City slicker in Oslo

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

It's a great time to visit Norway's capital and enjoy long warm days and striking natural beauty. Nick Boulos offers a guide for new and returning visitors



Why visit?


Norwegians enjoy the great outdoors and they never stop thinking up creative new ways to tempt visitors and residents alike into embracing active, clean-living lifestyles.

The latest initiative is Sukkerbiten (sukkerbiten.no), billed as Oslo's new "summer island". Located in the city's famous fjord and opened to the public just last week, Sukkerbiten can be accessed via a footbridge from the Opera House and is roughly the size of a football pitch; indeed, it was once the training ground for the city's police team. Today, it's a serene escape for those craving a game of croquet on its neat lawns or some al fresco culture at one of the many concerts throughout the summer.

Now is, undoubtedly, a glorious time to visit the Norwegian capital, with warm temperatures and long sunny days. Just a stone's throw from the fjord and its archipelago of 40 forested islands – a playground for walkers and kayakers – are striking public spaces scattered across a compact city centre, including the rolling grounds of the stately 19th-century Royal Palace. Art buffs will love Vigeland Park, decorated with hundreds of Gustav Vigeland's abstract sculptures depicting human nature. Elsewhere, bars and chic boutiques bring a touch of modern life to the elegant neoclassical avenues.

Don't miss

The Nobel Peace Center (00 47 4830 1000; nobelpeacecenter.org) for a fascinating exploration of the award and its past winners.

The Norwegian Centre for Design and Architecture (00 47 2329 2870; doga.no) for a masterclass in contemporary Nordic art. Exhibits change every couple of months but the emphasis is usually on progressive Scandinavian trends, from graphic design to lighting.

A fjord cruise (00 47 2335 6890; boatsightseeing.com) through part of the 100km Oslo Fjord, departing from opposite the City Hall. Sample Norway's natural beauty without leaving the city limits but be sure to alight at the Bygdoy Peninsula for the impressive Viking Ship Museum.

The harbourside pier of Aker Brygge, overlooking the Oslo Fjord. This has become a popular meeting point for locals, who are often seen sitting by the boats eating ice cream and drinking on the outdoor terraces. The many restaurants here, including The Edge and the seafood specialist Sjomagasin and Lofoten, are among the city's best.

The National Gallery (00 47 2198 2000; nasjonalmuseet.no), which features pieces from the romantic period by several significant Norwegian artists, including Adolph Tidemand. Most head straight to room 24 to see Edvard Munch's The Scream – hardcore fans should also go across town to the museum dedicated to the artist (00 47 2349 3500 munch.museum.no).

Kolonihagen (00 47 9931 6810; kolonihagen.no) for a caffeine fix. Norwegians are among the biggest coffee drinkers in the world and Oslo has taken café culture to its heart. One favourite spot is this rustic coffee house in a small courtyard, which serves organic pastries and is renowned for its carrot cake.

Oslo Opera House (oslooperahouse.com). It's impossible to miss this futuristic structure in the middle of the city made from gleaming white marble. Walk up its steep ramp for views over Oslo, its hills and fjords.

What's new?

Grunerlokka

Until the 1970s, Oslo's bourgeoisie barely gave this working-class neighbourhood a second thought. Today, Grunerlokka is described as Oslo's Notting Hill. Trendy eateries, independent fashion designers and vibrant bars line Thorwald Meyer Street and there's a thriving art scene, too. An influx of slick apartments housed in sympathetically resorted factories and breweries have made this one of the city's most desirable districts to live in.

Bar'Deaux

Straight out of 1920s Paris, this romantic bar, modelled on Moulin Rouge, opened its thick red drapes last month. Everything was sourced from flea markets across Europe, from the prints of scantily clad French ladies to the crockery. Bar'Deaux also claims to be the only drinking hole outside Paris to have a bottle of rare Moulin Rogue cognac – the perfect tipple to enjoy by the roaring log fire.

Details: 00 47 9173 2554; Radhus gata 30.

Rica G20

This chic hotel is so new the paint is barely dry. The 96 minimalist rooms are a little small but don't skimp on luxurious touches. Each is equipped with iPod dock, flatscreen TV and extra thick comfy mattresses. Be sure to hire one of the hotel's electric bicycles – perfect for exploring the city's hilly suburbs. Doubles from £107 per night.

Details: 00 47 2201 6400; rica.no

The Nighthawk Diner

Serving high-quality locally reared beef in swish brown and yellow leather booths with Johnny Burnette playing on the jukebox, this popular diner is more gourmet dining 1950s style than greasy burger joint.

Details: 00 47 9662 7327; Seilduks gata 15.

Zuzanna G

Acclaimed local designer Zuzanna Gregorowicz has opened a new boutique in the heart of Frogrer, Oslo's fashion hub. Zuzanna's high-end jewellery – crystal earrings and pendants – embrace old-school glamour, while sunglasses, shoes and handbags can also be found on the quirkily decorated shelves.

Details: 00 47 2255 3140; zuzannag.com

Insider's secret

Tobias Gustafsson, head chef at Sjomagasin restaurant

"For a fantastic shopping experience, head to House of Oslo. It specialises in interior furnishings and has the most amazing kitchen utensils, porcelain, and striking designer fixtures – something's bound to catch your eye. The pieces are very exclusive, very slick and very Scandinavian."

Details: 00 47 2323 8560; houseofoslo.no

Compact Facts

How to get there

Nick Boulos flew from London Heathrow to Oslo with SAS (020-8990 7000; flysas.com), which offers return flights from £158. A double room at Hotel Folketeateret (00 47 2200 5700; clarionhotel .com) costs from £155 per night on a B&B basis.

Further information

Norwegian tourist board (020-7389 8800; visitnorway.com).

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

Suggested Topics
Life and Style
LifeReddit asked a simple question with infinite answers this week
Life and Style
Pepper, the 3ft 11in shiny box of circuits who can tell jokes and respond to human emotions
techDavid McNeill tests the mettle of one of the new generation of androids being developed in Tokyo
Life and Style
beauty
Arts and Entertainment
Armando Iannucci, the creator of 'The Thick of It' says he has
tvArmando Iannucci to concentrate on US show Veep
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
transfers
Sport
German supporters (left) and Argentina fans
world cup 2014Final gives England fans a choice between to old enemies
Arts and Entertainment
A still from the worldwide Dawn of the Planet of the Apes trailer debut
film
News
peopleMario Balotelli poses with 'shotgun' in controversial Instagram pic
News
A mugshot of Ian Watkins released by South Wales Police following his guilty pleas
peopleBandmates open up about abuse
Sport
Basketball superstar LeBron James gets into his stride for the Cleveland Cavaliers
sportNBA superstar announces decision to return to Cleveland Cavaliers
Sport
Javier Mascherano of Argentina tackles Arjen Robben of the Netherlands as he attempts a shot
world cup 2014
Arts and Entertainment
The successful ITV drama Broadchurch starring David Tenant and Olivia Coleman came to an end tonight
tv
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Sport
Four ski officials in Slovenia have been suspended following allegations of results rigging
sportFour Slovenian officials suspended after allegations they helped violinist get slalom place
News
14 March 2011: George Clooney testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during a hearing titled 'Sudan and South Sudan: Independence and Insecurity.' Clooney is co-founder of the Satellite Sentinel Project which uses private satellites to collect evidence of crimes against civilian populations in Sudan
people
Arts and Entertainment
Balaban is indirectly responsible for the existence of Downton Abbey, having first discovered Julian Fellowes' talents as a screenwriter
tvCast members told to lose weight after snacking on set
Life and Style
More than half of young adults have engaged in 'unwanted but consensual sexting with a committed partner,' according to research
tech
Life and Style
A binge is classed as four or more alcoholic drinks for women and five or more for men, consumed over a roughly two-hour period
tech
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Sales Manager (Fashion and Jewellery), Paddington, London

    £45-£55k OTE £75k : Charter Selection: Major London International Fashion and ...

    Volunteer Digital Marketing Trustee needed

    Voluntary, reasonable expenses reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: Are you keen on...

    Java Swing Developer - Hounslow - £33K to £45K

    £33000 - £45000 per annum + 8% Bonus, pension: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: ...

    Corporate Events Sales Manager, Marlow,Buckinghamshire

    £30K- £40K pa + Commision £10K + Benefits: Charter Selection: Rapidly expandin...

    Day In a Page

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
    Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

    Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

    In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
    Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

    A writer spends a night on the streets

    Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
    Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

    UK's railways are entering a new golden age

    New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
    Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

    Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

    Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
    Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

    Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

    This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
    Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

    Why did we stop eating whelks?

    Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
    10 best women's sunglasses

    In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

    From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
    Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

    World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

    No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
    Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

    Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

    18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    The German people demand an end to the fighting
    New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

    New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

    For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
    Can scientists save the world's sea life from

    Can scientists save our sea life?

    By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
    Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

    Richard III review

    Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice