What’s new in Oslo?

By | Category: Travel destinations

Astrup Fearnley Museum. Image © Astrup Fearnley Museet

Oslo has been going through a continuous transformation in recent years and sweeping changes will be taking place all across the city also in years to come. Whole areas are being revitalised, the airport’s expanding, the restaurant and bar scene is buzzing. Below is a sample of all things new in Oslo.


Oslo is at the heart of Norway’s most ambitious construction project to date. In recent years there’s been building on an epic scale in different parts of town, e.g. the new Opera House opening in 2008, the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, designed by Renzo Piano, in 2012 and there’s a lot more in the pipeline. The new Edvard Munch Museum, the so-called Lambda building, a rather controversial project, is scheduled to open in 2020, in Bjørvika, an area currently under redevelopment. A former container port, this attractive area on the Oslo Fjord is now part of the “Fjord City” project that’s been revitalising the Oslo waterfront in recent years. Also in 2020, a new National Museum for Arts, Crafts and Design will be opening and combining collections currently held at three separate museums. The new museum will be located near Akerbrygge and the City Hall, in the centre of Oslo. Oslo’s international airport, Gardermoen, is undergoing expansion and a completely new pier, the North Pier, just opened recently. The whole project is set to be completed in April this year.


Munch's The Screaam

Munch’s most famous painting – The Scream

April sees the opening of the new Kulturhuset, or House of Culture near hip and trendy Youngstorget (Young’s Square). The original Kulturhuset opened in 2013 and the concept is now moving to larger premises, where they will be offering political debates, concerts, dance, exhibitions, home-cooked food and, intriguingly, also shuffleboard. Another new centre for both culture and food is Vippa, also opening in April, as part of an effort to revitalise the area of Vippetangen, to the east along the fjord. As well as in- and outdoor areas with food stalls and cultural/educational activities, there will be music and other performances taking place here. Between the Opera House and Vippetangen, nomadic art project SALT is making Oslo its home for the next two years. The innovative project has taken over 5000 square metres and includes several spectacular wooden constructions, a cosy boathouse, space for cultural activities five days a week, year-round and there’s even a sauna for relaxing Nordic style.

Two great meeting places with varied programmes throughout the year, and cafés/bars to while away time in Oslo’s cultural hubs, are Kunstnernes Hus (House of Artists) and Litteraturhuset. (House of Literature.) Knowing that writers and artists have a tendency to be night owls, the cafés stay open until 3 am and 2 am respectively at weekends.

Litteraturhuset. in Oslo

Over i million people have visited the Litteraturhuset. since it opened. Image © Litteraturhuset


Cuisine and nightlife

The food scene in Oslo is every bit as happening as the cultural. 30+ new restaurants and bars are opening in 2017 and several areas are turning into foodie and nightlife hubs. The city centre is of course still a good place for food and drink, as is Grünerløkka to the northeast, but Youngstorget and Torggata, behind Oslo Cathedral, also have a wide range of restaurants and night spots. The emphasis is firmly on local, Nordic flavours and sustainability, but that said, plenty of international cuisines can be sampled in the Norwegian capital. One groovy new concept, opened a few months ago, is Ett Bord (One Table) in the Vika neighbourhood. It does what it says on the tin – providing guests with a single table, which seats 24 guests and everyone eats the same dish. Kind of like a family meal with strangers. Other innovations include a bar and nightspot where you can play mini golf and despite the name, Oslo Camping, there’s no need to bring a tent. Increasingly there are good vegetarian and vegan options on the menus, something that was quite rare only a few years ago. For the wine enthusiast several bars, such as Bar Lardo and Brutus, focus on natural and organic wines. Himkok, where they distil their own spirits, recently made it onto the World’s Best 50 Bars’ list.

the bar © Himkok


Hotel prices in the centre of Oslo can sometimes be a bit steep, but a recent addition to the hotel scene, Citybox aims to change this. The hotel has a great location, a short walk from the main railway station in the city centre. Essentially it’s a “self-service hotel”, where you do your own check-in, check-out, payment etc. If there are any problems, there are some Citybox Hosts on the premises, but mostly this is a “staff less hotel”. Rooms are simple, but adequate and good value for money. Several hotels in Oslo are improving their green credentials. Both Scandic Vulkan and PS Hotell are now certified in energy class A (the most energy-efficient).

For further information about Oslo, click here. Some of the websites higlighted in the story are in Norwegian only.

a panoramic view over Oslo harbour. Image © Anna Maria Espsäter

Getting there:

A number of airlines fly direct from six UK/Irish airports to Oslo including Norwegian , British Airways, BMI Regional, Ryanair  and SAS.  There are two main airports in Oslo, Sandefjord Airport in Torp (used by Ryanair) which is about 68 miles south of Oslo and the main interantional and domestic airport which is in Gardermoen (also used by Ryanair so check into which airport you are flying if on this airline) about 22 miles south of Oslo.

Getting around:

An excellent way of getting around Oslo and seeing the sights is the Oslo Pass. The pass can be bought for 24, 48, or 72 hours and includes free travel on public transport, free entry to over 30 museums and much more. It can be purchased at a number of outlets.  

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