The Best Kept Secrets of Oslo, Norway

Oslo | © Jorge Franganillo/Flickr
Billy Poon

If you want to experience an alternative side to Norway’s capital, we have you covered. Let us guide you through the alternative sights and underground activities in Oslo.

1. Damstredet And Telthusbakken


If you are going to visit Oslo’s famous medieval church Gamle Aker Kirke, take a short walk further down the road and you will find Damstredet and Telthusbakken. These are two narrow streets with small wooden and brick houses from the 18th and 19th century. This is the oldest and the best preserved vernacular architecture in Oslo today, and these streets, with their colorful houses, provide a romantic touch to your trip. The southern part of Telthusbakken houses the Egeberg Lokken Allotment garden, an historic garden and may give you a glimpse of the history of the city.

Damstredet og Telthusbakken, 0151 Oslo, Norway, +47 815 30 555

Gamle Aker Kirke | © Nicholas Lundgaard/Flickr

Oslo’s Flea Markets

Flea markets and thrift shops are often considered good representations of local culture. If you want to experience the uniqueness of Oslo, visiting a flea market sounds like a perfect idea. There are at least seven flea markets, but Birkelunden bric-a-brac market and Blå are highly recommended. Birkelunden market is in Grünerløkka, at the lower part of Birkelunden Park, and it mainly sells vintage furniture, jewellery and books. Blå sells handicrafts and second hand items like ceramics, glass, wool, paintings and bags. In Blå you can meet the local artists and designers, and their perception of art is often inspiring. If you are looking for special souvenirs or new insight into Oslo, you should definitely pay a visit to a market.

Grünerløkka 0552, Oslo, Brenneriveien 9 C 0182, Oslo

A market in Oslo

Music Festivals

Øya Festival is Oslo’s biggest music festival, and it takes place in August every year, attracting more than 60,000 music enthusiasts to Medieval Park. If you miss this festival, there are many high quality live music performances in Oslo. Rockefeller, Blå and Mono have the most popular bands playing and most advanced sound systems. These are the best places for you to enjoy all sorts of music, ranging from folk to metal.

Concert at Rockefeller

See Some Breathtaking Norwegian Architecture

Oslo is a dreamy paradise for those who are interested in architecture. The recent direction of Norwegian architecture has transformed the city’s landscape dramatically. From medieval to modernist styles, there are quite a large number of buildings that are great to visit. Holmenkollen Ski Jump and ZipLine features futuristic streamline designs. Mortensrud Church is nothing like a traditional church, and is worth a visit, as this stone church blends nature into slate glasses and indulge their guests in the power of nature.

Mortensrud church

Street Art

Paintings, murals and graffiti can be found in a tiny corner of the wall next to a rubbish bin or cover the whole wall of a building. Some of the artists are actually working on street art projects. For example, Oslo-based artists Dolk and Pøbel have worked on a project called Living Decay, which is about an abandoned house in the Lofoten Archipelago. Next time you travel to Oslo, make sure you keep your eyes open for paintings that will inspire you.

Street art in Oslo

2. Østmarka Wilderness Area

Situated in the east of Oslo, Østmarka is a unique woodland that is different from other forests in the area in terms of its geology and vegetation. In summer, it is a great place for you to go hiking, biking, fishing and swimming in the lake. You can enjoy the spectacular view of some Arctic plants and animals. In winter, you can ski on the trails or watch the aurora-illuminated the night of Oslo. It is special trip to experience and appreciate the natural beauty in the city.

Østmarka, 0687 Oslo, Norway

Østmarka Wilderness Area © Saipai/FlickrØstmarka Wilderness Area © Saipai/Flickr

3. The Ruins Of The Monastery At Hovedøya

Church, Monastery, Ruins

A big shout out to history lovers. The ruins of the monastery at Hovedøya makes for a great site, if you want to learn more about Norwegian history. Surrounded by grassland, this ruin was founded in the early Middle Ages, with a church dedicated to the Virgin Mary, built in the 1100s. Subsequent fires in the 1500s it down, but the remnants are well preserved. This site is a great way of understanding the religious history of Norway, and will give you fresh insight into this Nordic nation.

Hovedøya, 0102 Oslo, Norway

The ruins at Hovedøya © Aktiv I ruins at Hovedøya © Aktiv I

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