Scandinavian countries are synonymous with wealth, happiness and welfare. They are also known for their extreme climates, the winters are long, cold and mostly dark , while summer days are extremely long. Travelers who typically visit Scandinavia, particularly Norway, do this for specific experiences like skiing, Fjord cruises, Northern lights or the midnight sun. The more outdoorsy adventures. But even for the more relaxed traveler experiences: the foodie, the girls' getaway or a wellness retreat, Oslo can also be the perfect city.
SIGHTSEEING in Oslo is a must. The city is well designed and there are stunning displays of modern architectural wonders. The three most important elements to a successful GIRLS' TRIP are saftey, shopping and brunching. Oslo gets 5 star ratings for all of the above. The city is one of the safest in the world additionally it is clean, and quiet, not boring quiet, but not hectic or crowded or overstimulating like London for example. Noise pollution is at a minimum as a result of electric vehicles, and you are able to really slow down and enjoy the city.
Oslo is ranked as one of the most expensive cities in the world, so it isn't a popular SHOPPING destination. However, there are several reasons shopping in Oslo isn't a bad idea. For one, the Norwegian Kroner isn't as strong as it used to be, so if you are earning Swiss francs, Euros, or United States dollars, you will find bargains. Secondly, the prices for European luxury goods in Norway are on parr with the rest of Europe and the tax back (which is very easy to retrieve) is about 21%. Also, because the crowd is smaller, products that are sometimes sold out in Paris or Milan are likely in stock in Oslo (you are welcome). Another reason to consider Oslo for shopping is access to Scandi-brands both high street and designer, directly from their physical boutiques as opposed to a third party online or department store.
Oslo is a small but multicultural city, and the DINING options really reflects that diversity. I have been told that garlic and other herbs and spices first arrived in Norway in the 1970s. But you would never imagine that now as there are amazing food halls and restaurants serving food from every corner of the globe.
Here is TWANG's girls guide to Oslo
Head to Bjørvika (Oslobukata). This is probably my favourite part of Oslo. If you have just one day in the city, then this is your stop. Here you can enjoy the modern, chic architecture of Oslo's barcode project. You can also indulge in shopping at the concept stores for Norwegian designers Norwegian Rain & T Michael , Holzweiler (with restaurant) and Envelope1976. If you are into perfumes and fragrances, must is a visit to Son Venïn. This new Norwegian perfume brand that has some seriously good fragrances (my favourite is SANTAL SUPER) that definitely fit the quiet luxury aesthetic.
Just a few 100 meters away are Munch museum and the Opera House, the city's most photographed spot. I recommend getting a donut from Talormade, this is your best company as your stroll towards the Oslo Fjords. These are seriously the best donuts on earth!
Karl Johan is your stop if this is a shopping trip. Here you will find all the luxury and high street brands on your typical European shopping streets. Make sure to stop in COS and &other stories as these stores are not so easily found in other cities and the prices are better in Scandinavia. On a rainy or chilly day, Steen og Strøm, the 200 year old Department store has you covered.
Where to eat
If you are in Oslo over a weekend reserve your seat at Amazonia by -bar for brunch vibes every Saturday. The food, cocktails, the DJ and the ambiance are top tier.
For a more sophisticated, chilled brunch option head to Sommerrohouse. The newly opened hotel in one of Oslo's oldest neighbourhoods is currently the place to be in the city. On my last trip we brunched at Sommerro and it was delightful, made complete with a live Jazz band, oh and you must try the Caesar salad!
We had dinner at Hanami, in Tjuvholmen, this Japanese fusion restaurant has a great menu from grilled dishes to sushi. I recommend ordering a variety of small dishes so that you can have a taste of everything and of course the cocktails were also very good.
Tjuvholmen and Aker Brygge has a stunning selection restaurants suiting every budget and palate, so this is the ideal place for meal time. When the weather is warm, if you desire to sit outside please make reservations. As you can imagine, after a long dark cold winter, Norwegians do not play about basking in the sun at every opportunity.
I highly HIGHLY recommend that you make your way to Njokobok. This Senegalese restaurant is a must for me every time I am in Oslo. The food is authentic, the flavours are phenomenal and the vibe is as we would say in Jamaica Irie. Make sure to try the ginger juice and the seafood, everything is delicious. chef's kiss!!
As for places to stay, I have only stayed at The Thief also in Tjuvolmen. The decor and art are stunning, the rooms are clean, modern and well lit. I love the chic sophisticated vibe that this hotel gives. And if you are up for it, the spa is worth a visit.
So if you have never ventured up north, definitely look into it. Oslo is truly a spectacular city with lots to do and see. And when you do please let me know your thoughts..