Oslo, Norway: Information on the city and sights.
Oslo, Norway – the most detailed information about the city with photos. Oslo main sights with descriptions, guides and maps.
Oslo is the capital and largest city of Norway, located in its south-eastern part of the Baltic Sea on the coast of the Gulf of Oslo-fjord. It is one of the most modern and environmentally friendly capitals in Europe with an abundance of interesting (mostly modern) architecture, museums, restaurants and stores. As the third largest city in Scandinavia, Oslo is a surprisingly compact, comfortable and peaceful city, where modern landscapes mingle with the stunning natural beauty of fjords and wooded hills.
What to do (Oslo):
€138 per tour.
1,000 Years in 1,000 Meters
Walk down Oslo’s main street and trace the city’s history
€150 for the tour.
In the footsteps of World War II. Oslo at War
Walk through the center of the Norwegian capital and see it with new eyes
Geography and climate
Oslo is situated in the southeastern part of Norway at the northern end of the Bay of Oslo-fjord, which is part of the Baltic Sea and runs deep into the Scandinavian Peninsula. Around the city are about 40 islands and more than 300 freshwater lakes. Relief – the hills, covered with forests.
The climate is temperate with a significant marine influence. Winter is fairly mild with little frost. Summer is cool with an average temperature of 15-17 degrees. For the year falls about 800 mm of precipitation. Interestingly, the capital of Norway is located at the same latitude as our St. Petersburg, but the climate is much milder.
Oslo in winter
Information for tourists
- The population is more than 600 thousand people.
- Currency is the Norwegian krone.
- Visas are Schengen.
- Time zone (UTC): +1, in summer +2.
- The area is 454 sq. km.
- Tap water is of excellent quality and you can drink it.
- TaxFree is refundable from a minimum purchase of 315 kroner or going to a restaurant for 290 kroner.
- The official language is Norwegian. Many Norwegians speak English fluently.
- The voltage in the power grid is 220 V.
- Surprisingly, there are not many ATMs in modern Oslo. You can only find them at banks, train stations (airports), 7-eleven or Narvesen supermarkets.
The first written mention of Oslo dates back to 1048. The city was founded by the Norwegian King Harald III. In Norwegian the name is translated as “mouth of the river Lo”. In 1299, the capital of Norway moved from Bergen to Oslo. In the Middle Ages, the city consisted of 400-t wooden houses surrounded by city walls, 9 churches and two fortresses – the royal castle and the castle of the bishops.
In 1348 Oslo lost its privileges as the capital of Norway when Norway became part of Denmark. As part of the Danish kingdom Norway was until 1814.
In 1624 a huge fire almost completely destroyed the old city, which was abandoned. The new city was founded a few miles west of it and named Christiania in honor of the Danish king. The ruins of several churches have survived to this day. More of the medieval Oslo has not survived anything else.
In 1814, Norway became part of Sweden. Oslo regained its historic name in 1924.
How to get there
Oslo Airport is the largest in Norway and one of the largest in Scandinavia, performing about 100 domestic and international flights. It is located 50 km from the city. In order to get to the center of the city you can use the train service. High-speed train for 180 NOK will bring you to Oslo in 20 minutes. The normal train, which departs from a nearby platform costs 90 kroner (the most economical way to travel). The bus costs 150 kroner.
Oslo at night
There are two other airports in the vicinity of Oslo. Airport Sandpjord is located 120 km from the city. Flights to this airport operate from Amsterdam, Alicante, Barcelona, Bremen, Bergamo, Liverpool, Frankfurt am Main, Gdansk, etc.
Oslo Central Station is located to the east of the historic center. Rail links connect the Norwegian capital with Gothenburg, Stockholm, Bergen and Trondheim.
How to get there by car:
- E6 freeway from Malmö and Gothenburg.
- E18 from St. Petersburg, Helsinki, and Stockholm.
- E16 from Torsby and Bergen.
Bus service is developed with Copenhagen, Stockholm, Malmo, and Gothenburg.
Oslo has long held the title of one of the most expensive cities in the world. Nevertheless, here you can find a lot of brand stores and large shopping centers, where prices are not higher than in the boutiques of London, Paris and Milan.
- Karl Johans – the main pedestrian street with lots of cheap stores
- Bygdøy allé – Shops with crockery, furniture, interior design.
- Torggata – Shops with household goods.
- Aker Brygge (streetcar 12, bus 21, 33) – more than 30 stores and many bars and restaurants
- Paleet – more than 30 stores. Located in the city center on the main pedestrian street.
- Storo Storsenter – the largest shopping center in the capital of Norway, with more than 130 stores. Located 15 minutes by public transport from the city center in an old foundry.
- Bærums Verk shopping – 50 stores, restaurants and craft workshops. Charming shopping complex next to the forest, consisting of small houses.
- Maschmanns – market of fresh food: meat, fish, cheeses, as well as bakery and pizzeria.
Oslo you can find food for all tastes and wallets. Of course, on average, prices in the capital of Norway is quite high compared to the rest of Europe. The cheapest restaurants are Asian. Also Oslo has an excellent street food culture.
South of City Hall is the promenade Aker Brygge. Here you can find many places where you can not only eat, but also something to drink. Many restaurants and nightclubs are located in the center in the Stortingsgaten area.
Karl Johan Street in Oslo
There are many inexpensive establishments in the Torggata area. Mostly Oriental and Asian restaurants and pizzerias. In Grønland you can find a lot of oriental sweets and cheap beer.
On weekdays they stop selling alcohol at 20.00, on Saturday at 18.00 and on public holidays at 15.00. Sale of alcohol on Sundays is prohibited.
Many may find the center of Oslo dull compared to Stockholm and Copenhagen. It does not have many sights and historic buildings. Wooden construction in the city center is prohibited. This is probably because of the great fire in the 17th century that destroyed the old wooden Oslo.
Royal Palace in Oslo
The Royal Palace is a royal residence built in the 19th century in the neoclassical style. A large and beautiful park adjoins the palace.
Akershus Castle is an ancient castle founded in the late 13th century. At the end of the 17th century the castle became a fortress, and in the middle of the 17th century it was rebuilt in the Renaissance style. During its history it withstood several sieges. This is one of the oldest places in the city, which has special significance to the Norwegian people and the history of the country.
An interesting place is the sculpture park Ekebergparken, surrounded by beautiful scenery with several observation decks.
Despite the fact that the history of Oslo is many centuries, the old city has remained only in ruins. In 1624, a massive fire almost destroyed it, and the settlement was abandoned. The medieval town was located a couple of kilometers to the east near the hills of Eckenberg. It had about 400 wooden houses, 6 churches and 3 monasteries.
Of the old medieval churches only the church of Aker, founded in the 12th century, is well preserved. Basilica was built of stone in the Roman style and is located in the eastern part of Oslo.
Oslo Cathedral is Oslo’s main religious building, built in late 17th century Baroque architecture.
Other sacred architecture buildings that stand out are:
- Kampen Church, a neo-Gothic church built in the late 19th century. It is located on a hill with a beautiful view of the city.
- Greenland Church – one of the largest churches in Oslo, built in the 19th century in the Norman style. Located in the eastern part of the city.
- Frogner Church – One of the most beautiful churches in the Norwegian capital, built in the early 20th century in the late Norman style.
- Fagerborg Church is a neo-Gothic church of the early 20th century.
The town hall was built in the mid-20th century. Inside is decorated with scenes from Norwegian life and history.
Acrobat Bridge – A pedestrian bridge that connects two neighborhoods.
The bar code is a symbol of Oslo. Twelve modern high-rise buildings of different heights and architecture.
Also worth a visit:
- Aker Embankment, a commercial and shopping district where you can not only shop and eat, but also have fun in the bars;
- Vikaterrassen – a pedestrian street to the west of downtown with lots of stores and restaurants.
- Astrup Fearnley – Contemporary art museum, one of the largest in Northern Europe.
- Historical Museum – Located in one of the most beautiful buildings in Oslo. On four floors placed exhibitions of the Viking Age and the history of Norway, Egyptian mummies and ancient art, objects of arctic expeditions.
- Munch Museum is the largest exposition in the world of works of the pioneer of expressionism Edvard Munch.
- The National Gallery is the largest collection of paintings and sculptures in Norway. The main masterpieces are Munch’s paintings The Scream and The Madonna.
- Nobel Center – exhibits devoted to the Nobel Prize and its winners.
- Norwegian Museum of Science and Technology.
- Viking Museum – expositions and ships of the Viking Age.
€216 for a tour
Vivat, King, Vivat!
Get acquainted with the history, symbols and attributes of the Norwegian monarchy
€188 per tour
The City of Four Kings
Explore the city’s main attractions and hear stories about Norway’s key monarchs.
Oslo, Norway: Information on the city and sights.
Statistically, Vigeland Park is one of the most visited attractions in the Norwegian capital, and there are just as many locals as tourists. The main reason for this popularity is more than two hundred sculptures by Norway’s national sculptor Gustav Vigeland.
Oslo Royal Palace
The building of the Royal Palace was built in the first half of the 19th century in the style of classicism. In front of it is a statue of King Carl Johan XIV.
Strategically located on the eastern shore of Oslo harbor, Akershus Fortress and Castle is undoubtedly one of the Norwegian capital’s historical architectural masterpieces and one of the city’s most popular attractions.
Karl Johans Gate Street
The central street in the city is Karl Johans Gate, which connects the pier, train station and Royal Palace.
Oslo Botanical Gardens
A lush oasis in the center of Oslo, the Botanical Gardens are a favorite stroll spot for Oslo residents. There are also many tourists here, most of them do not want to miss the opportunity to stroll aimlessly in the fresh air.
Oslo Historical Museum
Oslo Historical Museum is actually three museums under one roof. Coins, jewelry and decorative arts from the Viking Age are among the highlights of its collection, including the famous Hon Hoard – 2.5kg of precious metals!
The main temple of the Norwegian capital, the Oslo Cathedral was built in 1697. Today, it’s one of the city’s hidden gems – travelers rush to the Opera or the Nobel Peace Center first thing, annoyingly leaving the cathedral unattended.
Henri-Unstad Cultural Center
Norway’s largest museum of modern and contemporary art is located 12 kilometers west of the city center. The collection includes works by artists and sculptors of the 1950s and 1960s: Matisse, Miró, Picasso, Léger, de Stal and Moore.
Norwegian Maritime Museum
Writer Rual Dahl once said, every Norwegian has at least one boat. And that seems to be very close to the truth, as any visitor to the Norwegian Maritime Museum, located on the “museum” Begdøy Peninsula, can see.
The sculptor Gustav Wiegeland lived and worked in the mansion (now a museum building) until his death in 1943. He left 12,000 drawings, 1,600 bronze and marble sculptures, 800 plaster models and 400 wooden engravings.
Norwegian Armed Forces Museum
The Armed Forces Museum in Oslo was opened in 1946, but only military personnel could visit it. And in 1978 the doors of the museum opened to all.
To put it briefly, before Ibsen, they wrote razlyu-malinas on subjects far removed from real life, but Mr. Henrik was the first to show the soul-searching of ordinary people. It is clear that such an ingenious undertaking deserves national and worldwide honor, and the playwright – his own museum.
The central hall of the Kon-Tiki Museum is, of course, dedicated to the incredible voyage. In the center of the hall is a skillfully illuminated raft in part original, part restored form, and on the perimeter are numerous materials about the expedition.
Viking Ship Museum
The Viking Ship Museum was built in 1913 and houses three ships raised from the seas. The three ships on display in the museum were all built in the ninth century and have been on the clay seabed for 1,000 years.
Fram Ship Museum
The love of the Norwegians for the sea is evidenced by the fact that a good third of the museums in Oslo in some way dedicated to seafaring: Maritime Museum, Museum Kon-Tiki, Viking Ship Museum… and finally, the magnificent Museum of the polar ship Fram.
Let it be known to the skeptical public that Munch is not only “The Scream”, but also a host of other interesting paintings. Not to say that all of them were cheerful, but a certain part of the paintings of this artist still sets up a positive mood.
Museum of Applied Arts in Oslo
The remarkable Oslo Museum of Applied Arts and Design is the first and one of the most important collections of everyday objects in Europe. Founded in 1876, the museum today has over 35,000 artifacts, ranging from Greek amphorae to jewelry from Southeast Asia.
Astrup-Fernley Museum of Contemporary Art
The collection of postwar art collected by Hans Rasmus Astrup: Francis Bacon, Andy Warhol, and Odd Nerdrum is at the heart of the exhibit. The new museum building, built of wood with a double curved glass roof, is already recognized as one of the outstanding museums around the world in terms of architecture.
Stenersen Museum is located in the heart of Oslo. It was founded in 1994, although the first collection of paintings was donated to the museum back in 1936 by Rolf Stenersen, a Norwegian businessman and collector. It was he who bought the paintings of his good friend Edvard Munch that the museum is so proud of today.
Oslo National Gallery
National Gallery of Oslo – one of the most extensive, interesting and favorite tourist museums of the Norwegian capital. Within its walls is the largest collection of Norwegian art in the country, from the Romantic era to the 50s of the 20th century.
Portrait of Oslo from an “attraction” point of view – both simple and interesting. Simple – because unlike other European capitals there is not so much architectural monuments and museums. Interesting – because from the available not too extensive “material” Norwegians have managed to create iconic places of the city.
Take painting, for example. Norwegian artists in general are virtually unknown to the general public. But there are few people who haven’t heard of Munch’s famous Scream, if only because of the cinema. And Edvard Munch, for his part, with purely Norwegian practicality, painted several versions of the painting, strategically located in different museums in Oslo – and the calculation of the Norwegians that the tourist will want to see everything, justified, so that today the audience plentiful in the Munch Museum and the National Gallery.
Or, say, the Nobel Prize. Everyone knows that in five disciplines it is awarded in Stockholm – but the Norwegians got hold of the Nobel Peace Prize here, too. And for a century now, for one day a year attract attention to the City Hall, where the ceremony takes place, skillfully diluting the broadcast subtle advertising of tourist wealth of the country.
It’s impossible not to mention the masterpieces of Oslo’s modern architecture – for example, the Opera House, curious not only for its flowing lines and sloping forms, but also for its cute adaptation of the roof for sunbathing. And Oslo also has an astronomical number of monuments, most of which are located in Vigeland Park: as many as 212 sculptures on life themes.
In short, the capital of Norway knows how to surprise you with hidden masterpieces – just come!