As travelers flock to Europe this summer, they are heading to familiar places – France, Spain, and anywhere they can find some fun in the sun.
Even countries like Bulgaria are becoming more popular. But what about Scandinavia? This whole region is an underrated part of the world.
Often what comes to mind is bland food, high prices, and bitter cold winters that may deter tourists. But just like any place in the world, there are often misconceptions if you don’t give it a fair chance.
Travelers are starting to take notice of Scandinavia as Denmark is breaking all-time tourism records this year.
Norway, on the other hand, is a gorgeous country that should be on your radar. Oslo, in particular, is a very cool city and is worthy of being at the top of your European travel list.
Here are 6 reasons why Oslo is one of the most underrated cities in all of Europe:
Easy To Reach
Geographically, the capital city of Norway is very easy to reach. Whether it’s your main destination or using Oslo as a gateway to Europe, travelers should look no further.
Direct flights here will be shorter to say, other common destinations like Istanbul or Rome, and easy to find.
While the city can be pricey, they do have 2 airlines known to save you money compared to other carriers.
Those would be both Norwegian and Norse Atlantic Airways, which flies directly from Oslo to many U.S. cities.
Cleanliness Is A Priority
Europe is a wonderful place to visit, but there can be cultural differences. A common habit across Europe is smoking. Certain places have noticeable litter and cigarette butts.
However, in Oslo, the streets and sidewalks are immaculately clean. While taking in the modern, sleek architecture of many of Oslo’s buildings, one can’t help but notice how clean it is when exploring the city.
From the lack of trash at train stations to the crisp fresh air, Oslo offers a refreshing take compared to other commonly visited destinations.
It wasn’t given the title of the “Green Capital” for no reason.
It’s only fitting with its clean reputation that Oslo is home to modern, sleek hotels. One of the latest additions to the city is the fabulous Sommero, which opened last Fall.
It was originally the main headquarters of the city’s electric company. It has been transformed into an immaculate hotel with features such as a rooftop with sweeping city views, 6 restaurants, and a fully-equipped gym with a sauna.
Another is the Amerikalinjen, a luxury hotel that comes with a 24-hour pass with free entry into world-class museums and free use of public transportation.
The Food Is Not Bland, It’s Delicious!
If you reach the city center like many do, which is taking the train from OSL, then your first impression of Nordic food will probably be the eye-catching, fresh baked goods you walk by at the train station.
Not only will Oslo satisfy your sweet tooth cravings, but it’s also an excellent place to splurge for dinner. The city is home to 6 Michelin-star restaurants.
Not bad for a city with a reputation for blandness! Norway’s national dish doesn’t help with it being Mutton and Cabbage Stew.
However, Oslo’s food scene is constantly evolving, so travelers should take advantage of the latest award-winning restaurants.
One of Oslo’s most famous residents is painter Edvard Munch. A world-renowned artist that was so influential that he has a museum dedicated to his work.
But what’s really amazing about visiting Oslo is you will never be bored! There are 49 other museums to choose from.
Norway is very proud of their heritage, and it’s easy to see why when paying a visit to one of these 50 museums.
Travelers will find themes ranging from castles to well-preserved Viking ships. Although, the famed Viking Ship Museum is currently undergoing renovations.
We have all dreamed of seeing the North Pole as a child. There was a certain innocent impression we had of what that would be like.
Oslo is one of those rare places where it can take you back to fulfill those childhood expectations. It has all the appeal of what you would expect a major European city to be, with cobblestone streets and historic charm in its older neighborhoods.
During the winter, it does get very cold when it snows. But if you go at the right time, you will feel like you’re inside the snow globe perhaps you had as a kid, or maybe a classic storybook.
Oslo’s Christmas markets can compete with many across Europe as well. If you’re lucky, you might even get a glimpse of the Northern Lights.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com