I visited Oslo, Norway only for two days and after my initial research on places to visit in Oslo, I didn't feel drawn to visit the regular tourist attractions. Fortunately, I found a very good tourist guide Rami, who owns Oslo Photo Tour and organizes private guided tours of the city. He was able to take me to a few places which were not so touristy and that gave me an essence of real Oslo. Rami can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I was staying at the famous Grand Hotel and we started our tour of the city from the Grand Café.
1. Grand Café
The Grand Café is the renowned Norwegian restaurant and wine cellar of the Grand Hotel in Oslo. It opened in 1874 and for over 140 years has been visited by eminent world leaders, celebrities and Nobel Peace Prize laureates. The restaurant offers an old-world luxury charm with a welcoming and modern ambiance and stylish decor. If you visit the Grand Café, I highly recommend to take a look inside the Grand Hotel and spend some time there. It is one of the most prestigious and historic hotels in Oslo.
2. Vigeland Sculpture Park
This was probably the only very touristy place I visited in Oslo. My guide told me that I couldn't leave Oslo without seeing the park's 200 sculptures in bronze, granite and wrought iron, which are the lifework of artist Gustav Vigeland. The theme of the sculptures is man's journey from cradle to grave. It is the number one tourist attraction in Oslo.
3. Frognerseteren, Norwegian café and restaurant
Frognerseteren is an old world Norwegian café and restaurant. It is located at a ski recreational area Holmenkollen, 435 mts. above sea level. It took us about 15 minutes to go there from Vigeland Park. Built in the 19th century in dragon style, it gives you the true essence of Oslo. On clear days, you can enjoy stunning views of Oslo and the fjord from here. This is one place, you have to visit when you go to Oslo.
4. Street art in Oslo
Street and urban art forms an intricate part of life in Oslo. Urban artists of international acclaim as well as local art enthusiasts have turned the streets of Oslo into a virtual art gallery. I visited the Brenneriveien & Vulkan areas of Oslo, very rich in street art. For art lovers, a visit here is highly recommended!
5. Mathallen, food court in Vulkan
Located at Vulkan in Oslo, Mathallen is a food court with specialty shops, cafés and restaurants serving a wide range of cuisines. If you are in Oslo, I would really recommend swinging by here for a late morning brunch or an evening dinner. You can also walk to Brenneriveien from here for some great street art.
6. Wooden homes of Rodeløkka
Rodeløkka is a neighborhood in central Oslo known for its heritage wooden homes. In the early 1900s, Rodeløkka was primarily a slum area where only the working class population lived. The wooden homes posed a fire hazard and were eventually demolished for concrete homes. Today, only 137 wooden houses remain from the original neighborhood that are protected by the Norwegian Directorate for Cultural Heritage.