Right now, Oslo is one of the most exciting places in the world to be an architect. The city’s transformation started within this past decade – with iconic buildings like the National Opera and the Astrup Fearnley Museum really setting the tone – and continues tirelessly, as many of Oslo’s key museums and state buildings are undergoing a complete makeover. This is what you need to know about the ever-changing urban landscape of the Norwegian capital.
Twelve buildings, each designed by different architectural firms, all built at different heights and widths. The Barcode Project in Bjørvika plays with the rules of geometry and perception, while at the same time working well with the surroundings and managing to remain light and airy. When seen from afar, the twelve buildings together resemble, of course, a barcode. However, when you’re near them, they’re just an organic part of the city with houses, offices, a daycare center, restaurants and shops.
Neighborhood makeover: Vulkan, Tjuvholmen and Sørenga
Apart from the Barcode (which is now often called “the city’s new skyline”), there are several neighborhoods that have undergone an impressive transformation over the last couple of years. Vulkan, on the west side of the Akerselva River, is a textbook example of turning a forgotten area of the city into a new hotspot – and the opening of the Mathallen Food Hall certainly helped on that front. This neighborhood is defined by eco-friendly architecture, with sustainable features such as geothermal wells, a solar water-heating system and more. Right by the Oslo fjord, Tjuvholmen is almost like a blueprint of what today’s architecture can be: cheeky (humorous outdoor sculptures), elaborate (at least 20 different architects have worked on parts of it) and with the mandatory involvement of Renzo Piano (who created the Astrup Fearnley Museum). As for Sørenga, formerly an old container dock, it now has a beautiful, green park and a seawater pool, becoming a go-to spot for locals.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
The new Munch Museum
The Munch Museum is currently located in Grünerløkka, but that won’t be the case for long. In 2018 it will relocate downtown, next to the Opera House, at a brand-new, L-shaped building that will provide enough space for all the works of the genius Norwegian painter to be displayed properly. It’s scheduled to open in 2020.
The new Norwegian government HQ
The Norwegian government headquarters was damaged during a fatal terrorist attack six years ago – and now it’s time to rebuild. The winning design by the Nordic Office of Architecture and Haptic Architects communicates the Norwegian ideals of transparency, inclusivity and democracy: seven building blocks surrounded by parks, squares, cafés and a visitor center, with restricted vehicle access but open to pedestrians and cyclists, to make this a place citizens would enjoy visiting.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
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I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
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Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.