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World Travel Guide > Guides > Europe > Norway > Oslo

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Things to do in Oslo

Brave a dip in the Akerselva

Oslo's central river is sparklingly clean and a popular swimming spot come summer. Be warned, the current can get quite speedy in the centre, so weaker swimmers should stay close to the bank. Either way, expect a bracing dip – the river is fed by snowmelt from the mountains.

Cruise down the Oslofjord

No visit to Oslo is complete without taking some time out on the fjord. Båtservice Sightseeing A/S (tel: +47 2 335 6890; www.nyc.no) offers a two-hour trip that includes a guided tour around Oslo's outlying islands and residential suburbs, as well as some gorgeous panoramic views of the opera house and Akershus Slott.

Hike the Nordmarka wilderness area

A 430-sq-km (166-sq-mile) stretch of verdant pine and larch forest dotted with cerulean lakes, Nordmarka has more than 450km (280 miles) of marked winter ski trails and colour-coded hiking and biking trails come summer. Climbers who relish a challenge should tackle Svarttjernshøgda, at 719m (2,358ft) it’s the park’s highest point.

Make your own Norwegian homeware

Scandinavia is famous for its sense of style – particularly when it comes to chic home goods. If you fancy snapping up something one-of-a-kind, local potter Glazed & Amused (tel: +47 2 271 4400; www.glazedandamused.no) will show you how to make your own Scandi-style homeware - and can sell you the real deal if your efforts go wrong.

Try the ski jump at Holmenkollen

You might want to have a few lessons before risking life and limb on Holmenkollen’s Olympic standard ski jump (tel: +47 2 292 3200; www.skiforeningen.no/holmenkollen), but if your ski skills are up to the job, then it’s well worth a go. The more risk-averse visitors can visit the adjacent museum, which charts the sport’s surprisingly lengthy 4,000-year history.

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City Highlight: Oslo, Norway

Lush and green Oslo flaunts a plethora of fun outdoor activities, and a visit to this scenic Scandinavian city promises a taste of its rich Viking heritage too

Featured Hotels

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Hotel Continental

The Continental is an Oslo institution that has been run by the same family for four generations and is more than a century old. Situated in the heart of Oslo next to the National Theatre the hotel is known both for outstanding service and restaurants as well as its links with the Oslo arts scene.

Hotel Bristol

The Bristol is a lavish city centre hotel dating from the 1920s though its rouge chesterfield sofas wood panelled walls and glistening chandeliers make it appear much older. On offer are 251 rooms alongside several restaurants and bars and a fitness facility. It’s also located close to many of the main attractions.

First Hotel Millennium

Despite the 1930s facade (and the name), the First Hotel Millennium opened in 1988 and is located a few minutes' walk from the city centre. Its 114 rooms are finished in minimal Scandinavian style with wooden floors. The on-site restaurant does a decent breakfast buffet too.

Thon Hotel Astoria

Centrally located and a short walk from Oslo’s main shopping street and central station the Thon Hotel Astoria is convenient for budget-minded travellers who want to explore Oslo’s tourist attractions. Rooms are comfortable – if small – and the excellent breakfast is highly recommended.

First Hotel Grims Grenka

One of the most charming of Oslo’s stays, the Grims Grenka might be a chain hotel but it has the feel of a boutique establishment. Each of the 65 rooms are spacious and come with a stash of organic tea. The Madu restaurant and the rooftop Q Lounge are both worth checking out too.

Saga Hotel

Built in the 1890s, the intimate Saga Hotel sits a stone's throw from the Royal Palace but is far less grand than its setting would suggest. Instead, its rooms are romantic and remarkably short on Scandinavian minimalism, while staff are friendly and ever-ready to field questions and source decent restaurants.