Where to stay and what to do in Oslo

Hi My sister-in-law and I are planning a trip to Oslo in late November for a spot of Christmas shopping as well as experiencing some of Oslo’s hidden treasures. Could you recommend a really lovely place to stay centrally but not too pricey? Also in your opinion what are the top 5 things you would recommend us to see? We adore Scandi design/art so anything to do with this would be great. We’re very keen to shop for our 6 little ones too. Thanks for your time! Jemma x

Dear Jemma.

The capital of Norway is situated by a fjord and surrounded by hills and forests. It’s a beautiful city and by November it will probably be frosty and snowing, the capital’s ski resort opens beginning of November, so remember to pack warm clothes.

I’ve made a summary for you on where to stay, where to eat and what to see. I’ve previously done a guide for shopping for kids clothes in Oslo.
For adult fashion you should head to Bogstadveien/Hegdehausgveien and for the latest Scandinavian contemporary design goodies you should visit PurNorsk, NorwayDesign and House of Oslo.

Where to stay
Centrally and not to pricey, Rica Hotel Bygdoy Alle, a historical hotel situated in a very elegant residential area surrounded by beautiful buildings, trees and and a peaceful atmosphere. Bygdoy allé is a lovely street with lots of high end independent shops and restaurants. This is a great place to stay, relax and to be ready for a long day filled with shopping, sightseeing and exploring. It’s a 3 star hotel and reasonably priced, for being Oslo.
As a budget option we recommend staying at cochspensjonat.no an inn, centrally located by the Royal Palace and Bogstadveien which is one of Oslo’s best shopping streets. No luxury, only location, location, location…

Oslo, view from Ekebergrestauranten

Where to eat
For breakfast or brunch you simply have to visit Åpent Bakeri, one of the best bakeries in Oslo. Åpent Bakeri is a hands-on bakery, baking with old traditions and simple, natural ingredients. Åpent Bakery is rated as top 3 things to do in Norway by Lonely Planet travellers. We’ve actually mentioned Åpent Bakeri before, read the post Oslo’s hidden treasure
Norwegians knows their coffee as they are the nation that drinks the most coffee in the entire world. Most Norwegians will drink their coffee like an Americano, black. And lots of it, indeed several mugs of it, every day. But in recent years the art of barista’s have taken over in the cities and Oslo is now home to some of the best Barista’s in the world. We recommend enjoying a cafe latte at Stockfleths or Kaffa.

Lunch should be enjoyed with a view. We recommend historic and romantic, Frognerseteren. They serve traditional Norwegian dishes including open sandwiches, “rømmegrøt” sour cream porridge and apple cake and cinnamon buns. Warning: It’s pricey, even for Oslo. But the view, the wooden palace like building and the freshly prepared food makes it all worth it. As a option we recommend heading to the very trendy Ekebergrestauranten, located very nicely in at the hill just above Oslo, with a stunning view at the inner Oslo fjord, the whole city and the new Operahouse. Designed in 1927 by the architect Lars Backer the building in itself was a design sensation. It was also hugely popular, with people of Oslo standing in long lanes to get in back in the 1930s. Recently renovated to a very high standard it’s back to the 1930’s glory days, now offering a contemporary menu with a Scandinavian touch. For both restaurants the most exciting and convenient transport would be taking the tram!
For fine dining in Oslo there are several options, but we think the tiny Restaurant Oscarsgate (closed) and the traditional Michelin star restaurant Statholdergaarden are both arguable of the very best of what Oslo has to offer when it comes to food, with innovative and creative cuisine. We advise you to book your table as soon as possible to secure your Scandinavian fine dining experience.

Restaurant Oscarsgate, photo Gunnar Bløndal

What to see
Here’s 5 things you need to see, when visiting Oslo. In no particular order…
1. Vigelandsparken. The Vigeland Park is the world’s largest sculpture park, with more than 200 sculptures in bronze, granite and wrought iron, made by a single artist, Gustav Vigeland. He died in 1943 and never got to see the completed park when it opened in 1949. Open all year around, free admission. We recommend bringing a sketch book.
2. The The Viking Ship Museum presents great Viking ship discoveries from Gokstad, Oseberg and Tune as well as other finds from Viking graves around the Oslo Fjord. You can’t leave Oslo without seeing the largest preserved wooden Viking ship, built in the 9th century.
3. The Opera House, an extraordinary marble and glass building by the shore in Oslo, houses both opera and other cultural events. It’s a true design piece. And as typical Scandinavian design -it’s functional too. You can actually go for a walk on it, as the entire house is a like a contemporary shiny white munro.
4. Munch Museet to see world famous masterpieces like ‘Scream’ and ‘Madonna’ by Edvard Munch.
5. Visit traditional Scandinavian Christmas markets, see our recommendations here.
The Oseberg Vikingship
The Opera House, Oslo

Find out more at www.visitoslo.com I’m sure you will have a wonderful time with your sister-in-law! Wish you a happy trip and look forward to hearing from you again!
All the best, theScandinavianMum

9 thoughts on “Where to stay and what to do in Oslo

  1. Hi,

    I am going on holiday with my daughter! She does not live in Oslo. So, we would be going all together and staying in a hotel, the three of us.

    Thank you so much.

  2. Dear Lin. I would love to recommend a short stay with young children. Will you be staying with your daughter or do you need hotel recommendations too?

  3. I would really appreciate your recommendations or comments on the idea of taking a 2 and a half year old child to Oslo for a break in early December. I would like to visit with my daugher and her son. It has been an ambition to see Oslo since 1982 when I was living in Africa and heard a programme on the BBC World Service… it is still a fascinating destination. Many thanks

  4. Dear Jemma. It’s my pleasure! Let me know if you have any further questions. Remember that this is my personal recommendations for your ladies weekend. I should probably have included bars and clubs too. 🙂 A post for a family city break in Oslo will follow in near future. Lots of love x

  5. Thank you so much for your post! So kind of you to take so much time over it. My weekend is sorted!! Thank you very very much. Jemma x

  6. Wow! What a great piece and a treasure trove of information. Thanks for such an inspired and informative post.

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