Hemmed by a fjord and several kilometres of woodland, Norway’s capital is an attractive, easygoing city with an eclectic architectural mix of old and new that’s hard not to like. Oslo is certainly the cosmopolitan heart of Norway, with a rapidly growing café and bar culture, world-class restaurants, a lively nightlife and music options ranging from jazz and opera - best enjoyed at the opera house on the waterfront - to indie rock, as well as plenty of outdoor activities for the energetic.
Oslo is the perfect size for exploring on foot, and most visitors will find themselves struggling to choose between its numerous (and also world-class) museums, which provide something for almost every taste: come face-to-face with the haunting image of Edvard Munch’s famous The Scream at the National Gallery, take the chance to stand in the shoes of an Olympic ski jumper at the Holmenkollen Ski Museum, or peek through a window into history and culture at the unforgettable Viking Ship Museum, the Fram Museum (which tells the story of Norwegian polar expeditions, with the Fram ship taking pride of place), or the folk museums on Bygdøy.
Outdoors, visit the Vigeland Sculpture Park, home to hundreds of sculptures of people at various ages and in various guises, which was the life’s work of sculptor Gustav Vigeland and is certainly an impressive sight. This is also a lovely spot for a picnic. Out on the water, enjoy a scenic cruise on the Oslofjord.
Southern Norway (which was home to Edvard Munch) offers some scenic drives, and is peppered with historic fishing towns and postcard perfect villages with pretty harbours and traditional wooden buildings and churches. You’ll come across more unique museums, local music festivals, myth-filled lakes (Norway’s answer to the Loch Ness monster is said to have been spotted here) and beautiful stretches of coastline with sweeping beaches. The islands offshore, such as those in the Skagerrak strait, make for an idyllic Swallows and Amazons experience: walk around pristine landscapes and secluded coves, have a refreshing dip in the crystal clear waters, and take a boat out to explore, before enjoying the sunset over the North Sea.