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Five things you'll only know if you live in Oslo

Frazer Norwell
Frazer Norwell - [email protected]
Five things you'll only know if you live in Oslo
There are a few things you will only discover about Oslo if you live there. Pictured is Oslo Opera House.

Whether its where to find cheap beer to picking out the best events, the Norwegian capital of Oslo is home to many secrets and idiosyncrasies you will only discover by living there.


Home to just over 700,000 people and sitting on the edge of the fjord it shares a name with is, Oslo. The city, surrounded by forests, is best known for its relaxed atmosphere, proximity to nature and modern architecture. 

The understated nature of the city makes it an enigma for some people. But, similar to other major cities, there are some things about Oslo that only locals are privy to. 

What's actually going on

In some ways, Oslo can feel like a private members' club, where plenty of events and activities are happening all the time, but you don't know where to look to find them, aren't aware of them happening or see that they occurred after the fact. 

A common complaint among some new arrivals to the city is that it feels as if there is very little to do. 

The longer you live in Oslo, the closer to the city's pulse you will find yourself. This also means getting the lowdown on what's happening more often. 

As you settle in, you will soon learn when and where the flea and farmers markets are, what events and exhibitions are planned and where the best nightlife, food and entertainment events are.

If you still need help finding things to do, there are several great places to look to help you on your way.

For starters, many social media groups for foreigners or new arrivals to Oslo have regular meet-up events or plan activities such as nights out or hiking. There are also pages like Unlock Norway, which has a roundup of upcoming events in Norway. 

And finally, The Local publishes monthly roundups of the best and most important events happening in Norway  each month. 


What's actually open on Sundays 

Most shops in Norway close on Sunday, and Oslo is no different. Despite this, it is common to forget to get enough supplies in for when the shops are closed, meaning you need to venture out. 

Thankfully, there are some exceptions to the rules. For example, convenience stores of a certain size are allowed to stay open, and in some areas of Oslo, such as Grünerløkka, other kinds of shops will remain open. 

Now finding a convenience store in a city of 700,000 doesn't sound so hard, and it isn't. But be aware that it'll be slim pickings at many convenience stores on a Sunday afternoon. 

Therefore, a decent convenience store with a reasonable selection that doesn't charge through the nose (for Norway, at least) is a must. 

Typically, this will be the store that maximises the number of products for the 100 square metres of sales space they are allowed to have open. The layout of these convenience stores may not be great for customer flow or feng shui, but they will have more of a chance of having something you actually want to eat on their shelves than other stores. 


Where to find reasonably priced beer 

Norway is famous for being expensive, and this, of course, applies to the alcohol prices too. The country has several tight alcohol laws that contribute to the high prices. Many types of promotions and deals on the sale of alcohol are not permitted, for example. 

This means you're unlikely to find any cut-price deals advertised anywhere. This leaves many paying for one of the infamously expensive beers that can easily cost between 100-120 kroner. 

However, as you live in Oslo, you will start building an index of bars with reasonable prices in your head and hear of others through word of mouth. In some bars in Oslo, you can expect to pay between 49 and 79 kroner for a 0.4-litre beer. Some of the cheapest beer in Oslo can be found in the districts of Grünerløkka and Grønland


The best nature spots 

One of the best things about Oslo is that the surrounding forests are accessible by public transport, the city's fjord is dotted with idyllic islands, and a river splits the capital in two. 

While plenty of great spots like Songsvann, Trollvann and Frognerseteren are easily reachable by bus or tram, there are hundreds of locations just waiting to be discovered. 

Like finding a cheap beer, you'll start hearing about these hidden gems through hushed word of mouth. 

Alternatively, if you are adventurous, you'll find some yourself and start building an index in your head. As a general safety trip, remember to stay within your orienteering limits and stick to recognised trails not to disrupt any vulnerable fauna and flora. 

When you have a decent selection of locations, you'll know exactly where to go if you fancy hiking, swimming, cross-country skiing, camping or hammocking

Where to get the best coffee and cinnamon bun

Norwegians drink more coffee than pretty much everyone else. While many think of Norwegian coffee as the watery dried stuff, the country has a vibrant and developing coffee scene. 

The perfect pairing with a warm drink in Norway is a cinnamon bun. You'll be hard-pressed to find a place that serves coffee that doesn't have cinnamon buns (unless they are sold out). 

BIT and WB Samson are popular places to grab a cinnamon bun, although these are fairly well-known to most locals in the city. Åpent Bakery has a location in Dam Square where the buns are cooked in a stone oven from 1929. Another great location is Mendel's Oslo. 


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