Oslo: The Most Underrated City in Europe
Food & Wine
Oslo holds a special place in my heart due to its captivating blend of cultural richness, historical significance and culinary delights. This enchanting city has an allure that is hard to resist, offering a plethora of experiences that have left an indelible mark on my memories.
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Where to stay in Oslo
Hotel Continental, Oslo
Historic hotel with 151 elegant hotel rooms, an event venue, as well as several buzzing restaurants and bars.
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Things to do in Oslo
Explore the Munch Museum: Discover the iconic works of Norwegian artist Edvard Munch, including his famous painting "The Scream." The museum provides a comprehensive collection of his art and a deeper understanding of his creative journey.
Tour the Norwegian National Gallery: Admire a diverse range of artworks, including those by Norwegian masters such as Edvard Munch and Johan Christian Dahl, as well as renowned international artists. Don't miss the opportunity to see "The Scream" in person.
Wander through Vigeland Park: This stunning sculpture park is the largest of its kind by a single artist, Gustav Vigeland. Stroll through beautiful gardens while admiring over 200 sculptures that depict the human experience in myriad ways.
Visit the Royal Palace: Witness the grandeur of the Norwegian monarchy by taking a guided tour or simply enjoying a leisurely walk through the surrounding palace park, which is open to the public.
Experience the Oslo Opera House: Even if you're not attending a performance, the modern and visually striking Oslo Opera House is worth a visit. Walk on its sloping roof for panoramic views of the city and the Oslo Fjord.
Discover the Akershus Fortress: Delve into Oslo's history at this medieval fortress that offers insights into the city's past through exhibitions, guided tours, and stunning views of the harbor.
Sample Norwegian Cuisine: Indulge in local delicacies such as fresh seafood, reindeer and traditional dishes like fårikål (lamb and cabbage stew). Visit local restaurants and markets to savor the authentic flavors of Norway.
Explore Aker Brygge and Tjuvholmen: Wander along the waterfront at Aker Brygge, where you'll find a blend of restaurants, shops and entertainment options. Nearby Tjuvholmen offers contemporary art galleries and a trendy atmosphere.
Take a Ferry to Bygdøy Peninsula: Hop on a ferry to this peninsula, home to several museums including The Fram Museum (dedicated to polar exploration) and the Kon-Tiki Museum (exploring Thor Heyerdahl's expeditions).
Relax at the Oslo Fjord: Take a leisurely boat ride on the fjord, enjoy a picnic on the shoreline or simply soak in the scenic beauty that surrounds this tranquil body of water.
These are just a few highlights of the many wonderful experiences that Oslo has to offer. Whether you're interested in history, art, nature, or culinary delights, Oslo's diverse attractions guarantee that there's something for everyone to enjoy.
Norwegian Fjord: Embark on a fjord cruise to explore the breathtaking beauty of the Oslofjord.
Bygdøy Peninsula: Take a ferry or bus to the Bygdøy Peninsula, where you can visit several fascinating museums, including the Fram Museum, the Kon-Tiki Museum and the Norwegian Maritime Museum.
Holmenkollen Ski Jump and Frognerseteren: Experience panoramic views of Oslo from the iconic Holmenkollen Ski Jump and then continue to Frognerseteren for a traditional Norwegian meal and more stunning vistas.
Drøbak: This charming coastal town is known for its historical wooden houses, the Tregaarden's Christmas House and a beautiful harbor. It's a great place to stroll along the streets and enjoy a relaxing day by the water.
TusenFryd Amusement Park: If you're traveling with family or seeking some thrills, consider a day at TusenFryd, one of Norway's largest amusement parks, featuring a variety of rides and attractions.
Hadeland Glassworks: Visit the Hadeland Glassworks to witness glassblowing demonstrations, explore the glass art gallery and shop for beautiful glassware and art pieces.
Places to eat & drink in Oslo
Baker Hansen: This popular bakery chain serves delicious pastries, sandwiches and coffee, making it a great spot for a quick and tasty breakfast.
Godt Brød: Known for its organic and freshly baked bread, Godt Brød offers a cozy atmosphere and a variety of breakfast options, including open-faced sandwiches and pastries.
Kaffebrenneriet: A local favorite, Kaffebrenneriet serves excellent coffee along with a selection of pastries, sandwiches and light breakfast options.
Fru Hagen: This charming café is perfect for a leisurely breakfast. Enjoy freshly baked goods, yogurt parfait and other breakfast classics in a cozy and welcoming setting.
Mathallen Food Hall: This vibrant food hall features a variety of stalls offering international and local cuisine. From sushi to Norwegian specialties, you'll find a range of options to satisfy your lunch cravings.
Olympen Restaurant: Experience traditional Norwegian fare at this historic restaurant. Try dishes like "raspeballer" (potato dumplings) or "lapskaus" (meat stew) for an authentic taste of Norwegian comfort food.
Theater Cafeen: Probably the most famous café in Oslo at the Continental Hotel right across the street from the National Theater.
Grand Cafe: At the Grand Hotel on the Karl Johan Street.
Maaemo: For an unforgettable dining experience, Maaemo offers a unique tasting menu featuring modern Nordic cuisine. It has been awarded three Michelin stars and showcases the best of Norwegian ingredients.
Lofoten Fiskerestaurant: Specializing in seafood, this restaurant offers a range of dishes made from fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Enjoy stunning waterfront views while savoring your meal.
Statholdergaarden: One Michelin Star: High-quality cooking, worth a stop! A charming 17C house in the city’s heart. Three elegant rooms feature an array of antiques and curious items, and have wonderfully ornate stucco ceilings hung with chandeliers. Expertly rendered classical cooking uses seasonal Norwegian ingredients in familiar combinations. Service is well-versed and willing.
Fiskeriet Youngstorget: This seafood-focused eatery serves a variety of dishes, from fish and chips to seafood platters. It's a great place to indulge in Norway's rich maritime culinary heritage.
These are just a few recommendations, and Oslo's dining scene offers even more options to suit different tastes and preferences. Whether you're looking for traditional Norwegian flavors, international cuisine or fine dining experiences, you'll find plenty of choices.
Need to Know
For more travel tips, check out my guide, Stunningly Beautiful Norway.
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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Norway.