The world’s most expensive city for 2009, not to mention in several years past, is exceptional and the veritable heart of Norway. Expensive? Perhaps, but it all depends on how you define your personal basket of goods in Oslo. Suffice to say that the exquisite capital city has enough affordable splendor and charm not to destroy the average budget.
While Bergen and Trondheim linger as trendy options for intrepid travelers to Norway, Oslo is worth more than a cursory tour. Cosmopolitan, cultural and on the doorstep of vast, beautiful countryside, the city has a lot to offer. Start with our ten must-see attractions.
10. Emanuel Vigeland Museum
While you could visit the Oslo Cathedral or Stortinget (National Parliament), the city is full of quirky gems, like the Emanuel Vigeland Museum. The prominent Norwegian artist left behind quite a legacy, most notably in the form of his mausoleum. In a bit of morbid fun and postmortem poke at older, more famous brother Gustav, the eccentric, potentially vengeful Vigeland turned his burial chamber into one of the coolest museums in Oslo.
9. Munch Museum
The most famous artist to ever come out of Norway also has a wonderful acknowledgment of his legacy in Oslo. Edvard Munch, creator of The Scream, was a remarkably prolific painter and printmaker. The Munch Museum contains over half of the artist’s lifetime output.
8. Royal Palace
A Royal Palace in a European capital? Surely you jest. Predictable as it may be, Oslo’s version is well worth a tour in the busy summer season.
7. University of Oslo Natural History Museum
Norway’s senior and most important natural history museum has a comprehensive collection of specimens from Nordic Europe. Fauna, flora, geology, minerals, fossils and much more, all in three separate museums that make up part of the University of Oslo.
6. Nobel Peace Center
The most famous Nobel Prize is also the only one whose award ceremony takes place outside of Stockholm. As the home of the Peace Prize then, Oslo built a worthy attraction for visitors and locals alike in 2005.
5. Ibsen Museum
One of the most famous dramatists in history was born in Skien, Norway in 1828. Henrik Ibsen left behind a fertile legacy of plays and poetry upon his death in 1906. His last home in Oslo is now a superb museum, close to the Royal Palace.
4. Viking Ship Museum
The Bygdøy peninsula of Oslo contains some of the best points of interest in the city, from nudist (and non-nudist) beaches, extremely popular with locals in the summer, to a slew of museums. The Viking Ship Museum is particularly cool, with great exhibits of notable archaeological finds from throughout Norway.
3. Frogner Park
Oslo’s amphitheater-like milieu and huge land mass provides visitors with ample opportunity to commune with nature. The city is mostly forest, hills and lakes and several fine public parks dot the landscape. Frogner Park is one of the best, notably for the singular Gustav Vigeland (yes, him again) Sculpture Park and Vigeland Museum.
2. Oslo Opera House
Thoroughly modern and progressive, the recipient of the culture award at the World Architecture Festival in October 2008 is well worth the price of admission to see the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet.
1. Norwegian Museum of Cultural History
Another Bygdøy peninsula gem, this time in the form of a vast, open air museum that takes visitors on a tactile journey throughout Norway’s cultural history