Norway's friendly capital city and starting point for most Norwegian adventures
The first sight that greets most visitors to Norway is Oslo, Norway’s capital city and home to Gardermoen Airport, the country’s major international gateway. As Norway’s seat of government, the city also serves as the country’s cultural and economic centre. But despite its status as Norway’s largest city with a metro population of 1.7 million residents, Oslo is well known for its “small town” feel and natural beauty in addition to its abundant cultural and historical attractions.
Oslo was founded around 1049 by King Harald Hardråde, though recent archaeological findings indicate that settlements existed here much earlier. The city has been regarded as Norway’s capital since the reign of King Håkon V (1299–1319) and from the 17th century to the early 20th century it was known as Christiania until the original name Oslo was restored in 1925.
Situated at the end of Oslofjord in eastern Norway, Oslo is surrounded by green hills and mountains and is often cited as being one of the world’s greenest and most liveable cities. Here, nature is never out of reach: within the city limits are 40 islands, 343 lakes and countless parks. By some estimates, nearly 95% of the city's residents have a park or an open green space within 300 metres of their dwelling.
Thanks to Oslo’s proximity to nature, “getting away from it all” is a journey measured in minutes. With ample public transportation and many parks and attractions close at hand, manoeuvring around Oslo is relatively easy and stress free. In just a short commute from the city centre, visitors can be strolling through a park or perhaps exploring the trails in the nearby forested areas.
The city itself is an interesting blend of traditional Scandinavian design and modern cosmopolitan influences. This fusion of “old meets new” can be seen in places like Aker Brygge, the old waterfront area that is now a buzzing neighbourhood of trendy shops, bars and restaurants next to some of Oslo’s most historic landmarks, such as the Akershus Fortress and the Royal Palace.View East Norway