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Travel guide – Oslo

The capital and largest city of prosperous Norway, Oslo lies on a fjord surrounded by high hills. Originally a trading post, it has grown to become the centre of Norwegian industry and commerce and a capital of Scandinavian culture. Finnair’s Oslo travel guide exposes the best sights and experiences in Oslo, combining rugged natural beauty and modern style.

Norway is well known for its viking history and you can get a glimpse into the past at the Viking ship museum where on display is the incredibly well-preserved Oseberg ship, dug up from a burial mound. Several other ships and a range of viking burial artifacts are also housed here.

Continuing the seafaring theme, the Kon-Tiki museum houses artifacts from the many journeys of adventurer Thor Heyerdahl, famous for his crossing of the Pacific on a balsawood raft. A fascinating sight in Oslo that is a must for any adventurous spirit.

Oslofjord, referring to the bay on which Oslo sits and stretching out to the Kattegat sea, is a wonderful nautical playground often full of watercraft heading from place to place. Rent a canoe or kayak and paddle along the waterfront or head to an island for a taste of nature.

Frogner Park is best known for the twisting humanoid shapes of the Vigeland sculpture installation it hosts. Surrounded by lush green lawns, this park is a popular summer Oslo sight for locals to come and enjoy sunshine and fresh air.

The Holmenkollbakken ski jumping area is hard to miss, with its tower rising above the surrounding homes. Site of many international winter sports competitions, this highly-visible landmark has a museum and viewing platform giving visitors unobstructed views of Oslo city.

Set in sprawling open grounds, the Royal Palace gives visitors a sense of the grandeur reserved for Norwegian royalty. 

Sognsvann – A beautiful lake just north of town, with its green surroundings and various leisure activities it is a favourite place for locals to come and enjoy a relaxing day off.

Tusenfryd amusement park – If you need some excitement to liven up your day, head to Norway’s largest amusement park just outside of Oslo.

Fredrikstad – Less than 100km south of Oslo find the old town of this city completely ringed by historic fortifications.

Lillehammer – A quaint town easily accessible for a day trip, known for romance among its narrow cobblestone streets.

Bergen – Only an hour away by plane, Bergen is the gateway to the fjords and is known for some of the most stunning natural scenery in the country.

Scandinavian design is alive and well in Oslo, with many cutting-edge boutiques to be found. Your favourite brands and chains are in easy reach in the city centre, but beware the price tags; shopping in Oslo may be a little pricier than you’d expect!

Karl Johan’s Gate - The heart of shopping in Oslo hosting several shopping centres and well-known department stores. All major brands can be found in this pedestrian precinct. Akersgata is where you’ll find luxury brands.

Mathallen - A food market-hall offering typical Norwegian produce and local specialties.

Grünerløkka - This part of town has a bohemian feel, with its variety of antique shops and bookstores mingling with trendy cafes and restaurants.

Grønland - Where many cultures from around the world meet, this area provides a world of styles and flavours from the various immigrant communities of Oslo.

Norway’s cuisine is distinct and you can find local specialties served all over Oslo.

Kjøttkaker – Similar to the Swedish variety of meatballs but with a rougher consistency, this is common and filling Oslo food.

Fårikål – Bone-in mutton stewed and served with fresh boiled potatoes. Norway’s national dish.

Salmon – Smoked salmon is a very well-known Norwegian dish and you can sample it used in a multitude of ways in Oslo’s many eateries. Gravlax, salmon cured by burying it underground, is also particularly good.

Lutefisk – Dried cod prepared by preserving in lye.

Krumkake – Crispy, thin pastry rolled into a flute shape and filled with whipped cream.

Beer – Ringnes and Hansa are the basic lagers on offer but many smaller brands provide some variety. Light and mid-strength beer is available from supermarkets while stronger beer is only available from the state-run vendor Vinmonopolet.

Wine & Spirits – Available in licensed premises and most restaurants. Can only be purchased from Vinmonopolet. The flagbearer of spirits in Norway and a popular drink in Oslo is definitely Akevitt, served as an aperitif.

Coffee – Popular and widely available, often drunk simply with or without milk.

Transport in Oslo is efficient and easy to use. The same tickets can be used across all modes of transport and better value multi-tickets are a good bet for visitors to getting around Oslo. Always buy your tickets beforehand as they are almost double the price if bought onboard.

Metro – Oslo’s metro is one of the largest in Europe and is modern and fast. 6 lines radiate outward from the city centre with one, Ringen, running a constant loop around the city centre area.

Tram – 6 lines thread through the city, stopping at all important sights and major areas of interest.

Bus – You can easily reach the outer parts of Oslo by bus with many lines criss-crossing the city. Like trams, most lines converge at Jernbanetorget.

By foot – Most of Oslo is easily walkable with only a few hills to contend with. Pedestrian areas are common and drivers are accommodating of foot traffic.

By bike – Many bike paths can be found throughout the city allowing for easy transport around town by bike.

Train – Long distance trains head from Oslo to all parts of the country, with routes leaving regularly from Oslo Central Station. Trains are modern and include sleeper cabins for long-distance journeys.

Currency – Norwegian krone (kr).

Electricity – 230 volts, 50hz, European type-C plug.

Tips – not expected as a service charge is always included in bills.

Payments by card – accepted everywhere.

Time zone – CET / UTC+1.

Water – safe to drink.

Oslo Airport, Gardermoen (OSL)

The airport is located 50km northeast of Oslo.

  • Check-in opens 2 hours before departure
  • Check-in closes 45 minutes before departure

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