70-74 to Vika or walk from T-Nationaltheateret). Includes some confronting exhibitions as well as an exhibit for every winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. Included in the Oslo Pass. NOK80/Adult, NOK55/student.
- Gustav Vigeland Museum, Nobels gate 32 (T-bane 1 to Majorstuen, 20min walk.Tram 12, direction Majorstuen, to Frogner Plass. Bus no. 20 to Frogner Plass). Closed on Mondays. Situated to the south of the Frognerparken and Halvdan Svartes gate. The museum manages the sculptural works of Gustav Vigeland and offers a permanent exhibition of Gustav Vigelands sculptural works, as well as rolling exhibitions of various spatial art-forms (sculpture, installations and video-art). The museum was designed by Lorentz Ree and built in the 1920s. The striking building in red brick is one of the finest examples of Norwegian neoclassic architecture. The complex also included a studio for the artist. The urn of the artist is kept in the tower. 60NOK/adult. Included in the Oslo Pass..
- Emanuel Vigeland Museum (T-bane line 1 to Slemdal). Only open a few hours every Sunday afternoon. Among Oslos best hidden secrets. Gustav Vigeland's not so well-known younger brother erected the building as a museum for his art in 1926, but later decided it should serve as a mausoleum, with his urn placed above the door. The main attraction in this museum with no windows is the 800 square meters fresco "Vita", (Italian for "life"), showing the human life from conception till death, but other examples of his art are also on display. Included in the Oslo Pass. NOK 50/adult.
- Astrup Fearnley Museet, Strandpromenaden 2 (Tram 12 to Aker Brygge, bus 70-74 to Vika or walk from T-Nationaltheateret). Astrup Fearnley Museet is a private collection of contemporary art, founded in 1993. The museum was relocated to Tjuvholmen, Aker Brygge in 2012. The building - designed by Renzo Piano - is spectacular in itself, and the museum offers a small green oasis with a beach, very welcome in the concrete surroundings of Aker Brygge. The museum offers temporary exhibitions, and is an established and central institution in Norwegian contemporary art. The museum is closed on Mondays.
- The Mini Bottle Gallery, Kirkegata 10 (Within 5-10 minutes walking distance from any other downtown attraction). Open Saturday and Sundays. A Unique collection of mini bottles. While the bottles are small, the museum exhibits 12,500 of them form a collection of 53,000, over an area of 1,500m2.
- Popsenteret, Trondheimsveien 2, bygg T (Tram 11,12,13 to Schous plass or 10 minutes walk from town centre.). Closed on Mondays. Popsenteret (Center of Popular Music) is a museum and location for various events and rolling exhibitions, interactions etc. within the cultural realm of pop music. NOK60/Adult.
Somewhat outside the city center is a peninsula called Bygdøy. You can get there by bus (number 30) or, in summer months (Apr—Sep), by ferry departing from pier 3 at Aker Brygge outside the city hall.
- Oscarshall, Oscarshallveien 805 (Bygdøy, landmark in the bay Frognerkilen) Bus No.30 > Kongsgården), ☎ +47 95 28 61 55. 11:00 - 16:00 Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. Oscarshall is a royal summer Palace from the mid-19th century, now open to the public. A small palace filled with 19th century Norwegian art and surrounded by a magnificent park. Guided tours. •Adults: NOK 70, Seniors: NOK60, Children: NOK40.
Longer out at the peninsula of Bygdøy, you will find two groups of museums within walking distance of each other: In the first group, around 800 metres inland:
- The Norwegian Museum of Cultural History (Bus No.30 > Folkemuseet). 10:00-18:00. a large open air museum featuring typical buildings from various periods in Norwegian history. This includes a city building that shows living conditions from the 1850s to the 1980s. Included in the Oslo Pass. NOK100/adult, NOK75/student.
- Viking Ship Museum (Bus No.30 > Vikingskipene). In addition to two 1100 year old Viking-ships (apparently the best preserved in the world), it also contains various other Viking artefacts and a Viking burial chamber, complete with ancient skeletons. Included in the Oslo Pass. NOK60/adult, NOK35/concession, NOK30/children under 16.
In the second group, on the harbour:
- Norwegian Maritime Museum (Norsk Sjøfartsmuseum) (Bus No.30 > Bygdøynes). Houses a huge collection of ships and boats and records the impact of Norway's seafarers on their own country and the world. Included in the Oslo Pass. NOK60/adult.
- Kon-Tiki Museum (Bus No.30 > Bygdøynes). Displays Tor Heyerdahl's balsa raft Kon-Tiki, and Ra II, as well as some other artefacts from Easter Island. Included in the Oslo Pass. NOK70/adult.
- Fram-Museum (Bus No.30 > Bygdøynes). Features the vessel Fram, the worlds first ice breaker and the last polar expedition ship made of wood, and presents a history of polar exploration (with a strong Norwegian focus!). Included in the Oslo Pass. NOK80/adult.
- The Holocaust Center (Bus No.30 > Bygdøhus). is also located at Bygdøy, in the former residence of the Norwegian World War 2 collaborator and nationalist leader, Vidkun Quisling. The Center houses exhibitions and provides research on Holocaust and the plight of religious minorities. Included in the Oslo Pass. NOK50/adult.
At Akershus Castle (see above):
- The Armed Forces Museum (Forsvarsmuseet, The Defence Museum), The Akershus Fortress (as above). 11:00-16:00. Describes Norwegian military history and provides an insight into the development from the Middle Ages to the first years after World War II. Free entry.
- Hjemmefrontmuseet (The resistance museum), The Akershus Fortress (as above). 10:00-16:00. Describes the resistance against the Nazi German occupation of Norway during World War II. Adults NOK50, Children NOK25.
Some other museums are:
- Norwegian Museum of Science and Technology & The Norwegian Telecommunications Museum, Kjelsåsveien 143 (Tram 11 or 12 to Kjelsås, bus 22, 25 or 54 or infrequent local train to Kjelsås stasjon). A fun and very interactive place for both children and adults. Contrary to information in the common tourist brochures this building. NOK90/adult.
- Oslo Museum (Oslo Bymuseum), Frognerveien 67 (Neighbor to Frogner Park, T-bane, tram 11-19, bus 22-25-45-46 to Majorstua, tram 12 or bus 20 to Vigelandsparken). Tu-Su 11:00-16:00, Monday closed. Museum with exhibitions showing the city's cultural and commercial development. Free entry.
- The Museum of Decorativ Arts and Design (Kunstindustrimuseet), St. Olavsgate 1 (Walking distance from Karl Johans gate, Tram: Line 11, 17, 18 > Tinghuset Bus: Route 37 > Nordahl Bruns gate). 10:00-16:00. As one of the first of its kind in Europe, museum’s collection contains some 35,000 artefacts illustrating the history. Historical collections ranging from ancient Greek vases to modern European design. Adults NOK50, Children NOK30.
- Tramway Museum (metro, tram or bus to Majorstuen). Displays the history of Oslo's trams, buses and metro. Among other things, a wooden tram from the Holmenkollen line and a trolleybus are exhibited. NOK ?/adult.
- DogA - The Norwegian Centre for Design and Architecture, Hausmanns gate 16 (Bus or tram to Hausmanns gate), ☎ +47 23292870, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. A thriving design and architecture centre providing areas for large and small exhibitions, conferences and meetings, activities for children, as well as a bookshop and café.
- Nordmarka (Oslo forest) (Marka), North of Oslo + eastern, northern and western suburbs (Metro, tram, car, bicycle, walking). 24 hours. Oslo is surrounded by wide and partly dense forests, generally known as Marka, of which Nordmarka is the largest and most accessible section (in addition to Nordmarka there similar areas east, south and west of the city). There are lots of roads and trails criss-crossing these wide forests, but no cars, only skiers, hikers and bicycles. So it is essentially the largest park in town. There are countless lakes, many rivers and small waterfalls too. Small summits that rise above the city offers excellent panoramas. Entry points everywhere, usually 10-15 min from the centre. Access by bus, metro, tram, car or bicycle. There is a fine network of high quality foot paths (roads) suitable even for wheelchairs and baby strollers, as well as many "nature trails" for hikers and skiers only. Roads closest to the city have street lights. In winter used for cross-country skiing, also a small ski resort (alpine skiing). The Moose (elg), mainland Norway's largest animal, roam the forest and occasionally strolls into town. Note: The Oslo forest is drinking water supply for 1 million people. Restrictions on camping, barbecue and swimming. Sognsvann lake is one of the most popular places, nice meadows and easy path around lake, paths continue through the forest - metro line 3 to Sognsvann station. Free.
- Frogner and Vigeland park (T-bane, tram 11-19, bus 22-25-45-46 to Majorstua, tram 12 or bus 20 to Vigelandsparken.). 24 h. Frogner park including Vigeland Sculpture Park is a large green area about 10 minutes by subway from the city center. In addition to being a nice green recreational area, it is also decorated with hundreds of sculptures by the Norwegian artist Gustav Vigeland. There is a wonderfully relaxed atmosphere here, although the sculptures are a little depressing. If your children want to climb the statues, nobody will even bother to look twice at you. There is also a cafeteria, and two museums, the City Museum of Oslo and the Vigeland Museum. If you fancy an outdoor swim, Frognerbadet is situated next to the Frognerpark with 3 pools, several diving towers and a water slide. Free.
- Ekebergparken. At the steep, green hill east of city centre (tram 18 or 19 to Sjømannsskolen, bus 34 or 74 to Brannfjellveien) is even a sculpture park, with works by Norwegian and international artists such as Salvador Dalí, Lynn Chadwick, Richard Hudson and Per Ung among others. This point is assumed to be the background for 'Scream', Edvard Munch's famous picture. Alongside the idyllic forest paths you can see sculptures, but also find remnants of cultural history from different eras of Norwegian history or enjoy the incredible views over the capital.
- Botanical Garden (tram 17 or bus 31 to Lakkegata skole or t-bane to Tøyen, walking distance 200 metres). The University botanical gardens is located just south of Tøyen park next door to Munch Museum. A wonderful and relaxing area. Free entrance, opening hours 1 Apr-30 Sep: Sa-Su 10AM-8PM, M-F 7AM-8PM, 1 Oct-31 Mar: Sa-Su 10AM-5PM, M-F 7AM-5PM.
- St.Hanshaugen park (bus 37 to St.Hanshaugen). 24 hours. A delightful public park on the highest hill in central Oslo. Great view of the city and surroundings. 1000 meters easy walk from Karl Johan street along Akersgata-Ullevålsveien past Vår Frelsers Gravlund (cemetery). The park has also given name to this popular neighborhood as well as to the larger administrative district (borough) that includes major parts of central Oslo. Free.
- Slottsparken (Palace Park). 24 hours. Surrounds the Royal Palace at the top of Karl Johan street. Oslo's most central park is a pleasant grass covered area with majestic old trees. Wide walkways crisscross the park. Free.
- Middelalderparken (Medieval Park). Ruins of medieval old town of Oslo, such as church ruins and ruins of the former Royal Estate. Location of the annual rock music festival Øyafestivalen.
- Birkelunden and Olaf Ryes plass (Both at Grünerløkka)) Two cool parks in eastern Oslo, a so-called Greenwich village look-alike area. On Sundays, there is a second-hand market in Birkelunden.
- Sofienbergparken (The largest of the parks in Grünerløkka) A lot of activities all day long and especially in the weekends; ballplay, pick-nick, public barbecue, specially nice area for children.
- Stensparken is close to Bislett Stadium (trams 17 and 18). This charming park has an old church and a café on the top, and is your best bet if St. Hanshaugen is too crowdy (only a few minutes walk away.)
- Aker river (Akerselva). 24 h. Akerselva is Oslo's main river as it flows from Maridalen lake to the fjord near the Central station. Previously Oslo's industrial heartland, now the river and it's shores is converted into a green corridor almost the entire length from Grünerløkka to Maridalen. Bicycle and pedestrian paths along. Several small waterfalls. Industrial facilities remain as memories of Oslo's manufacturing origins. Free.
- University garden (Universitetshagen), Karl Johans gate. Pleasant park surrounding university buildings on Karl Johan street, completed around 1850.
- Vår Frelsers Cemetery (Vår frelsers gravlund), Ullevålsveien and Akersveien (Bus 33-37-46 to Nordahl Bruns gate, north of city center on Ullevålsveien). Graves of Edvard Munch and Henrik Ibsen, and a large number of reputed Norwegians. Several statues, including one by Gustav Vigeland. Gamle Aker Church (the oldest building in Oslo) stands in the northern corner of the graveyard. Free.
- Wooden housing areas of Oslo like Kampen (bus 60), Vålerenga (bus 37), Rodeløkka (tram 17, bus 31 to Sofienberg) and Telthusbakken (bus 34/54). They are a "must" for lovers of old wooden town houses. These areas were likely to be erased from Oslo in the seventies by eager town planners who wanted highways for cars rather than living areas for the citizens, but luckily they were stopped by idealists who really loved their city. Their effort made these parts of Oslo into something special, even though other Norwegian cities have bigger wooden areas. Still these areas are a plus for Oslo and their inhabitants as well as for the tourists. They are not a commonly visited by tourists, and may not be mentioned by your guide book, but some of the areas have cafes/restaurants worth a visit. In Kampen you can find a very cozy Elvis café by the church, and in Vålerenga Restaurant Smia ia also located by the church.
- Oslo-fjord (boat 91-92-93-94 from Vippetangen, bus 60 runs to the quay). There is also a bathing bus (number 87) running from mid-June to mid-August from Jernbanetorvet to the brilliant beaches Katten, Hvervenbukta, Bestemorstranda and Ingierstrand, Map - English translation not available). Additionally, for Hvervenbukta you may take the train to Hauketo, then bus 76. Outdoor swimming pools can be found at Frognerparken and Tøyenbadet. Ingierstrand is a 1930's bathing resort with very special functionalist architecture (along with Ekebergrestauranten and Hvalstrand Bad). The buildings are protected by The Directorate for Cultural Heritage (Riksantikvaren), and after a 50 mill. NOK refurbishing the restaurant will reopen summer 2013. Buy a day return travel pass.
- Swimming (outdoor, freshwater), Oslo forest. 24/7. For fresh water swimming, Akerselva is considered clean north of Nydalen. The best spot may be at Frysja (bus 22-25-54 to Stillatorget). Don't forget that many of the lakes in "Oslomarka" are for swimming and recreation (Sognsvann lake for instance). Note that some major lakes (Maridalsvannet in particular) are drinking water for the city, restrictions on swimming and camping. Buy a map and bring your swimming gear! Free.
- Visit the local city district Grünerløkka, (tram 11, 12 and 13 to Nybrua, Schous plass, Olaf Ryes plass or Birkelunden, tram 17 or bus 30-31 to Heimdalsgata or Birkelunden, or bus 21 to Sannergata). A part of the city filled with cafés, bars, small fashion and designer shops, nice parks. The river Akerselva runs on the west side, with a selection of (well hidden) bars, clubs and cafés nearby.
- Take walks or a bicycle ride in Oslo's many forests. Nice gateways to the beautiful nature are T-bane to Frognerseteren (line 1), Sognsvann (line 3), Romsås (line 5), Bogerud (line 3), Skullerud (line 3) or Ellingsrudåsen (line 2), or the train to Movatn or Snippen (local trains towards Hakadal, Roa, Jaren and Gjøvik). Also bus 56 from Torshov (tram 11, 12, 13 and bus 20) via Storo T-bane to Solemskogen or bus 51 from Nydalen (bus 37, T-bane 4, 5 and 6) to Maridalen offer fantastic possibilities for walks and rural life, everything less than half an hour from the city centre. Bring something to drink and a chocolate bar (and do a bit of planning, buses 51 and 56 and the train does seldom run more than once per hour). Trails suitable for bicycles and strollers as well as hiking only can be found. Be prepared for some muddy sections of the trail as they take you through some pretty thickly wooded areas. The forest is dense enough that any damp areas of the trail don't dry out. This isn't helped by the multitude of small rivulets flowing down the mountain. Maps available at ut.no
- Discover the city and its major tourist sites by bike: from April through October, guided tours in English are available daily with Viking Biking.
- The area around Holmenkollen (T-bane 1) is well suited for cross-country skiing, slalom and snowboarding, but also a nice area for hiking during summertime. While you are there, you can also visit the ski-museum which is located close to the ski-jump. For additional fun, buy a cheap sledge or "akebrett", or rent a proper one from Frognerseteren, and sleigh down from Frognerseteren to Midtstuen station. This was actually the venue of the sleighing competitions in the 1952 Winter Olympics, and the hill is referred to as "Korketrekkeren" (the corkscrew). If you buy a day-card for the subway, you can race all day long, but make sure you are well dressed, as you are going to get wet. Oslo Vinterpark (http://www.oslovinterpark.no) offers multiple lifts and slopes stretching from the Tryvann Tower, at the top and all the way down to Sørkedalen, where the 1300m Wyllerløypa ends. Within reasonable distance for a day trip, alpine alternatives are Kongsberg (http://www.kongsberg-skisenter.no) and Norefjell (http://www.norefjell.no).
- Visit the Tusenfryd amusement park south of Oslo. http://www.tusenfryd.no Tusenfryd is the largest amusement park in Norway, just a 20 minutes bus ride outside central Oslo. Bus no. 541.
- Ekebergsletta (bus 34 or 74) during Norway Cup (beginning of August every year), billed as the world's biggest football tournament (about 25,000 participants). Lots of fun and football. Held annually at the beginning of August.
- Øyafestivalen in The Medieval Park (only a ten minute walk from Oslo’s Central Station. Get there by foot, or by taking tram 18 or 19 or bus 34 to St. Halvards plass, or bus 70 or 74 to Dyvekes bro). In the beginning of August every year, Oslo's downtown is housing the Øyafestivalen, an event which over the years has become a great festival for all kinds of people of all ages who enjoy rock and pop music. http://oyafestivalen.com/
- Norwegian Wood. Rock festival. Takes place in the northern end of Frognerparken/Frognerbadet in early/mid. June. The lineup usually includes a number of international heavyweights like Clapton, Patti Smith, Ringo Starr, Eagles (all in the 2011 lineup), as well as a selection of Norwegian bands.
- by:Larm. Rock festival taking place in various venues downtown Oslo, mid. February. The lineup consists of mostly Norwegian (or Nordic) underground or rising artists along with some more established names.
- Inferno. Inferno is a metal festival taking place in various venues downtown Oslo, late March. Dating back to the mid. eighties and the forming of bands like Mayhem, Norwegian Black Metal has established itself on the international stage. Where better to experience the sheer evil energy than in the dark and cold world capitol of Black Metal; Oslo?
- Oslo Jazz Festival. Taking place mid. August in various venues, downtown.
- Oslo Chamber Music Festival. Founded by renowned violinist Arve Tellefsen in 1989. The programme usually spans from medieval to contemporary music. Over the years artists (in no particular order) like Barbara Hendricks, Jan Garbarek, The Hilliard Ensemble, Trio Mediæval, Solveig Kringlebotn, Elisabeth Norberg-Schulz and many others have performed.
- Musikkfest (National Music Day). Free, mostly outdoors, music festival established in Oslo in 1992, as a spinoff from Fête de la Musique. Always taking place first Saturday in June.
Other Cultural Festivals
- Skeive dager. Gay/Lesbian Pride festival and parade taking place all over, late June.
- Oslo Seafood Festival/Day of Coastal Culture http://www.sjomatfestivalen.net / http://www.kystensdag.no held in front of the City Hall, early June.
- Films from The South. Film festival presenting movies from Asia, Africa, Middle East and Latin America. Established 1991. Takes place in various theatres in Oslo, mid. October. Arabian Film Days late April.
- Ekebergmarkedet http://www.martnar.no/ekebergmarkedet.html Flea market and one of Northern Europe's largest swapmeet/markets for vintage car and bike parts. Takes place early May and mid. September at the north-west part of Ekeberg Park.. Arranged by Norsk Veteranvogn Klubb (http://veteranvogn.no)
- Vestkanttorget (west end). Antiques and second hand market. Every Saturday on the corner of Professor Dahls gate and Neubergsgate at Frogner.
- Sunday Market at Birkelunden (east end). Antiques and second hand market every Sunday noon until 7PM at Birkelunden park at Grünerløkka.
- University of Oslo is the biggest university in Norway.
- BI is a private business school offering a range of courses and degree programs (bachelor, master, PhD).
- Oslo and Akershus University College has many different courses taught in English. International students, specifically, should look at the European Project Semester.
careerinnorway.no is a website specially geared towards workers from outside of Norway.
Citizens from outside the EEA area need a residence permit in order to work in Norway. This should be applied for at the Norwegian mission in your country of residence.
In 2010 Oslo was ranked the most expensive city in the world. Still, there are possibilities for getting bargains in Oslo during the big sales. The prices on famous brands are not higher in Oslo than in London or Paris, often lower even if they are not on sale. The big sales are in January and August.
If you are out to shop there's plenty to choose from. The main pedestrian street Karl Johans gate has plenty of shops of dubious quality. The street Bygdøy allé (which is locally famous for its chestnut trees) (bus 20, 31) has regained its reputation of being a shopping street the past few years by establishments that focuses on kitchens, kitchenware, interior designs, exclusive Norwegian furniture, light design and others. The street Møllergata (downtown, public transport from stops Stortorget and Møllerveien at either end of the street) was earlier known as the furniture street. You will still find a few good, but rather expensive shops for Norwegian furniture in this street. You can easily find this street close to the Christiania Glasmagasin and the street Torggata which contains a few home interior shops like KID, Hemtex and Åhlens (with a Muji-department in the basement).
- Aker Brygge (Tram 12, bus 21, 33 or 54 to Aker Brygge/Bryggetorget/Vika Atrium). A seaside shopping and nightlife centre with high prices, but lots of glam and fun.
- Akersgata (just above Stortinget T-bane, at the rear of the Norwegian parliament.). a few exclusive shops like Louis Vuitton, gold smith David-Andersen, Follestad, Corso Como, Ting. The most exclusive shopping-centre in Oslo.
- Bogstadveien (Majorstuen metro station (tram 11 runs the length of the street)). Good for non-chain stores, focus on clothes and accessories.
- Byporten (T-bane to Jernbanetorget). M-F 10:00-21:00, Sa 10:00-2o:00, closed on Sundays. A shopping centre appended to the Sentralstasjon, with a selection of Norwegian chain stores. Handy for last-minute shopping or filling up supplies on arrival, but mind the opening times, much shorter than the station's.
- Eger, Karl Johans gate 23 B (T-bane to Stortinget). High end fashion shopping right in the middle of Karl Johans gate.
- Glasmagasinet (tram 10-11-17-18 or bus 37-46 to Stortorvet). dates back to the 18th century, where you can find souvenirs, crystal, china, fashion, kitchenware, interior design and much more. The department store is famous for their large area of cosmetics sales.
- House of Oslo (Bus 32, 33 or 54 to Dokkveien). a recently opened shopping centre focusing on interior designs with around 20 different shops with their own theme. This may be the most exquisite interior design centre in northern Europe. Illum Bolighus is especially worth a visit (this is a subsidiary of a famous Danish department store).
- Mathallen, Maridalsveien 17 (Western riverbank of Akerselva, tram 11, 12 and 13 to Schous plass, bus 34 and 54 to Møllerveien). Huge selection of exclusive international as well as traditional Norwegian food in this new indoor market, and serving of food and drinks.
- Oslo City (T-bane to Jernbanetorget). a big shopping centre just across the street from the Central station. The shopping centre is focused on the young people. In the basement is Meny, one of the few full-size supermarkets in central Oslo.
- Paleet (T-bane to Nationaltheateret, Close to the National Theatre (Nationalteateret) and Royal Palace.). an upmarket, central shopping centre.
- Steen & Strøm (situated on a side street of KarlJohansgate.). One of Oslo's oldest department stores and is newly renovated and very stylish with a number of clothing shops with famous brands as well as a cosmetique and an interior design floor. On top you will find an outdoor cafe with view all over the city centre and the surroundings.
- Baby Shop AS, Ullevålsveien 11 (bus 33, 37 or 46 to Nordahl Bruns gate), ☎ +47 22209966. 10-18. One of Oslo's oldest and most traditional baby stores. It is famous for its celebrity shoppers like the Princess of Norway Märtha Louise and the Crown Princess Mette-Marit.
- DesignTorget, Byporten shopping centre, House of Oslo shopping centre and Grensen 8. Swedish chain that showcases high quality quirky design. Worth checking out for quality gifts to bring back home.
- Frelsesarmeen (Salvation Army), Kirkeveien 62 and other locations (T-bane to Majorstuen). Salvation Army second-hand store done Norwegian style! Super high quality clothes, some furnishings, and a SA café/Sally Anne (SA's fair-trade concept store) right next door. Great place for inexpensive hats/gloves/socks when the Oslo winter sneaks up on you.
- Living Large. A store for both tall and solid men, sizes range from 3X to 9X with decent formal and informal clothes.
- Stormberg, Storgata 7 + Lofsrudveien 6 (Central Oslo + Senter Syd (Mortensrud)). Stores for Norway's largest brand of outdoor wear.
- Tiger, Hammersborggata 18 (any tram or bus stopping at Brugata), ☎ +47 22 20 73 50. An old-school record store with vinyl, CDs and some band merchandise for those into alternative music like punk, noise and all kinds of genres with names ending with "core". Also a record label and a distributor.
- Big Dipper, Møllergata 1 (tram or bus to Grensen or Stortorget), ☎ +47 22 20 14 41. The best selection of vinyl LPs in Oslo! Pop/Rock, Indie, Soul, Metal/Hardrock, Jazz, Punk, Garagerock, Hip-hop, Blues, Country, Electronica and Reggae. Also a fine seletion of CDs in most genres.
- Neseblod Records, Schweigaards gt 56 (Bus 37, 401, 411 to Oslo gate or trams 18 or 19 to Munkegata.). Black Metal Shop and museum situated in Schweigaards gate in the same building that Helvete was located in the early nineties.
- Art: Siren Waróe Gallery, Parkveien 64 (Next to the Castle, use busstop at Solli Plass), ☎ +47 951 07 656. Wed 14-20 or contact at phone. The Studio Gallery of the Norwegian up-and-coming fine art artist Siren Waróe. Watch her golden art being made live and order your own dream-painting or get a print of one of her paintings.
There are a lot of both expensive and cheap places to eat in Oslo. The cheapest restaurants are Asian restaurants which, in many cases, serve good food at low prices.
Check the menus on the door. Even though you should always use your eyes (and nose) in any food establishment, Norwegian Food and Health regulations are very strict and enforced effectively, so eating out in Oslo is safe.
Street snacks are also available throughout the city, but they're usually more expensive than in comparable cities elsewhere.
Aker Brygge (tram 12, bus 21, 32, 33 or 54; stops Aker Brygge, Vika Atrium or Bryggetorget) is a waterfront located south of the city hall. During summer the area is very noisy and vibrant. There are outdoor restaurants and bars almost everywhere. Be sure to get some tasty seafood (or whatever else you like to eat) while you are there, or just enjoy your cold beer in the summer sea-breeze. Be advised that this is also the most expensive area in Oslo to dine or drink, so unless the weather is good, you can just as well stay indoors somewhere else.
Sven's, located near Vika Atrium, offers a fast food version of a traditional dietary staple - lutefisk. Sides include herring, pickled vegetables, and salted meats. Because of the amount of lye used to treat the food, be prepared to sign a waiver designating power of attorney upon entry. Closed Mondays.
You are also close to most of the restaurants, bars, or nightclubs located within the city centre. A key reference point will be Stortingsgaten, running parallel to Karl Johans gate, both running eastwards from the Royal Palace (this is also the main shopping area). While both of these streets have a few restaurants and nightclubs, most will be found in one of the side-streets running out from them, or parallel to them. It doesn't matter much where you start, you will find restaurants, bars, and nightclubs almost anywhere from the subway station Nationaltheatret at the west, to far beyond Oslo central railroad station on the east. There are several other areas, such as Grünerløkka (tram 11-12-13 to Nybrua, Schous plass, Olaf Ryes plass or Birkelunden), Majorstuen (T-bane, tram 11-12-19 or bus 20-22-25-45-46 to Majorstua), and Grønland (T-bane to Grønland, bus 37 to Tøyengata or bus 60 to Norbygata) that are worth checking out. Be advised that nearly all bars and nightclubs close at the same time, so if you want to get a taxi back to your hotel, try to leave a few minutes before the rush starts.
Torggata is a good area for budget dining (from Hausmanns gate south to Youngstorget). You will find cheap Vietnamese, Thai, and Chinese restaurants and even cheaper kebab-joints and pizzerias, as well as other offerings. It's close to the centre, but you can get bus 34 or 54 to Jacob's church (Jacob kirke), or tram 11-12-13-17/bus 30-31-34-54 to Brugata or Hausmanns gate. The closest T-bane station is Grønland (then walk north along Brugata) or Jernbanetorget (then walk north-east).
Some great offerings in this area include:
- Hai Cafe, Calmeyers gate. Good fried or fresh spring rolls, tasty duck breast hoi sin sauce with pac choi. In general tasty and cheap.
- Bari, Torggata. Inventive name for a pizza joint, the best in the area.
- Dalat Kafe, Osterhaus gate (Bus 34-54 to Jacobs kirke/Calmeyers gate). Vietnamese. Simple interior but very popular among people who appreciate authentic Vietnamese food. Dishes and beverages at affordable prices.
- Krishna's Cuisine, Sørkedalsveien 10B, Majorstuen (T-bane, tram 11-12-19 or bus 22-25-45-46. New locations next to Colosseum Cinema at Majorstuen.). Everything vegetarian. Daily Indian-style meal option with choice of side dishes: NOK100 and up..
- Lekkerbisken, Hammersborggata 8. Offers a decent variety of sushi, cooked food, salads and baguette sandwiches. Large sushi portions aside, prices generally do not exceed NOK60.
- Marino, Torggata. Generally accepted as the best kebab in the area, but steadily contested by Mediterran and Lille Amir.
- Mitsu, Møllergata east (Bus 34-54 to Møllerveien). Japanese/Asian. Probably the best budget sushi in town, as well as baguettes (from NOK30) and a few hot dishes. Not the most cosy place to eat, but a great place for a cheap lunch or dinner.
- Rice Bowl Thai Cafe, Youngs gate 4 (between Torggata and Storgata). Seems to be packed with locals at all times. Thai food is OK but a bit bland. main courses for about NOK90.
- Saigon Lille Kafe, Bernt Ankers gate. The first of the Vietnamese bargain offerings are still going strong. Although the food in Vietnam is known to be tastier, you'll need a plane ticket to Hanoi to get it this cheap! (at least it feels like that when you're used to Norwegian food prices).
- Tay Do Cafe, Torggata Bad. Vietnamese. Try the 'Dagens' (daily special) for only about 80 NOK, or some of their other Vietnamese offerings.
Grønland is full of cheap eating joints, shops selling fabrics and jewellery, Indian and Pakistani sweet shops, cheap beer and more. Some of the best treats are:
- Ali Baba Restaurant, Grønland Bazar (Inside the new shopping mall). A Turkish cafeteria with no-frills, decent food. Meals are pricier and less exquisite than they used to be.
- Punjab Tandoori, Grønlandsleiret (just by Grønland T-bane eastern exit). The friendliest Sikh in the world dishes out cheap, tasty Indian food from the microwave or stove. No real tandoor.
- Sushi Deluxe, Schweigaards gate 50 (Gamlebyen. Take tram lines 18 or 19 eastwards from Jernbanetorget, get off at the Munkegata stop, or take the metro to Grønland (about 5-10 minutes walk eastwards along Grønlandsleiret)). Great tasting sushi meals from as little as NOK79. Also have small daily specials for NOK59 (fried rice, fried noodles etc.).
- Tandoori Curry Corner, Grønlandsleiret. The neighbouring restaurant of the Punjab Tandoori is even cheaper, but the helpings are smaller and packs less of a punch.
- Vann & Brød, Tøyenbekken (by Grønland Bazar). In an old prison, this Spanish joint has cheap-ish tapas dishes and wine by the glass.
- Vognmann Nilsen, Rubina Ranas gate 3 (On the main square of New Grønland). Daily specials: NOK99.
Most cafes and restaurants serving traditional food are upmarket, but there are a couple of good spots to get stuffed on meat cakes and brown gravy, lutefisk and other delicacies:
- Dovrehallen (Storgata near Jernbanetorvet (T-Jernbanetorget or any tram to Jernbanetorget or Brugata).). Old-style beer hall serving delicious meat-and potato-dishes, often for less than NOK100. Tuesdays are Eisbein day, be there!
- Schrøder, Waldemar Thranes gate (bus 21-33-37-46 to St. Hanshaugen). Dark drinking den with delicious, traditional, cheap and fattening Norwegian food.
- Carl Berner-kjelleren, Trondheimsv 113 (20m from the Carl Berner intersection. Bus 20, 21, 31 or 33, tram 17 or T-bane 5 and 6 to Carl Berners plass). Beer hall with cheap and varied food, including classic Norwegian everyday dishes.
You can always get your fix of sausage and kiosk-food at reasonable prices, but there are a few restaurants and cafés worth mentioning. The convenience stores and kiosk chains 7-Eleven and Deli de Luca will provide a choice of pastries, cakes, candy, refreshments and alternate 'snacks', many of which are over-priced and can be bought from a Rimi, Kiwi or Joker supermarket at a fraction of the price. When opting for the convenience stores, ask the staff how fresh the counter food is - where most produce is delivered in the morning and evening purchases may see the food lying there for up to twelve hours prior.
- Aka Cafe, on Bogstadveien. Offers excellent European and Mid-East coffees and teas, with a small but tasty menu of Arabic snacks. Relatively inexpensive beer and liquor in an expensive and trendy location make this cafe a local favourite.
- Baker Hansen, various locations. Closed Sundays. A classical Norwegian bakery, offering sweet buns, pastries, and cakes, bread, and ready-made sandwiches and savoury pastries as well as seasonal items and drinks. Most have a few seats, but you can easily take it away for a picnic or breakfast. Their skolebrød is particularly commendable. kr14 to kr50 for most items.
- Bislett Kebab, Hegdehaugsveien 2 (tram 11, 17 and 18 to Høyskolesenteret). Voted Oslo's best for kebabs many times, not the cheapest place, but good value for money. However if you want authentic kebabs try Torggata or the beginning of Trondheimsveien.
- Curry and Ketchup, Kirkeveien 51 (near Majorstuen station). Cheap and popular Indian restaurant, often full during the weekends. Cash only. less than NOK100 for food.
- Hurry Curry, near Bogstadveien. Redundant but passable curries served in small portions dominate the menu, and they also have one of the best priced bars in the area. Starting NOK65.
- IKEA Furuset, Strømsveien 303 (Free shuttle bus to here near the corner of Fred Olsens gate and Prinsens gate.). Shop for furniture and eat cheaply! Hotdogs for NOK5 and pizza slices for NOK15..
- L'Oasis Mazze, Trondheimsveien 14 (Tram 17 or bus 31 to Lakkegata skole, then walk towards the city centre). Bedouin-style restaurant run by Palestinians. Falafels, tagine, etc. Good for lunch or dinner. Friendly staff and low prices.
- Nam Sushi, Sannergata 28. The restaurant offers good sushi for a nice price. Featuring about 10 seats, the place could be considered more a take-away than an actual restaurant.
- Noahs Ark (close to Birkelunden (tram 11-12-13)). has some excellent Turkish dishes. Burgers, pizza and breakfast are also available from NOK49 and upwards. A cosy place with occasional unexpected classical music played early in the day.
- Prince Lunch Bar, Prinsens gate (close to the department store Steen & Strøm). The best baguettes downtown. Delivers lashings of filling on their almighty subs. Also chicken breast, fish and beef burgers. NOK54 for everything..
- Rådhuset Canteen, In the cellar of the city hall. 12:00-13:00. The canteen is open to the public, and offers good, sumptuous meals at even lower prices than the student canteens. Not many tourists know about the place, so it can be a very quiet place to have a meal. They sell salads, sandwiches, boiled potatoes, cereal bars and other snacks. A filling box of salad (sold by weight) can cost less than NOK 40. .
- Sakana Sushi, Prinsens gate 2. Closed on Sundays.. Good sushi at low prices. 7 pieces: NOK 69; Take-away Vietnamese spring rolls:NOK10.
- Slottsparken Kafe (close to the Royal Palace (bus 30-31-32, tram 13-19)). The best baguettes in town, also decent sushi. Charming seating area on the second floor, with a big sofa and lots of small tables.
- Sawasdee, Sporveisgata (Tram 11-19 to Rosenborg). In this generally overpriced area, this Thai restaurant looks dangerous from the outside, but do decent renditions of Thai classics. Set 3-course menus from NOK199, and duck dishes for as little as NOK149..
- Tasty Thai, Pilestredet (Tram 17-18 to Bislett). Just around the corner from the football pub Store Stå). Oslo's best budget Thai offering.
- University of Oslo Student Canteen, Blindern (T-bane 4-5-6 to Blindern or tram 17-18 to Universitetet Blindern). Student canteen food at student prices. Several canteens dish up filling food at budget prices, the main canteen in the Fredrikke building has edible meals at under NOK 50. There's also several other student canteens, although they are closed during the summer. One branch in the city centre is at St. Olavs plass.
- Valkyrien Take Away, Bogstadveien 71B (close to Majorstuen T-bane). Their burgers are famous. Limited seating, but there is a very small park close to it where you can enjoy your food.
- Arakataka, Mariboes gate (Tram 11,12,13,17 or bus 30,31,32,34,54 to Brugata). The most upmarket offering in Oslo's Bermuda Triangle of cheap eating, Arakataka manages to pull off decent French and Mediterranean cuisine at decent prices.
- Bangkok Thai, Grønlandsleiret (bus 37 to Politihuset). Some call it the best Thai restaurant in Oslo. Sloppy service and the use of frozen vegetable mix detract severely from what could have been fantastic.
- Beach Club, Bryggetorget 14. Classical diner, opened 1989. Best burgers in town? Relaxed atmosphere, pleasant staff. Busy during summer. Hip, timeless and family friendly, all at the same time.
- Delhi Tandoori Restaurant, Maridalsveien 4 (bus 34-54 to Møllerveien). Looks scruffy from the outside, but don't let that fool you. A fantastic Indian restaurant with all the trimmings.
- Bombay Darbar, Egertorget. 200 tables and bland Indian-ish food.
- Elvebredden, Hausmanns gate (Bus 34-54 to Jacobs kirke). Inside the Design and Architecture centre, Elvebredden has some fantastic lunch offerings as well as stunning, but fairly upmarket, main dishes in the evening.
- Falcon Crest, Ullern allé (T-bane 6 to Åsjordet). Stylish offering with brilliant food and reasonable prices for western Oslo. And yes, it is named after the 80's soap opera.
- Gate of India (next to Majorstuakrysset T-Bahn). Good Indian restaurant.
- Intermezzo, Underhaugsveien 2 (near Bislett (tram 17-18 or bus 21 to Bislett)). East-Asian and sushi.
- Kampen Bistro, Bøgata (T-bane 1,2,3,4 to Ensjø or bus 60 to Kampen Park). Lovely neighbourhood joint with brilliant food and occasional free concerts.
- Lanternen (First ferry stop on Bygdøy.). Salads, sandwiches. The herring is good. Three kinds of herring with bread: NOK80..
- Le Benjamin, Søndre gate 6 (Tram to Schous plass). French bistro at the south part of Grünerløkka with relaxed atmosphere and good food.
- Mucho Mas, Thorvald Meyers gate (tram 11,12,13 to Olaf Ryes plass). Cal-mex joint offering huge meals, but reports say quality has faded. A new branch near the crossing of Hegdehaugsveien/Sporveisgata in Homansbyen (tram 11-19 to Rosenborg) does little to redeem this.
- The Nighthawk Diner, Seilduksgata 15. American Diner, slightly more genuine than Empire Diner, Manhattan, at least the illusion is rock solid; Like any other Jan Vardøen venue, The Nighthawk delivers atmosphere and quality. Excellent burgers, steaks, sandwiches, pancakes etc. I never talk to strangers ...
- Oriental, Prof. Aschehougs plass (tram 11-17-18 to Tinghuset/Prof. Aschehougs plass or T-bane Stortinget). Brilliant all-Asian restaurant with inventive dishes.
- Olympen / Lompa (T-bane to Grønland, or bus 37 to Tøyengata (the stop is on the doorstep)). One of the best known and largest places in east Oslo. Restaurant, beer Hall, nightclub and roof terrace. Recently refurbished, with classic Norwegian food.
- Oslo Ladegård, Gamlebyen (bus 32 to Ladegården, tram 18-19 or bus 34-70-74 to St. Hallvards plass). Fighting it out with Villa Paradiso and Pizza da Mimmo to provide the city's best Italian pizza.
- Odonata (take the 31 bus to Snarøya). Enjoy this unique design experience. This used to be the old Oslo airport in the 50s and is now a café with a great lunch menu and various cakes and treats.
- Pizza da Mimmo, Behrens gate 2 (tram 12 to Niels Juhls gt or bus 21 to Lapsetorvet). Vying with Oslo Ladegård and Villa Paradiso to have the best pizza in Oslo.
- Plaka Athena, Trøndergata (tram 11-12-13 or bus 20 to Torshov). A Greek haven in suburbia.
- Restaurant Eik, Kr. Augusts gate (tram 11-17-18 to Tullinløkka). The least upmarket of the central gourmet offerings, Eik consistently get rave reviews and doles out a fine five-course gourmet menu for around NOK400. Fantastic. Bib gourmand award in the Michelin guide.
- Restaurant Eik Annen Etage, above the Hotel Continental in Stortingsgata (T-bane, tram 13-19 or bus 30-31-54 to Nationaltheateret). When Eik took over the sadly missed gourmet Annen Etage, the food actually got better and cheaper.
- Siam Oriental, Waldemar Thranes gate (bus 21,33,37,46 to St. Hanshaugen). Friendly Thai ladies doles out fabulous shrimp dishes.
- Smia, just by Vålerenga kirke (bus 20,37 to Galgeberg). Atmospheric restaurant in an old wooden house area with tons of charm.
- Sult, Thorvald Meyers gate (tram 11,12,13 or bus 30 to Birkelunden, bus 21 to Sannergata). Good neighbourhood-gourmet style food, with an ever-changing menu, and vegetarian options.
- Tabibito, Stortingsgate (buss, tram or subway to national teater). They have 30 years of Asian cooking experience, resulting in Asian gourmet dishes from NOK98 for a 3 course menu.
- Tintin, Lysaker Statsjon. Sushi and Korean dishes.
- Villa Paradiso, Olaf Ryes plass (tram 11-12-13). Excellent Italian pizza at Grünerløkka. Children friendly.
- Xich-Lo, Øvre Slottsgate 27 (T-Stortinget). A central, more classy Vietnamese eatery with great food.
- Håndverkerstuene (Haandverkeren), Rosenkrantzgate 7. (entrance Kristian IVs gate), e-mail: email@example.com. Restaurant that also has a good selection of Norwegian craft beers.
If price is no object, there is some very fine dining to be found. If there is anything Oslo has a lot of, it is expensive restaurants.
- Bølgen & Moi, Løvenskioldsgate 26. Modern restaurant in the Frogner district. Reviews has been on the negative side the recent years.
- Dinner, Stortingsgata 22. One of the finest Chinese restaurants in Europe. All the expensive dishes are worth it. Try their Peking Duck, which must be pre-ordered the day before, but is a true feast.
- Ekebergrestauranten, Ekeberg (tram 18,19 to Sjømannsskolen). An architectural monument, this place offers gourmet dining and Oslo's best views. Hugely popular but the service can disappoint.
- Feinschmecker, Balchens gate 5 (tram 12 to Elisenberg or bus 30, 31 to Frogner kirke). A feast for everyone involved, except perhaps your wallet. Exquisite dining at corporate prices.
- Hos Thea, Gabelsgate 11 (tram 13 to Skillebekk). A small place with outstanding food, small seasonal menu.
- Jensens Biffhus, Holmens gate 4 (tram 12 to Aker Brygge or bus 32,54 to Vika Atrium), ☎ +47 22 83 41 74. M-Sa from 16:00, Su from 15:00. Probably the best steak house in town. Very expensive but a cosy, small place that fills up quite easily so better make a reservation. Not to be confused with Jensens Bøfhus in Stortingsgaten.
- Maaemo, Schweigaards gate 15B. This New Nordic Cuisine restaurant serving organic, local food jumped straight to two stars in Michelin's Guide Rouge at the earliest opportunity after opening, the first Nordic restaurant to do so. World class restaurant. NOK1250 for 9-course menu, add NOK1050 for the drink pairing menu.
- Nodee, Middelthuns gate 25 (T-Majorstuen, tram 12 to Frogner stadion). All-Asian gourmet offering just close to Frognerparken. The best East-Asian restaurant in Northern Europe (competing it out with Dinner), with prices to match.
- Palace Grill, Solligt 2 (just by Solli plass (tram 12,13 or bus 21,30,31,32 to Solli/Lapsetorvet)). Highly recommended gourmet restaurant where the menu changes daily according to the chef's mood and available ingredients. A ten-course meal costs about NOK850 per person. Only 23 seats and no reservations, but a good bar to while away the hours waiting for food.
- Statholdergaarden, Rådhusgate 11 (on the corner of Kirkegaten), ☎ +47 22 41 88 00, fax: 22 41 22 24, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. M-Sa 18:00-23:59. Arguably one of Oslo's finest settings. Set in a beautiful 1800-century mansion, the combination of very friendly staff and extraordinary dishes makes it well worth its one star in the Michelin Guide. Not one to miss. Expensive.
- Theatercaféen, inside Hotel Continental next to Nationaltheatret. Pretending to be a classic upmarket Wiener Café with a continental menu. High prices and excruciatingly "culture-posh", food quality is disputed. However, being "the" classic Café in Oslo, the experience may just be worth it if your wallet is running thick.
Buying alcohol in stores
Beer at 4.75% or below can be purchased in supermarkets at a price of NOK10-16 for a 0.33L bottle. Supermarkets stop selling beer after 20:00 each day, 18:00 on Saturdays, and 15:00 on holiday weekends. It is not possible to buy beer in a shop on a Sunday. It is illegal to drink in public areas. You will usually only get a warning if spotted by a police officer, but if you behave impolitely or s/he is having a bad day you can get a fine of NOK1,500. However, in public parks during summer, laws are not enforced as strictly. Good places to go for a park beer is Sofienbergparken and Kuba at Grünerløkka, Frognerparken in Majorstua, or the park at St. Hanshaugen, on a hill with great view located between Grünerløkka and Majorstuen.
Hard liquor, wine and beers above 4.75% ABV can only be bought at the state-owned shops called Vinmonopolet or at the international airport terminals. Vinmonopolet outlets are open M-F until 18:00, Sa 15:00, Su closed. Some of the central Vinmonopolet outlets in Oslo are:
- Oslo Central Station, beneath the staircase leading down to Trafikanten
- In the basement of Oslo City shopping centre
- In the Steen og Strøm shopping centre, close to Karl Johans gate
- Rosenkrantzgate 11, close to Grand Hotel, Karl Johans gate
- At Aker Brygge, Bryggegata 9. This shop has been relocated from Vika and has the same large selection of beers. (Tram 12 or you can take one of several buses that stop in Dokkveien or Vika Atrium).
- Thereses gate, Bislett (near Bislett stadium, trams 17 and 18)
- Tøyengata 2, Grønland Basar. (All eastern subways, exit at Grønland Torg or bus 37 to Tøyengata)
Pubs and bars
All bars, pubs and restaurants in Oslo are smoke-free, which means you have to go outside to smoke. But since you can't drink on the street, you have to leave your drink inside, unless the bar/pub has a designated drink-area which is still open (they always close earlier than the venues themselves).
Oslo is generally expensive. The price for a half-litre of beer is typically ranging from NOK58-70. Closing hours are as late as to 03:30 in city centre. National legislation says you can't serve any alcohol after 03:00.
Areas with notable pub density are Grünerløkka (tram 11-12-13 to Nybrua, Schous plass, Olaf Ryes plass or Birkelunden), Aker Brygge (tram 12 to Aker Brygge or bus 21-32-33-54 to Vika Atrium or Bryggetorget), Solli/Frogner (tram 12-13 or bus 30-31 to Solli), Grønland (T-bane to Grønland, bus 37 to Tøyengata or bus 60 to Norbygata) and the city centre especially Youngstorget or Grensen.
- Andy's Pub, Stortingsgata 8 (T-bane Stortinget, tram 13-19 to Wessels plass/Nathionaltheateret, bus 31-32-33-54-70 stop nearby). Shows most football matches on LCD TVs.
- Bar Boca, Thorvald Meyers Gate 30 Gruenerlokka. The teeny-weeny Bar Boca is the place to go in Oslo if you fancy an innovative and memorable cocktail. Owner Jan Vardøen has become something of a local legend for his mixing skills and his intimate little bar has become a destination for those serious about their drink. This warm cosy bar, with its low-key 1950s décor, may be matchbox sized, with just five tables, but it's the drinks that rule here and they won't let you down.
- Aku-Aku Tiki Bar, Thorvald Meyers Gate 32. Another of Jan Vardøens successful cocktail bars, Easter Island style. Let Voo-Doo-Mary-Lou knock you out surrounded by bamboo, blowfish and Thor Heyerdahl, after a long day at the Kontiki-museum. Cool and cozy atmosphere.
- Beer Palace, Holmens Gate 3 (Aker Brygge). A popular pub with fair selection of Norwegian and foreign beers. In addition to enjoying good beer it's possible to play darts and get a slice of pizza. Every Monday an international beer course is held here by Ølakademiet.
- Blå (in the artsy/alternative place close to Akerselva called Hausmania). Be sure to check their event calendar, every week they have concerts with a variety of international and Norwegian bands and/or DJs. Each Sunday there is a free jazz/blues/soul concert. Walk up the river from the centre and you'll find it. Old factory style houses with lots of graffiti.
- Bohemen (“the Bohemian”), Arbeidergata 2 (T-bane Stortinget, tram 11-17-18 or bus 33-70 to Prof. Aschehougs plass/Tinghuset), ☎ +47-22416266. The best place to watch football (soccer) and sports in general, and to have a cheapish beer. Official Vålerenga supporter pub.
- Café Arté, St. Olavs gate 7 (Tram 11-17-18 to Tullinløkka or bus 37 to Nordahl Bruns gate). Lovely cafe serving beer, wine, drinks and small dishes in an intimate cellar cafe with a continental touch. An artist hangout with a small and hidden backyard. The only cafe that offers you a feeling of being abroad while relaxing in the heart of Oslo. 500ml beer: NOK52.
- Cafe Fiasco, Schweigaards gate 4 (next to the train station). Classy place that is not expensive at all. Also has live music and DJs with NOK70 cover charge. Beer: NOK50.
- Cafe Sara, corner of Torggata and Hausmanns gate. (Bus 34-54 to Jacobs kirke). M-Sa 11:00-03:30, Su 13:00-03:30. Conveniently close to Anker Hostel, Cafe Sara pours beer and dishes up tasty Turkish and Mexican dishes for not too much money. Great outdoor seating. Very nice pub with a great atmosphere and well known for its cheap but great food and large selection of craft beers.
- Cafe Stolen, Helgesens gate by Sofienberg park (Tram 11-12-13 to Olaf Ryes plass). Indian cuisine and cheap beer in an informal setting. No name on the door, just a chair hanging from above the door (hence the name 'the chair').
- Champagneria, Frognerveien. (Tram 12-13 or bus 21-30-31 to Solli/Lapsetorvet.). Spanish cava and tapas bar, fairly cheap and enjoyable.
- Choice Pub, Grønlandsleiret (T-Grønland). A rowdy bar with very cheap beer. Popular with the locals. Beer: NOK39.
- Dubliner, Rådhusgata (Tram 12 to Christiania torv). A nice Irish pub a little off Karl Johans gate, does a good fish and chips (and a few rounds of Guinness with which to wash it down). In Norway: Good fish? Always! Good chips? Never! Except maybe here.
- Dr. Jekylls Pub, Klingenbergg 4. 15:00-03:00. Whisky bar with wide selection. over 500 whiskies and several fantastic rums and over 60 beers on bottle.
- Fyret Mat & Drikke, Youngstorget 6. Intimate and lively pub and restaurant which serves unpretentious, good food. They have an outstanding collection of akevitt (akvavit), the Scandinavian potato spirit that you should check out, though you won't necessary love it unconditionally.
- Hard Rock Cafe, Karl Johansgate 45 (T-bane, tram 13-19 or bus 30-31-54-70 to Nationaltheatret), ☎ +47-22863000. Dealing mainly with, as the name suggests, rock nostalgia from the 50s, this should be familiar. Pricey.
- Hell's Kitchen, Møllergata 23, Youngstorget corner of Møllergata (Tram 11-12-13-17 or bus 30-31-34-54 to Kirkeristen/Nygata/Brugata). pizza and music, lots of beer and cocktails. Brilliant place that once was the heyday of hipness, a reputation it has to leave to its own basement (The Villa) and Revolver, just down the street. Still a good corner to drop into.
- Highbury, Bogstadveien 50. Official Arsenal supporter pub in Norway.
- Kampen Bistro, Bøgata 21 (Bus 60 to Kampens park or T-bane 1-2-3-4 to Ensjø). Great food and affordable beer in a local restaurant in Kampen, one of the most picturesque residential areas of Oslo.
- Oslo Ocean Bar, Trondheimsveien 20. a neighborhood bar customers, mostly returning, at every time of the day (from 08:00). The staff is great! The service is impeccable despite the low prices and the very unpretentious surroundings (and clientele). 500ml beer: NOK 40.
- Palace Grill, Solligata 2 (just by Solli plass (tram 12,13 or bus 21,30,31,32 to Solli/Lapsetorvet)). In addition to the gourmet restaurant (see above) the palace also includes a separate bar with nice drinks and concerts every Monday, plus the 3-story outdoor seating area "Skaugum" with lots of concert during summer.
- Robinet, Mariboes gate 7b. A little gem of a bar that serves some of the best drinks in town. It's not much more than a hole in the wall, so don't expect to get a seat. The bartenders (who are often a bit moody, so no music requests!) play everything from free jazz to krautrock to gangsta-rap on the sound system.
- Südøst, Trondheimsveien 5 (Bus 30-31, tram 17 to Heimdalsgata). A short walk from the Anker hostel, this place has become quite fashionable. Lovely outdoor seating, great (but a tad expensive) food and a marvellous dining room. 500ml beer: NOK52.
- Teddy's Soft Bar, Brugata 3A (Tram 11-12-13-17 or bus 30-31-34-54 to Brugata, T-bane to Grønland). Established in 1958, this is the only bar in Oslo that's protected by cultural authorities, due to its true 50s setting with original interior. This is where the rockabilly cats and kittens hang out and low-key rock and film stars lurk in the corners. Teddy's brought milk shakes to Norway, but sadly they've stopped serving those. They do serve beer, wine, spirits, soft drinks and various coffee drinks. And you can have lunch or late breakfast (omelets, eggs & bacon, sandwiches) or dinner (nice burgers, soups). Music provided by an original Wurlitzer jukebox with mostly '50s and '60s hits. 500ml beer: NOK52.
- Tekehtopa, St. Olavs plass. (Tram 17-18 to Tullinløkka or bus 37 to Nordahl Bruns gate). Lovely cafe serving beer, wine, drinks and small dishes in a fabulous former pharmacy. (Tekehtopa spelled backwards, apotheket, actually means "the pharmacy" in Norwegian.) One of the prettiest cafes around! Adjoined by Bar Babylon, an industrial-style club with wonderful back yard seating. 500ml beer: NOK52.
- Two Dogs, Brugata (Tram 11-12-13-17 or bus 30-31-34-54 to Brugata, T-bane to Grønland). English-style football pub with big screen, jolly atmosphere and darts. 500ml beer: NOK49.
- Verkstedet, Hausmannsgate 29 (Bus 34-54 to Jacobs kirke. On the right hand side of Cafe Sara). Nice rock bar with a cosy and great backyard which it shares with Cafe Sara. The club also has a stage, where both local and foreign acts do appear. At the weekends the club transforms into a rock disco, where you can dance to great rock music. The bar dishes up with great cocktails and unlimited amounts of beer, both on tap and bottles.
- Zen Spiseri og Cafebar, Vogts gate, Torshov (Tram 11-12-13 to Biermanns gate, then continue for 300 metres), ☎ +47 22 38 30 38. A mysteriously stylish interior for a dive bar, dishing out some of Oslo's cheaper beer. Laid-back, relaxing atmosphere, usually draws a somewhat older crowd. Small menu with passable food. 500ml beer: NOK39.
- The Whisky Bar, Rådhusgata 28 (Trams 13 and 19 to Kongens gate (in Tollbugata)), ☎ +47 4725 8445, e-mail: email@example.com. Pub with large selection of whisky.
Clubs & live music
- Last Train, Karl Johans Gate 45, entrance Universitetsgaten. Sandwiched between a theatre and Hard Rock Cafe this gem is easily overlooked. One of the best (and longest lasting) rock/punk/metal/indie pubs in Norway.
- Cafe Mono, Pløens gate 4 (Tram 11-12-13-17 or bus 30-31-34-54 to Kirkeristen/Nygata/Brugata.). Rock/indie music club with local rock stars, frequent concerts with up-and-coming Oslo acts, not too expensive beer and a great back garden for smoking.. One of the better places to pick up indie-chicks in Oslo. 500ml beer: NOK 62.
- Revolver, Møllergata 32 (On the eastern fringes of Møllergata). Rock pub with most of Oslo's hipsters lurking in the corners. Not too expensive, and quite an extensive choice of beers on tap.
- Rockefeller/John Dee and Sentrum Scene, Mariboes gate / Arbeidersamfunnets plass (Short walk from Brugata tram and bus stop (line 11, 12, 13, 17, 30, 31, 54)). Some of Oslo's best stages for music. Rockefeller houses three stages while Sentrum Scene houses a forth and larger stage. Mostly consert stages but they also show the odd football match or cinema. Both Norwegian and international artists.
- Sound of Mu, Markveien 58 (Bus 34-54 to Jakobs Kirke/Calmeyers gate or tram 11-12-13 to Nybrua). Small bar and gallery space run by artist collective. Art exhibitions, club nights with DJs and concerts, mostly underground/experimental/improvised music. 500ml beer: NOK48.
- Gamla, Grensen 1, Oslo, entry Møllergata. Rock'n'Roll bar and stage in historical surroundings.
- Crowbar, Torggata 32. 15:00-03:00. Crowbar has 20 beers on tap, 5 of them made by them.
- Oslo Mikrobryggeri, Bogstadveien 6. 15:00-01:00. the first microbrewery in Scandinavia, some 35+ beer on tap.
- Schouskjelleren, Trondheimsveien 2. 13 beers on tap; about half are house-made.
- Grünerløkka Brygghus. Grünerløkka Brygghus has 10+ of their own beers on tap, with some others. They also serve food.
- London Pub, C. J. Hamros plass 5 (Central Oslo, two blocks from Karl Johan on the corner of the Grand Hotel). The largest gay and lesbian Venue in Oslo.
- So, Arbeidergata 2 (Just off Karl johan). Open W-Sa. Mostly aimed at girls. Nice cosy bar which gets packed Saturday night.
- Elsker, Kristian IVs gate 9 (Next to the Thon Hotel Bristol, one block from Karl Johan.). W-Sa from 15:00.
- Ett Glass, Karl Johans Gate 33B (Next to the main Street, Karl Johans Gate and the National Theatre.). Daily 09:00-03:00.
Getting a hotel in Oslo can potentially be difficult. In peak periods, when big fairs or conferences visit Oslo, tourists have been sent as far as Lillehammer (170 km, 2h 15 min by train) to find accommodation. It would be smart to reserve a room in advance. There are also relatively few youth hostels, etc., for backpackers and people travelling on a budget. During Nobel Prize week room availability will fall and prices may double.
At Oslo Airport
- Bogstad Camping, Ankerveien 117 (9 kms out of town at the entrance of picturesque Sørkedalen, T-bane 2 to Røa, then bus 32, direction Voksen Skog, to Bogstad Camping. Or take bus 32 from the central station (bus stop P)), ☎ +47 22 51 08 00, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Bogstad has cabins as well as tent space. Less than a stone's throw from the campsite there is a mini mart Kiwi (used by the locals), a petrol station Statoil with heat-up fast food options, and a fast food restaurant Jafs! which does pizzas, kebabs and burgers ("Hamburger meny" take-away, 100g burger & French fries & salad & drink, kr 95). 2-person tent: kr 185, 4-person tent with car: kr 270, Cabin: kr 500-1290.
- Ekeberg Camping, Ekebergveien 65 (Bus 34, 46 or 74 to Ekeberg Camping. The trip takes 10 minutes from Central Station.), ☎ +47 22 19 85 68, e-mail: email@example.com. Check-in: 7:30AM to 11PM. Open 1 Jun–1 Sep. The closest campsite to central Oslo. Beautiful view of the city. No cabins. Owned by the Norwegian Automobile Federation. Mini-golf and horse rental. Fully equipped sanitary facilities: showers with hot and cold water, toilets, kitchen, launderette. 2-person tent: kr 185, 4-person tent with car: kr 270.
- Langøyene Island (take ferry 94 from Vippetangen). Not an official campsite; however, Langøyene Island is the only island in the inner part of the Oslo fjord that allows free camping (tents only). You may only stay 2 days unless you have special permission. You must keep the island clean. Police have their own boats and enforce these laws via hefty fines. Free!.
- Oslo Fjordcamp, Ljansbruksveien 1 (8km south of Oslo central station, Train to Hauketo, then corresponding bus 76 to Hvervenbukta, or bus 87 (both options summer only)), ☎ +47 455 04 765, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Open 20 Jun–20 Aug. Near the beautiful swimming spot of Hvervenbukta. 2-person tent: kr 165, 4-person tent with car: kr 245.
- Anker Hostel, Storgata 55 (tram 11-12-13-17, bus 30-31 to Hausmanns gate), ☎ +47 22 99 72 00, e-mail: email@example.com. 290 beds. Very centrally located, 5 minutes walk to the central station or Grünerløkka. Dorm: kr 230-290, Double: kr 620-640, Bed linen: kr 50.
- Haraldsheim Youth Hostel (Haraldsheim Vandrerhjem), Haraldsheimveien 4 (tram 17 or bus 23-24-31-33, 4 km from downtown Oslo), ☎ +47 22 22 29 65, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. The biggest HI hostel in Oslo. Not too far from the action (but it is hard to find), walking distance to the lively neighbourhoods of Torshov and Grünerløkka. Located in a very quiet area of Oslo, this is a place you'd go to sleep, not to party. The breakfast is outstanding for a hostel and is vegan-friendly, although with reduced choice. It is advisable to reconfirm your booking before you come and inform at what time you are going to arrive although the reception is open 24 hours. Dorm: kr 255-280, Double: kr 610-690, Bed linen: kr 50, Breakfast included, 10% discount with HI membership.
- Oslo Youth Hostel Holtekilen (Oslo Vandrerhjem Holtekilen), Michelets vei 55, Stabekk (train to Stabekk, or bus 151, 153, 161, 162, 252 or 261 to Kveldsroveien), ☎ +47 67 51 80 40, e-mail: email@example.com. HI hostel. Outside the city border, extra fee needed if you have Oslo Transport card. Open May–August. In a picturesque neighbourhood close to the sea. Dorm: from kr 250, 10% discount with HI membership.
- Oslo Hostel Rønningen (Oslo Vandrerhjem Rønningen), Myrerskogveien 54 (Metro 5 or tram 11, 12 and 13 go to Storo, and from there bus 56 until Rønningen. Bus 56 only runs twice an hour, but every 20 minutes during rush hour), ☎ +47 21 02 36 00, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 15-18. Open June 1 - August 19. 7.5 km from the center. Dorm: from kr 230, 10% discount with HI membership.
- Perminalen Hotell, Øvre Slottsgate 2 (T-bane to Stortinget, bus 30-31-32-54 to Wessels plass, tram 10-12-13-19 to Kongens gate), ☎ +47 24 00 55 00, e-mail: email@example.com. Perminalen offers slightly higher standards at slightly higher prices. OK cafe with good, old Norwegian homely grub at nice prices. Dorm: kr 380; Single: kr 620; Double: kr 860.
- Sentrum Pensjonat, Tollbugata 8 (300 meters from Oslo Central station, entrance from Skippergata), ☎ +47 22 33 55 80, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Dorm: kr 290; Single: kr 500; Double: kr 750.
- Oslo Hostel Central (Oslo Vandrerhjem Central), Konges gate 7, ☎ +47 47 23 10 08 00, e-mail: email@example.com. Dorm: kr 375-395, 10% discount with HI membership.
- Cochs Pensjonat, Parkveien 25 (tram 11 to Majorstua and 5 minutes walk or subway to Nationaltheatret and walk 10 minutes). Centrally located, next to the Royal Palace and Slottsparken. Three types of room to meet all budgets. They don't serve breakfast but have agreement with near cafe.
- Oslo Budget Hotel. The cheapest rooms require shared bathrooms. Single: 495 NOK; Double: 595 NOK.
- P-Hotels, Oslo, Grensen 19, ☎ +47 22 03 11 00, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Affordable hotel, centrally located with nice rooms. Simple breakfast delivered to your door. Single: 595 NOK; Double: 795 NOK.
- Rica Holberg Hotel, Holbergs plass 1 (Not far from the Royal Palace). Affordable bed & breakfast hotel, centrally located, not far from Oslo's main thoroughfare, Karl Johans Gate. Single: 685 NOK; Double: 885 NOK.
- Comfort Hotel Xpress Youngstorget, Møllergata 26 (At the Youngstorget square), e-mail: email@example.com. Centrally located, 5 minutes walk from Karl Johans gate and Oslo Central Station (Oslo S) Double: For 2 nights or more: 695 NOK per night.
- Thon Hotel Astoria, Dronningensgate 21 (50 metres from the main street Karl Johan, 5 minute walk from Oslo Central Station). Single: 695 NOK; Double: 895 NOK.
- Thon Hotel Munch, Munchs gate 5. A short walk to the main street, as well as easy walking distance to public transportation, airport shuttle bus and a vast variety of shops, restaurants, museums and theatres. Single: 695 NOK; Double: 895 NOK.
- Olympiatoppen Sportshotell, Sognsveien 228 (By lake Sognsvann, 15 minutes by subway from central Oslo), ☎ +47 22 02 57 35. Peacefully located on the edge of the forest Nordmarka. Standard rooms (2 beds): 895 NOK.
- /CityBox Oslo, Prinsensgate 6 (Five-minute walk from Oslo S), ☎ +47 21 42 04 80. Sparse and staff-light (housekeeping once a week, no reception, no TV), but cheap and very close to the central station and Carl Johans gate. Family rooms available. Single: 595 NOK, Double: 795 NOK.
- Carlton Hotel, Parkveien 78 (near Aker Brygge). 50 rooms, small but good value. Restaurant with Japanese food.
- Clarion Collection Hotel Folketeateret, Storgaten 21-23 (tram 11,12,13,17 to Brugata or bus 30,31,31E,34,54 to Brugata), ☎ +47 22 00 57 00, fax: +47 22 00 57 01, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Nice hotel with stylish rooms and an evening buffet that is included in the rate. Walking distance to central station. NOK 1200+.
- Best Western Karl Johan Hotel, Karl Johans gate 33 (750 m from Central Station; 300 m from Nationaltheatret station; 200 m from Stortinget metro station), ☎ +47 23 16 17 00, fax: 22 42 05 19, e-mail: email@example.com. Attractive 3-star hotel in the very centre of Oslo, fully modernised while keeping its character. Many rooms overlook the parliament building, and the waterfront and royal palace are within a short walk. Rooms are reasonably large for an old building, and efficiently designed. A good breakfast buffet is included.
- Park Inn, Øvre Slottsgate 2c (near Aker Brygge, Akershus Fortress, Karl Johans gate), ☎ +47 22400100. Well-equipped guest rooms in the heart of Oslo.
- , Holbergs gate. 30 (Next to the Royal Palace), ☎ +47 23 293000. Located in the heart of the city centre
- Radisson Blu Hotel Nydalen, Nydalesveien 33 (T Nydalen, 15 minute ride to center), ☎ +47-2326-3000. Choose from funky "Chilli" or more staid "Urban" rooms NOK 900+, breakfast included.
- Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel, Sonja Henies Plass 3 (Next to Oslo S (Central Station)). With 37 floors and breathtaking views of Oslo and the Oslo Fjord, the Radisson SAS Plaza Hotel is Northern Europe’s highest and Norway’s largest hotel. Suited 3 min walk from the Oslo S train station. NOK 1300+.
- Rica Holmenkollen Park Hotel, Kongeveien 26 (Holmenkollen, 20 minutes by T-bane (subway) to the city center), ☎ +47-2326-3000. Close to the skiing facilities at Holmenkollen, this is a hotel built in the classical Norwegian dragon style.
- Thon Hotel Gyldenlove, Bogstadveien 20. Newly renovated hotel, with excellent location in Oslo's west quarter, right in the city's best shopping avenue, Bogstadveien.
- Thon Hotel Terminus, Stenersgaten 10 (downtown).
- Thon Hotel Bristol, Kristian IV's gate 7 (right in the city centre, near the National Gallery and the main shopping street KarlJohansgate). As soon as you enter the lobby you will experience the unique style characterising the hotel. An air of elegance which has been maintained since the opening in 1920. From NOK 661.
- Grand Hotel Oslo, Karl Johans Gate 31, ☎ +47 23 21 20 00. The hotel where Nobel Peace Prize winners stay when coming to Oslo for the award ceremony. Expensive and lots of services. Excellent view over main street Karl Johans gate. Grand Café, at street level, was Henrik Ibsen's daily watering hole, and is Norway's answer to Vienna's Cafe Landtmann. From NOK 2,175.
- Grims Grenka, Kongens gate 5. Five star hotel which has received international acclaim. Operated by First hotels. Member of Design hotels.
- Hotel Continental Oslo, Stortingsgaten 24/26 (Located between the National Theatre and Aker Brygge), ☎ +47 22 82 40 00. Family-run hotel has a large Vienna-style cafe (Theatercafeen) which is the place to be seen in Oslo. Outstanding service and prices to match, still considered fair value for money. Nice quiet bar with original Edvard Munch litographs.
- The Thief, Landgangen 1, N-0252 Oslo (Nearest station is Nationaltheatret, from there it is a 15 min walk.), ☎ +47 24 00 40 00, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Located directly at the water front of the Oslo Fjord in the middle of the business and contemporary art district of Oslo. The hotel is sourrounded by many nice (and pricey) restaurants. 230€.
Most of the internet cafes are located in the eastern part of town or Grønland. Look for small shops selling telephone cards - they usually have internet terminals. If you carry your own laptop, WLANs will be easy to find at cafes, hotels, bars and even in parks. For a good overview of free WLAN sites look here: (in Norwegian). There are several open wifi connections on the upper level cafes at the train station Oslo Sentralstation and the subway station at Grønland.
- Deichmanske Bibliotek (Library). Free wifi and 30 minutes of free use of computer terminals at all locations.
- Unginfo, Møllergata. Free use of computer terminal for 30 minutes for people 26 and under, although age is rarely checked.
- Arctic Internet, Inside the train station Oslo S On the third floor (one level up in the main hall). The most complete Internet cafe - business center with full spectra of services and personnel onsite.
- Oslo S Train Station. On the first and second floor, there are several automated stand alone computers setup for basic internet surfing, as well as an Internet cafe in the bus terminal next to the central station.
- 7-Eleven. Many 7-eleven shops have terminals you can use for a small fee, although this is not a very convenient way to surf if you need to use the computer for a long time.
- Litteraturhuset, Wergelandsveien 29. Free wifi with purchase.
- Internet cafe (Across from the Nationaltheatret next to a pub called Paddy's).
- Oslo City Shopping Center. Internet kiosks.
- Byråkrat. Free wifi with purchase.
- QBA, Grünerløkka. Free wifi with purchase.
- Cafe Tiger. Free wifi with purchase.
- Burger King. Most outlets have free wifi with purchase.
☎ Emergency numbers
- Police: 112
- Fire: 110
- Ambulance: 113
If you are unsure which emergency number to call, 112 is the central for all rescue services and will put you in contact with the correct department.
For non-emergencies, the police is to be called on 02800 or Oslo Police District at ☎ +47 22 66 90 50.
Oslo is generally a safe city, but as in any metropolitan area, some caution is warranted. Violent crime is rare, but not unheard of. Avoid getting in to quarrels in taxi queues after closing hours of bars. Avoid groups of drunk young men. The police advise that the area along the Akerselva river from Grønland to Cuba is best avoided after dark. It is known for instances of rape, muggings and drug dealing.
Women should remain vigilant at night and when clubs and pubs are closing. Avoid walking alone through parks and poorly lit areas of the city. Do not, under any circumstances, use “pirate taxis” or other unofficial transportation.
The area in front of Oslo Central Station and lower parts of Akerselva is plagued by the drug trade.
Theft and pick pocketing is a nuisance. Normal precautionary rules apply:
- Watch out for pick pockets in crowds and public transport.
- Do not leave your belongings unattended.
- Avoid leaving your mobile phone and wallet on café tables.
Common scams occur in Oslo, and there are recent (2008) reports on the "guessing game" being perpetrated on the street - don't get involved in street-betting as it is certain to be a scam.
In winter watch out for icy patches, and when wandering in the forest beware when crossing snowy clearings - they may well be frozen lakes with snow over them, which may look safe but could crack. Finally, beware of snow falling from the roofs in Oslo - there are usually red/yellow signs upwards, and some areas are occasionally cordoned off.
Politics is a none-too-sensitive subject in Norway, and is often discussed in public. Like in other western countries, political views differ, and most people seem to tolerate this. There are both far-right and far-left opinions in the everyday crowd, but true extremism is rare. Pay normal attention when expressing your political opinions; violent and autocratic ideologies are generally not tolerated in Norway. In addition, being a highly diverse city, racism and sexism is generally not tolerated among most people in Oslo. In environmental policies, Norwegians have a fairly European-minded attitude when climate issues are discussed, but fewer people (including activists) will be vegetarian. Sensitive issues include the war (second world war), religion, race and the July 22nd atrocities. Environmental issues such as whaling may also be sensitive.
The tap water of Oslo is among the cleanest in the world. Do drink tap water instead of bottled water, which does nothing but drain your pocket of much needed kroner.
Cars are required to yield to pedestrians at marked and signed crossings, and will be heavily fined if they don't. However, this rule does not apply to trams (streetcars); the trams have the right of way. Oslo has a web of tram lines downtown and as the trams are fast and heavy, you will certainly lose if you attempt to challenge one.
In acute illness or if accident occurs:
- Contact Emergency Medical Services ☎ 113 (Emergencies only)
- Contact Oslo legevakt ☎ +47 22 93 22 93 (Storgata 40) For minor injuries and illness (emergency room/physician seeing patients without appointment).
There are many pharmacies (apotek) in Oslo, that are selling medications and can give you advice on the treatment of injury and disease. Vitusapotek Jernbanetorget (Jernbanetorget 4 B) is open 24/7.
It is easy to get around in Oslo, and almost every Norwegian speaks English. Most people will respond in English to any question you may have. Many Norwegians also speak some German, Spanish or French, due to the proximity of the language, and that you may study it in school. Information on public transport and in government offices are often printed in English. Some bars or cafes operate in English.
The Youth information (Unginfo) runs an independent information desk in Møllergata aimed at budget travelers. This service is free and they also provide free internet access. On their web page there is an online guide to Oslo for budget travelers.
- Oslomarka is the large forest surrounding the city. This is an important recreational area for the citizens of Oslo, and quite unique for a capital. Take the T-bane to Holmenkollen (line 1), Frognerseteren (line 1), Sognsvann (line 3) or Skullerud (line 3 - in the opposite direction of Sognsvann), bus 41 from Røa T-bane to Sørkedalen or bus 51 from Nydalen T-bane to Maridalen. You can also visit the tourist association at Storgata (at Kirkeristen tram stop) for good maps and inexpensive accommodation alternatives in Oslomarka. Detailed online maps available at ut.no.
- Kongsberg is a beautiful city well known for its silver mining history. The city is located about an hour and a half west of Oslo by train or bus. The Kongsberg International Jazz Festival is hosted here every year in early July.
- Fredrikstad is a very enjoyable city not far from Oslo, with an old, walled old town and lots of streetlife in summer. Trains run approx every hour (taking 1h10min), and express buses run about 10 times per day (1h30min).
- Tønsberg is an attractive seaside town with an attractive city centre. It's the oldest town in Norway, and even if this isn't instantly visible, there's lots of history to digest. Excellent highways will take you to the city in an hour from Oslo. The train uses around two.
- Drøbak is another of the picturesque, small seaside towns dotted all over southern Norway, and the closest to Oslo. Nice place to get away from the big city bustle, even if Drøbak also can become crowded in summer. Buses run at least hourly. Ferry from Oslo (Aker Brygge) via Nesodden in the summertime.
- Son is also one of the coastal pearls. Get local train to Moss, alight at Sonsveien station, and get the bus that meet most (but not all) trains.
- Drammen was earlier a totally unremarkable industrial city dubbed "the biggest road crossing of Norway". Even if traffic is still rife, the city has gone through a face lift, and their centre are as cosy as any. TimEkspressen bus line 1 (every hour, day and night) and 10, and 3 trains an hour gets you there and away.
|Routes through Oslo|
|Trondheim ← Hamar ←||N S||→ Moss → Göteborg|
|Bergen ← Hønefoss ←||W E||→ Hønefoss → Gävle|
|Kristiansand ← Drammen ←||W E||→ Karlstad → Stockholm|