Situated by the waters of the Oslo Fjord, Oslo is carpeted in green forestland and parks, while picturesque islands are scattered throughout the fjord. Biking is the preferred way of getting around the Viking city, which has ancient relics of its Norse history existing alongside modern landmarks and scenic canals.
One of the most popular streets in Oslo is the main street, Karl Johans gate. Explore the city’s trendiest nightspots, cafés and concert venues along this thoroughfare that is alive with activity 24 hours a day. At certain times of year Karl Johans overflows with the colour and life of street parades and festivities which you can take part in, like the annual Constitution Day celebrations in the middle of May.
Explore the variety of themed bars and clubs along the main street, including jazz and rock clubs, where you can enjoy live performances by local and international artists. The nightlife stretches all across the city with each borough having a unique flavour of its own. Grönland has more intimate venues while glitz and trendy fashion define Vika.
At the end of Karl Johans gate is the Royal Palace, the official residence of Norway’s royals, King Harald V and Queen Sonja. You can tour the Palace during the summer months and learn about its significance to Norway’s history and culture, dating back to the early 1800s.
Even older than the Royal Palace is the medieval Akershus Castle. Experience life in the 1600s through the castle’s grand halls, Royal Mausoleum and other ancient structures. Attend festivals and other major events there, or just take a summer stroll and enjoy the view overlooking the Oslo Fjord.
Take a local ferry or water taxi and tour the islands of the Oslo Fjord, where you can spend a day at the beach or stay overnight in one of the quaint cottages.
The winter months mean skiing, skating and sledding. You can enjoy winter sports at a variety of places including Oslo Winter Park, which also has a ski school. Skating enthusiasts can get their fill at the Spikersuppa Skating Rink or visit the very popular Holmenkollen National Ski Arena.
There’s also a range of cultural and arts centres where you can get to know Norway’s creative side, including the Munch Museum and Ekebergparken Sculpture Park. Delve into Norway’s past through the intriguing Norse relics at The Viking Ship Museum and Historical Museum.
Traditional Norwegian cuisine includes moose, elk, reindeer and lutefisk. You can sample these classic local dishes in the historical city centre, Kvadraturen, at the Gamle Raadhus Restaurant and Engebret Café, which come with centuries of history.
Oslo’s coastal location means high-quality seafood, which is served in restaurants across the city, including prestigious Michelin starred restaurants. You can also have a relaxing meal in the Aker Brygge area, situated on the waterfront and very popular for fresh seafood and the views of the fjord.
Search for anything from high-end brand names to independent boutiques and local handicraft across the boroughs of the city. Grünerløkka is known for its independently owned clothing and craft shops, and is the place to find the latest work of young Norwegian designers.
If you’re an antiques collector or have a passion for interior design, Frogner is the place for you. Also check out the high-end brand names on Akersgata Street and find a mix of outlets for any budget in Majorstuen.
Otherwise, visit the variety of shopping centres dotting the city, including Oslo City Shopping Centre or other popular destinations like Steen & Strøm or House of Oslo.
North of the capital is Lillehammer, a former host of the Winter Olympics. You can tour the Olympic arenas, visit the Norwegian Olympic Museum or just enjoy the panoramic views. There is also an open-air museum, the Maihaugen, which recreates Norwegian life over the centuries.
Just 40km south west of Olso is the Drammen Region, known for its arts and culture scene. Watch live performances at the Drammen Theatre, get a close look of internationally acclaimed contemporary works at the Vestfossen Kunstlaboratorium, or discover local artists at the Holmsbu Gallery.
During the summer Trysil is a haven for outdoor activities. Follow hiking trails, go fishing and whitewater rafting or see local fauna in its natural habitat on a wildlife safari. In winter, it becomes the country’s largest ski resort, and you can also try other snow sports like dog sledding, horse-drawn sleigh rides or ice fishing.
While the breathtaking Northern Lights can be seen almost anywhere across the country, the Svalbard Islands, located between Norway and the North Pole, are a highly recommended viewing spot. The best time to witness one of the other famous natural wonders, the midnight sun, is the period between May and July. One of the most popular viewing locations for this experience is the North Cape.
Experience Viking life first hand at the Viking Valley Market in Gudvangen. There you can taste the cuisine, see where they lived or take a ride in a replica of a Viking ship just as the Norsemen of old did.