Skip the tourist traps in Oslo and immerse yourself in the local vibe. From taking the ferry to the Oslo Fjord to discovering unique coffee shops, I'll show you the best ways to experience the Norwegian capital like a local.

Top 5 Tips to Enjoy Oslo Like A Local

1. Walk, Bike or Take a Bus 

Top 5 Tips to Enjoy Oslo Like A Local

Less than half of Oslo’s population owns a car. Amazing, isn’t it? Here is why. Just like most European cities, Oslo is easily explored on foot. But there is more to it. This European Green Capital of 2019 has some of the cleanest, most comfortable and environmentally friendly buses, trams and metros around. In fact, the majority of public transport journeys are powered by renewable energy on zero-emissions vehicles. Our advice is: forget taxis and take the bus like a true local. 

And here is another alternative: explore the city using Oslo City Bike. With almost 200 stations in the city center, you are never far from a bike to take you around. There is one catch, though. Even with a daily pass, you are allowed to use a bike for only 45 minutes before you need to return it. But wait! We have a solution for you: just hop on a different bike at the same station and continue your trip for another hour. Or how about taking a fun guided bike tour of Oslo? 

Insider’s tip:  Public transport tickets are valid onboard all buses, trams, metros, and ferries and there is no night fare.  

2. Be at One With Nature

Top 5 Tips to Enjoy Oslo Like A Local

Did you know that more than half of Oslo’s surface is covered in lakes and dense forest? Locals make the most of this natural abundance, rain (snow) or shine. It might come as a surprise that the wilderness in all its splendor is easily accessible by public transport. Hop on a metro and in less than half an hour you will find yourself in the midst of (meticulously marked) trails, forgetting all the hustle and bustle of the city. 

One of our favorite city escapes is a trip to the picturesque Sognsvann lake. The scenic 3.5 km hike around the lake is easy and fun, and in the summer, this area becomes a popular bathing and grilling spot. Simply catch the Sognsvann metro line downtown, get off at the last stop and follow the crowds. Or how about taking a ferry from Aker Brygge and touring the amazing islands of the Oslo Fjord? The closest one, Hovedøya, is less than ten minutes away and can boast of relaxing beaches as well as historical sights, such as ancient monastery ruins.    

Insider’s tip:  For an off-the-beaten-path experience visit Gressholmen, a tiny island that used to house the main airport in the 1930s, with the old hangar and terminal buildings still standing.

3. Eat Salmon

Top 5 Tips to Enjoy Oslo Like A Local

There is no doubt that eating like locals is the best way to connect with a new city. When in Oslo, try some high-quality salmon. Fisketorget located at Aker Brygge offers both fresh seafood (you can also choose shellfish from the aquarium) and a plethora of ready-made meals. Lightly grilled bread with smoked salmon, avocado butter, egg and coriander is just one of the chef’s specialties. You will have a fantastic seaside view from your table. And that’s not all. The freshness of your meal is guaranteed: the restaurant purchases its fish from fishing boats docked just a few meters away. 

Or would you prefer a more casual eatery? Head to Pink Fish, a fast-food chain entirely dedicated to salmon. You can choose between (salmon) burgers, wraps, salads, hotpots and raw fish. At Pink Fish, you can even start your day with salmon! How about salmon bagels or waffles? And even if you are not into fish, there is something for you. Go for a vegetarian option containing no salmon at all - the chickpea burger.

Insider’s tip: Smoked salmon and gravlax make unique souvenirs; Oslo grocery stores offer a great variety of both. 

4. Drink Great Coffee

Top 5 Tips to Enjoy Oslo Like A Local

You might be surprised to learn that Norwegians are among the world's biggest coffee consumers. For all the coffee lovers looking for an authentic experience, Oslo is the place to be. Forget Starbucks and try one of the numerous independent coffee shops. There are many to choose from, so why not go for the very best? 

To start with, don’t miss Tim Wendelboe’s roastery and retro-inspired coffee shop. Trust us when we say that this coffee is absolutely worth the splurge. Wendelboe is Norway’s national barista champion known for making some of the best coffee in Scandinavia. You can drink it with a clear conscience, too: the essential part of his business is transparency and fair trade. Supreme Roastworks is another prize-winning micro roaster beloved by the locals. Take a break in one of its ultra-trendy coffee shops and observe the local life, while sipping some delicious java.

Insider’s tip: Order your kaffe black, with no milk or sugar. Norwegians like to say that simple is often the best, and this goes for coffee, too. 

5. Shop Til You Drop 

Top 5 Tips to Enjoy Oslo Like A Local

Psst, want to know the best place for an out-of-the-ordinary shopping experience in Oslo? Look no further. Head to Grünerløkka, a former industrial area turned the city’s trendiest district. You will be amazed by the vast array of vintage, independent and designer shops. Even if you are not planning on doing any shopping, it is worth visiting these exclusive stores for inspiration and a fantastic atmosphere. Read on for some of our best finds. 

Velouria Vintage (Thorvald Meyers gate 34) is a trove of vintage gems. It sells all the clothes, shoes, bags and accessories from the 1960s, 70s, and 80s  you can dream of. Looking for vintage Louis Vuitton or Chanel? This is the place that most probably has them. At Futura Classic (Olaf Ryes Plass 1) design aficionados will find everything from original items from the 1920s to the modern minimalistic Scandinavian decor. And now listen to this. One of the several hip concept stores in the neighborhood, Dapper combines ultra-trendy menswear, a barber and bike shop! Why not? Anything goes in Grünerløkka.

Insider’s tip: After a day of shopping, take a break at one of the many popular restaurants and bars lined along Thorvald Meyer and Markveien streets.  

 

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