Oslo, Norway

Gay Oslo Oslo City Guide

Curation by Jamie McGhee, words by Ian Packham

When it comes to both culture and location, the Norwegian capital claims an enviable position indeed. Surrounded by the low mountains that inspired Edvard Munch’s masterpiece, The Scream, and wrapped around the crystal-clear waters of Oslofjord, there is an enormous number of things to do in Oslo both outdoors and in. The compact city is a cultural wunderkind, and green space is never more than a 15-minute walk from any point. Beyond its museums and parkland, Oslo has a thriving entertainment scene—in the capital of one of the world’s most liberal nations, this scene is so accepting that gay and straight party together without the need for an explicit gaybourhood. What else would you expect from a country whose king recently declared, ‘Norwegians are girls who love girls, boys who love boys, and boys and girls who love each other’? For your definitive Oslo gay guide, you’ve come to the right place.

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The best hotels in Oslo

Let’s start this gay Oslo travel guide with a roundup of the best hotels in Oslo. Designed by Magnus Poulsson, the architect behind the more modern red brick frontis of Oslo City Hall, Lysebu reflects the Norwegian tradition of constructing in wood—a material Norway has no shortage of. Garnering its architectural inspiration from the turn-of-the-century country houses of the region’s civil administrations, it fits unobtrusively into its Tryvannshøyden Hill location, offering unsurpassed views across the city from the clean lines of its spacious, neutrally-hued rooms. The modernist chic of The Thief promises a secluded stay right in the heart of downtown Oslo, on Tjuvholmen. Tjuvholmen, or Thief Islet, was known in former years as a safe haven for smugglers and other ne’er do wells. Its fine location—standing proudly beside the beach and Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, and just five minutes’ walk to the restaurants of the fjord-side Aker Brygge neighbourhood—is only the start of its charm, however. Its interior has been decorated with specially-chosen designer furnishings, as well as works by internationally-recognised artists, meaning you might never want to leave the elegant rooftop terrace.

The Thief

The Thief

The nearby Hotel Christiania Teater, within reach of one of Oslo’s most important streets, Karl Johans Gate, boasts a more eclectic style, yet one that still manages to recall the early years of the twentieth century, when this converted theatre was first constructed. Featuring unique wallpapers and retro furniture, even the smallest of rooms include the usual four-star facilities, while the grand theatre space is now reserved for award ceremonies and gala dinners, should you be lucky enough to be invited to attend. Also at the heart of the action is the ecologically-minded Thon Hotel Rosenkrantz, whose brightly coloured interior will brighten your day whatever the weather. With a stay incorporating both sumptuous buffet breakfast and, more unusually, an evening meal in the exclusive eighth-floor guest lounge, the Rosenkrantz really can become your home away from home. Another eco-friendly option is Oslo Guldsmeden, which promises its guests a bespoke stay, starting with the organic breakfast and continuing into the uniquely-styled designer rooms—combining Indonesian- and indigenous Sami-inspired furnishings—a Turkish bath, and sauna.

The Thief

The Thief

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