Oslo: Norway’s Capital – the Top 10 Places of Interest
Northern Europe is becoming more and more popular as a travel destination. You can experience European nature from its most beautiful sides, especially when backpacking. However, the cities and their culture should not be neglected either, and Oslo has a lot of it.
First, you will learn everything you need to know before traveling to Norway. We will also introduce you to the most important sights that Oslo, the capital of Norway, has to offer. That way, you will be perfectly prepared for your future visit there. Are you ready to explore the most beautiful sides of the Norwegian capital?
Oslo in a Nutshell
The capital of Oslo is located in the heart of Norway and is both the cultural and economic center of the country. The city has a population of over one million, making it the largest city in Norway. This constitutes almost one third of Norway’s total population! In addition, it forms an independent province called Fylke and is an administrative seat of the neighboring province of Viken.
Its location near the Oslo Fjord and the Gulf Stream gives the city a very maritime climate. Oslo is characterized by mild winters and sunny summers. July is one of the hottest months, with an average maximum temperature of 22.3 °C. In turn, January is the coldest month, with an average of -7.4 °C. The ideal time for outdoor activities is from spring to late summer. As early as April and May, you can enjoy long hours of sunshine with relatively little rainfall. Since the weather in Oslo gets warm rather late, the best time to travel is from June to August.
Norway is famous for its wilderness, vast expanses and deep fjords with clear, cold water. Therefore, it is not surprising that catching and preparing high-quality fish has always been an important part of Norwegian culture. For a long time, dried codfish was one of the most significant export products – now it has been replaced by smoked salmon and winter codfish from the Arctic.
Norway is not only famous for fish, but also for Norwegian lamb: the meat is particularly tender and juicy because most of the animals live amidst large areas of untouched nature. Especially in autumn, the lamb stew Fårikål is a popular dish. This national dish of Norway literally means “lamb with cabbage”. Additionally, pinnekjøtt – lamb or a saddle of lamb marinated in brine or sea salt – is in high demand during the Christmas season.
The public transport network in Oslo is very well-developed – perfect for exploring the city. Most of the sights are easy to reach. You can also get to the most popular places on foot or by bike.
The Top 10 Places of Interest in Oslo
We don’t want to keep you waiting too long for the most beautiful sights. We hope you will find some inspiration for your trip to Oslo. Have fun!
The Opera House
Although Oslo is a traditional city with many historic buildings, especially modern buildings characterize the cityscape – they certainly stand out. One of them is the state-of-the-art Opera House, often referred to as Oslo’s landmark and an architectural masterpiece.
It is located on a wide square on the water, making your stay all the more unique! The glass building is sensational and especially beautiful at sunset. On the roof, you can enjoy the sunlight and experience one of the most beautiful nights in Oslo. It’s definitely worth a visit!
Beautiful landscapes and fjords are characteristic of Norway. The so-called Oslofjord is an area off the coast where you will find countless tiny islands and get a great view of the city as seen from the water.
A boat trip is the most common, but unfortunately not the most environmentally friendly way to explore this sight. Every day, a number of organizations offer tours for travelers to learn about the Oslofjord. Be sure to bring a warm jacket, as the fjord is famous for its cold winds.
The Royal Castle of Oslo
Given that Norway is a monarchy, the capital is also home to the Royal Castle, the residence of the royal family. The castle’s exterior alone is a sight to behold. A worthwhile experience for travelers is the changing of the guards, similar to the one in London.
In Oslo, this spectacle follows the same pattern: the guards change once every day at noon. Be sure to check it out.
The Museum Peninsula Bygdøy
Do you love museums? Or would you like to get to know the city’s culture better in general? Then visit the Museum Peninsula. This place truly does its name justice. Currently, there are ten different museums. It’s heaven on earth for art lovers. Of course, other backpackers are welcome as well.
Oslo’s waterfront is known as Aker Brygge, and it’s usually packed with people. They love to stroll along the water and enjoy the atmosphere – and you’re going to love it, too! Countless restaurants beckon you to try Oslo’s delicious cuisine and relax while enjoying the view of the harbor. The harbor is worth a visit during the day as well as at dusk when all the lights shine brightly.
If you want to do some shopping in Oslo, the harbor area is the perfect place to do so! There are some great shopping centers in Aker Brygge – they will leave you wanting for nothing.
The Karl Johans Gate
Karl Johans Gate is a street in the center of Oslo. For many, it is the most important part of the city as well as the heart of Oslo. Here, you will find the famous Norwegian University, the Parliament, the National Theater and the Royal Castle.
All the most significant sights of Oslo are located here. Karl Johans Gate and the nearby park are also visual highlights and a must-see for any backpacker.
Natural History Museum at the University of Oslo
Norway’s largest collection of natural history objects can be found in the Tøyen district at the Botanical Garden, Greenhouses and the Zoological Museum. There are permanent and temporary exhibitions in the Zoological Museum, displaying animals native to Norway as well as from all over the world. The Botanical Garden was established in 1814. With its 35,000 plants and 7,500 rubrics spread over 15 hectares, the garden is both a destination for travelers and a recreational area for locals.
Vigeland Sculpture Park
The Vigeland Sculpture Park is the life’s work of the sculptor Gustav Vigeland, who lived from 1869 to 1943. He decorated the park with more than 200 sculptures made of bronze, granite and wrought iron. Vigeland not only came up with the design concept, but also developed the architectural layout of the park. An incredible work of art! The bronze statue called the Angry Boy is one of the most famous sculptures in the Vigeland Sculpture Park, along with the Monolith and the Wheel of Life. To make it even better, the park is open 24 hours a day, all year round.
Mathallen is a market hall with a number of cafés, restaurants, and delicatessens. In addition to the traditional and hearty cuisine, the Mathallen offers a wide variety of delicacies from all over the world. This place is absolutely worth a detour!
On this former factory site, you’ll find bakeries, delicatessens, fishmongers and butchers, as well as typical local delicacies and foreign specialties. Cafés, wine and beer bars, as well as restaurants, are the perfect place to take a break. Beyond the daily market activities, a wide variety of events are organized and offered in the Mathallen.
Are you interested in politics and want to know how the monarchy and government of Norway work? In that case, you should definitely visit the Parliament building in Oslo.
The building itself is very impressive due to its semicircular design. Visitors can take part in guided tours on a daily basis. A guide will lead you through the building and teach you about its historical background. This is a great way to learn more about Norway, even if you’re not an expert on politics.
In this article, we’ve provided you with an insight into Oslo. This city is a great choice for a city trip full of sightseeing. With an international airport and numerous bus connections, getting there is as easy as winking. You could also combine your visit to Oslo with a round trip through Norway.
No matter what you choose to do, Oslo is full of wonderful sights, enticing you to get to know Scandinavia even better. It’s definitely worth a visit.
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