After three magnificent days in Vilnius, it was time to witness summer in Scandinavia. I booked a ticket for Oslo, not really knowing what to expect from the city. My travels tend to include capitals with obviously historical looks. Seeing as Oslo is a city of modern architecture, it was a change of scenery for me. However, I have to admit that those two days in Oslo were absolutely delightful.

Upon arriving at the train station early in the morning, the first place I visited was the Oslo Opera House. One of the city’s most popular spots, it’s a modern structure that seems to be rising out of the water. You can take a stroll on its rooftop covered in Carrara marble while enjoying the view of the fjord. Following that visit though, I focused on finding the oldest parts of Oslo. I was in a city packed with modern architecture, a style I still have yet to find a connection with despite studying art history.

opera house in oslo

After wandering through the streets of the old town, a chance encounter led to a slight change in plans. A case of tracking down a stranger’s phone led to an invitation to a music festival! While I did have an outline for my visit to Oslo, not much was set in stone. So I said yes and spent a lovely evening getting to know someone with whom I share so many things in common. It was one of the most unique solo trips I ever did thanks to that accidental meeting. And it made me see the city in a different light. Summer evenings with endless sunsets, good music, and people enjoying themselves. Oslo definitely comes alive in the summer!

What to visit in Oslo

On my last afternoon in Oslo, I visited The Norwegian Museum of Cultural History. This open-air museum with more than 160 historic buildings is one of the most fascinating places to visit in Oslo. I found it so inspiring that you’ll probably see a separate blog post about it soon. Unfortunately, the famous Viking Ship Museum was closed during my visit. It’s currently undergoing renovations and won’t open its doors until 2026. I guess that’s just another reason to revisit Oslo!

My second favorite spot in Oslo is the picturesque street Damstredet. I think most people would be surprised to find a cobblestone street here. Let alone one lined with houses from the 18th and 19th centuries! Without a doubt, Damstredet is the most beautiful street in Oslo. Make sure to explore every corner of it, including the narrow path between the houses. One of the locals noticed me taking photos of his house and told me that it’s technically a public path so I wandered around for a bit.

damstredet street in oslo

Not far from it, you’ll find Telthusbakken. A charming downhill street with the most colorful houses! Right across from it are the oldest communal gardens in the city. They date back to 1915 and I even spotted some people at work in their gardens. These two historical streets are only 20 minutes away on foot from the main train station. And while you’re there, I found the perfect cozy café in the neighborhood. La Belle Flor Café offers some delicious pastries alongside drinks, but also potted plants that you can purchase!

Furthermore, you should visit Rådhuset, the Oslo town hall. The seemingly minimalistic building hides some interesting wall murals inside its walls. Painted by Norwegian artists, they depict the history of Norway. This is also the setting of the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony. It’s the only Nobel prize to be awarded outside of Sweden.

Another inevitable stop is the Royal Palace and the beautiful Karl Johans Gate that leads to the royal residence. The palace opens its doors to the public every summer but it’s impossible to miss it any other time of the year due to its imposing size. The renowned Karl Johans Gate is a street that stretches from the main station to the royal castle. Alongside it, you will notice gorgeous buildings, notable hotels, and numerous shops.

Since my Airbnb wasn’t too far from it, I had to visit Frogner Park. The largest park in Oslo, it’s open to the public and I barely scratched the surface of it. Nonetheless, I made sure to see the most famous section, the Vigeland Sculpture Park. With more than 200 sculptures by Gustav Vigeland, it’s basically a park within a park. if you have some extra time, take some lovely strolls and admire the work of Norway’s greatest sculptor!

frogner park in oslo

I discovered one cute bookstore during my visit to Oslo. You’ll find Cappelens Forslag in a big but unassuming street. I would’ve never guessed a bookstore such as this one was hiding there! Inside you can browse through bookshelves mostly filled with books in English. There’s also a decent selection of books in Norwegian for the locals. It goes without saying that I found a book or two to take home with me, as souvenirs.

cute bookstore in oslo

Not far from the center of the city is the Akershus Fortress. A medieval castle that was built in order to protect the city, it makes for a lovely walk. There are a few museums you can visit on the site or you can choose to just wander around the fort at sunset like we did that day. Following that, we drove up to Holmenkollen mountain, from where we found a wonderful viewpoint of Oslo and its fjord.

view of oslo from above

Lastly, you have Aker Brygge, a chic and vibrant neighborhood overflowing with restaurants and bars. A former shipyard, it’s now the main place for al fresco dining, shopping, and trendy bars in Oslo. The terraces on the promenade are always full, especially on summer days. With modern architecture and art installations between buildings, it’s a quite distinct area. It certainly looked its best on a Saturday evening, packed with people!

summer sunset in oslo

Overall, those two days in Oslo turned out wonderful. The city kept on surprising me with its hidden gems and I loved how alive it feels during the summer. Most people will skip out on the capital, with trips planned around Norway’s impressive nature, hikes, and Nothern lights. However, I’m here to tell you that you should dedicate at least two days to Oslo and discover all this city has to offer. It might just surprise you, the same way it amazed me!

old pink house in oslo
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Brigita Soldo

Travel Photographer · Creative Content Creator · Vintage & Sustainable Fashion Advocate

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