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When most people talk about Norway, they talk about the fjords. The mountains. The train rides. The incredible scenery and natural beauty. (And I’ve talked about all those things, too!)

But you hardly hear anyone rave about Oslo, the Norwegian capital.

Karl Johans Gate in Oslo

As an avid reader of other travel blogs, I can’t remember reading very many posts about Oslo before my first trip there.

I assumed this was just because it was “just another” big European city; I assumed that maybe there weren’t that many things to do in Oslo that really stood out, and that’s why I hadn’t heard much about the city.

But then I went there on my (first) 10-day trip around Norway and have since re-visited several times over the years.

And guess what? I discovered that Oslo is totally cool.

Vigeland Park in Oslo

Oslo is clean and colorful and filled with green spaces. The people are friendly (even the palace guards will talk to you here!), and it has a fun mixture of both old and modern architecture. And it’s not really even that huge; the population of Oslo is just over 700,000.

Oslo is definitely not just another cookie cutter city in Europe, and I don’t think you should skip over it when you go to Norway. In fact, there are so many cool things to do in Oslo that I recommend spending at least a few days there!

Oslo waterfront

How many days should you spend in Oslo?

Most people will combine a visit to Oslo with other parts of Norway – maybe you’ll take the Norway in a Nutshell tour to Bergen, or take the train up to Trondheim. Maybe you’ll fly from Oslo up north to Tromso or the Lofoten Islands. Regardless, be sure to dedicate a few days just to Oslo.

I think 3 days is the perfect amount of time to spend in Oslo. You can see all the highlights in 2 days, but with 3 days you’ll be able to take your time and soak in the museums, architecture, parks, cafes, waterfront, and more.

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