Travel

7 reasons to make Oslo your next city break

Reasons to visit Oslo - Friendly Welcoming Safe

I’ll say this at the outset; I LOVED Oslo (probably wouldn’t be doing this post if I didn’t, would I). So you’ll have to excuse me if I’m super enthusiastic in my recommendation of it as a destination, but it seems to be somewhere people might not necessarily think to visit – and having now been myself, I honestly think it should be on everyone’s list. It’s beautiful, there’s plenty to do, and it’s one of those places that just has a really nice atmosphere. Here’s why I loved it so much:

Reasons to visit Oslo green spaces

It’s close to nature and very green

Surrounded by hills, forest and sprawling Norwegian countryside, Oslo’s proximity to nature is certainly one of its strengths. It may be strange to begin a post about why you should visit the city by saying how easy it is to get out of it and into the country, but those gorgeous wild landscapes being within easy reach means that hiking, boating, and generally enjoying the great outdoors can be worked into your trip. The city itself is a very green one though even if you don’t plan on leaving; there are plenty of green spaces, from the pretty botanical gardens to the enormous Vigeland Park to little patches of greenery throughout. It’s one of my favourite features a city can have.

Reasons to visit Oslo Art and Design Opera House

It’s a centre of architecture and design

Even if you know literally nothing about architecture (like me), it’s easy to appreciate the buildings in Oslo – and I imagine if you are an architecture and design buff it’s all the more interesting. Many of them are seriously impressive; including the gorgeous white marble Opera house, which you can walk on top of for 360 degree views of the city. There’s a brilliant mix of old and new throughout, from Akershus Fortress, a medieval castle, to Aker Brygge, a redeveloped area of the harbour which quite literally gleams with shiny, new and interesting buildings – including waterfront restaurants with outdoor seating which looked pretty dreamy.

Reasons to visit Oslo Clean city

It’s super clean

A pretty simple one but always nice; Oslo is really clean. Despite a distinct lack of bins, you barely see any rubbish on the streets, and it seems that keeping the city clean is just part of local life. It’s not just the streets either – the air itself feels clean and fresh. That’s one of the great positives of all of that nature and greenery I guess, and strange as it might sound just breathing in that sort of air is something I always really appreciate for how pleasant and nourishing it feels.

Reasons to visit Oslo Funky Fresh Foods review

It’s got a great food scene

Some of my favourite food from our 12 day trip was in Oslo. There’s a lot of choice, so whatever your culinary preferences there’ll be something for you, from traditional specialities to an indoor food market (Mathallen) to innovative Norwegian gourmet to various world cuisines. We had great falafel at Gazakjokken, seriously tasty burgers, and one of the best meals I’ve ever had: a sharing dish at a vegan café and restaurant called Funky Fresh Foods. It was the most delicious selection of hot and cold dishes including lentil kebabs, tofu omelette, roast potatoes, several salads (including an incredible apple, fennel and dill one) homemade nachos and dips and lots more. Everything was flavoured to perfection and I’m not even ashamed to admit I still daydream about it sometimes.

Reasons to visit Oslo - History Art Cultire Vikin MusueumReasons to visit Oslo - Art Culture History

There’s plenty of art, history and culture

If you’re really into museums and art galleries then you’re in for a real treat when visiting Oslo because it is truly excellent in that area. However even if you’re not generally a culture vulture, there’s sure to be something you fancy seeing, since much of it holds serious world prestige or importance and there’s a huge variety.  The National Gallery houses Edvard Munch’s The Scream, and in the Astrup Fearnley Museum you can see pieces by the likes of Jeff Koons and Damien Hirst. Oslo is also home to The Nobel Peace Center, and a whole host of museums covering different topics or aspects of Norwegian life and history.

Reasons to visit Oslo

It’s safe and welcoming

Oslo is generally considered to be a very safe city, so it’s suitable for any traveller; whether you’re going as a couple, as a family, with friends or solo. From the moment we stepped off the train it felt friendly and welcoming; the lady who sold us our bus tickets was friendly, the bus driver was friendly, people in the street were friendly. And it wasn’t just the people themselves; it’s a vibe that pervades the city, making you feel comfortable and at ease there from the outset. We stayed in an AirBnb (the most beautiful loft apartment), owned by a truly lovely lady called Siss. She was without a doubt the most wonderful, welcoming and charming host we’ve ever had (we’ve stayed in quite a few AirBnbs now, all with fab hosts) and completely illustrative of the general welcome we got to Oslo.

Reasons to Visit Oslo Cool - GrunnerlokkaReasons to visit Oslo Grunnerlokka

It’s just really , really cool

I might be a tremendously uncool person, but I’m certainly not averse to a touch of hipster trendiness in a city (although anything too pretentious and I just feel so out of place I need to run away). Luckily for me, Oslo’s aforementioned friendliness combines perfectly with cool in Grunerlokka, a previously working-class district which has now become the city’s quirkiest, hippest neighbourhood. Grunerlokka is home to cafes, restaurants and vintage shops a-plenty and boasts many of the city’s best food and drink spots – including Tim Wendelboe, which if you’re a coffee enthusiast, you’ll probably want to put on your list. That specific area aside, I think we can generally agree that all of Scandinavia is pretty damn cool, and Norway’s capital is no exception.

Have you ever been to Oslo – and did you love it as much as me? Or would you consider going? I’d love to squeeze in a couple more trips before the end of the year, so chuck any city break recommendations my way!

Reasons to visit Oslo - friendly and welcoming

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17 thoughts on “7 reasons to make Oslo your next city break”

    1. It really was – one of my favourite cities I’ve ever been to for sure! It was expensive by ‘usual’ city break standards but not as much so as I was expecting. Staying in an Airbnb really helped and it’s not too big so you can walk to lots of the things you’d want to see – for anything else public transport is actually pretty cheap. Food and drink and museums/attractions were the expensive bits but there are lots of free things to do too! x

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  1. Haha no way are you an uncool person, you’re tremendously cool! The only thing that’s ever put me off visiting Oslo is I’ve heard it’s quite expensive when you’re there but I would love to go and if I didn’t want to already then you would definitely have convinced me!
    Amy xx
    http://www.callmeamy.co.uk

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    1. Ohhhh believe me I am uncool haha, one day I expect I’ll be socially awkward and embarrassing in front of you in person to prove it. Definitely understand on the expensive thing – it’s certainly not cheap! There are ways to make it a bit less pricey, like staying in Airbnbs rather than hotels and making the most of all the cheap or free stuff there is to do (which I will actually be writing a post about) but even so it’s still on the expensive side for a city break xxx

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  2. I’ve never been to Norway, but I always hear only good things about it for holidays. I love cities that have lots of green spaces where you can relax and feel like you’re not stuck in the middle of big crowds all the time, so it sounds fab. Looking forward to seeing what you get up to on your next city break when you decide to go. I’ve heard a few people recently saying Amsterdam is great for a weekend away. I haven’t been for years so can’t really remember it too well! x

    Jenny | LuxeStyle

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    1. Yes exactly the same – cities with green spaces are always my favourite, it just makes everything feel nicer and more relaxed doesn’t it! Norway was excellent so would really recommend. I loved Amsterdam, it’s a very pretty city with so much to do. We went last year but I really want to go back again soon! x

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  3. Lovely post – I’ve never been but do fancy it – althhough the scandi cities are renowned for the expense (I went to Iceland in November and it was mega pricey!!)
    My city breeak recommendation for mega cheap, cheerful, beautiful and fun are Riga – wonderful place! And Budapest too!

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