Oslo is said to be Europe’s fastestgrowing capital and sits at the heart of Norway’s economy. Friendly and compact, it claims innovation and entrepreneurship as its driving forces. Digitally advanced, architecturally stylish and with plenty of parks, water and cultural attractions, it is also one of the world’s most expensive cities.
Most hotels are near the city centre and range from top spots such as Hotel Continental and the landmark Grand Hotel to the designer style of The Thief, the first hotel in Oslo with direct access to the Oslo Fjord.
Reindeer, moose and lutefisk are classic choices best experienced in atmospheric restaurants like Gamle Raadhus and Engebret Café in the historic city centre. For everyday Norwegian dishes such as fårikål (lamb and cabbage stew), kjøttkaker (meatballs) or fish soup, try Kaffistova and Restaurant Schrøder. Dovrehallen Maaemo (three Michelin stars) and Kontrast offer more modern and creative Nordic flavours.
Norwegians love to party but visitors reel at the shock of the bar bill. Oslo has some of the most expensive beers in the world, and wine and cocktails have an even higher price tag. For the better deals head to pubs and cafes rather than bars connected to hotels and restaurants. Residential areas to the east of the city centre are more moderately priced and include the old beer hall Olympen at Grønland.
Oslo has three airports but the main international airport is the one at Gardermoen, 47km northeast of Oslo. The Flytoget Airport Express Train connects visitors with Oslo Central Station in about 20 minutes (departing every 10-20 minutes) for about £25. Buses also leave every 20 minutes. Taxis are widely available but cost around £80 or more.
Cultural attractions include the historic Akershus Castle and Fortress and a plethora of quirky museums. Check out the Fram Museum for the strongest wooden ship ever built or the Holmenkollen Ski Museum for 4,000 years of skiing history. The Vigeland Sculpture Park boasts more than 200 bronze, granite and cast iron sculptures and the Viking Ship Museum with the world’s best preserved Viking ships.
There are numerous services between the UK and Oslo, including flights with British Airways, Norwegian, SAS, bmi and Ryanair – although the latter flies to Oslo’s Sandefjord airport, some 100km south of the capital.