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About city Gallery Where to stay

Oslo is one of the smallest capitals in Europe, and since it borders wilderness in every direction, it’s the perfect choice for hiking and tourism. Sometimes called the Lion City, the Norwegian capital also attracts tourists with its medieval architecture and the opportunity to get full on salmon-based dishes.

Bronze Tiger in city center
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  Bronze Tiger in city center

There are 40 islands and 343 lakes within the city limits, with Malmøya and Maridalsvannet being the largest ones, at 0.56 km² and 3.91 km², respectively. The latter, by the way, is also the main source of potable water for the western part of the city. Furthermore, Oslo occupies a bow-shaped stretch of land around the northern part of Oslofjord, which, almost crossed by the Nesodden Peninsula, stretching right in front of the city, is situated in the Southern part of Oslo. The rest of the city is surrounded by green hills and mountains, the highest of which is Kjerkeberget at 629 m high.

Even though Oslo is not as populated as many other European cities, it takes up an unusually large territory. The city has many parks and undeveloped areas, which make it spacious and green. The local inhabitants of Oslo brag about the fact that wherever you are in the city, a park or any other type of green space is no more than 15 minutes away on foot.

Nature enthusiasts will find much to love in Oslo and its suburbs, which are surrounded by hills, cliffs, groves and islands. We recommend you also visit the Akershus Fortress, the Norwegian Folk Museum, the Vigeland Park, the Oslo Opera House, the City Hall and the Norwegian Parliament building, most of which can be found on the tourist-beloved Karl Johansgate Street.

National Oslo Opera House
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  National Oslo Opera House

According to ancient Norwegian sagas, Oslo was established by the King Harald III in 1048. Recent archaeological digs showed, however, the present territory of Oslo was already littered with Christian graves 1,000 years ago, which means that the place had already been inhabited. For this reason, Oslo celebrated its 1,000th birthday in the year 2000.

In 1624, the city was destroyed by a fire, later to be rebuilt on the opposite side of the bay - near the Akershus Fortress - by King Christian IV of Denmark, who named the city Christiania,  how it remained to be called until 1925, when it's original name was restored. Over the years, the city slowly became Norway’s cultural and trade centre.

Oslo Radhuset town hall from the sea
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  Oslo Radhuset town hall from the sea

Many of the city’s architectural 'celebrities' were built in the 19th century. Among those were the Royal Palace (1825-1848), the Storting (parliament) building (1861-1866), the University of Oslo, the National Theatre and the Oslo Stock Exchange. The city was also home to many world-famous artists, such as Henrik Ibsen, Edvard Munch, Knut Hamsun and Sigrid Undset (the latter two received the Nobel Prize in Literature). In 1850, Oslo beat Bergen to become the most populated city in Norway.

Oslo has a humid continental climate, with temperatures varying between 12-22 degrees in the summer and -7 to 0 degrees in winter. During the summer, sea temperature around Oslo averages around 18 degrees.

Enormous amount of sculptures in Frogner park
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  Enormous amount of sculptures in Frogner park

Before coming to Oslo, make sure to save some money as this city was recently announced to be one of the most expensive cities in the world; according to Forbes Magazine, Oslo is more expensive than even Zurich and Geneva. The cheapest places to eat in Oslo are Asian restaurants and diners, where lunch costs around 10-15 Euros.

Modern blue city tram in Oslo
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  Modern blue city tram in Oslo

At first sight, the people of Oslo – just like most Norwegians – may seem rude and smile or apologise as they push you, but that’s just the northern character. By the way, don’t complain about the lousy weather to the locals – the will not understand you as most of them are certain that there is no bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.

It’s worth noting that the locals of Oslo, just like most Norwegians, eat breakfast at 11 AM and dinner at 3 PM. In the evening, around 8-9 PM, they also have an “evening meal”, which usually consist of waffles or buns with tea.

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