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Oslo City Guide

Oslo; a city of hygge, interesting history, stunning architecture, art, beautiful fjords, and thriving nature.

It’s a city of many faces. To some, the perfect destination for a romantic weekend getaway; to others, it’s the ideal place to spend a busy holiday exploring its many sights, or perhaps just take it slow and enjoy the surrounding nature and the many public parks.

When to visit Oslo

Travelers come from all over the world to experience Norway’s Viking capital, but there’s one question on everyone’s mind – when exactly is the best time to visit? The answer, unfortunately, is not so simple. Oslo is a city that experiences all four seasons, and each has its own unique charm.

Blog: See my packing list for Norway.

The warm season in Oslo typically spans from June to August and you can expect mild and pleasant weather in these months (average temp from 16°C to 22°C (61°F to 72°F). It’s a time of year with plenty of daylight (17-19 hours) and great opportunities for enjoying the outdoors.

The cooler season in Oslo is during Spring (April-May) and Fall (Sept-Oct). You can potentially get below freezing temperatures during these months, but typically it warms up during the day with an average of 7°C to 18°C (45°F to 64°F). The nearer you are to the warm season, the higher the temperatures.

The cold season in Oslo goes from November to March with the coldest months being January and February. Expect snow on the ground, and freezing temperatures. The humid fjord climate can make for some really chilly days if it’s windy outside.

Getting into Oslo

Oslo Airport (OSL)

To get to/from the airport, you can either ride a Vy local train (buy tickets with the Ruter app, zone 4N to zone 1, or on a machine at the airport ), or take the Airport Express train (buy ticket on a machine at the airport).

These trains are both reliable and take about the same amount of time (22 min). The Express train has more frequent departures, but costs about twice as much as the local train (I always ride the local train).

Taxis are parked outside the terminal, and will cost you about 1000 NOK. Make sure to agree on a price before getting into the taxi. Or book a taxi pick-up here.

Train on the tracks going to Oslo

Places to stay in Oslo

Whether you want to stay downtown close to everything, in the upscale neighborhood of Frogner or the bohemian Grünerløkka, you can be sure to find something that will fit your preferences.

High End

For some extra splurge and luxury try out the venerable Grand Hotel, home of the Nobel Peace Prize laureates, located right on the Karl Johans Gate.

Hotel Continental is a 5 star hotel with several restaurants and bars, located just next to the National Theatre station.

The award-winning THIEF Hotel has its own SPA, and is located at Aker Brygge overlooking the Oslo fjord.

For a historical stay in the forest of Oslo try out the Lysebu Hotel with an excellent restaurant, and just a step away from hiking and skiing possibilities.


Oslo has several good mid-range hotels such as the well-known Thon Hotels. My favorites are the Thon Hotel Cecil near the City Hall (free evening meal in the off season), two blocks away is the slightly more upscale Thon Hotel Rosenkrantz and close to the Oslo central station and the Opera House is the centrally located Thon Hotel Opera. Expect big breakfast buffets and comfortable rooms.

The two Clarion hotels; Hotel Oslo and The Hub are both centrally located with great breakfast, bar and restaurant. Other good options include the charming Boutique hotel Camilla’s Hus behind the Royal Palace.

Amerikalinjen and Hotel Bristol belong to the upper Mid-Range class, and are good hotels for those who want the little extra without stepping into the High-End category.


The Citybox Hotel might be your best bet for a budget hotel in Oslo.

It’s located downtown near the Oslo central station and offers inexpensive and clean rooms with self-service check-in.

Another option is a fully furnished apartment from BOB W or a room at the more traditional Cochs Pension behind the Royal Palace.

Note that prices for hotels highly fluctuate throughout the year, and if you book early you can sometimes find good deals! The high season in Norway goes from June to August.

Places to eat in Oslo

The food scene in Oslo offers a blend of traditional Norwegian flavors, international influences, and modern culinary trends. Whether you’re a fan of seafood, international cuisine, or innovative gastronomy, Oslo has something to satisfy every palate.

Here are a few of my favorite food and drink spots in Oslo:


For a hearty traditional Norwegian meal I recommend the informal Rorbua Restaurant at Aker Brygge or for a more historical atmosphere I would head to Engebret Café, the oldest restaurant in town.

Vaaghals offers a more contemporary cuisine, but with Norwegian ingredients. It’s a busy spot just next to the Opera House. Restaurant Elias Mat & Sånt reminds me of a cozy bistro, and serves both Norwegian and international dishes.

Spor av Nord is a cozy little café serving up tasty dishes such as fish cakes and reindeer casserole. Another favorite is Fyret Food & Drinks, which has tasty open face sandwiches, burgers and soup of the day.

For traditional Norwegian waffles and meatballs head to Kaffistova. Although the best waffles in Oslo you will find at Haralds Vaffel in Grünerløkka, try one with jam and brown cheese.


For being a relatively small city, Oslo has some excellent food halls. I would recommend trying out these ones:

  • Mathallen Oslo is the oldest food hall in town located just next to the Aker River, and has a mix of street food vendors and stores. I especially like the Helt Vilt (traditional dishes and aquavit) & Vulkan Sjømatbar (seafood).
  • Oslo Street Food is inside what used to be an old public bath. Notice the tiles on the walls and seating inside the old swimming pool. You’ll find plenty of good food options and a young crowd.
  • Vippa Street Food is in an old warehouse at the tip of the docks overlooking the Oslo Fjord. Perfect on a sunny day.
  • VIA Village Food Court has nine different vendors and a more upscale feel, it’s situated on the west side close to the National Museum.


Oslo has a ton of good options when it comes to grabbing a drink. Be it a cocktail, a glass of wine, a beer or some aquavit (local liquor), you’ll be sure to find a place.

For a good craft beer I recommend Schouskjelleren Micro Brewery located downstairs in a cozy brick cellar with an open fireplace.

Crow Bar & Brewery has good beer and serves kebab and suckling pig on the second floor.

The award winning bar Himkok specializes in cocktails and has their own gin and aquavit distillery.

Fyret Food & Drinks (mentioned above) has good beers and a wide selection of aquavit.

Things to do in Oslo

Oslo is a dynamic and culturally rich city with a blend of natural beauty, history, culture, and modernity, making it a great destination for visitors. In Oslo you can find a wide range of attractions and experiences for both residents and visitors.

Here are some of my top recommendations for Oslo:


A must see in Oslo is the Vigeland Sculpture Garden on the west side of town, featuring over 200 sculptures and 700 figures by artist Gustav Vigeland.

If you loved the sculpture garden and got extra time I’d also recommend popping into the Vigeland Museum just next door.

For Maritime history and a good Folk Museum I’d head out to the Bygdøy peninsula. Here you’ll find the FRAM Polar Exploration Museum, the Maritime Museum, the Kon-Tiki Museum (combo-ticket available) and the Norwegian Folk Museum.

For art lovers head to the National Museum where you can see a large collection of contemporary art, crafts, design and Norwegian classical paintings. There is also a good collection of Edvard Munch, including the world known Skrik painting (Scream). For Munch fans I’d also include a visit to the Munch Museum.

Other worthwhile museums include the Norwegian WW2 Resistance Museum and the Historical Museum. With free entrance and open every day 9-16 the Oslo City Hall is always worth popping into (might be closed or limited for special events).


Oslo is a fjord city, and you don’t want to miss out on enjoying this beautiful body of water.

Swimming is possible at several places in town. Get on your swimsuit and jump into the fjord here:

  • Sørenga (floating dock and a small beach).
  • Tjuvholmen (floating dock and a small beach).
  • Opera Beach (a small beach, best for kids).
  • Hovedøya Island (swim anywhere on the south side of the Hovedøya Island, nice little beaches or sit on the rocks).
  • Huk (beach at the Bygdøy peninsula, ride there with bus #30).

Other Things To Do

Go for a hike in the forest of Oslo. A nice starting point is riding the metro to Sognsvann or Frognerseteren and starting your hike from there. You find plenty of well marked trails.

For a more urban stroll walk along the Akerselva River or follow the harbor promenade along the entire waterfront of Oslo.

In the summertime don’t miss out on the Botanical Garden where you can find the “palm tree house”, the Viking Garden and the Museum of Natural History.

Looking for more recommendations? Get my Google Oslo Map with 200+ marked spots in the city. This also helps support my business!

Viking ship carving detail in the water

How to get around in Oslo

Public transportation

Public transport is never far away in Oslo and it’s a reliable and affordable way to get around. Ruter operates all public transport within Oslo. Buy Zone 1 in the Ruter app, and ride any tram, metro, bus or harbor ferry.

See my You-Tube episode for Public Transportation in Oslo.

Ruter App

Viking ship carving detail in the water

Oslo Travel Connections

With good connections to Sweden, Denmark and all places in Norway,
Oslo is a perfect starting point for your Norwegian adventure.

To Bergen

The train company Vy got frequent departures from Oslo to Bergen on the Bergen Line. For a full day tour consider doing the Norway in a Nutshell itinerary. Watch this YouTube-episode for how to do it, or read this DIY guide on my blog.

If you rent a car you can consider driving over the mountain to Bergen.


These destinations are far up north, and unless you have ample time and consider traveling by train and/or bus. For most travelers I would recommend to find a flight and fly up north.


If you have time, take the train from Oslo to Dombås (Dovre Line) and change for the train to Åndalsnes (Rauma Line), both operated by Vy. You could potentially spend a night in Åndalsnes and take a Vy Bus to Ålesund from there.

To get there in one day take a direct Vy Bus from Oslo, rent a car, or hop on a flight.


They are both easily reachable by trains operated by Go-Ahead, but you can buy tickets and find the schedule on the Vy website.

Nor-Way Bussexpress also operates a bus line between Oslo - Kristiansand - Stavanger.


Best reached with the Dovre Line train taking you to the Trondheim central station.

See Vy website.


There are plenty of options for travel between the Scandinavian capitals. Between Oslo and Stockholm I’d either take the train or find a flight. With the train departing downtown Oslo and arriving in downtown Stockholm, there is not a big time difference between the two (5-6 hours journey).

From Copenhagen I’d take the DFDS overnight ferry. This is a scenic and relaxing way to travel, and you’ll get your own cabin onboard. Check out my YouTube-episode explaining this journey. For a one day journey find a flight or take the train. A bit slower, but considerably cheaper, is taking the Flixbus.

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