Hostelworld Guide for Oslo

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Fjords and forestry - these are the first things you're bound to notice on your arrival in this Scandinavian gem but you'll soon find that Oslo has a lot more going for it than just green trees and shining blue waters. Here, you'll come across an array of world-class attractions from the breathtaking pieces in the Vigeland Sculpture Park to the informative and interactive displays in the Nobel Peace Center. Communicating with the friendly, helpful locals won't be a problem as the majority have brilliant English. As a result it's not hard to find out about the best places to party, of which there are many. From crowded city centre clubs to chilled-out bars in areas like Grünerløkka, there's a hugely diverse nightlife to be enjoyed, not to mention an enormous selection of restaurants and cafés offering the best in Norwegian and international cuisine. A cosmopolitan city, the Norwegian capital is an energetic destination packed full of things to enjoy during your stay.



In this Guide...      

Useful Information
After Dark
Places to Eat
Top Attractions
Budget Tips
Where to Shop

 The Essentials


Getting There

By plane: Oslo Airport Gardemoen is Norway's main international airport and is located around 50 kilometres from the city centre. A high speed train operates between the airport terminal and Oslo's central train station. Services run regularly and the journey takes approximately 20 minutes.

By train: The main train station is Oslo Sentralstasjon at Jerbanestorget. Services from here travel to all parts of Norway, as well as to Stockholm in Sweden.

By bus: Bus services from across Europe terminate in Oslo, with most services provided by Swebus Express, GoByBus or Eurolines.

Getting Around

On foot: You will be able to get to a lot of the city centre attractions on foot; however, you will also need to use public transport during your stay.

By tram/metro: Oslo's tram system or 'Oslotrikken' consists of 6 lines serving both the city centre and the suburban areas. The T-bane is Oslo's metro system, running underground over 6 different lines.

By bicycle: Oslo provides a public bike rental scheme. Bikes can be picked up from over 90 different locations throughout the city. The scheme runs from April to October each year.

 Useful Phrases

Hello: Hallo
Goodbye: Ha det
Please: Vær så snill
Thank you: Takk
Yes: Ja
No: Nei
Of course: Selvsagt
Excuse me: Unnskyld meg
How are you?: Hvordan har du det?/Hvordan går det?
Open: Apen
Closed: Stengt
What is your name?: Hva er navnet ditt?
My name is...: Mitt navn er...
Where is...: Hvor er ...?
How much?: Hvor mye koster?
May I have the bill?: Kan jeg få regningen?

Oslo has a humid continental climate. This tends to lead to warm summers and snowy winters, while spring and autumn tend to bring chilly to mild weather. July and August are generally the warmest months in the city, with average temperatures reaching around 18ºC. Minus figures are not unusual in winter temperatures, with January and February usually seeing the lowest temperatures of the year. Thanks to its northern latitude, Oslo experiences a wide variation in daylight hours between the summer and winter months.

 Good to know...

Language: Norwegian
Currency: Norwegian krone (NOK)
Electricity: 220 V AC/50Hz, 2-pin plug
Area Code: +47 (Norway), 022 (Oslo)
Emergency Codes: Ambulance 113, Fire 110, Police 112
Time Zone: Central European Time (GMT +1)
Central Post Office: Hoved Postkontor, Dronningens Gate 15
Main Tourist Office: Tourist Information by the Central Station, inside the Trafikanten Service Center, Jernbanetorget 1
Price of a meal: 130NOK
Price of a beer: 55NOK
Price of a coffee: 20NOK


USA: +47 (0)21 308 540
Canada: +47 (0)22 995 300
Australia: +47 (0)67 584 848*
New Zealand: +31 (0)70 346 9324**
South Africa: +47 (0)23 273 220
Ireland: +47 (0)22 017 200
Germany: +47 (0)23 275 400
Spain: +47 (0)22 926 690
France: +47 (0)23 284 600
Italy: +47 (0)23 084 900

*Consulates in Oslo
**Embassy in the Hague, the Netherlands

Hostelworld Guide for Oslo

 Cheap Eats

 After Dark

Ricebowl Thai Café, Youngsgate 4, Sentrum A very busy restaurant, Ricebowl Thai Café is exceedingly popular among locals thanks to its selection of reasonably priced Thai dishes. There are plenty of tables and even if you do have to wait, it's totally worth it. Open Mon-Sat 12noon-10pm, Sun 2pm-9pm; no alcohol served.

 Oslo's Italian stallion

Villa Paradiso, Olaf Ryes Plass 8, Grünerløkka As you wait to be seated, your eyes will inevitably be drawn to the numerous curiosities from around the world on display in this popular spot. On the menu you'll see a variety of Italian dishes, including great value pizzas. Open Mon-Tues 8am-10pm, Wed-Fri 8am-11pm, Sat 10am-11pm, Sun 10am-10pm.

Kaffebrenneriet, Brynjulf Bulls Plass 2, Aker Brygge Oslo's answer to Starbucks offers delicious pastries, freshly squeezed juices and aromatic coffees at great prices. It's generally quite busy, with many people stopping in to get their morning caffeine fix. Perch yourself on a window stool for cool views out towards Aker Brygge. Open Mon-Fri 7am-6pm, Sat 9am-5pm, Sun 10am-5pm.

Peppes Pizza, Karl Johans Gate 1, Sentrum One of Oslo's less expensive options, Peppes offers a huge selection of pizzas, along with burgers, salads, nachos and much more. While you eat, check out all the kitschy decorations from movie memorabilia to model ships. Open Mon 11am-10.30pm, Tues-Sat 11am-11.30pm, Sun 1pm-10.30pm.

Bagel & Juice, Slottsgate 7, Sentrum A cut above your regular bagel place, Bagel & Juice is a great choice for a quick and tasty lunch that won't break the bank. Bright and loud, it offers a wide array of fillings for your bagel, along with a choice of pastries, fresh juices and delicious smoothies. Open Mon-Fri 7am-6pm, Sat 10am-6pm, closed Sun.

Oslo Opera House, Kirsten Flagstads plass 1, Sentrum With its three stages, Oslo's spectacular Opera House is the perfect place to enjoy cultural delights like ballet, opera, concerts and more. For spectacular views of the surrounding area just walk up the side of this architectural marvel and go for a stroll on the roof. Lobby open Mon-Fri 10am-11pm, Sat 11am-11pm, Sun 12noon-1-pm.

Z Clubs, Karl Johans Gate 33, Sentrum Spread over three levels, this bar/club provides all you need for a great night out. The music is a mix of everything, so whether you like pop, rock or dance you'll hear something you fancy. A lively, friendly atmosphere is enhanced by speedy service and a great selection of drinks. Shots, cocktails, wines and beers are all available at reasonable prices. Open Mon-Tues 11am-1am, Wed-Fri 11am-3am, Sat 11am-3pm, Sun 12noon-12midnight.

QBA, Olaf Ryes Plass 4, Grünerløkka A cool bar with a laid back crowd, QBA is a great choice for a drink during the day and is a lively venue at night too. A favourite with chatty locals, it boasts lots of tables and couches where you can relax with a drink. Tasty cocktails are served, along with shots, beers and wines. Open Mon-Fri 8am-1am, Sat-Sun 11am-1am; free WiFi available.

Internasjonalen, Youngstorget 2a, Sentrum Especially popular at the weekends when live DJs spin the tunes, this is a large bar spread out over two floors. Lots of tables are punctuated with open spaces perfect for a bit of dancing. Drinks-wise, you'll find a great selection of cocktails, along with a number of specialist beers from across Europe. Open Mon-Sat 12noon-3am, Sun 4pm-12.30pm.

Doctor Jekylls, Klingenberggata 4, Sentrum This busy spot boasts a huge selection of whiskeys. Monster movie fans will love the decor from the pictures of Frankenstein and Dracula to the stuffed ravens, dusty old books and unusual experiment jars. Downstairs you'll find the sports bar with its big TV screens and pool tables. Open Mon-Fri 3pm-3am, Sat 1pm-3am, Sun 3pm-3am.

 Gay/Lesbian Oslo

Thanks to Oslo's liberal nature, the gay scene is very open. London (CJ Hambros Plass 5) is the city's most famous gay bar and has been in operation since the 70s. BarTini (Dronningens gate 24), a more recent addition to the scene, is aimed at over 25s and offers a giant selection of cocktails.

 Don't Miss

 Mark Your Calendar

Viking Ship Museum, Huk Aveny 35, Bygdøy Displaying the remains of three Viking burial ships used over a thousand years ago, this museum is incredibly popular. The skeletons found in two of the ships are on show, along with some of the booty stowed with them. Open Oct-Apr daily 10am-4pm, May-Sept daily 9am-6pm; admission NOK60.

 Heal the world

Nobel Peace Center, Brynjulf Bulls plass 1, Aker Brygge Designed to be accessible to everyone, this important centre educates visitors about the Nobel Peace Prize and its deserving recipients. Exhibits are interactive, eye-catching and entirely captivating. Open June-Aug Mon-Sun 10am-6pm, Sept-May Tues-Sun 10am-6pm, closed Mon; admission NOK80.

Norwegian Museum of Cultural History, Museumsveien 10, Bygdøy This open-air attraction is one of the largest museums of its kind in all of Europe. Here you'll see a variety of traditional, colourful wooden houses dating from various periods of Norway's history. Open Sept-May Mon-Fri 11am-3pm, Sat-Sun 11am-4pm, Jun-Aug daily 10am-6pm; admission NOK100.

Akershus Fortress, Akershus festning, Sentrum Akershus Fortress is a medieval compound which includes Akershus Castle and its impressive halls. Have a wander along the Fortress Walls too for great views of Oslo. Fortress main gate open daily 6am-9pm, castle opening hours vary; Castle admission NOK65, Fortress admission free.

Munch Museum, Tøyengata 53, Tøyen This gallery holds many works by Edvard Munch, Norway's most famous artist. Security is tight as a result of a 2004 theft; however, these paintings are well worth a trip through the metal detector. Open Sept-May Tues-Fri 10am-4pm, Sat-Sun 11am-5pm, closed Mon, Jun-Aug daily 10am-6pm; admission NOK75.

February - Sami National Day The Sami, who are the indigenous people of northern Europe, are celebrated on this day. Along with numerous entertaining activities including storytelling, you can also sample Sami cuisine like reindeer meat.

April - Inferno Metal Festival Forget about eggs and bunnies, Easter in Oslo is all about metal. The music, that is! Norway's biggest metal festival, Inferno usually includes 40 different acts.

May - Constitution Day Celebrating the signing of the Norwegian constitution, Constitution Day on May 17th is an important event in Oslo. The occasion is marked by a large parade.

June - Oslo Summer Festival Held across downtown Oslo, this festival combines street entertainment, market stalls, funfair rides and more. The Nobel Peace Center hosts special exhibits, while live concerts are held in Stortorvet.

June - Norwegian Wood Rock Festival This major music festival takes place across four days at Frognerbadet, Oslo's open-air baths. Drawing a great mix of huge international names and up and coming local acts, it's a hugely popular event.

June - Oslo's Medieval Festival Each year, the Oslo Medieval Festival provides visitors with a taste of medieval life. From jousting to archery, knights take part in a variety of contests. Music and crafts are also an important part of the festival.

August - Oya Festival Held in the city's Medieval Park, Oya is a large-scale rock festival which generally draws a crowd of around 40,000. The festival itself lasts for four days, with warm up shows also taking place in clubs around the city.

August - Oslo Jazz Festival Lasting for six days, the Oslo Jazz Festival has been taking place for more than twenty years with the first festival held back in 1985.

September - Folkelarm Organised by the Norwegian National Association for Traditional Music and Dance, Folkelarm began in 2005 and includes a number of seminars as well as folk music performances.

December - The Nobel Peace Prize Awards The iconic Nobel Peace Prize is presented to the deserving winner in Oslo every December. Held in Oslo's Town Hall, the event is attended by numerous dignitaries.

Hostelworld Guide for Oslo

 Neighbourhood Watch

 Retail Therapy

Grünerløkka Hip and trendy Grünerløkka is one part of Oslo that you really shouldn't miss. Here you'll find numerous small boutiques, vintage stores and colourful produce shops. Home to the popular Sofienberg Park, this area is also one of Oslo's most well-loved in terms of bars and restaurants.

 Countryside charm

Bygdøy For a taste of the scenic Norwegian countryside, head to Bygdøy. As well as hosting top museums like the Viking Ship Museum and the open-air Norwegian Museum of Cultural History, Bygdøy is also home to the Royal Farm. After working up an appetite by walking in the woods or along the pier you'll find a number of cool cafés where you can relax.

Frogner A must for visitors to Oslo, Frogner is home to the impressive Frogner Park as well as the unmissable Vigeland Sculpture Park. Green areas, beautiful flowers and stunning works of art make this one of the most picturesque parts of the city. These great attractions are augmented by a number of cosy cafés and a selection of trendy boutiques.

Aker Brygge One of the more touristy areas of Oslo, Aker Brygge is still a part of the city with much to offer. You'll be able to check out the historic Nobel Peace Center, as well as Oslo's Town Hall. The ferry to Bygdøy also leaves from here. Shoppers will be happy too, thanks to the Aker Brygge mall and its numerous stores. Restaurants and bars are in no short supply in this area, so you'll have no problem finding somewhere to have a bite or a beer.

Sentrum From the Royal Palace to the National Gallery, Oslo's bustling city centre has a vast array of attractions, museums and galleries to occupy culture vultures. As well as that, you'll find some of the city's best shopping here including the stores along Karl Johans Gate. Sentrum is also one of the most energetic parts of Oslo when the sun sets.

Karl Johans Gate, Sentrum Oslo's main shopping street stretches from the main train station all the way to the Royal Palace. Thronging with shoppers, it is home to a wide array of stores. Both national and international brands are well represented including H&M, Vero Moda and Mango. As you wander from store to store, you'll be entertained by a number of street performers.

Aker Brygge Shopping, Stranden 3B, Aker Brygge With its funky modern interior and great location in the oft-visited Aker Brygge area, this shopping centre is a very popular spot to spend a few kroner. Lots of top brands have stores here, including Benneton, Bik Bok, and Gant. Open Mon-Fri 10am-8pm, Sat 10am-6pm, closed Sun.

Oslo City, Stenersgata 1, Sentrum This behemoth is a must for all shopping enthusiasts in Oslo. From electronics to interiors, fashion to gifts, this large mall houses around 100 stores across its 5 floors. Some of the more recognisable names include Body Shop, Oasis, Bik Bok and H&M. Open Mon-Fri 10am-10pm, Sat 10am-8m, closed Sun.

 Department store delights

Steen & Strom, Kongensgate 23, Sentrum Spread over 6 floors, Steen & Strom hosts a huge selection of merchandise including women's and men's fashion, cosmetics, accessories and household items. Diesel, Lacoste, Mexx and Dior are just some of the top-notch brands available. Open Mon-Fri 10am-7pm, Sat 10am-6pm, closed Sun.

GlasMagasinet, Stortorvet 9, Sentrum One of the top department stores in Oslo, GlasMagasinet is a shopper's paradise filled with local and international brand names. Across its 4 floors, you'll come across clothing, shoes, cosmetics, accessories, household items and much more. Open Mon-Fri 10am-7pm, Fri 10am-6pm, closed Sun.

 Oslo for Free

 A Day in Oslo...

 Vigeland's magnum opus

Marvel at the Vigeland Sculpture Park One of the most arresting attractions in the whole world, the Vigeland Sculpture Park is visited by over a million people every year. From the striking poses of the sculptures lining the Bridge to the awe-inspiring Monolith Plateau, the 200+ sculptures will take your breath away. Open daily 24hrs; admission free.

Stroll through the Vår Frelsers Cemetery This important cemetery houses the resting places of some of Norway's most notable citizens. A wander around will bring you to the well-kept graves of both Edvard Munch and Henrik Ibsen, along with many others. Open daily 8am-3pm; admission free.

Visit the impressive National Gallery Housing a collection of over 48,000 works of art, the National Gallery is a mecca for art lovers. It hosts such eminent works as 'The Scream' by Munch. From the surreal to the sublime, this gallery should definitely be on your list of places to visit. Open Tues-Wed, Fri 10am-6pm, Thurs 10am-7pm, Sat-Sun 11am-5pm, closed Mon; admission free.

Wander around the striking Botanical Garden A beautiful expanse of green, the Botanical Garden was established in 1814. The Scent Garden might be the most enjoyable part, providing a veritable smorgasbord of sights and smells to be savoured. Open Apr-Sept 7am-9pm, Oct-Mar 7am-5pm, gates open at 10am Sat-Sun; admission free.

Check out the inspiring National Museum of Contemporary Art Filled with awesome examples of modern art, this museum houses both permanent and temporary exhibits. Spanning creepy to colourful, all the art works on display across the museum's two floors are well worth a look. Open Tues-Wed, Fri 10am-6pm, Thurs 10am-7pm, Sat-Sun 11am-5pm, closed Mon; admission free.

Begin your day in Oslo with a coffee and a delicious pastry at Kaffebrenneriet on Brynjulf Bulls Plass.

Visit the Nobel Peace Center, one of the city's most important attractions. When you're done, have a wander around the Aker Brygge area.

From here it's a short walk to the Akershus Fortress where you'll find the Akershus Castle and get great views of the city from the fortress walls.

Wander towards the city centre, where you'll come across lots of places for lunch like Bagel & Juice on Slottsgate.

Have a look inside a couple of Oslo's top-notch free art galleries - the National Gallery and the National Museum of Contemporary Art.

Check out the shopping on Karl Johans Gate and have a look at both the Royal Palace (below) and the National Theatre.

palace pic

Take a tram from the National Theatre and head towards the Frogner area. While here, visit the stunning Vigeland Sculpture Park.

Head back on the city centre and hop on a tram to Grünerløkka where you'll find lots of great choices for dinner.

After you've eaten, enjoy a few drinks in one of the area's many popular bars. These include QBA and Fruhagen.

Finish the night back in the city centre at Z Clubs, a lively bar and club with a hefty drinks menu.

Hostelworld Guide for Oslo