Grunerlokka -definitely my favourite place in Oslo
Favorite thing: I'd read so much about Grunerlokka being the 'happening' part of Oslo, that I almost expected to dislike it, as I frequently dislike areas that have been too hyped up by guide books.Happily, that didn't happen and it was here that I spent most time and that I loved most, along with the trips to the hills and the lake.
This is a formerly working class area to the east of the city centre that has been reborn as a sort of Left bank or Hampstead, with an influx of the young, enterprising and arty farty. Once you cross over the Akerselva river and start the long trek up Thorvald Meyers gate, the village atmosphere is immediately obvious. I'm sure there are office blocks and commercial premises here but what you notice are the cafes and bars, the funky shops with vintage clothes, the buildings with murals painted on the sides, small grocery and vegetable shops and the almost tangible feeling of relaxation you get from places that are pleasant to live in.
There are two parks along TM gate: first, the small and pretty Olav Ryes plass complete with fountain and further up, the large Sofienberg-parken with its elaborate pavillion. Parallel with TM gate is Markveien, another really great street for browsing and the best for second-hand shops and behind Markveien, is the riverbank walk dotted with tall redbrick chimneys and mills, remnants of the industrial past.
Because our hotel was just at the entrance to Grunerlokka we ate there most evenings and had long leisurely walks afterwards. There is an other side to life in Grunerlokka apparently, the seamier side I'd read about in the novels of Jo Nesbo, but this is certainly not obvious to the casual browser. We always felt comfortable walking there after dark and If I was working or living in Oslo, this is certainly where I'd go apartment hunting.
- Budget Travel
- Arts and Culture
Karl Johans gate - Oslo's back bone
Favorite thing: Most of what I'd read about Karl Johansgate had been fairly unflattering and I was surprised to like it so much. Yes, it is a long pedestrianised street with many of the same shops and fast food outlets you see in cities all over the world but it also has the best of Oslo nearby in the way of public buildings and the sense of being in a capital city. A lot of Oslo is not very impressive architecturally and it's good to walk through Karl Johans gate regularly to appreciate some of its treasures.
Heading uphill from Oslo S, it is pretty unimpressive but pretty soon you pass the elegant Domkirke and the Parliament buildings and after that KJ gate widens out for the grand sweep up to the palace. The central park-like area here is delightful with large trees shading a walkway lined with stalls, an ornamental lake with fountains and statuary and lots of outdoor cafes. Next is Oslo University on one side and on the other, the imposing neoclassical Nationaltheatret with statues of Ibsen and Bjornson outside. From there it's a short hop to the Royal Palace, built without any walls or boundaries between it and the public.
From Karl Johans gate it's easy to find your way to the waterfront and Aker Brygge or to continue west to Frogner Park . I would recommend it as a good place to start your exploration of the city.
- Budget Travel
- Castles and Palaces
Damstredet- a feast for traditionalsits
Favorite thing: Damstedet is a tiny little street tucked away between Akersveien and Fredensborgveien and if you go to Var Frelsers Memoria Cemetery you will find it quite easily. This is the cemetery where Munch and Ibsen are buried and after toiling up from the centre in the pouring rain, I was more than a little disappointed to find the signposting totally inadequate and the more famous graves, virtually impossible to find. Maybe not impossible if you have loads of time and nice weather but when you've circumnavigated it once on a wet day, you tend to give up more easily.
Leaving despondently and then stumbling across Damstredet made the whole expedition worthwhile. This street of pretty wooden houses looks like it's been plucked from a rural village far removed from the city and it was here that I finally gave in and took out my camera. The photos, taken with one hand from underneath an umbrella, aren't great but they give a general impression of the colourful cottages and the sudden feeling of being in Norway as opposed to Oslo.
After this I was constantly on the look out for older and more traditional building and if you look carefully, you will find them on many of Oslo's streets, tucked in between the bland and the functional as rewards for diligent walkers.
- Budget Travel
Favorite thing: Welcome to the country with many strange rules... ;) Many of the closingtimes can be a bit confusing, so I will try to give some general tips.
They normally have to close at 20, but the last years many have been able to have open untill 23. On saturdays many close at 18 (sometimes 21), and sundays they are closed.
BUT (now comes the funny part) if the store is less than 100m2 they can have open untill 22 every day, including sundays... The chain called Bunnpris have mostly stores like this, and some others too.
- Buying alcohol:
Stores can not sell alcohol after 20 on a normal weekday, and after 18 on saturdays, even if the store is open longer. On holidays and electionday (!) they can't sell it at all. Some days that come before a holiday, they can only sell alcohol early in the day, (until 13-15). Normally they put up signs telling you when you can buy alcohol. Especially in Easter and Christmas you have to check out the times.
- Going out:
Most places downtown close at 3.00 - 3.30 in the night, a few have open untill 6 in the morning. But you can't buy alcohol after 3, no matter how long they are open. Almost all of the places that are not downtown close at 00.30 or earlier, which means that most people head downtown at the same time and it can be difficult getting a taxi. The same happens around 3 o'clock when everyone are going home again. So it might be better going out a bit earlier and heading home before 3 if you don't want to spend a lot of time in the taxi queue.
Favorite thing: There are two touristinformations in Oslo. One is located by the City Hall down by Aker Brygge. The adress is Fridtjof Nansensplass 5, but the entrance is from Roald Amundsensgate - between Karl Johansgate and the City Hall. It is open from 9-19 every day, but is closed on public holidays.
The other touristinformation is located at the trainstation Oslo Sentralstasjon (Oslo S). The adress is Jernbanetorget 1. This place is open from 8-23 every day, but is also closed on public holidays.
These places can give you more info about the city, and they have different kinds of brochures that you can take with you. You can also buy the card "Oslo-pass" here. At least check it out, as it can save you lots of money. They can also help with accomodation, transportaion, exchange, sightseeing, excursions and so on.
Telephone: (+47) 24 14 77 00
PANORAMIC VIEWS OF THE CITY
Favorite thing: On these links you can see panoramic views of Oslo:
Roof of "VG-huset" 1
Roof of "VG-huset" 2
Roof of "VG-huset" 3
This pretty fountain
Favorite thing: I have seen this fountain more here on VT but it is very nice to see it in real and working.
It´s a funny sight to see all the individual pipes making one complete bowl.
Its in the park next the National Theatre.
When i was in Oslo time before last, it was just for an evening in winter time. Then it was all dark and covered in snow.
- Family Travel
- School Holidays
- Arts and Culture
Favorite thing: Buildings like this are rare in other parts of Norway but very common in the rest of Europe. Doesnt mean that this isnt a wonderfull building to look at! I dont i have seen a city so far where a lot of major buildings are standing so close to each other. You can see the palace, the theatre and the parliament building almost at once.
SIGHTSEEING BY BUS
Favorite thing: Like many other cities around the world, you can also go sightseeing by bus in Oslo. City Sightseeing has a red doubledecker that drives you around to many of the main attractions.
You can choose to have the guidance in nine different languages; norwegian, english, german, spanish, french, italian, finnish, japanese and russian.
The tour takes you around the city to places like Munch Museum, Vigeland Sculpture Park, mainstreet Karl Johansgate and so on.
I have never taken this tour so I don't know how it is. But I have taken similar tours in other cities and have always found them to be very good. It's a great way of becoming more familiar with a city, seeing where the different things are located, plus learning more about the history and the different places.
Check out their webpage for more info:
useful phone numbers
Favorite thing: the tourist information centre 24147700 Not updated!
First Aid 22932293
800 68 000
23 88 80 00
Telenor 810 77 000
Tele 2 Norge AS
oslo spektrum information
22 05 29 00
815 11 211
Tickets 815 11 500
Transport information (trafikanten)
Norwegian state railways NSB 815 00 888
Airport express train (flytoget)
815 00 777
Bus express (flybuss ekspressen)
820 21 300
815 33 0 44
Bislet bilutleie AS
22 60 00 00
Ride (Scooter rent)
23 21 04 00
(just hold the line)
Fjord taxi: Einar Torvund
Båttaxi 90 04 09 99
23 25 68 90
- Family Travel
- Study Abroad
- Road Trip
Favorite thing: Here are the adress to some internetcafées, so you can log on to VT when you are in the city... :)
- Aftenposten A-service
- Arctic Internet
Oslo Sentralstasjon, the trainstation
- Galleriet Internettkafé
- NetWorld Internettcafé
- Norsk Teknisk Museum
- Peking Kyoto Internettkafé
Munchs gate 5
Olav Ryes Plass 4
- Studenten Nett-Café
Karl Johans gt. 45
- Tacoland Internettcafé
WEBCAMS IN OSLO
Favorite thing: Do you want to see how it looks like in Oslo right now? Here are links to webcams from different places around the city. Some of these cams are in places where there's not so much to see in the dark, so the best is to look at them when there is daylight here. (But in wintertime we don't have so many hours of daylight though... ;)
(Right now there is a big christmas tree in front of this camera... But you can still see Karl Johans gate and the Royal Castle in the background)
The harbour, with Aker Brygge and the city hall
Herbern, Aker Brygge
Bjørvika, building the operahouse
Oslomarka, the forest around Oslo
To troll or not to troll
Favorite thing: When you go to Scandanavia its difficult not to buy a troll for a souvineer. They are everywhere. Being a sucker for cheap tacky souvineers I found myself being drawn to every souvineer shop I walked past. But I can report that I did not give in and by any troll souvineers, except for one key chain.
i wanted to yell at this guy "Bring me a shrub!"
The Royal palace
Favorite thing: As every capital city with a monarchy its has it royal palace.
It stands a little on top off a hill, so the royal family can look over the city with on the other end the Stortinget, parliament building.
Last time it was like this: we walked there to the bus stop. "oh yes, wel there (waving with hand) is the royal palace and the other side (more waving) the parliament building. Oh look there is the bus, lets run.
Favorite thing: Here are a few laundries in case you need to wash some clothes while you are in Oslo:
- A-Snarvask Selvbetjening
Thorvald Meyers gate 18
- Enerhaugen Rens og Vasketeria
Jens Bjelkes gate 47
- Majorstua Myntvaskeri
Vibes gate 15
Tel: (+47) 22 69 43 17
- Mr. Clean myntvask
Tel: (+47) 22 56 56 90
- Selva AS
- Persia Vaskeri
Tel: (+47) 22 56 13 49