When I visited Oslo in 2014, the ‘scandi cool’ craze had just started. For most, Oslo is just a stopover on the way to see the Northern lights, but if you go at the right time, the city has quite a bit to offer. I think no one else does Autumn like Scandi countries do! It’s cold, but just the right amount to make it cozy. The parks, streets and neighbourhoods are filled with gorgeous autumn leaves and colours, and it’s the perfect time to while away hours in a snug bar or coffee shop!
- Check out the autumn colours. One of the best places to do this is at Vigeland Sculpture Park. The park is filled with weird and crazy sculptures (mostly nude) of men, women and children by Gustav Vigeland. What I loved the most was the gorgeous view across the entire park at sunset; the leaves and trees took on a stunning golden hue and looked surreal.
- Spend time in a coffee shop. Norway is big on coffee culture. Their cafes have a warm, inviting feel, with delicious Norwegian pastries (try a bolle, a soft and fluffy Norwegian bun). A popular coffee chain in Oslo is Kaffebrenneriet. Visit their Akershus store for a great view of the harbour.
- See a famous painting. Edvard Munch’s ‘Scream’ is one of the most famous and iconic paintings in the world. One of the four versions is housed in the National Gallery in Oslo. Top tip: if you don’t want to spend the NOK 100 admission fee, go on Thursdays when it’s free entry for all.
- Eat for cheap! Norway is amongst the top 5 most expensive countries in the world. Eating out in Oslo is exorbitant! Whilst scoping out cheap restaurant near the Central Station, I came across Narvesen. Narvesen is a supermarket chain in Oslo selling delicious hot dogs. They are sausage specialists, and serve up flavourful sausages in steaming buns, with sauces and a crunchy fried onion topping. Once I ate one, I was addicted to Narvesen’s hot dogs for the rest of my trip. The good news is that there is a Narvesen around every corner in Oslo, where you can enjoy this Norwegian fast food favourite.
- Wander around a cool neighbourhood. Grünerløkka is an old, industrial part of Oslo. In recent years it has become an alternative design and shopping district where you will find edgy bars, restaurants and original Scandi design. Bar Boca is a great place to hangout. It’s a tiny, grungy bar with inventive cocktails and a cozy atmosphere.
- Experience Scandinavian minimalism. If there’s one thing the Scandi countries are famous for, it’s their basic but functional, no-frills outlook on everything. I stayed at the Comfort Hotel Xpress Central Station, where I experienced Scandinavian efficiency first-hand. From the self-check in and check-out, to the convenient snack bar and minimalist design elements, everything had a cool, effortless and chic vibe; just like the city itself!