48 Hours In Oslo, Norway

Above: The opera house in Oslo, Norway (Photo: Andrey Emelyanenko/Shutterstock)

One of the first things you’ll notice about Oslo is that it’s wallet-cripplingly expensive—a 48-hour stay could max out your credit card if you’re not careful—but the city’s lush parks, stellar coffee culture, rocking music scene, and relaxed attitude offset the staggering costs.

What to see and do

Stroll along the lively Karl Johans Gate, Oslo’s main thoroughfare, on your way to the Royal Palace, or follow the its inlaid Henrik Ibsen quotations to the Ibsen Museum, the former home of the great Norwegian playwright. Marvel at the Expressionist wonders—including The Scream—of one of Oslo’s favourite sons, Edvard Munch, at the Munch Museum. Meander through the Vigeland Park, the masterpiece of sculptor Gustav Vigeland, composed of more than 200 sculptures of nude men, women, and children that capture the gamut of human emotion. In summer, it’s redolent of roses from the surrounding gardens and makes the ideal picnic spot. Take in ocean views from the top of the Oslo Opera House, a world-class arts centre crafted from Italian marble and designed by Norwegian firm Snøhetta. With its sharp angles and sloping roof, it doubles as an unlikely skate park, creating some great people-watching opportunities. Explore bohemian Grünerløkka for trendy restaurants, bars, cafés, and independent shops.

Where to eat and drink

A plate-sized cinnamon bun or fruit-and-nut scone from United Bakeries makes a sweet morning pick-me-up. Coffee connoisseur Tim Wendelboe caffeinates Oslo’s discerning espresso-lovers at his eponymous micro-roastery and shop. A 1950s throwback, the Nighthawk Diner dishes out delectable all-day breakfasts and locally sourced diner fare, including the best milkshakes in town. Combat a dip in blood sugar with an afternoon visit to Cocoa, Oslo’s first cocoa bar, for a frothy cup of hot—or chilled—chocolate. For dinner, Delicatessen serves toothsome tapas with a Norwegian twist. Western-themed bar Bonanza evokes the ruddy landscapes of the American frontier, offering a cozy space for drinks and mingling. Head to dive bar Revolver for decently priced draught beers. While you’re there, catch a rock or punk show in the basement venue, but bring earplugs—your eardrums will thank you!

Where to shop

Venerable sportswear purveyor Helly Hansen sells sleek, well-made apparel for all physical activities, from running to skiing. Feeling chilly? UFF, a Scandinavia-wide chain of secondhand stores, stocks a variety of traditional Norwegian sweaters, usually in great condition, at a fraction of the cost of new ones. Go to Moods of Norway for playful wardrobe staples. Hunting for souvenirs? Clever, functional gifts and housewares line the shelves of Søstrene Grene.

Where to stay

We recommend budget-friendly accommodation so you can spend your cash on enjoying the city. Outfitted with pinball machines and a snack bar, Hotel Comfort Xpress welcomes guests with a quirky, rec-room-style atmosphere and bright, comfortable rooms. Modern and clean, Oslo Hostel Central is located just minutes from the rail station.

Tags: Norway, Travel Guide

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