The capital of Norway is renowned for its beautiful natural surroundings, high quality of life and laid-back gay scene.
With a population of 650,000 Oslo is Norway’s largest city and the third largest in Scandinavia. Norwegians enjoy one of the highest standards of living in Europe, although the city is also one of the most expensive in the world.
Located at the northern most end of Oslofjord, the city is surrounded by forests, mountains and water and is a great base from which to explore this amazing country. Like the rest of Norway, Oslo has an excellent infrastructure and a good public transport system.
Norway was the second country in the world to legalise same-sex partnerships, and in 2009 it granted marriage equality to same-sex couples. Like elsewhere in Scandinavia, Norwegians have a welcoming attitude towards gay people.
In 2016, Norway became the fourth country in Europe that passed a law allowing the change of legal gender solely based on self-determination
The gay scene in Oslo is small when compared with other European capitals, but there is something for every gay visitor – be it a bar, dance club, sauna or cruise club.
The gay venues are all located within the city centre.
Oslo has three airports. Some low cost airlines market flights to “Oslo”, but you might end up at Sandefjord, which is almost 120km from the city, so check carefully.
Oslo Airport (Gardermoen) – OSL
Oslo Airport is the largest airport in Norway and is served by more than 30 airlines. There are direct flights to Oslo from most European capitals and numerous other intercontinental destinations.
The airport is located 47 km from the city. Flytoget is a high speed express train service from Oslo Airport to Oslo Central Station. Trains depart every 10 minutes and the journey time is around 20 minutes, costing 180 NOK. NSB is a cheaper train service (92 NOK) that departs twice an hour and takes 23 minutes. Flybussen operate buses services to the city centre. Bus transfers take around 45 minutes and cost 150 NOK. Taxis are also available and price depends on the time of day, the number of passengers and where in Oslo you are travelling to. Average fares come close to the 700 NOK mark.
Moss Airport (Rygge) – RYG
Moss Airport is located 70kms from Oslo. It is used by low cost carrier Ryanair as its regional hub. Bus transfers from Moss Airport to Oslo take around 1 hour and cost 180 NOK. Train services operate from the nearby Rygge train station with a standard fare of 164 NOK. A free shuttle service is available from the airport to the station.
Sandefjord Airport (Torp) – TRF
Sandelfjord Airport Torp is located 118 kms from Oslo! Budget airlines use this airport, but factor in the cost and inconvenience of getting from and to the airport to Oslo when comparing flights. Bus services from the airport to Oslo take around 1 hour 45 minutes and cost 260 NOK. There is an NSB train service from the airport to Oslo Central Station which comes to 266 NOK. Taxis are available but very expensive.
The city has an excellent public transport network of buses, a metro system (T-bane), trams and trains. The main hub for the system is Oslo Central Station, though which all T-bane lines pass.
The network has an integrated ticketing system, based on zones. You simply buy a ticket for the zones of travel. After first using the ticket you have 1 hour of free travel within the selected zones, with fares startinng from 32 NOK. You can buy a 24 hour or 7 day ticket Travelcard. It is 18 NOK more expensive to buy tickets on board.
Tourists can also purchase an Oslo Pass. This includes free admission to more than 30 museums and attractions, unlimited public transport in the central zones, free car parking in municipal car parks and various discounts at restaurants and shops. Prices start at 395 NOK for one day.
Most visitors stay within the city centre. Check our list of recommended Oslo hotels for gay travellers.
Due to its northern latitude, daylight in Oslo varies greatly. During the summer (July-September) the city enjoys mild temperatures, long sunny days and up to 18 hours sunshine a day.
In winter, the temperature drops to around -7°C (19°F) to -1°C (30°F) with plenty of snow.
Norway is NOT part of the European Union. Anyone arriving in Norway is subject to immigration and customs checks. Norway is, however, part of the Schengen Zone.
EU, EEA and Swiss citizens, along with non-EU citizens from visa-exempt countries (USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, etc.) only need to show a passport that is valid for their intended length of stay. Other nationals are required to have a Schengen visa.
Be aware that customs clearance is done at your point of entry into Norway. If you fly into Oslo and have a connecting flight to another destination in Norway, you have to collect your luggage, clear customs then check in again before continuing with your journey.
Allow extra time to complete this rather frustrating process. You are allowed to bring in up to 200 cigarettes plus 1 litre of spirits & 1.5 litre of wine. Regulations are strictly enforced.
Norway’s currency is the Norwegian krone (kr). The currency comprises of 1, 5, 10 and 20 kr coins and 50, 100, 200 and 500 kr notes. Credit and debit cards are widely accepted, although photo ID may be requested. Cash dispensers are referred to as “mini-banks”.
Norway is a very expensive country. Even everyday purchases such as a cup of coffee, can of coke or fast food can be twice as much as you would expect to pay elsewhere in Europe.
It is probably a good idea to budget to spend at least double what you would in another European city.
Tap water in Norway is some of the purest found anywhere in the world. Drinking bottled water is just a waste of money.
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