No other European capital has as much to offer the urban skier as the Norwegian capital Oslo. You can be that categorical when you have so much to boast about, and you are a citizen of tghe city.
A network of 2,600 km of marked and prepared cross-country skiing trails runs through Nordmarka, the vast forest area bordering Oslo to the north. Many of the trails are floodlit until late in the evening. It is a fantastic experience – just you, your skis and the black of night.
Or, if you are feeling reckless, you can take the train up to Frognerseteren and sledge down the 2 km long “Corkscrew”. When you reach the bottom, all you have to do is to wait for the nest train to take you back up to the top.
Of course, if you want to ski downhill or slalom, there is plenty of choice at Tryvann, with its 14 different runs and 6 lifts.
With this as a starting point, it is no exaggeration to claim that Oslo must have been the world’s best after-ski. It takes no more than 15 minutes to drive from the slalom slopes of Tryvann Winter Park or the depths of Oslomarka down to the beating heart of the city center. Just enough time to relax those muscles before cranking up the blood-alcohol level/switching to party mode.
For a quitter après-ski
If you are one of those who like a quiet bar with a roaring fire in the grate, you don’t need to travel far. In the area around Tryvann/Holmenkollen you will find three of Oslo’s great restaurant locations. Frognerseter café offers a calm atmosphere and open fires in historical and rustic surroundings. Here you can also order a full evening meal of the highest quality.
Another culinary alternative is Lysebu, which is an architectural delight and a gourmet restaurant all rolled into one. The third of Oslo’s best high-altitude restaurants is to be found at Holmenkollen Park Hotel, which offers both a cozy bar and a first-class international cuisine.
But if you are full of youthful impatience, you willk be wanting to head downtown. The first pulsating watering holes are to be found in Oslo’s West End, Majorstua. “Den Gamle Major” used to be one of Oslo’s roughest pubs. Now it is called “Den Gamle Majors Lab” and is a trendy meeting place for young uptowners on the go; a place where both the décor and the staff contribute to the atmosphere. It takes about 15 minutes to walk from Majorstua to the city center, or the entire evening if you plan to call at all the watering holes along the way. Things start hotting up late at most of these places, but nothing could be better than a stop-off at “Mikrobryggeriet” to lubricate those tastebuds with some really excellent home-brewed ale.
“Lorry” has a long tradition, and is frequented by bohemians, artists and actors.
Something for everyone
If you take the train (T-bane) down to town after a day’s skiing and get off at Nationalteatret station, the bars and restaurants stand shoulder to shoulder along Olav V’s gate; from the opera café “Burns” with a more mature clientele, to Nichol & Son, where the iPod generation hangs out. You can keep on going to Aker Brygge with its wide selection of winebars, restaurants and nightclubs, or you can go back towards Oslo’s main street, Karl Johans gare. Fifty meters off Karl Johan, you will find “Onkel Donald”, where young urban professionals congregate for an after-work beer.
On Karl Johan itself the international chins have taken root: Hard Rock Café and T.G.I. Friday are both familiar from other big cities around the world.
In Rosenkrantz gate lies “Herr Nilsen”, with live jazz of the highest quality. If you make a late start the next day, you can have your morning cup of coffee in the well -hidden, rustic “Bare Jazz” in Grensen. It is both a record shop and a café. Intimate. Unique.
Oslo’s colorful quarter
Grünerløkka, east of Akerselva, is Oslo’s colorful quarter. Day and Night. Here you will find “Blå”, one of northern Europe’s best places to listen to innovative new music – mostly jazz. There is often a lively atmosphere, good DJs or club jazz to the small hours. The district is full og pleasant watering holes, designer shops and nice people!
“Südøst” is the hottest of the district’s many nightspots, with a nightclub in the basement at the weekends. “Parkteatret Scene” is the place to go for experimental music. And you can rub shoulders with the creative and the verbal in the bar. At the legendary, intimate “Bar Boca” you drink Mojito and beer – without background music – and get up close and personal with the Urbanites.
And if you ask the man in the street, you will find out which of the capital’s other 1,000 watering holes suit your particular taste. Break a leg!
Feature image (on top): Skating in Oslo by Nancy Brandt/Visit Oslo
After-Ski in Oslo, written by Tor Kjolberg