City scoop: Oslo’s urban makeover
These five neighbourhoods are some of the most noteworthy in the Norwegian capital.
Architecture on an operatic scale
Developers have labelled this section of the Bjørvika district the “Opera Quarter” given its proximity to the iconic amphibian Opera House. Locals, on the other hand, are more likely to call the area “the barcode” because of the strip of perpendicular high-rise buildings that lines Dronning Eufemias Gade. The development offers visitors an outdoor museum of contemporary architecture with some swanky bars and brasseries thrown in.
Grünerløkka cleans up
A long established alternative district, Grünerløkka has felt the effects of regeneration thanks to its trendy neighbour Vulkan. But here, the creative vibe remains altogether more shabby-chic and vintage. Grünerløkka embraces its old-Europe roots with St. Pauli, a German-themed beer garden beloved by locals, and a renowned Sunday flea market. The district, however, is not immune from the Nordic love affair with caffeine as artisan coffee houses have popped up all over its streets.
Oslo’s answer to London’s Knightsbridge boasts the city’s most elegant green space, Frogner Park. Thanks to the Norwegian TV series Skam, well-heeled Frogner now has cult appeal and an influx of cool-hunters. For the perfect weekend morning, take Tram 19 to Riddervolds Plass and relax in one of the cool cafés.
Stroll past the boardwalk restaurants of Aker Brygge and you’ll arrive at Tjuvholmen, an island peninsula jutting into the Oslofjørd. The area has been associated with everyone from ballet dancers to bandits (hence the name Thief Island). But central to its recent transformation has been the new home of the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, which includes an outdoor swimming area.
For proof that new urban developments can have heart and soul, look no further than Vulkan. Once a downtrodden industrial district, Vulkan is now a model of urban integration, sustainability, and post-industrial beauty. The district’s atmospheric alleyways are now home to Oslo’s first-ever food hall, Norway’s centre for contemporary dance, a set of 300-metre deep geothermal wells, and two urban beehives.
Text Andrew Mellor