Where to Stay in Oslo First Time: 7 Best Areas

The best areas to stay in Oslo for tourist are the neighborhoods of Sentrum, Aker Brygge, Frogner, Majorstuen, Bislett and St. Hanshaugen, Grunerlokka, and Game Oslo. These are the most popular and safe areas that offer a wide range of attractions and amenities.

In this guide, we will be looking at where to stay in Oslo for the first time, for nightlife, budget, one night, and the best hotels in the city centre.

Located at the head of Oslo Fjord on the country’s southern coast, Norway is one of the most naturally beautiful countries in the Scandinavian, and the capital city Oslo is full of fascinating history and myriad different cultures. With its unique architecture, stunning cultural attractions, excellent food, diverse shopping experiences, beautiful scenery, Oslo is definitely well worth a visit.

Oslo Sentrum is the best place to stay in Oslo for first-timers due to its central location. If you stay here, you will be located in the heart of actions, within walking distance to Oslo’s top tourist attractions, as well as many restaurants, bars, and shops.

Oslo City Centre is very compact and walkable. It’s easy and safe to explore Oslo on foot, by bike, metro, trolleys, buses, trams, and ferries.

Norway is one of the most expensive countires in the world and as the capital, Oslo will cost more. You can find a cheap Norwegian hotel and backpacker hostels in the city centre with small room and basic amenities. From Oslo Gardermoen Airport you the regional Vy train instead of the Flytoget Express Train for cheaper price. Food is also expensive but you buy cheap food from grocery stores and limit the amount of time eating in restaurants.

To book hotels, I recommend spending at least three days in Oslo to explore the city. Three days is enough to see major attractions, enjoy local food an drink, and get the feel of the city. If you have more time, you can see the city in a more laid-back pace, you can also visit the city of Bergen which is the gateway to the fjords.

💖 Best Area for first-timers:Sentrum (City centre & Downtown)
💎 Best luxury hotel:Grand Hotel
🏨 Best mid-range hotel:Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel, Oslo
💰 Best budget hotel:Citybox Oslo

7 Best areas to stay in Oslo for tourists

1. Sentrum, best place to stay in Oslo for the first-timers

Sentrum, where to stay in Oslo for first-time tourists

Sentrum is the best area to stay in Oslo for first-time travelers due to its prime location. If you stay here, you will be located in the middle of everything, within walking distance to the major sights, as well as many restaurants, bars, and shops.

Located next to the northern shore of Oslo Fjord, Sentrum, also known as the downtown, or Oslo City Center is Oslo’s oldest neighborhood and the heart of the city. It is home to Oslo’s main street, Karl Johans gate, leading from the Central Station through the central shopping district and up to the Royal Palace. There are plenty of top attractions, hotels, restaurants, bars, and shops in this area.

Oslo’s Central Station is here, making it very convenient to get to. The Oslo Opera House is here, and there is also an artificial beach and island being constructed near the opera house as a further tourist attraction.

You will also find landmarks such as the medieval Akershus Castle and Fortress, containing banquet halls and the Oslo City Hall, Norwegian Parliament, Kvadraturen, the National Museum as well as attractions such as museums of History and architecture. 

If you’re a fan of shopping, check out Paléet, Byporten, Oslo City, and Steen & Strøm. There are also plenty of family-friendly, quirky attractions such as the mini bottle gallery and Royal Palace Park.

The central location with easy access to public transport as well as the range of attractions makes Sentrum a great family location. With the ferry port in the south of Sentrum, you can take ferries to Kiel in Germany, Copenhagen, and Frederikshavn in Denmark.

This bustling downtown area is filled with a great range of hotels from budget backpacker hostels to luxury hotels. Oslo Sentrum is the best area for tourist, for first-timers, and for those only stay in city for one night.

Stay in Oslo Sentrum if you’re visiting Oslo for the first time; you enjoy a bustling downtown atmosphere; you want the best location for historical landmarks;

Best places to stay in Oslo City Centre:

luxury ($$$): Grand Hotel This 5-star hotel is located within walking distance from Karl Johan high street and luxury boutique, Royal Palace, Stortinget Metro Station, and the National Theater and its train station. it features guest rooms with a flat-screen TV, and views of the quiet courtyard or Karl Johans Gate in many rooms.

mid-range ($$): Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel, Oslo: has an excellent location, close to Oslo Rail central Station, situated in the real heart of Oslo. This 4-star hotel features with a rooftop restaurant, a sauna, swimming pool, and billiards. Many rooms offer magnificent views of the city center and Oslo Fjord.

budget ($): Citybox Oslo: is the budget hotel, located just 250m from Oslo Station, 150m from Karl Johans gate shopping street. Opera House, Royal Palace and the nightlife of Aker Brygge are in within distance.

Thon Hotel Rosenkrantz Oslo The newly renovated and eco-friendly hotel is located within walking distance from Aker Brygge, Oslo City Hall and Oslo Central Station. It features rooms with a flat-screen TV with pay-per-view and cable channels, air conditioning, a minibar, a private bathroom with a bath or shower, and a hairdryer.

See Also: How Many Days in Oslo is Enough?

2. Aker Brygge and Tjuvholmen, bustling waterfront district

Aker Brygge and Tjuvholmen, beautiful waterfront district
Aker brygge @Giannis Pitarokilis

Aker Brygge was transformed from a shipyard site to a bustling pier and waterfront promenade. This modern waterfront area is a well-known tourist destination, best known for its fine dining options, surrounded by cozy shopping alleys filled with clothing stores.

As well as fine dining, the area is dotted with many high-quality food trucks where you can pick up some lovely street food throughout the day or as you walk along the beautiful and bustling promenade.

This is a lovely neighborhood to visit for couples, as the opportunities for strolls along the bustling promenade and romantic meals in the evening are almost endless. A great destination for a fun and lively date is the bar Lektern which serves drinks right out on the Oslo fjord, offering stunning views as well as delicious food and drink.

The architecture of the area is famously unique and beautiful – an attraction in and of itself – and there are many nationally and internationally renowned art galleries as well as many outdoor art installations. Popular attractions nearby are Tjuvholmen Sculpture Park and Nobel Peace Museum that you can explore.

Aker Brygge is also the departure area for the yellow ferries for fjord cruises or to the Bygdøy peninsula.

Stroll along stroll along the boardwalk at Aker Brygge, you will reach Tjuvholmen (the thief islet). Tjuvholmen is one of the newest developments in Oslo, connect with Aker Brygge by a bridge. The area Tjuvholmen is home to quality restaurants, rich, architectural diversity, art galleries, a sculpture park, and the Astrup Fearnley Museum.

Stay in Aker Brygge if you love shopping and dining; you fancy a little romance; you wan waterfront area;

Best places to stay in Oslo near Aker Brygge:

Luxury ($$$): The Thief This stylish 5-star hotel is located just a 5-minute walk from Aker Brygge. It features a spa with a Turkish Hamam bath, sauna, and swimming poo, the chic rooftop terrace, and enjoy contemporary Norwegian cuisine at the Thief Food Bar. Each room has a Nespresso machine, a mini-bar, and a rainforest shower in the private bathroom, 24-hour room service, and free WiFi.

budget ($): Baltazar Apartments Tjuvholmen Beautiful budget apartment located close to The Royal Palace Park, The Royal Palace and Color Line Ferry Terminal Oslo. It provides free WiFi, a fitness centre and a garden.

3. Gamle Oslo / Old Town, historic district of Oslo

Located just east of Sentrum, Gamle Oslo is a large district which includes the site of the sadly destroyed old medieval city. The old town, making it a great destination for those who want to get a real sense of the history of Oslo. 

The area also includes a range of attractions from the Oslo botanical museum to the Ekeburgparken sculpture park and the Edvard Munch museum, as well as several beautiful parks. You can explore Botanical Garden and Grønland Street.

Gamle includes a few smaller areas, including Tøyen and Grønland, two of Oslo’s most exciting boroughs, and where you’ll find some of the best Middle-Eastern and Asian restaurants and shops. Gamle Oslo is likely to be a little cheaper than other areas.

Stay in Gamle Oslo if you are interested in local culture and history; you want a mix of modern and traditional area; you enjoy trying food from different cultures;

Best Places to Stay in Gamle Oslo:

Clarion Hotel Oslo is located in the bustling Barcode district of Oslo, this hotel offers a 24-hour front desk and room service for guests. Opera House and the new Munch Museum are Clarion Hotel Oslo’s closest neighbors.

Forenom Aparthotel Oslo is situated in central Oslo, these self-catering apartments are only 500 m from Oslo Central St. It’s within 5 minutes walk, guests can reach public transportation lines.

4. Grünerløkka, cool neighborhood to stay in Oslo

Grünerløkka, coolest place to stay in Oslo

Located on the east of the Akerselva river and the northeast of Downtown Oslo, Grunnerlokka, also known as Green Hill Slope, or Løkka, is a residence for many young professionals and artists. With its pretty tree-lined streets and selection of Independent art galleries, this borough is an aesthetic and cultured option.

An up-and-coming borough and the best destination for those traveling on a budget, Grunerlokka is close enough to walk into the city center but offers the best value accommodation for the great location. For a little more money you can enjoy one of the city’s many stylish converted loft apartments, or choose between the area’s range of affordable hostels and hotels.

Full of hip cafes and eateries, Grunerlokka is also great for foodies and those who enjoy the trendier things in life such as vintage shops and flea markets. A walk along the river through Bla takes you through parks, food courts, and the city’s counterculture center, a route taking you through the neighborhood’s industrial past.

Grunerlokka also has plenty to keep you entertained after dark; there is a huge selection of alternative theatre and music venues for a cultured and exciting evening. The neighborhood’s very active music scene means that many cafes are open late into the night. While not the best district for partying, there is a lovely, relaxed nightlife to be had in this trendy area of Oslo.

The Munch Museum, RAM Galleri and S9, Sofienberg Park, Kuba Park are some of the attractions in this area to explore.

Stay in Grunerlokka if you want authentic neighborhood; you’re looking for reasonably priced accommodation.

Best places to stay in Grunerlokka:

Quality Hotel Hasle Linie This is a 4-star hotel that has an on-site restaurant, free WiFi and a bar. Featuring family rooms, this property also provides guests with a terrace. Close to Munch Museum and Botanical Garden. Staff can help with English, Spanish, Norwegian and Swedish.

PS:hotell is situated in the trendy Grünerløkka district. The surrounding area is artistic and popular for nightlife entertainment, bars and restaurants. It’s close to the National Academy of Operatic Art.

Anker Hotel is a 15-minute walk from Karl Johans Gate. It offers a lobby bar with a small garden, free Wi-Fi and colourful rooms with flat-screen TVs.

5. Frogner, the most affluent and upmarket area of Oslo

Frogner, the most affluent and upmarket area of Oslo
Frogner park Oslo

Locatedbetween the Royal Palace and the Vigeland park, Frogner is the most affluent and upmarket area of Oslo, with some of the most expensive real estate in Norway. Here you will find high-end shopping, luxury apartments, swish restaurants, the British Embassy, the Embassies of Indonesia, India, Russia, France, Sweden, Egypt, Finland.

It’s only a short bus or tram ride away from the city center and filled with lovely walking routes and a healthy choice of restaurants and bars.

Frogner park itself covers almost half a million square meters, and is a wonderful picnic spot as well as being home to the largest sculpture park in the world, the fabulous Vigeland Installation.

At the corner of the park near the Majorstua neighborhood, you will find Frogner Stadium and the popular outdoor swimming pool complex Frognerbadet. On another side of the park, you can find Frogner Manor House and the Museum of Oslo.

The park has a café, a restaurant, and the biggest playground in Oslo for children. Family-friendly group tours also run in the area, making Frogner a versatile destination. 

Frogner is a wonderful destination for families, couples, solo travelers as there is lots to explore, and is fantastic for anyone looking to enjoy a cultural experience during their visit to Oslo.

Stay in Frogner if you’re looking for beautiful walks and picnics; you want easy access to the city center; you like a choice of bars and restaurants.

Best Places to Stay in Oslo in Frogner:

Saga Hotel Oslo: is a 4-start hotel, situated in the best-rated area in Oslo, Frogner, within easy walking distance to the Royal Palace, Briskeby Tram Stop, Vigeland Sculpture Park. Restaurants and trendy boutiques can be found on the fashionable Bogstadveien Street, a 3-minute walk away.

Thon Hotel Slottsparken: is a luxury hotel, located in the heart of Oslo, close to Royal Palace, Karl Johans Gate street, National Gallery, and National Theatre.

6. Majorstuen, where to stay in Oslo for shopping

Majorstuen, where to stay in Oslo for shopping
Majorstuen @Jorge Franganillo

Located on the northwest of the city center, Majorstuen is a lively shopping area and an important public transport in Oslo with plenty of shops, trendy bars, clubs, and restaurants. Near Majorstuen station is the cute and quirky Majorstuen transport museum, a wholesome family attraction.

Majorstuen neighbors Frogner, sitting on the northern side of the Vigeland Park. Close to the city center and with one of the most major metro stations in the city, it’s one of the most popular areas of Oslo.

It’s also a fantastic neighborhood for shopping, boasting the most popular retail street in Norway, Bogstadsveien street, which also leads straight to the beautiful Castle gardens.

The Vestkanttorvet vintage market, the Bymuseet, and the Colosseum Kino are also places to visit while staying in Mahorstruen.

Out in Oslo west, Majorstruen is also fantastic for nightlife which, combined with the great shopping, makes it a great location for a hen weekend or city break.

Stay in Majorstuen if you’re looking for fantastic nightlife; you need a bit of retail therapy; you want to explore the whole city easily; you want to visit the International Museum of Children’s Art.

Best Places to Stay in Majorstuen:

Cochs Pensjonat is in fantastic location, close to everything, Karl Johans Gate street, Homansbyen and Dalsbergstien Tram Stops, and Royal Palace. Guests at Cochs Pensjonat can enjoy breakfast for a discounted rate at Kaffebrenneriet and Espresso House, right outside the hotel.

Radisson Blu Scandinavia Hotel, Oslo is within short walk from Oslo’s Royal Palace and National Gallery. It provides free WiFi, in addition to a wellness centre with an indoor swimming pool, well-equipped fitness area and saunas. The 21st-floor Summit Bar offers impressive city and Oslo Fjord views.

7. Bislett and St. Hanshaugen, for quiet holiday

Bislett and St. Hanshaugen, where to stay in Oslo for quiet holiday
ST. HANSHAUGEN @Wilhelm Joys Andersen

Slightly north of the city, Bislett and St Hanshaugen is a popular destination for young professionals to live in and, due to the large student population, it’s a lively area.  With a booming restaurant and bar scene as well as lovely places to walk and explore, this is a great destination perfect for young couples looking for a mixture of nightlife and daytime activities.

St Hanshaugen is a charming and quiet neighborhood north of Sentrum offering a fusion of old and new buildings, as well as an outdoor cinema that runs throughout the summer.

The main sights in this area are Bislett Stadium, St. Hanshaugen park, Mathallen food market, and Hendrix Ibsen coffee shop.

Bislett Stadium is a famous sports arenas in Oslo and the host of the annual Oslo Bislett Games international athletics event. The outdoor track and the stadium’s indoor running track is open to the public.

Hotels here are much thinner on the ground than elsewhere in the city, making this a tranquil base to retreat to after enjoying the bustling delights of the main city during the day.

Stay in Bislett and St. Hanshaugen if you’re looking for a peaceful base away from the bustling center; you aren’t set on staying in a hotel; you enjoy a less touristy atmosphere.

Best places to stay in Oslo: Bislett and St. Hanshaugen

Thon Hotel Munch is an eco-friendly, located in central Oslo, only 400 m from Karl Johans Gate shopping street; close to National Gallery and Royal Castle.

The Apartments Company – Bislett is conveniently located in the Bislett area of Oslo, these modern apartments include a fully equipped kitchen and free WiFi. Stensgata tram stop is just 100 m away. Close to Bogstadveien shopping street, Royal Palace and cafes, restaurants and bars and grocery stores.

Check out my virtual tour about the best places to stay in Oslo in this video:

Where should I stay in Oslo for the first time?

Sentrum is the best area to stay in Oslo for first-timers due to its close proximity to famous tourist attractions and a wide choice of accommodation. If you stay here, you will be located in the middle of everything, within walking distance to major sights, as well as many restaurants, bars, and shops.

What are the best areas to stay in Oslo?

Sentrum, Aker Brygge, Gamle Oslo, Grünerløkka, Frogner, Majorstuen are some of the best areas to stay in Oslo for tourists because they are the most popular and safe neighborhoods for tourists that offer a wide variety of attractions and amenities.

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Overall, Sentrum is the best area to stay in Oslo for first-timers because due to its central location. If you stay here, you will be located within easy access to the top attractions, as well as many restaurants, bars, and shops.

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