Nestled between forest-clad hills and a fine harbour, Oslo was founded in the year 1000 AD at the end of the 100 km long Oslofjord. The city quickly became an important centre for trading and shipping as well as the seat of the bishop. Today Oslo has an advanced scientific milieu connected to the University, research institutes, shipping and industry.
17th May celebration
Photo: Pål Bugge/NTR
Oslo is considered to be one of the world's foremost shipping cities. Along the wharf, within walking distance from the city centre, an impressive number of cruise ships dock each season. It takes only 10 minutes by ferry from the same wharf to wonderful beaches with clean water.
Oslo surprises many visitors with its intimacy. Though it is an international capital, it has only half a million inhabitants, and itn is only minutes from the city centre to the surrounding forests and the fjord. The area called the Oslo forest is several times larger than the city itself and offers splendid opportunities for outdoor activities both summer and winter. You can fish, bike or hike as well as go skiing and skating in the winter. Several forest cottages offer food and lodging.
Photo: Kurt Hamann/NTR
Oslo has a wonderful selection of attractions, including its protected buildings, the Vigeland sculpture park, the Munch Museum, Holmenkollen with its ski jump and ski museum, the Viking ship museum, the Kon-Tiki museum and the National Gallery. King Håkon V, who made Oslo Norway's capital in 1299, built Akershus fortress and castle. In Oslo you'll find good shops with a tempting selection of wares including traditional arts and crafts as well as articles of modern design. With an atmosphere that many enjoy and a profusion of sidewalk cafés, good restaurants and a great nightlife, Oslo is one of the most exciting of the Nordic cities.
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Festivals & Events
Kristiansund Opera Festival, February
The Kristiansund Opera Festival is hosted and produced by the district opera in the city of Kristiansund. It runs for 14 days and has been staged in February every year since 1972. The festival presents a comprehensive menu within musical theatre and offers two to three opera productions, large church music productions, ballet and concerts.
Førde Folk Music Festival, July
Over 250 artists perform music and dances from all corners of the world, around the clock! Concerts, courses, exhibitions, club nights, festival parades, dance fun. There are festival activities going on at local museums, hotels, churches and in the downtown streets, leading to more than 80 events.
The Peer Gynt Festival, August
The Peer Gynt Festival is a ten day long cultural festival with an open air performance of Henrik Ibsens Peer Gynt, with music by Edvard Grieg, open air consert "Ved Rondane", art exhibition, and much more.
The Hamsun Festival, August
The Hamsun Festival has been arranged every other year since 1982 with a focus on Knut Hamsun's literar work, his life and ties with this part of Norway. The festival is held on the island of Hamarøy, where visitors can enjoy the scenery and the local indigenous colour that characterises much of Hamsun's literary work.
Lillehammer Jazz Festival, October
The Lillehammer Jazz Festival is considered one of autumn's most beautiful adventures. The festival profiles Norwegian and Nordic jazz, but has always included renown foreign performers as well.
The Festival of North Norway, June
The Festival of North Norway is the most important art event in Northern Norway. During a hectic week the town of Harstad, located 300 km north of the Arctic circle, is turned into a cultural melting pot for artists with completely different outlooks.
The Northern Lights Festival, January
Each year, in the middle of January, Tromsø comes to life after the long polar night. The programme offers music in concert halls, churches and pubs, as well as dance, theatre and music ensembles of different sizes and types.
Tromsø Film Festival, January
Tromsø International Film Festival is Norway's largest film festival. It is the world's northern-most film festival and presents a cutting-egde international program, consisting of more than 40 feature films plus the latest in short films produced in northern Norway.
Telemark Folk Festival, August
The Telemark Festival presents traditional folk music from all over the world. With more than 50 concerts and work-shops for all ages one can learn traditional Norwegian dances, play a traditional instrument or study with our guests from abroad.
Oslo Jazz Festival, August
The Oslo Jazz Festival has been an annual event since 1986 and has grown to more than 60 concerts taking place in six days. The Festival presents the elite of Norwegian musicians in traditional, swing, modern and bebop styles, as well as many world famous performers.
Ibsen Culture Festival
The Festival offers pieces and impressions produced by great artists both from Norway and abroad. There are performances in the great Teater Ibsen and events in the town's art galleries and cultural venues. Young people from all over Norway participate in Ibsenstafetten.
The Ibsen Stage Festival, September
The Ibsen Stage Festival in Norway is one of the most significant international festivals in the country, receiving attention far beyond the national boundaries. Actors from all over the world arrive to meet Ibsen at center stage.