Oslo – Visit Norway’s stunning capital

December 31, 2010 (Last Updated: April 27, 2020)
by Carolyn
Royal Palace, Oslo

Oslo, Norway’s capital and home to the Nobel Peace Prize Award, is a bustling city with plenty on offer. If Sydney can offer its visitors a swim in the central harbour, Oslo offers its visitors a ski jump in the middle of the city at Holmenkollen.

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A stroll through the Vigeland Sculpture Park, a beer along Karl Johans Gate, a visit to the Viking ships, a cruise on Oslo Fjord, and a visit to the National Gallery to see the works of Edvard Munch, are just a few “musts” in Oslo.

When visiting Oslo, it is recommended to buy the Oslo Pass. The card gives you entry free of charge to all galleries, museums, and sightseeing spots within Oslo, as well as discounts for public transport. The passes are sold in most tourist information centres and hotels.

Situated at the head of Oslo Fjord and surrounded by forested ridges, Oslo is both a municipality and a county. It is the seat of the Norwegian Government and Parliament, and the Royal Palace is situated at the end of Karl Johan Street – the main street of Oslo.

The city’s many astonishing features are unusual for a European capital. The city limits encompass wilderness areas as well as an array of restaurants almost unparalleled in Scandinavia. In winter, the city has an artificial skating rink only a stone’s throw from the National Theatre and the University.

Oslo City Hall is located in the city centre only a few hundred metres from the city’s main street and overlooks Oslo Fjord filled with moored pleasure craft, shrimp trawlers, cruise ships, charter boats and ferries to all the islands.

Oslo abounds with sights of interest, such as museums, parks, urban districts with listed buildings and a well-developed array of shops. As most sights are within walking distance of each other, you can leave your car behind.

The city is considered to be one of the most ship-friendly cities in the world. During peak season, many cruise ships dock at the quays that are still within walking distance of the city centre. It is only a ten-minute drive from these same quays to splendid bathing beaches with clean water.

Traditional-style building in Oslo
Traditional-style building in Oslo

Oslo is filled with paradoxes. For this reason, visitors perceive Norway’s capital as an interesting city with an abundance of things to see and do – regardless if the visitor’s purpose is shopping, tourism, business meetings or conferences.

Many options are always available, regardless of whether you want to enjoy a sumptuous dinner at a restaurant rated in the Michelin Guide or take a brisk, refreshing winter experience on dog sleds through Oslo’s wilderness.

For the skiier, Oslo also has hundreds of kilometres of well-prepared cross country ski runs and eight alpine slopes within its city limits. 

Sporting Capital

Norwegians are interested in sports and are proud of their athletes and sports facilities. Oslo has produced many sports heroes, and many of the sports facilities are internationally renowned.

The legendary Holmenkollen Ski Jump is only a trolley ride away from the city centre. The ski jump is the core of extensive sports facilities adapted for ski jumping competition, cross country competition and biathlon events.

Ever since the early 1900s, the best athletes in the world have competed for gold and glory in and around the ski jump, which has also been the site of the Winter Olympics and the World Ski Championships.

Holmenkollen Ski Jump, Oslo
The Holmenkollen Ski Jump

Oslo hosted the 1952 Winter Olympics, a faultless event that was considered to be the most spectacular Winter Olympics of that time. The fact that virtually all disciplines took place within the city limits was quite a sensation. Since then, Oslo has organised the Nordic World Ski Championships in 1966,1982 and 2011.

The Biathlon World Championship was the big event in 2000. The annual Holmenkollen Ski Festival finishes off the winter season and is frequently combined with World Cup finals in several disciplines. The event takes place in March and draws crowds of fifty to seventy thousand spectators.

Image credit:

Holmenkollen Ski Jump from Wikipedia, author Mathias Stang

~ Words courtesy of and