Oslo is great cruise ship destination as your ship will dock a very short walk away from the main city. Scandinavia’s oldest capital is a city brimming with contrasts – a cosmopolitan capital that embraces a unique proximity to an expansive wilderness. Oslo prides itself on being a city of many faces, and this quickly becomes evident to visitors who can move from the fresh modernity of buildings like the new opera house, to wide avenues bordered with nineteenth-century neoclassical architecture, to vast, forested hills, in the space of a couple of hours. It’s a rare find that captures rugged outdoor beauty on its metropolitan doorstep.
The grid like streets and Cathedral in the Old Town are evidence of a Danish influence on the city during the centuries that Norway was under the control of its Southern neighbour, while the Royal Palace still stands as it did in the nineteenth century when it was commissioned by the Swedish king, Carl Johan. In the years of World War II, Oslo was occupied by Nazi Germany and the city’s heroic struggle against occupation is detailed in The Norwegian Resistance Museum. Perhaps it is all the years of invasion, unions and dependency on neighbouring countries that have made the residents of Oslo so fiercely proud of their finally independent country. Visitors are welcomed wholeheartedly and Norwegians are usually immensely pleased by interest shown in their capital!Oslo’s appeal lies not just in its dramatic past. Present day Oslo is best known as the location of the annual Nobel Peace Prize, awarded every December at the City Hall. Oslo also has lots to offer for art and culture seekers. The surrounding scenic beauty has offered inspiration to a variety of artists and the capital proudly showcases its best works of art in many forms. The works of Edvard Munch, best known for his world famous painting, The Scream, were left to the city and are on display both in The National Gallery and in The Edvard Munch Museum. Tourist and locals alike flock to Vigeland Park, an outdoor artistic dream of a park filled with 212 towering sculptures depicting human existence and emotion, all created by Oslo’s famous sculptor, Gustav Vigeland.
A compact city centre and impressive public transport links make it wonderfully possible for the cruise ship passenger to get to a real sense of the capital in a small space of time. With vast forests, beautiful fjords and magnificent scenery all within the city limits, Oslo has qualities that you wouldn’t expect from a capital. This city’s charm lies in its individuality and often leaves visitors (very pleasantly) surprised.