Oslo has long been on the lips of luxury travellers, being one of Europe’s wealthiest cities where you can experience gourmet-cuisine, chic and effortless style whilst being a short distance away from wild, rugged nature.
Oslo is the fusion of history and modernity with plenty of character, with features in the historic city centre alongside modern, slick architectural design in famous buildings such as The Opera House.
The perfect year-round destination, summer brings warmer weather and an increase in outdoor activities, whilst in winter the ski season and you can hit the slopes at Holmenkollen, just a short metro ride away from the city centre.
The best thing about Norway is that it is suitable for all kinds of travellers, families with children, solo travellers, friends travelling together and couples seeking a romantic getaway. It has something to cater for all your desires, whether it be a nature escape, foodie holiday or history and culture.
Without further ado, here is our ultimate luxury travel guide to Oslo where we will show you how to have an unforgettable five-star holiday in Norway’s capital.
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The best time to visit Oslo
Being a short distance from the Arctic Circle, Norway gets very cold in the wintertime, with temperatures dropping to -7°C in December to February! January is the very coldest month to go. Winter is the best time to go to Oslo if you love winter sports, it’s also the low season and prices are significantly lower. Remember that winters are also relatively dark and layering clothes designed for extreme cold temperatures are the way to go to keep out the bitter cold.
Even in spring and summer the temperatures are significantly cooler than the rest of Europe, you can expect maximum temperatures of 16 to 20°C in the peak of summer.
The most popular months to travel are between May and August where you have more crowds and you can possibly experience the phenomena of the midnight sun in the months of June and July.
How to get around Oslo
Oslo is a very walkable city, with most of the attractions situated within walking distance in the heart of the city. If you want to feel like a local, bicycles are easily available through their bike-share service where you can locate and rent bikes via an app. The day pass for the bike-sharing scheme only costs 49 Krone. Private bikes can be rented by local rental companies at a rate of approximately 200 Krone per day.
Between the middle of March and October there are sightseeing ferries which you can catch from the City Hall, Fram Museum or Oslo Opera House. The ferry trip to Bygdøy takes only 10 minutes, whilst the sightseeing hop-on hop-off ferries take 1.5 hours. The Oslo Pass allows you unlimited ferry and public transportation rides until your ticket expires.
Taxis and private chauffeurs are an expensive but more luxury option.
What to expect in Oslo
The language spoken in Oslo is Norwegian, but Norwegians are usually very fluent in English and it is widely spoken, making it easy for travellers to communicate. The people are humble and live according to Jante Law as most Scandinavians do, the law was created by the Danish writer Aksel Sandemose, which states that society is egalitarian and you should behave in a civilised manner without demonstrating superiority in any way, either financially, in wisdom or in intelligence. It is a good idea to behave in a modest and respectful manner.
It’s advised not to demonstrate too much touching or affection in public.
The local currency is the Krone. ATMs are widely used and you can pay with your card in most places as it is more or less a cashless society. Tipping is appreciated but a service charge is included in the bill. It’s advisable to round up your bill or leave a generous 10% tip.
Final pro tip is not to bring a wheelie suitcase to Oslo, the sidewalks often are in bad condition and have built-in run gutters which will probably result in a damaged suitcase. Backpacks and tough high-end wheelie cases are the way to go.
Luxury things to do in Oslo
Charter a Yacht
Norway Yacht Charter offers private and small-group cruises the summertime, where you can explore the beautiful Verdant Island waterways where Norwegians go in the summer, along the way you can see historic ruins and monasteries. The tours are run on beautiful wooden sailboats with a Norwegian shrimp buffet on board.
Vist the Sognsvann Lake and feed the swans
If you want to escape to the nature of Oslo, you can take a short 20 minute metro ride to Sognsvann station and you can visit the Sognsvann Lake where Oslo residents love to go for picnics and sunbathing in the summertime. The tranquil lake has swans which you can feed and is perfect for a relaxing day away from the city, with plenty of hiking and walking trails. In the wintertime the frozen lake becomes a cross-country ski rink.
Explore Akershus Castle
Oslo is home to a 14th century fortress, surrounded by lush greenery with views over Oslo Harbour. This was once the seat of Haakon V Magnusson of Norway and withstood numerous sieges and battles. You can discover more about Norway’s fascinating history on a guided tour in the summertime. The castle is still a functioning military base and a Norwegian Resistance Museum chronicling the days of Germany’s occupation of Norway during the second World War, the castle grounds also house the castle church and a mausoleum.
Hit the slopes
In winter and spring you can make the most by heading out to the slopes for some world-class skiing. Norway is a top destination for cross-country skiing, in fact, Norwegians like to boast that they were born with skis on! You can visit the Holmenkollen slopes just a short metro ride away from the city centre.
Visit the world’s largest sculpture park, Vigeland Park
Vigeland Park is an large, lush green park with over 200 sculputres made by one Norwegian sculptor, Gustav Vigeland. The different sculptures are strange and captivating and signify different stages of the human experience which range from mournful to joyous and is the perfect place to enjoy a relaxing picnic on a warm summer’s day along with the locals.
Visit a 3,000 year old Viking Burial ship
The Viking Ship Museum houses a collection of Viking burial ships that were found in the 19th and 20th century and date back over 3,000 years. Here you can marvel at one of the most well-preserved specimens of Viking ships which served as the final resting place of a Viking, as well as artefacts such as textiles, household items and tools found around burial sites in Oslo.
Unwind at a spa
Visit a luxury spa in Oslo where you can bathe in steamy waters and soak away the long day exploring the city. The Well has over a dozen heated pools which is the perfect place to rest your weary body and feel absolutely pampered. Another notable Spa is situated in the Thief Hotel with treatments and massages just for two, including a relaxing couples massage and hammam.
Catch a play at National theatre
The elegant building of the National Theatre of Oslo is situated in the city centre and is a fantastic example of Norwegian neoclassical design. Inside the majestic halls you can watch a play by Henrik Johan Ibsen, one of Norway’s most influential playwrights, renowned all over the world.
Hit the shops
A recent addition to the centre of Oslo is Promenaden, the new trendy fashion district where you can find unique Oslo boutiques alongside the major designers. Visit Kamikaze or Vincci to peruse Norwegian fashion design.
Cocktails with a view
Check out the vistas from the roof terrace at Q Lounge Takterrasse & Bar, situated on the 6th floor of Grims Grenka hotel which is the perfect place to enjoy the views of the waterfront. This award winning terrace is open in the summertime and is among the top 20 rooftop bars in the world. You’ll feel at home with the plush furnishings which give the place a luxurious feel and on the weekends there are DJ sets so you can dance the night away.
Where to stay in Oslo – Luxury Hotels
Hotel Continental Oslo – This central hotel is an elegant building just a short stroll from Karl Johans Gate, the main street in the city centre and is only five-star hotel in Norway. It ranks among some of the world’s very best hotels. Rooms are stylish and well-equipped with all the necessities and there is an on-site 24 hour access gym as well as an excellent restaurant called Eik Annen Etage serving up modern Norwegian cuisine. The restaurant and bar called Theatercaféen also organises DJ sets and brunches on Sunday in October, it’s also a famous institution for the past 100 years! Rooms start from 3,661 per night.
Camillas Hus – This highly exclusive hotel only has seven unique rooms situated in one of Oslo’s oldest protected wooden houses dating back to 1845, just a few minutes’ walk from the Royal Palace as well as the city centre, yet it is tucked away from the main streets and is tranquil and calm. The style of the rooms is classical to reflect the classical structure of the swiss style architecture. Rooms are equipped with en-suite and television, tablet, minibar and coffee and tea making facilities. Breakfast is included in the price and is served at the restaurant next door. There is also an Italian restaurant in the hotel. Prices start from 2,950 Krone per night for a double.
The Thief Hotel – If you’re looking for contemporary Scandinavian style, the Thief Hotel has it all. It’s situated in central Oslo on Tjuvholmen just five minutes by foot from Aker Brygge. Each room features an in-built sound system, balcony, rainforest shower and nespresso machine as well as other facilities. The hotel has a luxurious spa that even offers treatments in the comfort of your own room, 24 hour gym, a hip rooftop terrace and a restaurant offering modern Norwegian dining. Prices for a standard double start at 4,190 Krone. The price also includes free entrance to the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art.
Luxury eats in Oslo
Norway boasts 8 Michelin-starred restaurants where you can savour fresh flavours of prime local seafood and creative fusion of Norwegian cuisine with modern touches. Here are some of the best.
Maaemo – The only three Michelin-starred restaurant in Oslo is the fabulous Maaemo, meaning “Mother Earth” in Norwegian and is run by Head Chef Esben Holmboe Bang. The food is centred around local, high-quality, seasonal ingredients featuring Norwegian seafood. Indulge in the fresh flavours of Mackeel, Langoustines amongst some of its stars. There are only eight tables and they are highly sought. The seasonal tasting menu is priced at 3,000 Krone per person with an additional 1,800 for accompanying wine selection.
Galt – Galt is a restaurant set up by five co-owners who worked together at Fauna and Oscarsgate, Michelin-starred restaurants that have now closed down. The result is a friendly rustic atmosphere with a six-course menu bursting with local flavours, and delicious wild ingredients including the excellent game meats and seafood, a meal starts at around 515 to 865 Krone depending on what side dishes and wines you choose.
Restaurant Kontrast – This one Michelin-starred restaurant appears slick and industrial but serves up dishes to die for, led by the Head Chef Mikael Svensson who creates beautifully presented, flavourful dishes featuring local, ethical and seasonal ingredients which include shrimps, seafood, langoustine cooked with contemporary flair. There are two options for the tasting menu the Small Kontrast which features six courses for 1,150 Krone without wine pairing, the wine is an additional 995 Krone. The Big Kontrast menu is a mouthwatering 10 courses and costs 1,650 Krone without wine and an additional 1,395 for the wine pairing per person.
Statholdergaarden – This classic institution is thought to be one Norway’s very best restaurants and is led by Bent Stiansen, winner of the World Master of the Culinary contest. This one Michelin star restaurant serves up stunning dishes where seafood features at its heart The tasting menu features wild, fresh ingredients such as locally fished Halibut, as well as langoustine and scallops with international flavours such as Japanese Yuzu and shitake. The tasting menu costs 1,950 Krone and the wine menu is an additional 1,690 Krone per person.
Luxury tours to do in Oslo
From the moment you are picked up from the airport by the driver you can be whisked away to your hotel or start the tour immediately. This private tour will take you through some of Oslo’s most famous attractions including the Royal Palace, National Theatre, Opera House, Vigeland Sculpture and Akershus Castle.
Lunch will take place at a traditional Norwegian restaurant before heading onwards to Bygdöy peninsula where you can learn about the history of Viking ships. The tour is led by an expert guide who will share stories of the life of Vikings, beliefs and explorations. You will even visit the Fram, a famous shop that was used on seafaring journeys and polar expeditions.
Visit the Oslo Fjords on this highly-acclaimed tour that whisks you away from Oslo to the surrounding mountains and nature just outside of the capital. Visit the famous Flåmsbana Railway, head on the Nærøyfjord cruise and take in the spectacular panoramas and natural beauty of Norway on this 11 hour tour.
The tour will show you hidden gems and villages such as Vang and the beautiful Ryfoss waterfall before leading you to the Nærøyfjord World Heritage site.
Learn about Norway’s folklore and legends by walking the footsteps of Viking ancestors on this private walking tour. You guide and storyteller will captivate you with stories about ghosts, criminals, urban legends and more on this walking tour around central Oslo. For those who want to experience a different and darker side of Norway, this is the tour for you! Prices start from €186.07 per person for the two and a half hour tour.
Recommend Luxury tours in Oslo
- Private Tailor-made Oslo HighlightsTour with combined licensed Guide and Driver
- Private roundtrip from Oslo to Sognefjord via Flam
- Oslo Throughout the History
- Jazz Cruise Live 3-Hour Aboard a Wooden Sailing Boat on the Oslo Fjord
- Private Oslo Tour: City Views, Nature and Oscarsborg Fortress
- Private Tour to Sognefjord, Gudvangen and the Flåmsbana railway
- Oslo to Pulpit Rock – Mission Impossible 6 location trip
- Myths and Legends of Oslo
- Private Oslo 6-Hour Walking Tour with Kon-Tiki Museum
- Private Shore Excursion: Best of Oslo 4-Hour Tour with Vigeland Park and Viking Ship Museum