An Introvert's Guide to Oslo

Oslo Operahuset | © Anne-Sophie / Flickr
Oslo Operahuset | © Anne-Sophie / Flickr
Spending some time alone—especially while travelling—may be the best way to experience a new city. Those in need of some ‘me’ time while visiting the capital city of the Land of the Vikings, here are some of the places to go to tailored to personal preference and taste.

For the culture lover: surround yourself in art

Oslo is a great place to be when to take in various works of art without being bothered. There are many museums in the city but start with The Munch Museum. Located in Grünerløkka until 2018, this museum hosts more than 12,000 works by Norway’s most famous artist. Afterwards, take a quiet walk through the Oslo Botanical Gardens (across the street from the museum) and admire the plants and the greenhouses.

The Munch Museum Courtesy of Munchmuseet

For the movie lover: experience cinema at its best

Very few things in life are as comforting as being enveloped by the dark in a movie theater, sitting comfortably on a chair with some popcorn in hand, and waiting for a movie is about to begin. Oslo has many cinemas that fit this bill, but Cinemateket is the cream of the crop. Part of the Norwegian Film Institute and housed in the same building as Filmens Hus, the Film Museum, Cinemateket is an immersive experience when it comes to contemporary, alternative cinema.

Cinemateket Courtesy of Nork Filminstitutt

For the bookish introvert: shop at indie bookstores and add to your collection

Nothing says ‘introvert’ like quietly exploring rows and rows of books in search of the ones that will become new companions. However, not all bookstores were created equally: some are just more magical places than others. In Oslo, one of these magical places is Schous Bøker in Grünerløkka, a little haven of antique books (some of them first editions) that makes shoppers feel like they have entered a tiny library. Another is Tronsmo Bokhandel, a paradise for literature lovers that has a huge selection of comic books (both mainstream and indie titles) as well as art posters, coffee table books, and a perfectly curated kids section.

Tronsmo Bokhandel Courtesy of Tronsmo Bokhandel

For the nature lover: hang out with the trees and the statues

The largest sculpture park in the world (by a single artist), Vigeland Park is the perfect place to enjoy some alone time without being completely alone. After all, being surrounded by statues that have been called ‘the weirdest in the world’ and include a woman embracing a giant lizard and a naked man fighting flying babies, Vigeland Park offers food for thought—and a good chuckle.

<a href = ""> Vigelandsparken © Esther Westerveld/Flickr

For the music lover: watch a larger-than-life opera production

People who say that it’s the inside that counts have never been to the Oslo Opera House. Go and appreciate both its majestic design (shaped to resemble an iceberg) and the mesmerising performances. Attend a contemporary ballet, a piano concert, an actual opera, or just join a guided tour to admire its beauty both inside and out.

<a href = ""> The Oslo Opera House © Tristan Taussac/Flickr

For the food lover: explore flavors from all over the country without leaving Oslo

Mathallen, Oslo’s biggest food market is a bit like a time capsule launched in space: it contains all that’s best from Norway’s flavors. When people come across it, they can get a sense of what the whole country is actually like. Sample meats, cheeses, chocolates, and shop gourmet delicacies before sitting and enjoy a beer among the pleasant rumble and the even more pleasant smells.

Courtesy of Mathallen Oslo

Vintage lover: escape to the past in Markveien

Perhaps the best way to spend a day out involves returning to quieter (and quite possibly more stylish) decades. Markveien, one of Grünerløkka‘s most famous streets, functions a bit like a time-travel machine. Hop on and off various vintage stores and try on retro reproduction clothing, vintage clothes, and jewellery—Manillusion is a very good place to start exploring. Enhance the time travel illusion by checking out vintage furniture and second-hand design items and enjoying some coffee (out of a vintage cup) surrounded by everything that screams 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s at Retrolykke Kaffebar.

Inside the Manillusion vintage store Courtesy of Manillusion