Where to stay in Oslo for first time: 7 Safe areas

Finding where to stay in Oslo as a first-time visitor can be a daunting task. That’s why, in today’s article, I will help you to find safe places to stay in Oslo for first-timers and tourists.

I’ll provide you with my recommendation for the best and safe areas to stay in Oslo, along with a helpful map. I’ll also share where I stayed in Oslo and suggest some of the best hotels for all budgets.

Oslo is the capital and largest city of Norway, situated in the southern part of the country on the northern coast of the Oslo Fjord. It is the economic, cultural, and political center of Norway. 

Some notable landmarks in Oslo include the Royal Palace, Akershus Fortress, Vigeland Park (featuring sculptures by Gustav Vigeland), and the iconic Oslo Opera House.

The city boasts numerous museums, galleries, and cultural institutions, including the Munch Museum, the National Gallery, Norwegian Opera and Ballet, and the Nobel Peace Center.

As the political center of the country, the city hosts the Norwegian Parliament (Stortinget) and the offices of the Prime Minister and the Royal Palace. It is also home to the University of Oslo, which is the country’s largest and oldest university.

Oslo has an extensive public transportation system, including buses, trams, and Metro. It is also served the Oslo Gardermoen Airport, which is the largest airport in Norway.

Is Oslo safe to visit?

Yes, Oslo is generally a safe city with rare incidents of violent crime. Most residents and visitors feel secure walking its streets day or night. But, as in any city, it’s essential to always stay alert, such as safeguarding your belongings and being aware of your surroundings.

Like any urban area, petty theft and pickpocketing can occur, especially in tourist-heavy areas, at train stations, airports, and main shopping streets.

There is also a risk of terrorist attacks, so it’s advisable to stay updated with local news for any potential threats and follow advice from local authorities.

The city’s surrounding natural landscapes, including forests and parks, are generally safe for outdoor activities. However, avalanches and rockslides can occur, so it’s important to check the weather and follow safety guidelines when exploring the wilderness.

Where to stay in Oslo for the first time?

The best and safe areas to stay in Oslo for first-timers and tourists are Sentrum, Aker Brygge, Frogner, Grunerlokka, Gamle Oslo, Majorstua, and St. Hanshaugen. These areas offer a wide variety of accommodation options for all budget travelers.

Sentrum is the city center and the most popular area for first-timers. It’s safe and has a wide range of accommodations, restaurants, and attractions. You’ll find shops, museums, and public transportation hubs here. It’s a great starting point to explore the city.

Aker Brygge, part of the city center, is a trendy waterfront area with a mix of shops, restaurants, and bars. It’s generally safe and offers beautiful views of the Oslo Fjord. It’s also well-connected to public transportation, making it a convenient base for tourists.

In addition to Sentrum, you can consider staying other areas if you want a more budget-friendly, quieter and more local feel and don’t mind a bit of traveling to see main sights. 

Frogner is a quiet and upscale residential area that is home to for the famous Vigeland Park. It’s a safe and charming neighborhood, though it’s not as bustling as Sentrum.

Grünerløkka is a trendy and hipster neighborhood with a vibrant nightlife and many cafes, bars, and shops. It’s safe, but the atmosphere is more bohemian and artsy compared to other areas.

Gamle Oslo, or the Old Town, has some historical attractions, such as the Oslo Cathedral and the Medieval Park. It’s generally safe, but it’s not as lively as other areas for tourists.

Majorstua and St. Hanshaugen are also a quiet and safe residential area. It’s a bit farther from the city center but has good public transport connections.

During my trip to Oslo, I stayed in the city center at the mid-range Karl Johan Hotel. It has a prime location, on Karl Johans Gate main street, easily reachable from the airport. It is easily accessible from the Royal Palace, Central Station, and Stortinget Metro Station.

Below is a map of the popular areas in Oslo for first-time travelers. You can scroll down to view the live map.

Map of the safe areas to stay in Oslo first time
Map of the safe areas to stay in Oslo first time

Let’s get into the details of the recommended areas to stay in Oslo, especially for first-time visitors. I’ll provide you with some suggestions for the best places to stay in each area, catering to every budget. 

All hotels in Oslo have been carefully selected by me, with guest review scores of at least 8.0 or higher at the time I chose them. If you don’t like my suggestions (perhaps they don’t suit your budget or preferences), you can click the “MORE HOTEL DEALS” button where you can choose your own hotel.

7 Safe areas to stay in Oslo for first-timers and tourists:

1. Sentrum 

Sentrum (the city center), without a doubt, is the best area to stay in Oslo for first-time visitors. You’ll be within walking distance of major attractions like the Royal Palace, Opera House, National Gallery, and Akershus Fortress. There are also plenty of restaurants, cafes, and cultural venues in this area.

Sentrum is home to Karl Johans Gate, the main shopping street in Oslo, where you can find a variety of shops, boutiques, and department stores.

Sentrum also has numerous cultural venues, including theaters, museums, and art galleries, providing plenty of opportunities for art and cultural enrichment.

Public Transportation: Oslo’s central transportation hub, Oslo S (Central Station), is located in Sentrum. This makes it easy to access trams, buses, and trains for day trips or further exploration.

If you’re interested in experiencing Oslo’s nightlife, Sentrum has a variety of bars, clubs, and entertainment options to choose from.

Keep in mind that Sentrum can be a bit more expensive in terms of accommodations and dining compared to some other neighborhoods. 

But, the convenience and access to everything make it a worthwhile choice, especially for first-timers looking to explore the city’s highlights. Additionally, It has a wide range of accommodations, so I’m sure you will find a hotel that suits your needs and preferences.

Best places to stay in Oslo Sentrum for first-time tourists:

  • Luxury ($$$): Hotel Bristol, great 5-star hotel located in central Oslo, within walking distance from Oslo Central Station, and the main street Karl Johans gate. It has exceptional breakfast, 2 onsite restaurants, 24-hour front desk, and private parking for those who drive.
  • Mid-range ($$): Karl Johan Hotel, popular 4-star hotel, located on Karl Johans gate, within walking distance from Royal Palace, Stortinget Metro Station, and the Central Station. It has Superb breakfast, comfortable family rooms, and 24-hour front desk.
  • Budget ($): Hotell Bondeheimen, affordable 3-star accommodation located in the city center of Oslo, within easy walk from the National Gallery and Karl Johans Gate, which is Oslo’s main shopping street.  It has Fabulous breakfast and an on-site restaurant serving traditional Norwegian food .

2. Aker Brygge 

Aker Brygge is a fantastic area to stay in Oslo, especially if you’re looking for a waterfront location with a modern and trendy atmosphere. It is located along the waterfront of Oslo’s harbor and offers stunning views of the fjord. 

The area has lots of dining options, including seafood restaurants, cafes, and bars. There are also several designer boutiques and shops. It’s a picturesque area, and you can take leisurely walks along the promenade, enjoying the sea breeze.

If you’re interested in maritime activities, you can explore the Aker Brygge Marina, which is home to many boats and yachts. It’s a great place for boat tours and water-related activities.

Aker Brygge is near several cultural attractions, such as the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art and Tjuvholmen Sculpture Park, both of which are worth a visit.

The area has a lively and vibrant atmosphere, especially in the evenings. It’s a popular spot for both locals and tourists to enjoy the nightlife with bars and entertainment venues.

Aker Brygge is well-connected by public transportation, including trams, buses, and ferries, which can take you to various parts of the city.

Best places to stay in Oslo in Aker Brygge for first-timers:

  • Luxury ($$$): The Thief, 5-star boutique hotel located in a safe and quiet area on Tjuvholmen, only 5 mins walk from the promenade of Aker Brygge. It is 15 mins walk from City Center and National Gallery. Close to Vika Atrium bus stop. The hotel offers free entry to the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art and free airport shuttle, which is a bonus for car-free travelers.
  • Mid-range ($$): Thon Hotel Vika Atrium,  4-star hotel located right next to Aker Brygge and Tjuvholmen with lots of trendy restaurants and bars. Easy access to the Astrup Fearnley museum, National museum, and Nobel Peace Center. Close to trams, buses, and Nationaltheatret train station for link to the Airport.
  • Mid-range ($$): Hotel Filip, 4-star accommodation located close to Oslo Central Station, Akershus Fortress and The Royal Palace. It has a comfortable bed and heated floor in the bathroom. Easy access to the city center and the marina.

3. Frogner

Frogner is a charming and upscale neighborhood in Oslo known for its green spaces and cultural attractions. It’s an excellent choice for those who want a more relaxed and residential atmosphere.

Frogner is home to Vigeland Park (Vigelandsparken), one of Oslo’s most famous attractions. The park features over 200 sculptures by the renowned artist Gustav Vigeland, making it a must-visit destination for art and sculpture enthusiasts.

The neighborhood is characterized by tree-lined streets, beautiful parks, and open spaces, which provide a peaceful and green backdrop for your stay. Frogner Park is another lovely park where you can enjoy leisurely walks and picnics.e.

Frogner is home to several museums, including the Munch Museum, which has a huge collection of works by the well-known Norwegian painter Edvard Munch.

Frogner is not as centrally located as the city center but it is well-connected by public transportation, with trams and buses that can take you to other parts of the city.

Best places to stay in Oslo in Frogner for travelers:

  • Luxury ($$$): Sommerro, great 5-star hotel located in a safe neighborhood in Frogner, offering superb daily breakfast, Family rooms, and private parking for those who drive. Easy access to the National Theater station for connection to the airport. 
  • Mid-range ($$): Clarion Collection Hotel Gabelshus, 4-star accommodation located in the trendy Frogner district within a short distance from the Aker Brygge wharf district and Skillebekk Tram Stop, offering tram to Royal Palace and Oslo city center. It has Superb breakfast, 24-hour front desk, and private parking.
  • Budget ($): Frogner House – Skovveien 8, 3-star self-catering apartments located in a Victorian-era building, within walking distance from the Royal Palace and Frognerparken Sculpture Park. Easy access to Niels Juels Gate Tram Stop.

4. Grunerlokka

Grünerløkka, often referred to simply as Grunerlokka, is a vibrant and trendy neighborhood in Oslo that’s known for its bohemian atmosphere, artistic community, and youthful energy. It’s a fantastic choice for visitors who want to experience a unique, alternative, and budget-friendly side of Oslo. 

Grünerløkka is known for its creative and artistic scene. You’ll find street art, independent art galleries, and a wide range of unique shops and boutiques that cater to a more alternative crowd.

The neighborhood is bustling with life, particularly along the main street of Grünerløkka (Thorvald Meyers Gate). It’s lined with cafes, bars, restaurants, and vintage stores.

The area hosts regular markets, like the Birkelunden Sunday Market and the Mathallen Food Hall, where you can sample local food, crafts, and more.

The neighborhood comes alive at night with its lively bars, clubs, and live music venues. It’s a great place to experience Oslo’s nightlife.

While Grünerløkka has its own distinct personality, it’s still within walking distance or a short tram ride from the city center. This means you can easily explore the major attractions in Oslo.

Best places to stay in Oslo in Grunerlokka for visitors:

  • Mid-range ($$): Frogner House – Grünerløkka, 4-star accommodation located within a short distance of Oslo Bus Terminal, Botanical Garden, and Munch Museum. You can easily find lots of cafes and restaurants nearby. Easy access to bus stop for bus to go to the city center
  • Budget ($): Maya Apartments – Thorvald Meyers gt. 38, popular 3-star accommodation located in Grunerlokka, close to many restaurants and shops, easy access to a tram stop, short walk from the Botanical garden and Opera. 

5. Gamle Oslo

Gamle Oslo, or Old Oslo, is a historic area that includes landmarks like the Oslo Cathedral and the medieval Oslo Old Town. It’s a quieter area with a more traditional feel and more affordable accommodation options.

There are several parks and green areas, such as the Botanical Garden and Tøyen Park, which offer opportunities for relaxation and outdoor activities.

Gamle Oslo is well-connected by trams, buses, and the metro, making it easy to reach other parts of Oslo.

Compared to the bustling city center, Gamle Oslo offers a more relaxed and residential ambiance, which can be a welcome change for travelers looking for a quieter atmosphere.

Best places to stay in Oslo in Gamle Oslo for tourists:

  • Mid-range ($$): Clarion Hotel Oslo, popular 4-star hotel in Gamle Oslo, within walking distance from the Karl Johan Shopping Street and the Central Station. It has a central location convenient to most attractions.
  • Mid-range ($$): Thon Hotel Opera, great 4-star accommodation, conveniently located within a short walk from Oslo Central Station and the Opera House. 15 mins walk from the Akershus Fortress and the National Theatre. Easy access to the express train to Gardermoen Airport.
  • Mid-range ($$): Wright Apartments – Sørenga,  great beachfront accommodation located in Sørenga, 10 mins walk from Oslo Central Station, Norwegian National Opera & Ballet. You can find many restaurants and the public pool Sørenga Seawater Pool nearby. 

6. Majorstua

Majorstua is a residential neighborhood that offers a quieter and more local atmosphere while still providing easy access to the city center and various amenities. You can find numerous good value for money accommodations in this area.

Although Majorstua is not located in the city center, it is well-connected to downtown Oslo via public transportation, including trams and buses. You can reach the city center within a short ride.

Majorstua offers a variety of local shops and boutiques, as well as several shopping centers like Bogstadveien, where you can find fashion, housewares, and other goods.

There are restaurants, cafes, and bistros in Majorstua serving a range of cuisines, from traditional Norwegian to international dishes.

Majorstua is not far from the Royal Palace and Karl Johans Gate, allowing you to explore Oslo’s key landmarks while enjoying a quieter base.

Best places to stay in Oslo in Majorstua:

  • Mid-range ($$): The Apartments Company – The Sweet, 4-star good value for money cozy apartment located in the Frogner/ Majorstua area close to the Royal Palace park. It has comfortable family rooms and onsite parking, a great base for those with a car. It has free laundry in the basement, easy access to the tram and bus.
  • Mid-range ($$): Saga Hotel Oslo; BW Premier Collection, popular 4-star boutique hotel close to the Royal Palace, Briskeby Tram Stop, and Vigeland Sculpture Park. You can find many restaurants and boutiques on Bogstadveien Street. It has Fabulous breakfast and free parking.
  • Budget ($): The Apartments Company – Majorstuen, good value for money accommodation in a quiet neighborhood, close to Frogner Park, and Royal Palace Park. 25 mins walk from Oslo City center, but you can also take tram line 11 or 13 nearby if you don’t fancy walking.

7. St. Hanshaugen

St. Hanshaugen is a charming residential neighborhood that’s characterized by its relaxed atmosphere, green spaces, and local vibe. It’s a great choice for travelers who prefer a quieter and more laid-back experience while still having easy access to the city center and its attractions. 

The neighborhood is home to the Jewish Museum, and St. Hanshaugen Park, a beautiful green space where you can relax, have a picnic, or enjoy a leisurely stroll. The park also offers scenic views of the city.

Best places to stay in Oslo in St. Hanshaugen:

  • Budget ($): Thon Hotel Munch, 3-star eco-friendly accommodation, within walking distance from the National Gallery and The Royal Castle. It has Superb breakfast and 24-hour front desk. 5-10 mins walk from the train Station.
  • Budget ($): The Apartments Company – Bislett, modern apartments come with a fully equipped kitchen and easy access to public transportation. Short walk from  the Stensgata tram stop, as well as many Grocery stores, cafés and restaurants. 10-15 mins walk from Bogstadveien shopping street and Royal Palace.

In conclusion, Sentrum, Aker Brygge, Frogner, Grunerlokka, Gamle Oslo, Majorstua, and St. Hanshaugen are the best places to stay in Oslo for first-timers and tourists. These are generally safe neighborhoods offering a variety of accommodations for all budget travelers.

You can continue reading about Oslo and other Scandinavian/Nordic cities in these articles:

There you have it, my recommendations for the most popular and safest neighborhoods that you can stay during your first trip to Oslo. I hope you enjoyed my article and find it both informative and helpful.

If you have any questions or would like to share your thoughts, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. Your feedback is invaluable and helps me continue to create more quality content.

About Author: Ocean Cameron

I'm Ocean, founder and main editor of travelhotelexpert.com. I’m a passionate traveler who specializes in uncovering the best hotels and locations in every city, especially for first-timers, all without the need for a car.

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