A good thing about Oslo, is that the city centre is fairly small. This means almost everything is within walking distance. But that’s for tourists. If you move to Oslo, you’ll want to experience more. Here are some fun facts about Norway’s capital you probably didn’t know – and to get you started.
1. Oslo as a city is 1000 years old, but looks pretty new. The whole seaside area, from Tjuvholmen to Barcode is brand new, with the exception of Akershus fortress, from the late 13th century, strategically placed in the middle.
2. The city is one of the largest capitals in Europe in area (454 square kilometres), but one of the smallest in population (650 000, Greater Oslo region populates 1 300 000). 242 square kilometres are forests, so you won’t feel crowded. And it’s all yours for taking.
3. Oslo is located on the end of the 120 km Oslofjord which has over 40 islands. Ferries take you to many of them for a day spent swimming and relaxing. For acceptable water temperatures, you should wait until June to take a dip.
4. In Oslo, you are never more than 15-20 minutes by bus or train away from unspoiled nature. By law, this is to be used by all. So go ahead on foot, bike or skis.
5. In the winter, you are a short train ride from Oslo Winter Park with 24 runs, 16 lifts and 300.000 visitors during the winter.
6. Oslo is home to more than 50 museums, and top attractions include the Opera House, Holmenkollen Ski Jump, Vigeland Sculpture Park and the Munch Museum. But the best museums are numerous of parks and green areas. All free and all yours. By the way, the above mentioned are free too, except the Munch Museum.
7. As soon as the temperature reaches a few degrees on the plus side, and it’s sunny, people swarm out to enjoy the first beer of the summer season. You want to wear a coat, and the beer may be only slightly colder than the air, but it’s a great way to spend the day. Pricy, but worth it.
8. In several parks, you’ll find exercise machines — free to use day or night. You’ll soon find out that exercise is something a lot of Norwegians practice a lot. So here’s you’re chance to blend in with the crowd.
9. Oslo is a great city for coffee and was was named one of the world’s 10 best coffee cities by USA Today in 2012. Time to wake up and smell the coffee.
10. People with more than 200 different nationalities live in the city. (Mohammed is actually the most popular name for boys in Oslo.) This makes for an interesting blend in certain areas of the city. This also means you can find almost any type of food, both in restaurants and in grocery stores. The food from home is often what people miss the most when they move to another country, so that should be of no concern.
11. For cheap sightseeing, choose the city tram. The trams zigzag through downtown Oslo, and also reach some suburbs (the metro and buses cover the rest). They are charming, slow but practical — and a nice way to get to know the city.
12. For 299 NOK a year, you have access to numerous city bikes. You’ll find them all over the city.
13. Oslo is small, but very vibrant. Each year 5 000 concerts are performed in Oslo. This makes Oslo the city in Europe with most concerts per capita.
14. People in Oslo love to get to know people from other countries. All you need is English, good spirits and an open mind.