In case our top 5+1 reason to travel to Oslo didn’t already convince you to visit the capital of Norway, we put together a list of 10 events that will be happening in 2019. There is something for everyone: for the sporty one, for the foodie, for the music lover and so on.
Oslo Wine Festival 1-3 February 2019
Let’s face it: Norway is not a wine producing country, but we do love our wine. The great thing about not being a wine producing country is that the selection of top wines from literally all over the world – not just one or a few countries – is impressive. The Oslo Wine Festival is located in the Aker Brygge / Tjuvholmen area. There will be over 100 events happening in 20 different restaurants in the area, ranging from quick courses to guided tours. Learn more (only in Norwegian – sorry!)
Biathlon World Cup
The annual, international event takes place at Holmenkollen and gathers tens of thousands of winter sport and ski enthusiasts. In addition to a great sports event atmosphere, you also get to experience the unique closeness of the hills of Holmenkollen – just a short tube ride from the city center. As a bonus, you get to admire the amazing views over entire Oslo. For program and tickets, visit the Holmenkollen Ski Festival website.
Norwegian National Day
This is a day worth experiencing. It’s a day that, to many, begins very early: a festive breakfast, often enjoyed with a glass of champagne, is an important start of the often long day. To Norwegians, 17th May means school and marching bands, ice cream, getting dressed up in traditional outfits (bunad), meeting friends, overdosing on cake and waving small Norwegian flags to anyone and anywhere. This is the day when you’ll see the streets filled with people, regardless of the weather. If you’re planning to dine out, make sure you book a table well in advance. It’s also good to know that 17th May is a public holiday, meaning all shops and most services are closed (except for the public transport).
Every two years, the global maritime industry gathers in Oslo for a 4-day event called Nor-Shipping. The actual fair is in Lillestrøm, some 10 minute train ride from the Oslo city center, but there are maritime and shipping related events all over Oslo, especially in the Aker Brygge area. Read more.
Jun 14 – Jun 23
Oslo Pride is the biggest Pride event in Norway, and brings together tens of thousands of people to celebrate and enjoy arts, diversity and culture. The highlight of Oslo Pride is the parade which is 22 June. For full program, visit the Oslo Pride website.
The name literally stands for “the island festival”, and while the event moved onshore many years ago, it really started off as a festival on island called Kalvøya outside Oslo. It’s now one of the biggest urban music festivals in the Nordics, and is held in Tøyen Park, some 20 min walk from the Oslo city center. There are also tens of events and concerts around the city. Some of the names for 2019 have already been announced: Robyn and the Cure. For more info and tickets, visit the Øyafestivalen website.
Oslo Jazz festival
Each year, thousands of jazz lovers gather in Oslo to enjoy up to 90 concerts around the city. The festival is well established with a history that dates back 30 years. The program for the 2019 festival will be published soon.
Foodies have a good reason to visit Oslo in September when the biggest food festival Matstreif takes over Rådhusplassen between Aker Brygge and the Akershus Fortress. There will be some 200 exhibitors, and you can pamper your taste buds with flavours from all over Norway and the world. The program and info for the 2019 event will be announced soon.
The timing of Oslo marathon is actually quite ideal: in late September, the chances for the weather being too warm are minimal, and the risk for rain and cold weather is not too high. For runners this means good weather conditions. The running event offers several other distances too, including half marathon and kids marathon. You’ll find more info and registration on the Oslo marathon website.
Opens 30 November
The Christmas fair – Winter wonderland – seems to get bigger and better each year, and is a must for anyone visiting Oslo in December. It’s a great place for Christmas shopping, tasting through Norwegian specialities, trying your luck on ice skates and much more.
Get the most out of your New Year in Oslo with our tips to events, restaurants and more.
Here’s a funny fact: Going out in Oslo on New Year’s Eve has gained popularity only during the recent years. In fact, the first public fireworks in Oslo was in 2008! Today, Oslo has many options for those wanting to ring in the New Year in the city.
If you’re keen to see the fireworks, make sure you are in the Aker Brygge / Tjuvholmen or City Hall (Rådhuset) area. The best way to get there is with public transport: for example the tube to National Theatre station (the station is served by all metro/tube lines). From there it’s only some 5 minutes walk down to the waterfront where you’ll get the best view. Do note that private fireworks are not allowed.
As a rule of thumb, the colder it is, the clearer the sky gets… and the better for fireworks. But it also means that you want to add warming layers before you head out. Check the latest forecast at Yr website.
Ruter has service throughout the New Year. You’ll find more info on special timetables on the Ruter website or their app.
Good news: all Vinmonopolet stores are open on New Year’s Eve (so you can get your bubbly), but they close earlier than normally. Check the opening hours of your store on the Vinmonopolet website.
Dining and going out
While some restaurants remain closed throughout the holidays, many have a special New Year’s events. As the offering is limited though, we recommend you book in advance. Here are some restaurants that have a special New Year’s menu or an event:
Olivia restaurants (several locations in Oslo, in terms of the fireworks the one in Tjuvholmen is recommended) serves a selection of their most popular dishes. Read more and book your table.
Planning on spending the holidays in Oslo? Check out our guide for best Christmas activities and what you need to know.
Are you planning or considering spending the holidays in Oslo? It’s a great time to visit the Norwegian capital, and experience snow, the cold dark evenings that make you crave for a cup of hot chocolate, and enjoy the seasonal attractions.
First a few practical things you might want to be aware of:
In Norway, Christmas celebration happens on Christmas Eve (yes, we’re that impatient).
If you are one of those people that leave Christmas shopping literally to the last minute, do keep in mind that most shops are closed on the 24th, and remain closed on the 25th and 26th (your wallet will be grateful)
Only a few restaurants are open on Christmas Eve, and you are most likely going to find an open restaurant in a hotel
Public transport operates with limited service, however taxis operate throughout the holidays. For public transport, see Ruter’s Christmas service guide.
Many restaurants remain closed between Christmas and the beginning of January
Vinmonopolet, the only alcoholic beverage retailer in Norway, is open on the 22nd December and closed 23-26 December.
Here is our list of top 5 activities for Christmas time in Oslo
Winter Wonderland in Oslo
The Winter Wonderland Christmas Market in Spikersuppa, by Karl Johans gate.
Put your balance to the test in the ice skating rink, enjoy a gorgeous view over the city from the top of the Ferris wheel, taste your way through the numerous stalls with all types of Christmas treats, warm up with a cup of hot mulled wine (which, ironically enough, is not part of the Norwegian Christmas tradition) and snap a few selfies in the season’s most Instagram friendly spot, the light tunnel, which you’ll find on the Stortingsgata side of the market. Free entry. Open until 30 December. Hours vary by day, check the day’s hours here.
Christmas market at Bærums Verk
Some 45-minute bus ride or a half an hour car ride from central Oslo takes you to Bærums Verk, a small village nestled in a valley by the river Lomma. It used to be the home of a factory producing metal castings, and is now a popular residential area with some 40+ shops, art galleries, a sculpture park, restaurants and cafes in the historical surroundings. There is a Christmas market until 23rd December and various Christmas activities suited for grown ups and especially families, such as a choir, horse riding and so on. Take the bus number 150 from Oslo, or the E18 towards Sandvika. Bærums Verk website (available only in Norwegian).
Christmas Cruise by the Oslo Fjord to Drøbak
Another great way to get into Christmas spirit is a fjord cruise to Drøbak, a small, cosy costal town where you can visit Santa’s house. Many of the town’s old wooden houses date back as far as the 18th century, when the town established as a local hub for shipping and fishing. While Drøbak is a great destination for a summertime day trip, a cruise along the Oslo fjord is guaranteed to get you in festive spirit in no time. The cruise and a couple of hours in Drøbak takes approximately 5 hours. Cruises depart from Langaika (across the Opera house) until 30.12. Advance booking is recommended. Read more.
Traditional Norwegian Christmas platter (juletallerken)
In case you’re wondering what Norwegians eat for Christmas, there really is no national consensus. Lamb or mutton is popular In the West and North of Norway (dish called pinnekjøtt), while in the East you’ll likely see ribs. But what’s even more popular before Christmas is a traditional Christmas platter “juletallerken”, which is essentially a little bit of everything, typically sausages, ribs, braised red cabbage, potatoes, meat cakes and gravy. You’ll find juletallerken in many traditional restaurants, but Bristol Grill and Engebret Cafe are among the local’s favourites. Wondering what to drink with your Christmas platter? Try aquavit (akevitt), a Scandinavian distilled spirit for a classic pairing with your meal.
Christmas Concerts in Oslo
What would Christmas be without appropriate music? It’s busy days for music fans as there are several concerts around the city each day. Oslo Philharmonic Christmas concerts are among the most popular (find available tickets here), but there are options for each taste. Check out upcoming concerts here.