5 Reasons to Visit Grønland, Norway

One of the Intercultural Museum's events
One of the Intercultural Museum's events | © Interkulturelt Museum
On the east bank of Akerselva, just a five-minute walk from Oslo Central Station, lies a vibrant cultural melting pot. Grønland stands out from many of Oslo’s neighbourhoods for various reasons and would make an intriguing addition to your list of places to visit in the Norwegian capital.

The melting pot of cultures

Grønland used to be the northern border of the city marked by the river bank before becoming a part of Oslo (which was called Christiania back then) in 1859. The neighbourhood is a vibrant area where you will be surrounded by different cultures and customs. You’ll see men in traditional outfits and women with colourful head coverings of all kinds. You can visit Grønland Church, which has been called “the cathedral of the east side”, as well as the local Mosque, which is the second largest in the country. To better familiarise yourself with the area’s multifaceted character, a visit to the Intercultural Museum (which explores Norway’s immigration history) is a must.

Grønland basar © Grønland basar

The shopping

Oslo doesn’t have many shopping malls but its few ones are certainly impressive. Case in point: the Grønland basar is an instantly recognisable arcade designed to look like a building you would encounter in Morocco. Within its walls, you will find numerous dining options, including Oslo’s second location of Max Burgers, beauty shops and unique fashion stores. But you shouldn’t limit your shopping within the mall as Grønland is also ripe (pun intended) with fruit and vegetable stalls selling exotic produce at remarkably affordable prices.

Olympen restaurant © Olympen restaurant

The food

As mentioned above, there are several casual eateries within Gronland basar. But if you really want to get a taste of this historical area you should head to Olympen. One of Oslo’s oldest restaurants, ‘Lompa’ (as the locals call it) serves food that’s both classy and affordable with an ambiance to match. There are also some great Turkish options, like Saray and La Villa, and Kafe Asylet for Norwegian dishes and an artsy environment.

Oslo Mekaniske Verksted © Oslo Mekaniske Verksted

The cool hang-out spots

If the weather permits, you should visit Grønlandsparken. Despite its history of serving as a front garden of the former Oslo Prison, this remarkable park is a green lung in the middle of the city and a leisurely place to take a stroll. The area is also very safe due to its close proximity to the headquarters of the Oslo Police. If you’d rather stay indoors, Oslo Mekaniske Verksted can easily become your new favourite place thanks to its intellectual ambiance and great cocktails.

An exhibition about street art in Galleri MAP © Galleri MAP

The galleries

This diverse neighbourhood has a long history of being known as a bohemian area, with many artists moving there to open galleries. The growing number of galleries today is a sign that the area is still true to its roots. Visit 1857, an artist-run gallery in an old lumberyard that attempts to connect the dots between the Norwegian art scene and international artists. If time permits, a visit to Galleri MAP is recommended as the popular exhibition offers everything from paintings and street art to photography.