Oslo occupies an arc of land at the northernmost end of the Oslofjord and is surrounded by green hills and mountains. Although its population is small compared with that of most European capitals (at about 660,000), the urban area is unusually spread out. There are 40 islands within the city limits and no fewer than 343 lakes.
Oslo is one of the few major cities where people live with the wilderness literally in their backyards. Suburban train lines allow the fortunate inhabitants to simply step out of the carriage and start hiking or skiing. The city is an important maritime center and hosts some of the world’s largest shipping companies, shipbrokers and insurance brokers
Some of the best views of the Norwegian fjords are to be had from the exceptionally well-run “Norway in a nutshell” tour. The daylong journey starts at Bergen station and involves two trains, a bus and a boat. The tour, costing about $210 per person, offers an utterly magical day exploring Voss, Gudvangen, Nærøyfjord and Myrdal mountain.
Bygdøy Peninsula Museums
The museums of the Bygdøy peninsula, a pretty seaside district that is one of Oslo’s most fashionable suburbs, are easily reached via a regular ferry service. I suggest visiting the Viking Ship Museum, which houses three remarkably well-preserved vessels, and the Norwegian Folk Museum for a glimpse of the past life of rural Norway.
Edvard Munch grew up in Oslo, which is also the place where he spent the last decades of his life. Today, Oslo houses a majority of Munch’s best-known masterpieces. The National Gallery holds one of two painted versions of Munch’s most recognized work, “The Scream.” Please note that the National Gallery closed in January 2019 to facilitate the move to the new National Museum, opening June 11, 2022. The Munch Museum holds the other painted version and also a pastel version from 1893. The Munch Museum will move to a new landmark waterfront building in the Bjørvika neighborhood, which opens October 22, 2021.