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Oslo is the compact and cosmopolitan capital of Norway.

Read on for our complete gay travel guide to Oslo.

Oslo’s best hotels and accommodations

Built in 1920, Hotel Bristol is a historic option with a modern sensibility. Rooms are spacious and smartly decorated. Perhaps the hotel’s best feature is the live piano music performed during afternoon tea.

If you like bright and beautiful, Ellingsens Pensjonat is the perfect B&B. The building skews older, but the rooms are brimming with character, charm and a certain Scandinavian je ne sais quoi.

On the higher end of the spectrum, book a luxurious night at Oslo’s best hotel, The Thief. Gay travellers love this boutique hotel’s sensual design, artistic aura, and frou-frou amenities. Turkish hammam bath, anyone?

Saga Poshtel Oslo is the perfect choice for men on a budget. This hotel-hostel combo is centrally located and a step up from run of the mill budget accommodations.

Oslo’s best restaurants

The coffee cognoscenti have been praising Oslo’s arabica revolution for awhile now. And there’s no better place to order a cup of the city’s best Joe than Supreme Roastworks.

After fuelling up on coffee, hit the streets in search of a truly Norwegian delicacy: hotdogs (aka polse). Like the rest of Scandinavia, Oslonians (Osleskians? Oslesky?) are famous for their penchant for polse. And teeny, tiny kiosk Syverkiosken has been slinging the city’s best ‘dogs since 1979.

A gorgeous dish at Brutus in Oslo.
A gorgeous dish at Brutus in Oslo.
A gorgeous dish at Brutus in Oslo.

When it comes to dinner, gay travellers have a slew of exciting ‘New Nordic’ restaurants to choose from.

Brutus is the city’s best wine bar turned restaurant. But don’t worry about getting too gussied up here as the open kitchen is home to a motley crew of cooks rocking AC/DC tees and ball caps. On the flip side, if you ARE looking to wear your best Burberry to dinner, book a table at these fancier New Nordic restaurants: Bass, Sentralen Restaurant or Ekeberg Restaurant.

What to do in Oslo

As the home of one of the world’s most prominent painters Edvard Munch (See: The Scream), Oslo has become synonymous with art and culture.

Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art is the perfect place to begin a cultural tour of the city. Alternatively, take your time wallowing in The Museum of Contemporary Art or The National Gallery. Meanwhile, Henie Onstad Kunstsenter is famous as much for its dramatic seaside location and design as it is for its collection of Picassos and Schwitters.

In the afternoon, stroll Ekebergparken, a gorgeous park and statue garden overlooking the city.

If history is more your jam, head to Vikingskipshuset in Aker Brygge & Bygdøy. The acclaimed museum chronicles Norway’s notorious vikings and their impressive long boats.

Finally, we highly recommend architecture aficionados join an organized walking tour of the city. Expert guides will point out Oslo’s most impressive structures such as Snøhetta Opera House, Holmenkollen Ski Jump or functionalist Oslo City Hall.

Oslo’s best gay bars

Begin your evening at London Pub, the city’s oldest and best-known gay bar. If you happen to be here on a Tuesday you can serenade patrons at their weekly karaoke. If you’re in town on a weekend be sure to check out the second floor where gays and lesbians show off their best dance moves.

Another popular watering hole amongst Oslo’s LGBT community is Bob’s Pub. This casual space is perfect to tuck into a pint or two around a table with friends.

When you’ve drunk your share of liquid confidence, head to Elsker Bar to party with the locals. This boppin club spins house, electro and underground.

Finally, it’s worth noting Oslo Pride is hosted late June. The event is quite the spectacle as over a third of the country joins in on the festivities.

Where to shop in Oslo

There are countless neighbourhoods and complexes teeming with exceptional shopping in Oslo. And of them all, Aker Brygge is by far our favourite district to rack up a visa bill. The district is right on the water and features the city’s trendiest shops, cafes and restaurants.

Alternatively, Karl Johan is a very popular strip lined with independent and chain stores. Literarians should take particular note of Tanum, Norway’s largest bookstore.

If you’re looking to pick up a signature Scandinavian souvenir, we suggest Norway Designs. The impressive store sells a wide variety of glassware, ceramics, pottery and apparel by the country’s leading artisans.

That’s all!

Image Credits, top down: unsplash.com, Hotel Bristol, The Thief, Brutus x 3, Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, Vikingskipshuset, visitnorway.com, London Pub, Oslo Pride, visitnorway.com.

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