City Guide – Oslo


At the complete opposite end of the holiday spectrum to a sun-filled cruise hopping between the beautiful islands of the Caribbean; a visit to the beautiful capitals of Scandinavia might not bestow a bronzed goddess tan upon your person, but the intoxicating mixture of unique culture and beautiful scenery creates an unforgettable experience.

Norwegian capital, Oslo, is approaching its 1,000th birthday and provides a truly eclectic experience built upon the bloody history of the Vikings and its progressive, intelligent approach to modern problem solving. Regularly topping Best Places to Live, Best Education and Most Beautiful City lists, Oslo is a city which has one foot in the future, without ever truly turning its back on the past which has shaped it so beautifully.

Oslo benefits from a huge number of open spaces, parks and green areas dotted throughout the city – in fact the name of the city is thought to have derived from the Old Norse terms for ‘Meadow at the Foot of a Hill’.

Located on the country’s coast and famed for its rich Viking history – Oslo is a city shaped literally and metaphorically by the surrounding seas. And still today, approaching the city by the sea is the most authentic way to explore and enjoy Oslo.


One of the most fascinating chapters in Europe’s long and bloodied history, the Vikings spread fear throughout much of the continent, as they invaded countries left, right and centre in their long boats.


The Viking Ship Museum celebrates the time when Norwegians were amongst the world’s most feared and respected warriors. Even pacifists will be delighted by the beautiful designs of the ships – including the world’s best preserved Viking ship, the Gokstad.


Neighbouring Denmark and its capital, Copenhagen, may be the current golden child of global cuisine, but Oslo is quietly going about building a truly impressive culinary scene. Using traditional Scandinavian flavours with modern preparation techniques, a host of talented and progressive chefs are moving to Oslo, opening a host of stunning restaurants and eateries.

St. Lars is owned by celebrity chef and Norway’s unofficial food ambassador Andreas Viestad – offering a delicious selection of raw and grilled dishes, built around traditional Norwegian ingredients and unusual preparation techniques.


An akevitt (liquor made from potatoes and caraway seeds) with a beer chaser is a good, classic Norwegian drink. Absolutely potent, it may be preferable to stick to the chaser – especially if you’ve got to find your way back to your ship.


Located right on the water’s edge, The Thief is a gloriously named, wonderfully elegant hotel which is absolutely perfect for a few drinks in the early evening. The drinks are gloriously enigmatic, as is the glassware – a truly unique experience in Oslo.


With a timeless elegance, the Hotel Continental in Oslo dates back to the turn of the 20th century and boasts English and French influences throughout the architecture and services. From continental breakfasts to traditional afternoon teas, the hotel provides a Pan-Euro experience within the beautiful old walls.

The hotel has been proudly owned by the same family for four generations, and it is possible to feel this pride every day spent in this fine, five star accommodation.



Seafood is very common around the Norwegian breakfast table, providing ample nutrition to kick start a new day in Oslo. Salmon in particular is hugely popular in the AM, with dishes such as open salmon sandwiches and salmon omelettes eaten with gusto.

Grilleriet in central Oslo may be better known for its steaks at in the evening, but also boasts one of the city’s most comprehensive breakfast buffets. A huge range of Norwegian favourites including the aforementioned salmon is served up fresh and plentiful.

At Cruise1st, we offer a huge selection of great cruises which explore the wonderful Norwegian Fjords, and Scandinavia as a whole. For the full selection, visit our homepage or call us today on 0808 2746 777.

Image credits: Vikingskibs Museet, Moyan Brenn


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Claire has worked in the travel industry since leaving college in 1994. One of this blog's most regular contributors, Claire covers cruise news and industry trends.

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