Staying near Oslo's Aker Brygge Wharf
Though Oslo has a compact and walkable city center, hotels on the north side have easier access to the waterfront hub, Aker Brygge, along the Oslofjord, which has sprouted dozens of trendy shops, restaurants, bars, condos, and office buildings in the past few decades. For an excellent introduction to the area, spend a few hours at the Nobel Peace Center or the expansive National Museum, which opened in June 2022 to become the largest museum in Norway.
Closer to the water's edge is a lengthy pedestrian boardwalk where various fjord tours and ferries depart. The path continues past upscale shopping, food trucks, seafood restaurants, and the Astrup Fearnley Museum, one of Scandinavia's most notable museums for contemporary art. Depending on the season, you'll also find beach areas for sunbathing, ladders for fjord swims, and a range of concerts, exhibitions, and pop-up events.
To get to Oslo's other attractions, including Vigeland Sculpture Park and another waterfront hub, Bjørvika—home of the Oslo Opera House and Munch Museum—you can walk for about 30-40 minutes or jump on a bus, tram, or underground train using an efficient public transportation system. Here are more ideas on the best things to do in Oslo and how to explore the city like a local.
Hotel Continental is one of Oslo's longest-running (circa 1860) and most popular hotels and today is run by the fourth generation of the same family. It's also one of the closest hotels to Aker Brygge, and it takes less than five minutes to walk to the Nobel Peace Center.
The hotel completed a major renovation in recent years and today features plush room interiors with upscale amenities, like Nespresso machines, Apple TV, and Molton Brown bath products. For water views, upgrade to a junior suite where you'll likely have a walkout terrace with a dining table and fjord views. The best suite is the two-floor Continental Suite pictured here.
The elegant, art-filled lobby attracts locals for predinner drinks. At the same time, the historic restaurant Theatercafeen features portraits of Norwegian's famous writers and artists (near the entrance, look for photos of celebrities and dignitaries who have dined here). There's also a trendy pizzeria and an upscale restaurant that serves set course menus. For more options, Aker Brygge's many waterfront restaurants and bars are a short walk away. Learn more
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There is only one luxury hotel in Aker Brygge, and this is it. The Thief stands out for its curved modern architecture on the tiny islet of Tjuvholmen, with a history of attracting thieves and pirates. Surrounded by waterfront paths rather than trafficked streets, the location is peaceful. The hotel even has its own swim ladder, and there's a nearby public beach during the summer months where you can sunbathe. Additional water-based activities for fees include kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, private boat tours, and fishing excursions.
Inside, The Thief's trendy decor offers a pool, sauna, and full-service spa with six treatment rooms. The 114 modern rooms and suites have king-sized beds, Scandinavian linens, smart TVs, sound systems, Italian coffee makers, bathrobes, and slippers. Bathrooms have Grown Alchemist bath products and rain showerheads, while suites have separate showers and bathtubs. All rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows with balconies (if having a water view matters, opt for the deluxe room category or higher).
Though Aker Brygge has many options for dining, it's a good idea to make a reservation at The Thief's rooftop during the summer months. The sophisticated dining space awards guests spectacular sunset views, while a separate bar on the same rooftop has a more casual vibe. Learn more
Hotel Christiania Teater
The 102-room Hotel Christiania Teater is a historic fixture on a tree-lined street between Karl Johans gate (great for shopping) and Aker Brygge for guests who want easy access to both. Though the hotel opened in 2008, the building dates to a century earlier, when it opened as a theater in Norway's capital. Tucked in the rear, the 600-seat space is still used today for private events like business conventions and weddings.
Perhaps more applicable to regular guests is the trendy bi-level lounge with rich hues and eclectic decor, which is especially inviting on a cold winter night. Situated above is Restaurant Teatro, an upscale pizzeria with an extensive wine list and large windows facing the street and plaza for people watching. This space is also where the hotel serves a daily complimentary breakfast with made-to-order egg dishes.
Rooms have theatrical touches with unique wallpapers and furnishings in bold colors and patterns. All rooms have hardwood floors, tall ceilings, minibars with beverages and snacks, kettles, and CO Bigelow bath products. Learn more
The Oslo Guldsmeden is a short 10-minute walk to Aker Brygge from the northern entrance—and closer to Palace Park, home of the Norwegian monarchy, than other hotels on this list. The hotel is part of a small chain located in Europe and Asia, and the decor encompasses various continents. This location has a Balinese-meets-Nordic design with a mix of oversized leather furnishings, textures, and funky accessories in the common spaces.
Rooms have hardwood floors, canopy beds, mounted iMac screens instead of televisions (with movies for purchase), and interesting textiles like deerskin throws and Asian rugs. Rooms range in size for solo travelers, couples, friends, and families with adjoining rooms or multiple bedrooms, and suites have bathrobes, slippers, and stand-alone tubs.
A cheerful restaurant serves organic a la carte breakfasts (for a daily per-person fee; kids get a discount), and a bar serves drinks in the evenings. A small Turkish-inspired hammam with dry and infrared saunas and a steam bath is also available for an hourly fee. Learn more
The colorful Thon Hotel Cecil has 167 rooms and is a 10-minute walk to the Aker Brygge waterfront. Guest perks include a popular breakfast buffet in a glass atrium with a self-service espresso machine, smoothies, fresh juices, grilled fish, egg dishes, and additional hot and cold items. Another lounge on a higher floor overlooks the Parliament building and offers complimentary all-day tea, coffee, water, and nibbles.
Like the rest of the property, rooms and suites have eye-catching decor, graphic prints, bold colors, and hardwood-style floors. They are also equipped with smart TVs, Bose speakers, minifridges, kettles, spacious working desks, and umbrellas to borrow. Bathrooms have walk-in showers and bath products in eco-friendly dispensers. Upgraded room categories include bathrobes, slippers, coffee machines, and possibly balconies.
Though Aker Brygge is easily accessible from here, guests also enjoy having access to Karl Johans gate just across the plaza. The hotel's central location is also a 15-minute walk to Oslo Central Station, with regular express trains to and from the airport. Learn more