City of the Month: Oslo

Each month we showcase a European city – our focus in September is Oslo…

Oslo is an enticing city, where the natural beauty of epic scenery meets urban sophistication and high culture.

Surrounded by Oslofjord, forests and mountains, Norway’s capital has a refreshingly clean atmosphere. In fact, Oslo has one of the lowest carbon footprints in the world and has received the accolade of European Green Capital for 2019, due to a commitment to public transport, sustainable food production and green spaces.

With numerous museums and galleries, art and culture are celebrated and this is echoed in Oslo’s lively but cultured social scene.

As well as appealing to leisure-seekers, Oslo is also a strong destination for MICE travelers. The city is well connected – with a passenger ferry harbour and just a 20-minute train journey from the international airport, with its new terminal, considered one of the world’s ‘greenest’ – with good capacity hotels and venues for corporate events, and plenty of exciting outdoor incentive activities.

Summary: Oslo has a wealth of attractions, incredible scenery, and excellent dining, which make it appealing to:

  • Leisure groups
  • Students
  • MICE
  • FITs

OSLO FACTFILE

Population of Oslo: 1.3m (greater metropolitan area)

Location: On Norway’s southern coast, at the head of the Oslofjord

Nearest airport: Oslo Airport is 22 miles northeast from the city

Getting around Oslo: 

  • Oslo has a convenient integrated transport system of trains, buses, trams and a metro
  • Short distances make it easy to get around by walking or biking 

What to eat and drink in Oslo:

Fresh seafood, caviar, pickled herrings, and Norwegian smoked salmon are all specialities in Oslo. Traditional dishes include pølse (hot dogs) filled with beef, pork, or reindeer meat and topped with ketchup or mustard; hearty meat stews; and kjøttboller (meatballs) served in a sea of gravy, with potatoes, cabbage and lingonberry relish. Besides traditional dishes, the Nordic culinary scene also sees delicate modern fusion cuisine that takes inspiration from diverse global influences.

Oslo’s coffee culture is celebrated. Alternatively, Aquavit/akvavit is a spirit distilled from grain or potatoes and flavoured with caraway/dill – it is served chilled, to sip from a shot glass, or added to warmed, spiced red wine to make gløgg.

Weather/seasons in Oslo:

Oslo’s climate is warmed by the Gulf Stream, bringing temperate water from the Gulf of Mexico. Oslo’s winter (November to March) can see temperatures fluctuating between a minimum of -15.3°C and up to a maximum of 13.2°C. Spring (April-May) sees averages of 4.5 – 10.8°C, heading into summer (June-August) with averages of 15.2-16.4°C. In autumn (September-October) the temperature starts to dip to an average of 6.3-10.8°C.

Visit Oslo in…

  • May to July for warm weather – perfect for sightseeing and enjoying rooftop bars; the wildflowers are in bloom and visitors can experience nearly 24 hours of daylight.
  • Late September to March for winter sports and to witness the spectacular Northern Lights.

Oslo’s top 12 must-visit landmarks and attractions: 

  1. Operahuset – a landmark of Oslo, the angular modern glass and marble opera house is in the head of the fjord. Visitors can get a panoramic view of the city from the rooftop.
  2. St Hanshaugen – one of Oslo’s largest parks, ideal for walks or a picnic. From the top of the hill is a fantastic view of the city.
  3. Akershus Fortress – built way back in 1299, here visitors can experience Norwegian architecture from centuries ago and the venue also hosts concerts and celebrations.
  4. Trefoldighetskirken – historic Trinity Church was built in 1858 and is one of the largest churches in Oslo.
  5. National Museum of Contemporary Art – showcasing contemporary art and design, including sculptures and installations.
  6. The Viking Ship Museum – housing the world’s best-preserved Viking ships alongside relics from nearby Viking tombs.
  7. TusenFryd Amusement Park – Norway’s largest amusement park features rollercoasters, carousels, and a log flume. In summer BadeFryd – a water park – offers a swimming pool, river, and a large waterslide.
  8. Norsk Folkemuseum – the open-air Norwegian Museum of Cultural History contains 155 houses, from all over Norway, and a stave church dating back to 1200.
  9. Holmenkollen Ski Museum & Tower – The ski museum is located below the ski jump, and presents more than 4,000 years of skiing history and polar exploration. The ski jump’s observation deck offers panoramic views over the city.
  10. Vigelandsparken – a park dedicated to the work of Norwegian sculptor Gustav Vigeland, featuring 212 granite, cast iron and bronze pieces.
  11. The National Museum – opening in 2020, see the iconic painting by Edvard Munch, The Scream and others.
  12. Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art – showcasing pieces by Jeff Koons, Cindy Sherman, Andy Warhol, and Damien Hirst.

Oslo’s top 4 events and festivals: 

  1. Holmenkollen Ski Festival – the traditional ski festival, dating back to the nineteenth century, takes place at Holmenkollen National Arena and nearby skiing hills in March each year.
  2. Middelalderfestival – Oslo Medieval Festival is a folk festival held at the end of May in Akershus Fortress, featuring a Norwegian fair and concerts as well as traditional arts and crafts exhibitions.
  3. National Norway Day – a colourful parade snakes through the streets of Oslo on 17th May each year.
  4. Øya Festival – one of Oslo’s largest music festivals takes place in August and showcases many artists, including internationally famous names.

Nearby attractions:

  1. Bygdøy Peninsula – not far from Oslo, the area is home to many popular attractions and it also offers trails through picturesque parks, woodland and beaches.
  2. Lillehammer – just two hours by train from Oslo, Lillehammer is packed with museums and other cultural attractions as well as former winter Olympic facilities.
  3. Drøbak – a scenic 90-minute boat ride along the Oslofjord from Oslo, the town of Drøbak offers beaches, an aquarium, art galleries, the Oscarsborg Fortress and museum, and a summer open-air market or Christmas market in the town square.

Established in 1979, we’re experts in tailor-making comprehensive European itineraries for the leisure, FIT, student and MICE markets – please contact us to discuss your requirements.

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