Staying in Oslo
Oslo is one of Europe's fastest-growing capitals and is home to many of Norway's best cultural attractions, making it well worth a stop for travelers—even if you only have 24 hours. Most visitors stick to the compact city center when deciding where to stay, and an excellent place to start is Karl Johans gate, the city's main shopping street, lined with some of Oslo's best cafés. This pedestrian-friendly street connects to the manicured paths and gardens of Palace Park, where the Royal Palace is located (home of the Norwegian monarchy).
With a sturdy pair of walking shoes, you can access other highlights, like Aker Brygge's modern waterfront teeming with seafood restaurants, museums like the Nobel Peace Center, and Vigeland Sculpture Park, with more than 200 sculptures by Gustav Vigeland. The Munch Museum and Oslo Opera House are on the city's southern side, with picturesque walking paths overlooking the Oslofjord. You can also explore the hip and artsy Grünerløkka district along the Akerselva river, which makes a fun day trip or restaurant outing. Here are more ideas for the best things to do in Oslo.
Opened in 2019, one of Oslo's newest luxury options, Amerikalinjen, capitalizes on the building's historical roots as the former headquarters for the Norwegian America Line—where immigrants were processed on their way to America in the early 20th century. After a thorough restoration, the hotel's iconic red facade has a great location mere steps from Oslo Central Station, with quick access to 20-minute trains to and from the airport). It's also a short stroll to luxury shopping and the Oslo Opera House and Munch Museum.
The 122 stylish rooms have parquet floors, tall ceilings, and light fixtures from a Norwegian glass maker. Luxe amenities include coffee machines, bathrobes, heated bathroom floors, and upscale bath products. Each room has a brand book where you can learn more about the building's history or look at the unique nautical objects on the wall that help tell the story.
The art-filled lobby is the place to sip cocktails in vintage glasses, while an all-day brasserie called Atlas (great for people watching) serves upscale Nordic cuisine from an open kitchen. On weekends, there's Gustav, an underground jazz bar. Health nuts can use the spacious, low-lit fitness center any time of day. Learn more
This Hotel Continental is one of Oslo's longest-running hotels, dating to 1860; today, it's run by the fourth generation of the same family. It's also centrally located, just a short walk to the Nobel Peace Center and Aker Brygge waterfront area, as well as Palace Park and Karl Johans gate. The hotel completed a major renovation in recent years and today features plush room interiors with upscale amenities, like coffee machines, Apple TV, and Molton Brown bath products. Some suites have lovely walkout terraces with table seating and fjord views.
Another aspect of this hotel's popularity is its drinking and dining scene. The elegant lobby attracts locals for pre-dinner drinks before performances at the National Theater (across the street). The historic restaurant Theatercafeen—with a Viennese vibe—features portraits of Norwegian's famous writers and artists from the years gone by (check out actual photos of the many celebrities and dignitaries who have dined here). There's also a fine dining restaurant that serves set course menus that change weekly, plus a hip pizzeria for a more casual night. Learn more
The iconic Hotel Bristol is one of the oldest stays in Oslo, with Moorish-style architecture and a traditional lobby topped with chandeliers. Important historical events took place throughout the past century, from German soldiers checking in during World War II to fashion shows in the 60s to jazz performances attended by sitting US presidents, including Bill Clinton.
While its history is intact, the hotel completed a massive renovation in 2019 in time for its 100th anniversary. Today, the 251 rooms and suites still offer original details, like crown moldings and antique-style furnishings. At the same time, modern additions include luxury linens, coffee machines, thick bathrobes, and L'Occitane products in eco-friendly dispensers. Hotel Bristol's bars and restaurants are popular with locals, especially the Library Bar with live piano music twice a day, which has been drawing listeners since the 1920s. There's also a traditional afternoon tea service and a steakhouse with an English vibe. Learn more
The Thief stands out for its curved modern architecture and location on Tjuvholmen (Thief Islet), which was once known for thieves and pirates. The waterfront area of Aker Brygge surrounds the site with easy access to the attractions here and to the fjord for swimming and boat excursions. The hotel has its own swim ladder, and there's even a nearby public beach during the summer months where you can sunbathe.
Inside, the deep-hued 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, one not to miss is The Thief's own rooftop. During warmer months, this white-table-clothed dining room has heaters and spectacular sunset views, while a separate bar on the same rooftop has a more casual vibe. Learn more
The history behind Oslo's Grand Hotel, with a prime location facing the Norwegian Parliament, dates back to 1874. Though this landmark has been bought and renovated by a major Swedish hotel brand (Scandic), the hotel still feels authentic, starting with the lobby restaurant serving lunch, dinner, and afternoon tea under a glass atrium. Other highlights include a swanky indoor tranquility pool, a full-service spa, a year-round rooftop bar with views, and complimentary breakfast, served in a charming street-side café.
The hotel's 280 rooms and suites were renovated in 2016 with modern decor and luxury amenities, and a range of specialty suites have French balconies—there's even a Nobel Suite where the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize stays each year. The tradition is to have the winner (or winners) stand on the balcony and accept an ovation. Learn more