Staying in Oslo
Oslo is one of the fastest-growing capitals in Europe and is known for housing some of Norway's best cultural attractions and parks, making it well worth a stop for travelers of all ages—even if you only have 24 hours. Most visitors stick to the compact city center when deciding where to stay. Many of the best things to do in Oslo are here, which are easily accessible on foot, making the city ideal for walking. Conveniently enough, the five hotels featured in this article are within a few blocks from Karl Johans gate, Oslo's main shopping street that connects with Palace Park, where the Royal Palace is located (home of the Norwegian monarchy).
With a good pair of walking shoes, you can access other highlights, like Aker Brygge's modern waterfront with restaurants and museums, and Vigeland Sculpture Park, with more than 200 sculptures by Gustav Vigeland. On the southern side of the city are the Munch Museum and Oslo Opera House. To the east is the hip Grünerløkka district along the Akerselva river.
Another way to get around Oslo like a local is to hop on efficient public transportation—buses, trams, and underground trains—which uses one ticketing system.
The Scandic Byporten is a modern, Swedish-brand hotel that will appeal to shoppers, considering it's in the same building as the Byporten Shopping Center and across the street from the Oslo City Mall. It's also steps from the southern end of Karl Johans gate with more shopping along a pedestrian walkway. For culture, it's just a 10-minute walk to the Oslo Opera House and the Munch Museum in the revitalized Bjørvika port district. And perhaps the best part: the hotel neighbors the Oslo Central Station with regular express service to and from the airport.
Bright rooms have minimalist Scandinavian decor, wood-style floors, and large windows, while upgraded options come with coffee machines and minifridges. You can also purchase wine and beer in the trendy lobby with shelves of vintage books, shuffleboard, and tech-friendly communal tables. Guests have access to a complimentary breakfast buffet served at the neighboring restaurant; for other meals, there are many options nearby, including the upscale Amerikalinjen hotel, just across the plaza. Learn more
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Hotell Bondeheimen is a budget-friendly hotel in the heart of Oslo—one block from Karl Johans gate—with an impressive sustainability program. Though the interiors are fully renovated, you can find elements of history dating back to 1913, when it attracted writers, artists, and actors who stayed here. Each of the 145 guest rooms is attached to a former writer or cultural figure; look for a quotation accompanied by a portrait and biographical information in each room. Some rooms also offer original details like wood-beamed ceilings.
A trendy lobby restaurant prepares an extensive breakfast buffet daily with organic items. Norwegian specialties are available for lunch and dinner when the space transitions to a restaurant called Kaffistova, which is popular with locals. There isn't a hotel bar, but the front desk sells beverages and snacks throughout the day, including wine and beer. Learn more
Thon Hotel Terminus
The Thon Hotel Terminus rests on a busy street between hip Grünerlokka in one direction and the Bjørvika waterfront district in the other, so take your pick. It's also across the street from the Oslo City Mall and kitty-corner to a large arena, the Oslo Spektrum, which hosts major music acts and performances.
Though the exterior is lackluster, Thon is a well-known Norwegian hotel brand with colorful decor and a standout complimentary breakfast buffet. Guests start their day with a wide range of hot and cold items, including smoothies, salads, and smoked salmon. A separate lounge provides free espresso, drinking water, and tea, or you can purchase wine, beer, and snacks at the front desk.
Like the common spaces, rooms have bright-colored furnishings and textiles, complimented by hardwood floors. They also come with working desks, minifridges, Bose speakers, and kettles for tea and instant coffee. All rooms have walk-in showers, while superior rooms come with bathrobes, slippers, and additional bath products. Higher categories come with sleeper sofas that accommodate groups or families. Learn more
The no-frills Citybox Oslo is well-located in a historic building a short walk from Oslo Central Station for express train service to and from the airport. DIY travelers will check in and out using self-serve kiosks at the front door. The key you're given at the onset will be used to access common spaces and your room. A "host" is on-site at all times, accessible by phone in the lobby in case of any problems.
Though it lacks staff hospitality, the hotel's 216 simple but stylish rooms have hardwood-style floors and blonde furnishings, including a working desk, headboard with reading lamps, a nightstand, and blackout shades. Keep in mind that the rooms have no TVs, safes, or minifridges.
The expansive lobby offers a shared kitchen and various seating areas, including communal tables with outlets for working. A complimentary breakfast buffet is not offered, like other hotels in this category, but the hotel is on the same block as several authentic bakeries and trendy boutiques for shoppers. The location is a significant draw, as it's within walking distance to major attractions in either direction, from the Munch Museum to the Aker Brygge waterfront area. Learn more
Thon Hotel Cecil
The 167-room Thon Hotel Cecil is an attractive option for its location between Karl Johans gate and the Aker Brygge waterfront, with easy access to the city's best shopping and restaurants. Like other Thon properties, 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 historic Parliament building and offers complimentary all-day tea, coffee, water, and nibbles.
Similar to the colorful common areas, rooms and suites have eye-catching decor with graphic prints and bold colors along with 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. Learn more