All the main city sights in Oslo are within easy walking distances of Karl Johans gate, central Oslo’s main axis, which is pedestrianized through the eastern half between the central station and Parliament building.
Originally designed in 1826 by the royal architect G. D. F. Linsatow, it was widened some 509 years later to become Oslo’s answer to Champs Elysées. Its western end merges into the broad avenue leading to the doors of the Royal Palace (Det Kongelige Slott), the cream-colored domain of the Norwegian royal family.
The palace grounds (Slottsparken) are a pleasant public park that’s free to enter. The changing of the guard takes place daily from 1.30pm.
Oslo’s chic Westside quarter begins behind the palace, leading up Bygdøy Allé to the Frogner quarter and Vigelandsparken, where many 19th century mansions housing foreign consulates can be found on romantic tree-lined streets.
On the south side of Dronningsparken, the Ibsen Museum incorporates the apartment once occupied by Henrik Ibsen (1828 – 1906). Norway’s most famous playwright and one of the world’s great pioneers of social drama. A comprehensive exhibition opened here in 2006 to commemorate the centenary of Ibsen’s death.
A statue of Ibsen stands in the front of the rococo National Theatre, which opened its doors in 1899. Norway’s largest theatre, it is the venue of the international Ibsen Festival and Contemporary Stage Festival, which are held biennially in alternative years, late August, early September.
Alongside the National Theatre, opposite the main university building is the Studenterlunden (Students Park). In warm weather, this is a popular place for nearby office workers to have an alfresco lunch by the Spikersuppa, a water feature that converts to an outdoor ice-skating rink in winter.
The Great Hall of the University (Aula), with its celebrated murals by Edvard Munch, is unfortunately no longer open to the public except for concerts and other special events. If you have a chance to get there, it is worth it.
Oslo’s Answer to Champs Elysées, written by Tor Kjolberg