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Why Oslo is getting so much attention these days

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at St. Andrews chapter.

If you’ve been following travel trends and keeping an eye on popular destinations, you might have noticed that Oslo, Norway’s capital, has gained a surge of attention and interest lately. Whether it be because of the opening of several new museums or the rise of “Scandi-style” in fashion and design, Oslo has made a name for itself as a vibrant and progressive city. This past reading week I decided to find out if it indeed lived up to the hype.


One of the first things I noticed about Oslo was not just how clean the city was, but also how profoundly easy the city was to navigate. Oslo takes pride in its incredibly efficient and extensive network of trams, buses, and ferries, making it not only easy to navigate, but also contributing to the city’s cleanliness by reducing car pollution. 

From the minute I stepped foot off the airplane, I entered the sleek, glass hallway of the airport. Gone were the low ceilings of Boston Logan airport and antiquated Hudson News booksellers; this airport sported designer shops and gourmet restaurants. As I moved through the hallways, I settled upon taking the train directly into Oslo city center, hoping that I wouldn’t encounter any travel difficulties. I was pleased to discover that neither did I need to haul my suitcase for miles, nor did I need to speak Norwegian – everything was typed out in English (a sad, but true, realization that English is becoming a commonality now). 

Oslo’s seamless transportation is further fueled by Ruter, an app that finds tram schedules and routes, and lets you purchase tickets at the click of a button. So, a short while later, I found myself navigating my way out of the train station toward the nearest tram stop, my ticket already purchased and waiting for use in the app. 

The combination of clean streets, seamless public transportation, and fresh air blowing in over the fjords makes Oslo a shining example of urban sustainability for both residents and visitors alike.


In the past decade Oslo has reimagined itself as quite the cultural destination. In 2021, the Munch Museum opened its doors, a tribute to Norwegian painter Edvard Munch. Inside not only did I find the renowned “The Scream,” but also rotating exhibitions from featured artists. Following a couple of hours perusing the Munch Museum’s thirteen floors, I wandered toward the pinnacle of Oslo’s harbourfront, The Oslo Opera House. Home to the Norwegian Opera and Ballet, the Opera House offers rotating productions. From the Christmas-favorite The Nutcracker to the profoundly saddening Nothing Personal, the Opera House is a place for everyone to enjoy the arts. And it doesn’t just stop there. In 2022, Oslo opened the National Museum. Inside you can find the largest collection of art, architecture, and design pieces in all of the Nordic countries. 

With a thriving contemporary art and theater scene, vibrant street art, and a burgeoning live music culture, Oslo has become a hub for artistic expression. The transformation, coupled with the city’s commitment to sustainability, Scandinavian design, and rich culinary scene has transformed Oslo into a cultural hotspot attracting artists, creatives, and culture enthusiasts from around the world.


I was quick to notice Oslo has a way of celebrating the outdoors like no other city I have visited. Not only is over half of the city green-space, a figure I marveled at, but there also was the apparent adoption of the philosophy of “friluftsliv,” a word that translates to the simple life of nature and love for the outdoors without disturbing the peace. 

The following day, I walked along the Oslo waterfront all bundled up in my hat and scarf. My attention was quickly caught by several strange-looking wooden, box-like structures that appeared to be floating in the water. As I walked closer, I noticed a plume of smoke curling out of one of the structures. These were saunas, as one of the signs read. These “sauna-boats” take people into the Oslofjord where, following their sweaty sauna session, they can jump into the icy waters of the fjord. This appeared to be a regular occurrence for Norwegians, or at least the ones brave enough to endure the Arctic water temperatures, promoting improved blood circulation, a strengthened immune system, and other health benefits. Unfortunately, I did not get to experience this life-changing ritual, but it is on my bucket list for my next visit to Oslo.

Later that day, I found myself in the waterfront neighborhood of Aker Brygge, a former shipyard-turned-modern shopping mall. Ever since its revitalization in 2010, Aker Brygge has drawn countless restaurants and bars to its harbourfront location. Restaurants and cafes spilled out into the sidewalks, fusing the outdoors with the indoors. And the bitter temperatures don’t deter people from sitting outside – heat lamps and blankets adorn patios and facades. 

Unlike the sentiments of the student population at St Andrews, the colder, darker months in Norway are happily welcomed. Not only does the winter season offer a chance to see the Northern Lights if you’re lucky, but also brings the resurgence of snow-sports: skiing (in all its variations), bobsledding, snowshoeing, and skating, among others.


Oslo is a city that blends eco-conscious living with urban sophistication, stunning nature with world-class culture, and an inviting charm that makes it hard to resist. As I flew back to Scotland at the end of my week-long adventure, I realized that the city’s renaissance is more than just a trend; Oslo is here to stay.

Olivia Dillon

St. Andrews '25

Olivia is a 3rd year from New Jersey studying Economics and Management. As she was previously pursuing a degree in English, she has missed writing about topics she is passionate in. Aside from writing, she enjoys spending her free time running, practicing yoga, and cooking, as well as reading (a lot!).