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Difference between revisions of "Oslo"

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Norway : Oslo
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(Districts: oslo just isn't large enough for 15 sub articles, as well as the fact that most of them are completely and entirely uninteresting. also rm some irrelevant info to a travel guide)
(Districts: fix - last IP was me)
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Following the latest reform of January 1, 2004, the city is divided into fifteen boroughs (bydeler) that are to a considerable extent self governed. Each borough is responsible for local services not overseen by the City Council, such as social services, basic healthcare, and kindergartens. For convience, and as most of the boroughs do not contain that much of interest, the city can be divided into five larger districts.
 
Following the latest reform of January 1, 2004, the city is divided into fifteen boroughs (bydeler) that are to a considerable extent self governed. Each borough is responsible for local services not overseen by the City Council, such as social services, basic healthcare, and kindergartens. For convience, and as most of the boroughs do not contain that much of interest, the city can be divided into five larger districts.
  
* [[Oslo/Sentrum]] (Sentrum) Central downtown area.
+
* [[Oslo/Sentrum|Sentrum]] (Sentrum) Central downtown area.
 
* [[Oslo/Inner West|Inner West]] (St. Hanshaugen, Frogner)
 
* [[Oslo/Inner West|Inner West]] (St. Hanshaugen, Frogner)
 
* [[Oslo/Inner East|Inner East]] (Sagene, Grünerløkka, Gamle Oslo)
 
* [[Oslo/Inner East|Inner East]] (Sagene, Grünerløkka, Gamle Oslo)

Revision as of 22:50, 12 October 2008

Oslo [1] is the capital and largest city of Norway, and the third largest city of Scandinavia. The history of the city can be traced back over 1000 years, although according to the chronicles of Snorre Sturlason, 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 city was renamed Christiania, a name that remained until it was officially renamed on January 1st 1925 to Oslo.

Stortinget, the parliament

Contents

Districts

Following the latest reform of January 1, 2004, the city is divided into fifteen boroughs (bydeler) that are to a considerable extent self governed. Each borough is responsible for local services not overseen by the City Council, such as social services, basic healthcare, and kindergartens. For convience, and as most of the boroughs do not contain that much of interest, the city can be divided into five larger districts.

  • Sentrum (Sentrum) Central downtown area.
  • Inner West (St. Hanshaugen, Frogner)
  • Inner East (Sagene, Grünerløkka, Gamle Oslo)
  • Outer West (Ullern, Vestre Aker, Nordre Aker)
  • Outer East (Alna, Bjerke, Grorud, Stovner, Nordstrand, Søndre Nordstrand, Østensjø)

Understand

Oslo is the demographic, economic and political centre of Norway. As a tourist destination Oslo is overshadowed by the natural landscape of more rural parts of the country, and the other large cities like Bergen and Trondheim which tend to be more "typical" Norwegian. Nevertheless, Oslo has plenty of sights, good nightlife and is worth seeing.

Name and history

After the devastating 1624 fire, old Oslo (around the mouth of river Alna) 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, between road E18 and the railway). Beyond these ruins there are virtually nothing remaining of mideval 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, an large number of remains from the city's farming history is still clearly visible in place names and farm houses. Nice parks like St. Hanshaugen is the remain of original pastures and sources of firewood for the citys inhabitants.

Geography

Oslo, with its approximately 453 square kilometers, 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.

Oslo is situated in an amphitheater-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 Oslo fjord is an inlet of the Skagerrak bay, stretching inland from the North Sea towards Øresund and the Baltic Sea. Oslo has an impressive archipelago of islands, which in summer becomes the city's favoured playground.

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 a fairly compact area and easily walkable, Karl Johan, the mostly pedestrian main street connecting Oslo S and the Palace is 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.

Climate

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 sometimes plentiful in the forested areas in winter, making the city a great winter sports venue, and rainfall is spread across the year, the rainiest month being August.

People

Oslo has a population of about 850,000 people. The diverse population includes some of Norway's wealthiest celebrities and socialites, as well as more than hundred thousand immigrants. This has made Oslo a multi-cultural society, with 20% of the city population being from a foreign country. This makes Oslo the "melting pot" of Norway. The cultural differences have affected the society in the matters of food, shopping, items and so on, which has blended in perfectly to the everyday life of Norwegians. The most notable immigrant communities hail from Sweden, Denmark, Pakistan, India, Somalia, Iraq, Iran, Vietnam, Poland, Ex-Yugoslavia, America, Russia, Albania, Thailand, China, Germany, England, Philippines, Morocco, Turkey, Korea, Sri Lanka and so many other nations which helps to make Oslo a diverse and exciting place to visit.

Economy

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 ($51,950) (excluding oil and gas) in 2000, compared to an EU average of approximately €20,000 ($23,512). 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.

Get in

By plane

Oslo Airport [2] (IATA: OSL, ICAO: ENGM), is Norway's largest airport, located in Gardermoen, 45 kilometres north-east of Oslo. It's 19-22 minutes and 160NOK (80NOK with student I.D.) by the Flytoget [3] high speed train from Oslo central station. Alternatively, try one of the slightly cheaper Flybussen [4] buses which take roughly 45 minutes to reach the city centre (150NOK), or the slower local trains (two lines [5], [6]) (86NOK). There is also a comprehensive bus service to other parts of Oslo and the region provided by Flybussekspressen [7].

Taxis can, and should, be ordered in the booth inside the terminal for different fixed prices from 395NOK to Oslo downtown. Going outside to flag one from the queue always ends up much more expensive (in some cases extremely so, see the By taxi chapter).

Some airlines, most notably Ryanair, serve Torp airport [8] near Sandefjord, 115 kilometres south of Oslo. The bus service Torpekspressen [9] links the airport to Oslo (1 hour 45 mins) and costs 160NOK for a single way 290NOK for a return ticket (discounts are in plenty for students, ISIC Card Holders and senior citizens), while free shuttle buses go to Torp Airoprt station, connecting with these trains: [10] to Oslo.

Moss Lufthavn Rygge [11] airport is a third airport in the Oslo area. Mainly serviced by Norwegian Air Shuttle [12], the airport is close to the cities of Moss and Fredrikstad. The bus service Ryggeekspressen [13] will meet all incoming international flights, and leave for all outgoing. Otherwise, a shuttle bus leaves for Rygge train station approx. 10 minutes before train departures from Rygge to Oslo. See the train schedule here (PDF): [14].

NOTE: Torp/Sandefjord and Rygge/Moss are sometimes marketed as "Oslo", although Oslo only has one airport. Your tickets will however have the codes for Torp or Rygge. Make sure that you know which of these your flight is arriving at or departing from.

The airports are served with direct flights from most European capitals and holiday destinations, as well as from New York. There is also a comprehensive domestic flight network, run by several airlines. SAS [15], Norwegian [16] and Widerøe [17] are the main airlines to and within Norway. For a full listing of connections to Oslo airport Gardermoen, have a look here: [18].

By train

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). Four daily trains travel in the direction of Stockholm (Sweden) (6 hours), two of which will require a change in Karlstad (schedule [19]). In addition, night trains run Thursday and Sunday nights. For Copenhagen (Denmark) and beyond, but you will have to change trains in Gothenburg.

Tickets for the Gothenburg line are cheapest when bought at the NSB [20] 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 [21], where the cheapest tickets can end up as cheap as 91 SEK. 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 prebooked train tickets can be picked up at ticket machines in Oslo Central Station (Norwegian tickets also at other stations).

Norwegian state rail operator NSB [22] runs fairly frequent and efficient, though not very fast, domestic service to Stavanger, Kristiansand, Bergen and Trondheim, as well as a comprehensive local and regional service around Oslo. Their schedules are here: [23].

Most of the long distance trains also stop at Nationaltheatret station which lies in the centre by the Royal Castle, or at Lysaker station on the western city limit. All these stations are connected to the local train system, as well as bus, tram or/and metro lines.

By car

International highways E6 (from Malmö and Gothenburg) and E18 (from Saint Petersburg, Helsinki and Stockholm) meet in Oslo. There is a road tax of 25NOK 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.

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, the E134 to Haugesund and the E18 run south-west to Drammen, Grenland (Skien/Porsgrunn) 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.

By bus

Oslo is well served by bus from most of Europe. The biggest operators of international buses are Swedish companies Swebus Express [24] and Säfflebussen [25]. Both run inexpensive services to and from Stockholm, Gothenburg and Copenhagen several times a day, Säfflebussen even goes to Berlin. Norwegian company Nor-Way Bussekspress [26] runs services to Gothenburg, while Eurolines [27] have connections to a number of countries, most notably Poland, Germany and the Netherlands. Moravia Express [28] runs direct buses to Prague and Brno twice a week.

For domestic services, Nor-Way Bussekspress [29] is the biggest operator, with several buses to Bergen, Trondheim and tons of other Norwegian destinations. Lavprisekspressen [30] has buses to Trondheim and Kristiansand twice a day, with cheap fares (Internet booking only). Timekspressen [31] 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.

By boat

Oslo is connected to Denmark and Germany by car ferry. Color Line [32] runs services to Kiel (Germany) daily. DFDS [33] runs daily services to Copenhagen (Denmark), and Stena Line [34] provides service to Frederikshavn (Denmark).

You may also want to consider Color Lines high-speed boats from Larvik (2hrs south of Oslo on E18) or Kristiansand (4 1/2 hours south of Oslo on E18) to Hirtshals (Denmark). They both take some 3 1/2 hours to reach Denmark. Fjord Line [35] has the quickest crossing to Denmark, from Kristiansand to Hanstholm in a mere 2 hrs.

Get around

There is a comprehensive public transport system in Oslo, consisting of buses, trams, trains, metro (T-bane) and boats. All run on the same tax scheme, and the same tickets are valid for all modes of transport. A single ticket costs 24NOK when bought in advance from a kiosk or a machine, and 34NOK when bought from a bus or tram driver. The ticket is valid for one hour of free travel. Cards with 8 coupons, each valid for one hour of travel, costs 160NOK, but may not always be bought on board. There are also daily passes (60NOK), weekly passes (200NOK) and monthly passes (550NOK), which can be bought at Trafikanten near Oslo S, or any Narvesen, 7-Eleven or Deli de Luca kiosk, as well as on machines on at metro stations and a few of the tram stops. No passes are valid on night traffic (Fridays and Saturdays only; 50NOK). All these tickets, except night traffic, are half-priced for children (4-15 years) and elders (60 and up). Weekly or longer passes are half-price until the age of 20. Children under the age of 4 ride for free, including trolley.

Make sure that you have a ticket and, if necessary, that it is validated before entering the subway platform or boarding the rear door of the bus or tram. The day- week- and monthly passes as well as single tickets purchased in a kiosk are not valid until they are stamped. On a bus or tram, the tickets are stamped when you board, either by the driver or in a stamping machine. On the subway and the large railway stations, you stamp the ticket before entering the platform. Random spot checks are common and being caught without a valid ticket leads to an automatic fine of at least 900NOK.

Trafikanten [36] is the information centre for public transport in Oslo. It is situated just outside Oslo Central Station, by the foot of the clock tower. They hand out free maps, give information and sell all kinds of tickets. Their website has timetables, maps 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 the rear counters. Tickets can also be bought at all Narvesen, 7-Eleven and Deli de Luca-kiosks, which are numerous in the centre.

A comprehensive network map is available online [37] which includes all local trains, trams and metro lines in Oslo. Be aware that the tram lines are not entirely accurate in the area around Jernbanetorget (Oslo S), due to construction work.

By metro

Oslo has one of the largest and best functioning metro systems in Europe. It is known as the Tunnelbane or just T-bane in Norwegian.

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 together to a single tunnel through the city center, from Majorstuen through Jernbanetorget (Oslo Sentralstasjon) to Tøyen, and then spread out into the suburbs. A loop line is running in a circle from northern Oslo to the center and back. The loop line is called "Ringen" (the ring) in Norwegian.

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.

A metro network map is available online [38].

On the west side of the system line number 2 (towards Østerås), and (the currently closed) line number 6 (towards Kolsås) cross the city limits into Bærum, and a ticket for Oslo only will not be valid for journeys in or to Bærum. Make sure that you have purchased a ticket which is valid for the Bærum zones if you travel past the stations of Ekraveien (on line 2) or Lysakerelven (on line 6).

By bus or tram

Trams and buses complement the subway network, and use the same tickets. They cover most of the city, and run from approx. 5AM to midnight, on some lines up to 1AM.

All tram lines run at least 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 subway, and are an efficient way of getting around. The main, central tram terminals are at Stortorget, Brugata and Jernbanetorget. A map of the tram network is available online [39].

Bus lines cover the rest of the city, as well as several ring lines. Nearly all central bus lines converge at Jernbanetorget, map available online [40]. 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 trams or metros. Buses 20 and 21 provide central ring-line service, while buses 23 and 24 cover the highway ring road further out.

Reconstructions at Jernbanetorget have lead to severe rescheduling in the central area of Oslo until the summer of 2008. Beware when arriving in Oslo at the central station or bus terminal, as your tram or bus is likely to have moved!

Nights after Fridays and Saturdays, buses cover parts of the city with varying frequency. No passes are valid, and the ticket price is 50NOK. A map of the weekend night lines are can be found online [41]. Most of these start or pass by the bus stops close to the Parliament building (Stortinget) and Oslo Central Station (Oslo S). There are plans to extend the night services to an all-week service with more frequent departures, that will be covered by weekly or longer travel passes.

By train

Local trains cover certain areas of the city, and run out to the neighbouring municipalities and towns. The same tickets are valid for travel inside Oslo municipality (until the stations Lørenskog, Rosenholm, Lysaker and Movatn).

The local train network spans across the city limits to neighbouring cities and towns. The network inside Oslo is depicted in grey on this map [42].

Note that some of the cars on local trains are labelled with big yellow stickers on the doors, with the notice "Kun Månedskort" and "Season tickets only". These cars are usually not visited by the conductor, and you are use these cars only if you have a ticket which does not need to be stamped by the conductor. Bad things happen (i.e. you become 750NOK poorer) 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 unmarked carriages.

In downtown, the main station is Oslo Sentralstasjon, which connects to the subway station Jernbanetorget through a direct link (escalators down by track 1/exit to Oslo City shopping centre/bus terminal) and several 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 subway station of the same name.

By boat

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 same tickets are valid for all local boats.

The departures, especially in evenings and winter, are infrequent, so make sure you don't miss the last one! Schedules can be found here: [43].

By bike

Except during the winter (approx. Nov-Mar) Oslo has a public bike service [44]. Just get a keycard at the tourist office (70NOK per day) 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. If you plan to stay in Oslo for a long time, residents can have the keycard for a whole season for the same price as tourists pay per day.

By taxi

This is for the well-off. The minimum charge with most companies is 80NOK. Short central hops may cost upwards of 100NOK, 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. You can also flag one from the street, or go to a taxi stand. There's a small surcharge for ordering by phone.

Several companies compete for having the most incomprehensible price structure. All taxi companies have a starting fee (0-70NOK) and a fee per kilometer that varies from 14-20NOK. These fees vary by taxi company and time of day. Usually, there's three different rates: The lowest one is the day rate, between 6AM and 18PM. The next is the evening and night rate 6PM-6AM M-F and 6AM-18PM Sa. The last rate is for Saturday after 6PM till Monday 6AM. Beware that some companies will operate with a special holiday rate (Helligdagstakst) on public holidays, including the night before, which will definitely result in staggering rates. All taxis accept Visa and Mastercard.

Taxi drivers in Oslo aren't a particularly jolly breed, but they usually do not speed too much, and taxi-crime is almost non-existent. Sometimes a taxi driver will attempt to charge you extra for luggage, and some companies actually have a surcharge for this. The price structure should be shown on a sticker inside the car, but is always in so small print you can't possibly see it. Another thing that often disturbs visitors is that the taxi drivers' name and license is not printed in the car itself. If you encounter any problems, ask for a receipt which will help you identify the car later.

If you pay by card, the taxi drivers sometimes wish to validate your card before the trip starts. Let them. They'll probably keep your card on top of the meter so you can keep an eye on it. Many people find this practice rather rude, if you do you should let them know, but this is actually ensuring that you are registered as a passenger with the taxi even before the trip starts. There have been no scams connected to this.

Some people tip taxi drivers, or round the bill up to the nearest NOK 10, but taxi drivers do not generally expect tip - most people pay the exact amount by card anyway

By car

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.

Oslo has an extensive tram (streetcar) network. Trams partly runs in the streets and partly on separate paths. Note that trams has a general right of way (even when coming from the left), unless overridden by signs or traffic lights. Never challenge the tram, they have long breaking distance and will in any case give a clear warning if you are obstructing. Note that 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 (ask locals if unsure).

See

Buildings and structures

  • The newly opened Opera house close to the central station (T-Jernbanetorget, all trams and buses to Jernbanetorget or Oslo S) is Norway's first entry into the top league of modern architecture. Shaped as a glacier or a ship, the amazing building seems to float by the inlet Bjørvika, giving a stunning impression. Do visit the cheap pub at the theatre boat Innvik, close to the Opera house, for the very best views. Also, climb the building on the marble slopes for a unique Oslo view. Shame, however, with the main highway passing close to it. It will be moved underground in 2011. Get to the Opera by footbridge from the seaside exit of Oslo central station, next to the Airport Express train terminal.
Royal Palace
  • The Royal Palace (T-Nationaltheateret, tram 13-19 to Slottsparken), [45]. Located at the end of KarlJohans gate, the city's main avenue. Tours inside the palace are arranged in summertime, this year from June 21.
University in Oslo
  • The University of Oslo is between the Royal Palace and Stortinget on the KarlJohans gate. The building is currently only housing the Faculty of Law, the rest of the university is situated at Blindern.
  • Oslo Cathedral (tram 11-17-18 or bus 37-70 to Stortorget, between T-Jernbanetorget and Stortinget) is none too impressive, but dominates parts of the down town scene. For the time being (2006-2009), it is undergoing refurbishment, and is wrapped in plastic making it look like a concrete plant.
  • Kirkeristen, the old bazaar surrounding the church, is now used by artisans and craftsmen, and holds a couple of cafes and restaurants.
Oslo Cathedral
  • Oslo's City Hall (Rådhuset) (T-Nationaltheateret, tram 12 to Rådhusplassen, bus 70 to Vika) is located by the waterfront, with Fritdjof Nansensplass on the inland side. It's open to the public, with a spectacular main hall featuring huge murals with typical Nordic socialist themes. There are also some displays of historical artifacts in the side rooms upstairs. This is where the Nobel Peace Prize is presented to it's winner every year. Although there is no public lift, disadvantaged visitors only have to ask and they can then use the staff lift.
  • Akershus festning (Tram 12 to Rådhusplassen, bus 60 to Bankplassen) is a medieval castle built in 1299, located close to the city center. 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.
View of Bygdøy
Akershus
  • You should not miss Holmenkollen, the ski jump located on the west side of Oslo (T-bane 1 towards Frognerseteren). It was first opened in 1892, but has been re-built many times since then. It has more than 1 million visitors every year. You can get all the way up to the top of the ski jump tower, where you have a great view of the city. The ski jump will be replaced before the FIS Nordic World Ski Championship held in Oslo in 2011. 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.
  • Stortinget (The Norwegian parliament) is located on the main street, Karl Johans gate, in the city center (T-Bane, any line, Stortinget station, exit Egertorget). It has free tour guides (45 minutes), the schedule of those guides can be checked in the main door of the Parliament.
Main entrance of Norway's Parliament
  • Architecture in Oslo may at first seem dull, unlike for instance its Swedish counterpart, Stockholm, downtown Oslo has only scattered monumental buildings where in particular the Parliament-Palace axis (upper part of Karl Johan Street) has a certain Parisian grandeur. 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. 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.

Museums

  • 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.
  • Munch Museum, (T-bane, bus 20-60-67 to Tøyen), [46]. Definitely worth a visit if you want to enjoy paintings of the famous Norwegian painter Edward Munch. (The museum had been closed, but is now reopened with security improvements.) There is of course also the National Gallery, featuring Norwegian art from the national-romantic period, as well as some art by international artists. National Gallery entrance is free.
  • Nobel Peace Centre, (Tram 12 to Aker Brygge, bus 70-74 to Vika or walk from T-Nationaltheateret), [47]. Includes some confronting exhibitions as well as an exhibit for every winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.

Somewhat outside the city center is a peninsula called Bygdøy. You can get there by bus (number 30) or, in summer months, by ferry departing from pier 3 at Aker Brygge outside the city hall. At 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 [48] is a large open air museum featuring typical buildings from various periods in Norwegian history.
      Woodstore, Museum of Cultural History
    • Viking Ship Museum, which in addition to two 1100 year old Viking-ships (apparently the best preserved in the world) also contains various other Viking artifacts and a Viking burial chamber, complete with ancient skeletons.
  • In the second group, on the harbour:
    • Norwegian Maritime Museum [49], which houses a huge collection of ships and boats and records the impact of Norway's seafarers on their own country and the world.
    • Kon-Tiki Museum [50] displaying Tor Heyerdahl's balsa raft Kon-Tiki, and Ra II, as well as some other artifacts from Easter Island.
    • Fram-Museum [51] features the vessel Fram, the worlds first ice breaker, and presents a history of polar exploration (with a strong Norwegian focus!)
Kon-Tiki
  • The Holocaust Center [52] 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.

Some other museums are:

  • Norwegian Museum of Science and Technology, (Tram 11 or 12 to Kjelsås, bus 22, 25 or 54 or infrequent local train to Kjelsås stasjon), [53]. A fun place for both children and adults.
  • Tramway Museum, (metro, tram or bus to Majorstuen), [54]. Displays the history of Oslo's trams, buses and metro.

For a small city, Oslo has an amazing number of museums. Many of them are located next to each other and don't take long to visit but, as with most things in Oslo, those with an entrance fee are not cheap. However, in recent years many museums have scrapped the entrance fee, see the tourist information brochure available at Trafikanten or the airport on arrival for details. If you are planning on seeing several of the expensive attractions above in a short period of time, then the most cost effective way to do this is to buy an Oslo Pass [55]. It includes unlimited entry to most of the museums and the Holmenkollen ski jump, as well as free travel on Oslo's quite expensive public transport. You can buy 24, 48 or 72 hour tickets. They can be purchased at Tourist Information Offices in Oslo.

Parks

  • Frogner Park, (T-bane, tram 11-19, bus 22-25-45-46 to Majorstua, tram 12 or bus 20 to Vigelandsparken), with the 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, and 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.
The monolith in the Frognerpark.
  • Tøyen Park, (T-bane or bus 20, 60 or 67 to Tøyen), stretches out behind the Munch Museum, and is a vast, grassy expanse. An enjoyable place to pass the time on a nice summer evening. There's also Tøyenbadet, an indoor swimming pool (50 meters) with outdoor activities in summer (closed for renovation, re-opens October 1, 2008).
  • Botanical Garden, (tram 17 or bus 31 to Lakkegata skole or t-bane to Tøyen, walking distance 200 metres), [56]. Located just south of Tøyen park, the garden is 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 is 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.
  • Slottsparken (Palace Park) 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.
  • Visit Ekeberg, the steep, green hill east of centre. From the wide hairpin bend at road Valhallaveien there is a great view of the city. This point is assumed to be the background for 'Scream', Edvard Munch's famous picture.

Other sights

  • Vår Frelsers Cemetery, (Bus 33-37-46 to Nordahl Bruns gate), north of city center on Ullevålsveien holds the graves of Edvard Munch and Henrik Ibsen.

Do

  • You have to visit the wooden housing areas of Oslo like Kampen (bus 60), Vålerenga (bus 37), Rodeløkka (tram 17, bus 31) 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 has really 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 common sight for tourists, but some of the areas have cafes/restaurants worth a visit. In Kampen you can find a very cozy Elvis café by the church.
  • In summertime, you can also take one of the ferries out to various islands in the 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 Hvervenbukta, Bestemorstranda and Ingierstrand. 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.
  • For fresh water swimming, Akerselva has a clean location just upstream 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, but a couple of the major lakes (Maridalsvannet in particular) are drinking water for the city. Buy a map and bring your swimming gear!
  • Visit Ekebergsletta (bus 34 or 74) during Norway Cup, billed as the world's biggest football tournament (about 25,000 participants). Lots of fun and football. Held annually at the beginning of August.
  • Visit the local city district Grünerløkka, (tram 11, 12 and 13 get off at "Olaf Ryes Plass"). A part of the city filled with cafés, bars, small fashion and designer shops, nice parks. Nearby runs the river Akerselva with a couple of bars and cafés nearby.
  • Buy at least one 19NOK Hotdog. They are referred to as "kjempegrill" and they are great for keeping the low blood sugar troll at bay and to increase your weight!
  • Take walks in Oslo's many forests. Nice gateways to the beautiful nature are T-bane to Frognerseteren (line 1), Sognsvann (line 3), Romsås (line 5) or Skullerud (line 3) or the train to Movatn (local trains towards Hakadal or Jaren).
  • The area around Holmenkollen (T-bane 1) is well suited for cross-country skiing, 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.
  • Take a walk down to Vippetangen and catch the small ferry to one of the small islands just a few minutes away. Great place to relax and go for a swim in the sea. Buying a dayreturn pass is the cheapest options if you don't have any other travel passes, see Get around

Learn

  • University of Oslo [57] is the biggest university in Norway.
  • BI [58] is a private business school offering a range of courses and degree programs (bachelor, master, PhD).
  • Oslo University College [59] has many different courses taught in English. International students, specifically, should look at the European Project Semester [60].

Work

If you're looking for work check out the website of the governmental agency NAV [61]. Or as well as the other sites like Topjobs [62] and Manpower [63] and Stepstone [64] and Jobzone [65].

careerinnorway.no [66] is a website specially geared towards workers from outside of Norway.

Buy

In 2006 Oslo was ranked the 6th most expensive city to live in in the world; in a regularly published research paper by UBS [67] (Prices and Earnings - A comparison of purchasing power around the Globe / 2003 edition), Oslo was rated most expensive city of the survey. 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, or you can check out:

  • Glasmagasinet [68] (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 cosmetique sales.
  • Oslo City [69] (T-bane to Jernbanetorget) is a big shopping center just across the street from the Central station. The shopping center is focused on the young people.
  • Byporten [70] (T-bane to Jernbanetorget) is the latest addition to the shopping center scene. It's connected to the Central station. This shopping mall is focusing on everything. The travellers' choice! A lot of designers stuff, branded clothing, travel stuff and more.
  • Steen & Strøm [71] is situated on a side street of KarlJohansgate. This is 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. Soon a day-spa will open on the top floor.
  • Paleet [72] (T-bane to Nationaltheateret) is an upmarket, central shopping centre with a food court in the basement. Close to the National Theatre (Nationalteateret) and Royal Palace.
  • Aker Brygge [73] (Tram 12, bus 21, 33 or 54 to Aker Brygge/Bryggetorget/Vika Atrium) is a seaside shopping and nightlife centre with high prices, but lots of glam and fun.
  • Bogstadveien up to Majorstuen metro station (tram 11 runs the length of the street). Good for non-chain stores, focus on clothes and accessories.
  • The House of Oslo [74] (Bus 32, 33 or 54 to Dokkveien) is a recently opened shopping center focusing on interior designs with around 20 different shops with their own theme. This may be the most exquisite interior design center in northern Europe. Illum Bolighus is especially worth a visit (this is a subsidiary of a famous Danish departement store).
  • 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, love your kitchen and Åhlens. In later years several good computer and photography shops have opened here.
  • Akersgata (just above Stortinget T-bane) have a few exclusive shops like Louis Vuitton, gold smith David-Andersen, Follestad, Corso Como, Ting and will open new fashionable shops in the future. Their prime target is to be the most exclusive shopping street in Oslo. It is situated in the rear of the Norwegian parliament.
  • Living Large [75] is a store for both tall and solid men, sizes range form 3X to 9X with decent formal and informal clothes.

Eat

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.

Aker Brygge (tram 12, bus 21, 32, 33 or 54; stops Aker Brygge, Vika Atrium or Bryggetorget) is a coastal area located south of the city hall, which during summer time is pulsing with life. There are outdoor restaurants and bars almost everywhere. Be sure to get some tasty sea-food (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.

You are also close to most of the restaurants, bars, or nightclubs located within the city center. A key reference point will be Stortingsgaten, running parallel to Karl Johans gate, both running eastwards from the Royal Castle (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.

Budget

A good area for budget dining is along Torggata (from Hausmanns gate south to Youngstorget) and the surrounding streets. 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:

  • A Taste of China, Torggata, near Youngstorvet. Great dim sum.
  • 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 90 NOK).
  • Bali, Torggata. Inventive name for a pizza joint, the best in the area.
  • Far East, Bernt Ankers gate 4, near the Brugata tram stop. Decent Asian food in a nice restaurant from NOK 90 and up.
  • Hai Cafe, Calmeyers gate (Vietnamese, cheap and brilliant!). The beef-noodle salad (#17) must be the best bargain meal in Oslo! Brilliant fresh spring rolls and pho, but a few of the other meals may be a tad on the uninspired side. But who cares with prices this cheap?
  • Jay's Afrique Restaurant, Rosteds gate (bus 34-54 to Møllerveien). African food at modest prices, from about NOK 80 and up.
  • Krishna's Cuisine, Kirkeveien 59. Everything vegetarian. Daily meal option with choice of side dishes, NOK 100 and up. Walk through 7-Eleven to reach the second floor location. [76]
  • Marino, Torggata. Generally accepted as the best kebab in the area, but steadily contested by Mediterran and Lille Amir.
  • Layali, Badstugata next to Rockefeller (brilliant Lebanese). The proprietor of the place is very friendly and can recommend good stuff himself. Go for the 5-course-a-person mezzah menu (NOK 150 per head), which always contain their yummy lemon chicken wings.
  • Lille Amir, Torggata/Badstugata (Lebanese). A kebab joint with the extra flair to their lumps.
  • Mitsu, Møllergata east, Japanese/Asian (Bus 34-54 to Møllerveien). Sushi, baguettes and a few hot dishes. Not the most cosy place to eat, but a great place for a cheap lunch or dinner.
  • Tay Do Cafe, Torggata Bad (Vietnamese). Try the 'Dagens' (daily special) for only about 80 NOK, or some of their other Vietnamese offerings.
  • Saigon Lille Kafe, Bernt Ankers gate (Vietnamese). The first of the Vietnamese bargain offerings are still going strong. Whilst authentic, the food in Vietnam is known to be tastier, however you'll need a plane ticket to Hanoi to get it cheap! (at least it feels like that when you're used to Norwegian food prices).
  • Dalat Kafe, Osterhaus gate, Vietnamese (Bus 34-54 to Jacobs kirke/Calmeyers gate). Simple interiour but very popular among people who appreciate authentic Vietnamese food. Dishes and beverages at affordable prices.

Grønland is often nicknamed "Little Karachi", and 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:

  • 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, sorry).
  • 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.
  • Ali Baba Restaurant, Grønland Bazar. Inside the new shopping mall, Ali Baba is a Turkish cafeteria with no-frills, decent food. Meals are pricier and less exquisite than they used to be.
  • 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, this upmarket joint has daily specials for NOK 99.


For true Norwegian budget dining, the choice is smaller. 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 NOK 100. Tuesdays are Eisbein day, be there! (Fantastic! Recommendation followed on 01-07.)
  • 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 (20 m 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.

Elsewhere you can always get your fix of sausage and kiosk-food at above-reasonable prices, but there are a few restaurants and cafes worth mentioning.

  • Tasty Thai, Pilestredet (Tram 17-18 to Bislett). Just around the corner from the football pub Store Stå, this is Oslo's best Thai offering. And at these prices, who can argue?
  • University of Oslo, 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 (at least in July). One branch in the city centre is at St. Olavs plass. A full list of student canteens are available here [77]
  • Rådhuset, The canteen in the cellar of the city hall is open to the public, and is rumoured to have even cheaper meals than the student canteens (for politicians). Open during lunch hours noon-2PM.
  • Hurry Curry near Bogstadveien is one of the few inexpensive restaurants in the area. Redundant but passable curries served in small portions dominate the menu (starting NOK 65), and they also have one of the best priced bars in the area.
  • 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.

Mid-range

  • 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 not too bad 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.
  • 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. The restaurant has 200 tables and bland Indian-ish food.
  • Falcon Crest, Ullern allé (T-bane 6 to Åsjordet). New, 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, one of the many Indian restaurants in Oslo, and a good one at that. Located at Majorstuakrysset, just by the T-bane.
  • 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. See Drinking.
  • Lanternen, First ferry stop on Bygdøy. Salads, sandwiches. The herring is good. Three kinds of herring with bread is NOK 80.
  • Mucho Mas, Thorvald Meyers gate (tram 11,12,13 to Olaf Ryes plass). Cal-mex joint offering huge meals, but reports claim that prices have gone up, while quality has faded. A new branch near the crossing of Hegdehaugsveien/Sporveisgata in Homansbyen (tram 11-19 to Rosenborg) does little to redeem this.
  • 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, or "Lompa", [78]. One of the best known and largest places in east Oslo. Restaurant, beer Hall, nightclub and roof terrace. Recently refurbished, with classic Norwegian food. T-bane to Grønland, or bus 37 to Tøyengata (the stop is on the doorstep).
  • 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 and enjoy this unique design experience. This used to be the old Oslo airport in the 50's and is now a cafè with a great lunch menu and various cakes and treats.
  • Pizza da Mimmo, Behrens gt 2 (tram 12 to Niels Juhls gt or bus 21 to Lapsetorvet). Vieing 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.
  • Rehman's, Thorvald Meyers gate (tram 11,12,13 to Birkelunden, bus 21 to Sannergata). Inventive Indian serving up, among other things, venison curry.
  • Restaurant Eik, Kr. Augusts gate (tram 11-17-18 to Tullinløkka). The least upmarket of the central gourmet offerings, Eik consintently get rave reviews and doles out a fine five-course gourmet menu for around NOK 400. 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.
  • Restaurant Victor, Hans Nielsen Hauges gate (Tram 11,12,13 to Grefsenveien or bus 30 to Sandaker). Oslo's best suburban offering, with innovative and fabulous food. Prices to match, though, even if their afternoon special (after 4pm) at NOK 145 is a relative bargain.
  • 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.
  • Villa Paradiso, Olaf Ryes plass (tram 11-12-13). Excellent pizza at Grünerløkka.
  • Xich-Lo, Øvre Slottsgate 27 (T-Stortinget). A central, more classy Vietnamese eatery with great food.

Splurge

If price is no object, there is some very fine dining to be found. If there is anything Oslo has a lot if, it is expensive restaurants.

  • Bagatelle, Skovveien (bus 30/31/32 to Skovveien, bus 21 to Lapsetorvet), [79]. French cuisine with famous owner. Highly regarded as the best restaurant in Norway. One Michelen star.
  • Bølgen & Moi, Løvenskioldsgate 26, [80]. Modern restaurant in the Frogner district. Reviews has been on the negative side the recent years.
  • Dinner, Stortingsgata 22, [81]. One of the finest Chinese restaurants in Europe. All the expensive dishes are worth it. Try their Peking Duck (must be pre-ordered the day before, but is a true feast).
  • Ekebergrestauranten, Ekeberg (tram 18,19 to Sjømannsskolen). An architechtural 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. One Michelin star.
  • Le Canard, President Harbitz gt. 4, [82]. One Michelin star.
  • Nodee, Middelthuns gt. 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 NOK 850 per person. Note: Only 23 seats and no reservations, but a good bar to while away the hours waiting for food. See also Pubs and bars below.
  • Restaurant Oscarsgate, Pilestredet (tram 17,18 to Dalsbergstien). They only serve an eight-course meny for NOK 995, but it is always world-class. Food and wine around NOK 1800,- Booking absolutely essential. Just received their first Michelin star.
  • Statholdergaarden, Rådhusgt. 11 (on the corner of Kirkegaten), 0151 Oslo, 22 41 88 00 (, fax: 22 41 22 24), [83]. M-Sa 6PM-12AM. Arguably one of Oslo's finest seatings. 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, located inside Hotel Continental next to Nationaltheatret, [84]. Classic Up market wiener Café with a continental menu. Great food, live entertainment and a number of exclusive wines and other alcoholic drinks.

Drink

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 tnemselves). Oslo is generally expensive. The most common price for 500ml (en halvliter) of beer is, of late, NOK 52. However, even cheap joints like Gloria Flames, who ususlly does 500ml for NOK 34, now charge NOK 58 because they have outdoor seating. Closing hours is late, up to 03:30 in city center. There are NO clubs open after this, as national legislation says you can't serve any alcohol after 03:00.

Here is a google map of cheap beer places in Oslo [85].

  • Andys Stortingsgata. (T-bane Stortinget, tram 13-19 to Wessels plass/Nathionaltheateret, bus 31-32-33-54-70 stop nearby). Official pub for Liverpool FC supporters. Shows most football matches on LCD TVs.
  • Bohemen (“the Bohemian”), Arbeidergata 2, tel: +47-22416266. (T-bane Stortinget, tram 11-17-18 or bus 33-70 to Prof. Aschehougs plass/Tinghuset) The best place to watch football (soccer) and sports in general, and to have a cheapish beer. Official Vålerenga supporter pub.
  • Cafe Sara, corner of Torggata and Hausmanns gate. Bus 34-54 to Jacobs kirke. 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.
  • 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 (NOK 29). Popular with the locals.
  • 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). (Psst? Fish and chips? In Norway: Good fish? Always! Good chips? Never! Except maybe here....;-))
  • Elm Street, Dronningsgate 32, [86]. Popular rock/metal bar that serves a decent burger. Often concerts in the weekends.
  • Garage, Grensen 9. Tram 11-17-18 or bus 37-46-70 to Stortorvet, T-bane Stortinget. A rock club with a large stage in the basement, great outdoor seating in a cosy back yard, good rock music and unlimited amounts of beer on tap. 0.5l NOK 42/56 (before/after 7 pm).
  • Gloria Flames, Grønland 18, Grønland t-bane/metro stop, [87]. Popular and hip rock/indie pub with great cocktails. Nice outdoor seating area that is open until midnight. Almost unbelievably cheap beer (NOK 34, equivalent to 4 euro) at weekday nights before midnight.
  • Hard Rock Cafe, KarlJohansgate 45, tel: +47-22863000, [88]. T-bane, tram 13-19 or bus 30-31-54-70 to Nationaltheatret. Opened in December 2005. Dealing mainly with, as the name suggests, rock nostalgia from the 50's, this should be familiar.
  • Hell's Kitchen, Youngstorget (corner of Møllergata). Tram 11-12-13-17 or bus 30-31-34-54 to Kirkeristen/Nygata/Brugata. Fab 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, [89]. Official Arsenal supporter pub in Norway.
  • Kampen Bistro, Bøgata. 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.
  • Last Train, Karl Johans Gate 45 (entrance Universitetsgaten), [90]. 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.
  • Mono, Pløens gate. 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. 0.5l NOK 52. One of the better places to pick up indie-chicks in Oslo.
  • M/S Innvik, moored to the quay behind Oslo Havnelager. Any public transport to Jernbanetorget. Boat with hostel, theatre stage and a nice pub with good food and cheap beer, and the very best views of the newly built Opera house in Oslo, a masterpiece of modern architecture. One of the most fabulous outdoor seatings in Oslo. 0.5l NOK 48.
  • Palace Grill, Solligt 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.
  • Revolver, Møllergata. On the eastern fringes of Møllergata, find this rock pub with most of Oslo's hipsters lurking in the corners. Supposedly, they now have food and live music. Not too expensive, and quite an extensive choice of beers on tap.
  • 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. 0.5l NOK 48.
  • 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").
  • 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. 0.5l NOK 52.
  • 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. 0.5l NOK 52.
  • Café Arté, St. Olavs gt 7. Tram 11-17-18 to Tullinløkka or bus 37 to Nordahl Bruns gate. Lovely cafe serving beer, wine, drinks and small dishes in a 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. 0.5l NOK 52.[91]
  • 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. 0.5l NOK 52.[92]
  • 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. 0,5l NOK 48.
  • Verkstedet, Hausmannsgt. 29. Bus 34-54 to Jacobs kirke. On the right hand side of Cafe Sara, Verkstedet is a very nice rock bar with a cozy 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 coctails and unlimited amounts of beer, both on tap and bottles.
  • Zen, Vogts gate, Torshov. Tram 11-12-13 to Biermanns gate, then continue for 300 metres. A mysteriously stylish interior for a dive bar, dishing out some of Oslo's cheaper beer (0.5l NOK 39). Laid-back, relaxing atmosphere, usually draws a somewhat older crowd. Small menu with passable food.


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 or bus 37 to Norbygata) and the city centre especially Youngstorget or Grensen.

You could also shop for beer (NOK 10- 16 for a 0.33l bottle) and drink it privately in the confines of your dwelling with friends, in case you are unable to shell out the money to drink up at a pub. Be advised to finish your shopping early and stock up soon, since supermarkets stop selling beer after 8 pm each day, and 6 pm on Saturdays (3 pm on a holiday weekend). 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 he/she is having a bad day you can get a fine of NOK 1500. 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 or wine can only be bought at special shops called Vinmonopolet [93] which are state-owned.

Vinmonopolet

Some of the central [94] 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 KarlJohansgate
  • Rosenkrantzgate 11, close to Grand Hotel, KarlJohansgate
  • Vika, Vikatorvet shopping centre (tram 12 to Vikatorvet)
  • Thereses gate, Bislett (near Bislett Stadium, trams 17 and 18)

Sleep

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 kms, 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.

Budget

Camping

  • Ekeberg Camping, Bus 34 or 74 to Ekeberg Camping, [95]. The closest campsite has a beautiful view of the city. No cabins.
  • Bogstad Camping, T-bane 2 to Røa, then bus 32, 41 or 47 to Bogstad Camping or Peder Ankers plass, [96]. 9 kms out of town at the entrance of picturesque Sørkedalen, Bogstad has cabins as well as tent space.
  • Oslo Fjord Camping, Train to Hauketo, then corresponding bus 76 to Hvervenbukta, or bus 87 (both options summer only), [97]. Near the beautiful swimming spot of Hvervenbukta, this campsite is a good deal.
  • Langøyene, (take ferry 94 from Vippetangen) is legal and free camping ground for everybody according to norwegian law. Not allowed to camp more than two days without special permission. By law you have to take your garbarge to trash cans and be careful with your single use BBQ, otherwise you may be fined extensively. And they DO come. Even after the last boat has left. Yes, the police has their own boats. So now you know.

Hostels

  • Anker Hostel, Storgata (tram 11-12-13-17, bus 30-31 to Hausmanns gate), [98]. Very centrally located, right between the central station and Grünerløkka (both five minutes walking).
  • Haraldsheim Youth Hostel, Sinsenkrysset (tram 17 or bus 23-24-31-33, it takes 10 min), [99]. The biggest HI hostel in Oslo is just outside the main ring road, in a nice, green area. Not too far from the action (but it is hard to find), walking distance to the lively neighbourhoods of Torshov and Grünerløkka. Just across the road there is a quater, where immigrants live. If there comes a group of friends (for example 4 persons) it is possible to book a separate room with a bathroom/toilet for 330 NOK/person, breakfast included. 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.
  • Holtekilen Hostel, Stabekk/Kveldsroveien (train to Stabekk, or bus 151, 153, 161, 162, 252 or 261 to Kveldsroveien), [100]. Outside the city border, extra fee needed if you have Oslo Transport card. Open May-August. In a picturesque neighbourhood close to the sea.
  • Rønningen Youth Hostel, Rønningen (tram 11-12-13 or T-bane 4,5,6 to Storo, change to infrequent bus 56 to Rønningen), [101]. Open June-August, inconveniently located but nice.
  • Perminalen, Kongens gate (T-bane to Stortinget, bus 30-31-32-54 to Wessels plass, tram 10-12-13-19 to Kongens gate, [102]. Bang in the centre, Perminalen offers slightly higher standards at slightly higher prices. OK cafe with good, old Norwegian homely grub at nice prices.

Hotels

  • Gardermoen Hotel B&B [103] is an airport hotel, it is 10 min drive from the airport and it is suatable if you just need to get some sleep. It is a quite place with simple rooms. In June 2008 the price was 1800 NOK for two double rooms with a pick-up and drop-off service to the airport of 4 persons, breakfast included. You can book a pick-up and drop-off service separately for 45 NOK/person. The lady from the information counter informed us that it is cheaper than to take a taxi.
  • Cochs Pensjonat, Parkveien 25 (tram 11 to Majorstua and 5 minutes walk or subway to Nationaltheatret and walk 10 minutes), [104]. 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.
  • Thon Hotel Munch, Munchs gate 5, [105]. 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. Fixed low prices; 695 NOK for single room, 895 NOK for double room.
  • Thon Hotel Astoria, Dronningensgate 21, [106]. Thon Hotel Astoria is a cosy budget-hotel in downtown Oslo, located only 50 metres from the main street Karl Johan. Shopping, galleries, museums, restaurants and nightlife are just minutes away. The hotel is only a short 5 minute walk from Oslo Central Station. Fixed low prices; 695 NOK for single room, 895 NOK for double room.

Mid-range

  • Carlton Hotel, Parkveien 78 [107]. Conveniently located near Aker Brygge. 50 rooms, small but good value. Restaurant with Japanese food.
  • Thon Hotel Gyldenlove, Bogstadveien 20 [108]. Newly renovated hotel, with excellent location in Oslo's west quarter, right in the city's best shopping avenue, Bogstadveien.
  • M/S Innvik, [109]. Theatre boat with cabin accommodation 10 min. walk from the train station. Nice cafe/pub and good views of the Opera House construction site.
  • Radisson SAS Plaza Hotel, Sonja Henies Plass 3, [110]. 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 train station. Rooms from 1300 NOK.
  • Thon Hotel Terminus, Stenersgaten 10 [111]. The hotel is located in the downtown area of Oslo within easy walking distance from the central railway station. Shops, restaurants, museums and theatres are all situated nearby, which gives you the opportunity to experience Oslo’s city life at its best!
  • Radisson SAS Nydalen, Nydalesveien 33 (T Nydalen), tel. +47-2326-3000, [112]. New hotel in the new district of Nydalen, 15 minutes from the city center by subway. Choose from funky "Chilli" or more staid "Urban" rooms, Internet rates from 900 NOK with breakfast.

Splurge

  • Thon Hotel Bristol, [113]. Located right in the city centre, near the National Gallery and the main shopping street "KarlJohansgate". In a world of constant change, Hotel Bristol is dedicated to tradition. As soon as you enter the lobby you will experience the unique style that characterizes the hotel. An air of elegance which have been maintained since the opening in 1920.
  • Hotel Continental Oslo, [114]. Located between the National Theatre and Aker Brygge, this 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.
  • Grand Hotel Oslo, [115]. This is 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.
  • Grims Grenka, Kongens gate 5, [116]. The only design hotel in Oslo. Five star hotel which has received international claim. Operated by first hotels. Member of design hotels.

Contact

  • At Deichmanske Bibliotek (library) you can use a terminal for free up to 30 minutes.
  • At Unginfo in Møllergata [117] you can use a terminal for free up to 30 minutes. They are in theory only for people ages 26 or under. They will rarely ask you to prove your age, although if you are 50 and the place is crowded, you should rather head for the nearby library. During the summer, they also provide free tourist information targeted at budget travelers.
  • Most of the internet cafes are located in the eastern part of town, they are especially frequent in the Grønland part of town. 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: [118] (in norwegian).
  • There are several open wifi connections on the upper level cafes at the train station Oslo Sentralstation, the subway station at Grønland. Inside the train station Oslo S On the third floor (one level up in the main hall) is the most complete Internet cafe - business center with full spectra of services and personnel onsite [119]. 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.
  • 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.
  • Across from the Nationaltheatret next to a pub called Paddy's, there is an Internet café, and there are kiosks in the shopping center Oslo City in the downtown area and other wifi spots in the eastern fringes, such as the Deichmanske Bibliotek on Henrik Ibsens Gate.
  • Byråkrat [120], QBA (Grünerløkka) and Cafe Tiger all have free open wireless internet. If you just want internet access, a cup of coffee for NOK 18 at Cafe Tiger is worth it.

Stay safe & healthy

The majority of the criminal incidents reported to the police continue to be theft-related. Although rare, violent crimes and crimes committed using a weapon are being perpetrated more frequently. However, it is much more likely for tourists to experience the crimes of pick-pocketing and petty theft, which occur in the major tourist areas, in hotel lobbies, in the train and transit stations, and in similar locations where groups of visitors gather. Police credit criminal youth gangs for the frequency of these criminal activities. According to the police, the area above the Central train station along River Akerselva until lower Grünerløkka has the highest number of violent crimes. These crimes typically happen after midnight and involves drug dealers and young people. The police advice people to stay away after midnight and to walk in groups. Common scams are extremely rare or non-existent in Oslo, but there are recent (2008) reports on the "guessing game" on the street - don't get involved in betting on the street, it is a scam for sure.

No areas are terminally unsafe, but be especially aware of your belongings in the central station and bus station. Although it is unlikely something will happen, keep your eyes open in crowded downtown areas, deserted suburbs, in and around T-bane and railway stations and at the main drag, Karl Johansgate (especially the part closest to the central station). The highest number of reported thefts occur around Grønland, especially along the Akerselva river, and close to Majorstuen T-bane station.

From Karl Johan's street and down to the harbor area, you'll find Oslo's red light district. Unfortunately criminal activity here is very visible. Legal prostitution is ongoing, and has increased in recent years. Avoiding eye contact will keep you out of a price discussion. Make sure that you decline, being kind but categorical, so as to not to get into trouble. In the same area, drug dealers and addicts are numerous. As long as you act friendly, problems are easy to avoid.

Also, 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 yellow signs up (featuring the word "takras") and some areas are occasionally cordoned off.


Politics is a sensitive subject in Norway, like in other western countries. Political views differs. There are both far-right and far-left opinions in the everyday crowd, but extremism is rare. Be careful when expressing your political opinions, violent and autocratic ideologies are not tolerated in Norway. Norwegians tend to be very sensitive about World War 2. Norway was occupied and violently controlled by Nazi authorities.


Water. The tap water of Oslo is among the cleanest in the world, and a new, state of the art treatment plant due to open in summer-08 and covering the central parts of Oslo will make the situation even better. Do drink tap water instead of bottled water, which does nothing but drain your pocket of much needed kroners.

Traffic. Cars are required to yield to pedestrians at marked and signed crossings, and will be heavily fined if they don't. Note however that 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 challenge one.

Cope

It is easy to get around in Oslo, and almost every Norwegian speaks English more or less fluently. Most people will respond in English to any question you may have, however be prepared for potentially better comprehension than oral skills in return.

The Youth information (Unginfo) runs an independent information desk in Møllergata [121] 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.

Get out

Day trips

  • Oslomarka is the large forest surrounding the city. This is an important recreational area for the citizens of Oslo, and quite unique for a captial. 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.
  • 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. Train is the best way to get here.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Further away

  • Take one of the most beautiful train journey in the world: take the train to Bergen and pass the Hardangervidda, with a detour along the Flåm line.
  • Go further north, go to Trondheim and eventually go to Bodø and Lofoten.
  • In summer, try heading down the south coast, to places like Lillesand, Risør, Kragerø and Sandefjord, very picturesque and beautiful.
  • In winter, go alpine skiing in Hemsedal, Lillehammer, Geilo or Beitostølen. (Or stay in the city for that — there is very good alpine and cross country skiing within Oslo city limits.)

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