Last year I found myself flying up north and visiting Norway’s capital city, Oslo. However, this trip wasn’t exactly what I had planned when I was dreaming about my summer travels; I was lusting over cities like Budapest, Paris or even Germany. Due to leaving the travel plans up to my friends since I was in the midst of a hectic exam season, we ended up in the land of Scandinavia. And looking back now, I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
Oslo surprised me in the best ways possible and I can’t wait to go back and explore even more! Here are five reasons why Oslo should be at the top of your list to visit..
1. It’s Natural Beauty
Oslo is located at the head of the Oslofjord, surrounded by forested hills and so no matter how far you stray you will never be too far from beautiful nature. Even better, with a short ferry ride you can island hop between the fjord’s and experience the spectacular views and attractions.
2. A Tale of Two Cities
One thing which stuck with me after I left Oslo was the uniqueness of having nature on one side and experiencing brilliant, modern architecture within the heart of the city. Oslo is on its way to becoming one of the most innovative architectural hubs (which my friend studying to be architect died over!). The Royal Palace is just at the end of Oslo’s main high street, Karl Johan’s street which is very London-esque and pretty. However, if modern architecture is more your thing then look no further! The Barcode Project is seriously one of the coolest areas I’ve been too in a while. With tall high rise buildings which, you guessed it, look like they’re part of a barcode.
3. Oslo Operahouse
Another amazing piece of architecture which is a must see is the Oslo Opera house. This place actually encourages visitors to take a stroll up the roof and the views from the top are just stunning! I’d advise getting little snacky bits and having a picnic – I spend half the day relaxing and soaking up the sun, even falling asleep for half an hour. But the best time to visit is nearer sunset time when the crowds slowly diminish and the golden light overlooks the city views and forested hills. I don’t think I’ve ever been more relaxed.
4. The Hiking Trails
Oslo has some great hiking trails that range from easygoing (the one I volunteered for) and more difficult but either way it leads to the amazing views overlooking the city.
5. Aker Brygge
A popular pier in Oslo that overlooks the sea and you can hop on a boat towards the various islands of Norway. During summer this place comes alive with pop up events and amazing food such as ice cream the size of my head and hipster food trucks. The atmosphere is infectious with locals and tourists alike enjoying fine dining and the special combination of traditional old ship yards with the modern architecture that Oslo is slowly becoming known for.