the sunday guide to // oslo
We are continuing our Sunday Guide series in the capital of Norway, a city that is renowned for taking things slowly. Whilst many shops, restaurants and cafes close for business on Sundays in Oslo, with the locals preferring to spend their day of rest relaxing or getting out into the wilderness for a hike, there are however, plenty of activities that you can enjoy.
Read on to discover our guide to how to spend a relaxing Sunday in Oslo.
Situated amongst fjords, forests and hills, Oslo is a nature lover’s paradise. There are plenty of opportunities for escaping the city itself and exploring its surroundings, including an impressive amount of boats in the harbour and several predominant bike hiring schemes across the city. Due to several fires in the city’s past, the majority of architecture is contemporary, although there are a few areas of Oslo where you can retreat to find traditional Norwegian buildings from the late 18th and early 19th Centuries. We suggest seven ways to explore the city at a leisurely pace on a Sunday.
Enjoy one of the best cups of coffee in the world
Widely renowned as one of the world’s best coffee roasters, Tim Wendelboe has a small espresso bar in his home city of Oslo. Be prepared to wait patiently in line at this popular yet tiny bar, as you will be rewarded with an exceptional cup of freshly brewed coffee.
There is also a shop and a resource centre on site, if you wish to make a purchase from the small range of coffee on sale, or want to learn more about how to create the perfect brew.
Explore the sculpture park
Located to the south-east of the city, Ekebergparken Sculpture Park recently opened to critical acclaim, open to the public 24 hours a day every day of the year. Situated within woodland, the large park can be enjoyed at your own pace, as you wander along the pathways to discover the works of art positioned within the trees.
Alongside the art works, there are several viewpoints to discover, perfect for photo opportunities of Oslo and the fjords. On Sundays, there are guided tours of James Turrell’s famous Skyspace light installation every half hour.
photo: dan graham, via ekebergparken.com
Hire a bike
Oslo is a great city for cycling around, whether you choose to visit the main attractions within the city itself or to venture out into the countryside. The city streets have separate bicycle lanes and almost no inclines, making for easy and safe cycling.
A perfect way to spend a couple of hours on a slow Sunday is to explore the city on two wheels, seeking out the buildings and areas that you are most interested in. Check out our recent post on the slow cycling movement if you fancy a leisurely meander around the city.
Alternatively, if you prefer more of a challenge, the routes out in the forests are hillier and more demanding, but take in spectacular scenery.
photo: alejandro lopez, via unsplash
Take to the water
One of the most enjoyable ways to relax in Oslo is to book onto a boat trip and explore the waters and islands of the fjord. Dependent on your taste, you can book onto a luxury day cruise, hire a small vessel of your own or simply hop onto one of the ferries.
Breathe in the fresh sea air, enjoy the views of the city and the surrounding countryside, and hop off the boat on one of the many islands for a relaxing stroll and perhaps a swim if visiting in summer.
photo: alejandro lopez, via unsplash
Take in some history
One of the most famous traditional buildings in Oslo is the 13th Century Gol Stave Church, part of the Norwegian Folk Museum. Open daily, the open-air museum represents several different regions and time periods in Norway’s past, with an extensive range of medieval buildings and indoor exhibitions. For those interested in the history of Norway, the Folk Museum is an essential visit, where you can take your time learning about the culture of the country.
Explore the water front
The water front area of the city is ideal for a relaxing stroll, admiring the views and the striking contemporary buildings. Iconic structures in the area that shouldn’t be missed during a visit to Oslo include the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, the Oslo Opera House, and the City Hall with its impressive collection of murals.
Sample different cuisines at Mathallen Food Hall
Located within the trendy area of Grünerløkka, famous for its cafes, bars and shops, Mathallen Food Hall is a popular indoor food market with a variety of stalls and restaurants selling local and international cuisine. Locals come here to purchase ingredients to take home, or to eat at one of the selection of stalls offering everything from fresh seafood to raw Thai dishes and vegetarian pies.
Although the market is always bustling, it’s a great destination for slowly wandering around and sampling dishes from the different vendors.
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