Norway's capital city, Oslo, continues to delight its visitors by its natural environment and cultural riches. A city of contrasts, Oslo is a small capital city with only 500,000 inhabitants. Art lovers will love it, as it holds a total of 41 museums, many art galleries and works of art spread out throughout the city: art reveals itself in all sorts of ways. Oslo is also the city where the ceremony ...
Oslo's port is located on the banks of the Oslofjord.
Norway's capital city, Oslo, continues to delight its visitors by its natural environment and cultural riches.
A city of contrasts, Oslo is a small capital city with only 500,000 inhabitants. Art lovers will love it, as it holds a total of 41 museums, many art galleries and works of art spread out throughout the city: art reveals itself in all sorts of ways. Oslo is also the city where the ceremony for the Nobel Peace Prize takes place. Its very varied architecture is rather surprising - from its old docks and residential districts to its historic centre: modern buildings stand alongside old ones, surrounded by wide open green spaces.The city lies at the foot of surrounding hills and forests, a perfect relaxation area for people who enjoy hiking or skiing, while the fjords are the place where you can embark on a cruise aboard a ship, or hop onto a sailing boat or canoe, depending on the season.
The population, as you might expect, consists of tall blondes and they are very much family-orientated people who enjoy a wide array of outdoor activities, despite the country's low temperatures. In the summer, you can go cycling, rollerblading and sailing and in the winter, skiing, snowshoeing and hiking. Nothing stops the Norwegians, who are not easily impressed by below-zero temperatures, which are, of course, frequent in the winter. Respectful and friendly people, they not unlike the Brits with their lively sense of humour and respect of the rules.
Oslo's metamorphosis started a few years ago now and it is far from over. After the building of the Opera House (over 8 years), which is a large white building constructed on water, the Munch Museum is now being transferred to stand alongside it (the end of the works are due in 2012). Moreover, the three-lane motorway which crosses Oslo is due to be covered to create an open green space and make the city even more welcoming and pleasant to live in.
This city is ideally visited over a long weekend, on the condition that you have planned what you are going to do before getting there! Another piece of advice: plan a generous budget as the prices in the restaurants and the public transport prices are very high. In July 2009, a bank (UBS) classified the world's most expensive cities and Oslo came top!
Next to the pier, take a trip to the Medieval fortress and Akerhus castle, which are surrounded by a park and a small lake, giving you the opportunity to have a drink in a charming place that overlooks the city.
Buy a 'Visit Oslo' Pass from the tourist office: it will enable you to catch all public transport on an unlimited basis, visit museums and even get reductions in restaurants and 50% off the price of a cruise around the fjords.
Take a stroll along Aker Brydge - a promenade with many bars, restaurants and shops. Walk along Karl Johansgate - a lively street which goes from the central railway station, past the cathedral, the Storting and its park, to the castle below.
Enjoy the view from the famous ski slope of Holmekollen Ski Jump, giving you a great breath of fresh air, whether it be the winter or the summer.
Go for a walk in the surrounding forest in the summer,
or on a cruise along the fjords, some of which offer a 'prawn dinner' on board.
Go to watch an opera in the brand new white building which stretches right out to sea.
Vigeland Park and its impressive sculptures.
The trendy district of Grunerlokka.
All major international art movements are represented at the Nasjonalgalleriet, which is the National Museum of Fine Arts.
The Storting (Houses of Parliament) deserves a visit for its galleries dedicated to painting and its historic hall which recounts a great part of the history of the country.
Unconditional admirers of Munch will not want miss out on the museum dedicated to this painter which covers the whole diversity of his art: sketches, canvases and sculptures.
Bygdoy peninsula, accessible by car or boat, lets you plunge into the Viking origins of the country. Of the five typical Norwegian museums, the famous Viking boat museum is a must-see.
Pack good hiking shoes so that you can walk for hours - this is the best way to explore the city.
Wrap up warm as the weather changes fast and temperatures drop drastically, especially with the wind coming from the sea.
Buy alcohol before 6:00 pm in a specialised shop (off licence).
Talking too much about Norway's possible membership in the European Union: most people are against it.
Drink-driving or driving fast, not letting people cross the street: this is all very badly considered and you can be fined for it.
Black humour, criticising or mocking.
Fish, prawns, reindeer, whale (yes, it is indeed legal in Norway!) Try aquavit: a distilled potato and grain-based Scandinavian spirit.
Smoked salmon, whether marinated or cooked, fish eggs as well as all sorts of seafood. Knick-knacks such as Viking hats or trolls in the shape of key rings, fridge magnets or figurines are nice and kitsch souvenirs.
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