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Thanks to a flux of new Scandinavian-based budget airlines such as WOW and Norwegian, your chances of landing in a city like Oslo on your way to another European destination have dramatically increased. But no need to sulk at the airport during your layover.

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Oslo, Norway | Photo Compass + Twine

History permeates throughout the sophisticated, sculpture-lined streets of Oslo. Walking around Norway’s capital city, founded in 1040, you appreciate a unique juxtaposition of old and new with everything from architecture and art to style and culture.  A city that was once rife with Vikings is now home to young families, bankers, artists and hipster-ish chefs bringing their own imaginative flavors to traditional Nordic cuisine. Whether Norway’s capital is your final destination, or you’re just passing through, we’ve put together a guide for a perfect 24-hours in Oslo.

Royal Palace Oslo | Photo by Compass + Twine

Visit the Royal Palace

The Royal Palace isn’t nearly as barricaded as one might expect, like many of the great palaces in Europe. The majestic, yellow building is located in the center of Palace Park, and you can basically just stroll up to the entrance! Of course, it’s still heavily guarded, but there’s something romantic and old time-y about being able to walk right up to a palace without being blocked by tourist fences. Time it right and you can catch the changing of the guard for a fun and entertaining regal display.

Shop Oslo’s most fashionable street

Not only will you find charming façades aplenty along Bogstadveien, you’ll also find anything your heart desires, from trendy clothing to Scandinavian home goods, for sale. The chic street is a haven for fashionistas and the long stretch has plenty of cafés and bakeries to pop into if you need to refuel.

Lunch at Sentralen | Photo by Compass + Twine

Have lunch at Sentralen

Exposed brick wall and industrial ceiling beams set the scene for the exciting meal to come at Sentralen. The modern, airy space with floor-to-ceiling windows is a welcomed change from the historic façades primarily found in the old city center.  Start with the organic bread and butter from Røros, and then enjoy smoked beetroot with tarragon, egg yolk and horseradish. It’s almost too pretty to eat and definitely a must-order dish at this locals lunch spot.

ALSO: Unnskyld meg, did you know you can earn rewards good toward more travel with Orbitz Rewards?

Statues of Oslo | Photo by Compass + Twine

Stalk the statues

Walking around Oslo, one of the first things you’ll notice is the incredible array of statues and sculptures sprinkled throughout the city. If you’re so inclined, you can even find tours specifically geared toward admiring and learning about all them; but even without a formalized tour, you’re sure to come upon a photo-worthy sculpture at just about every turn in town. The statue in Bankplassen Square titled “Sitting Girl with Headphones” by Marit Krogh is always a favorite.

Visit the Viking Museum

You can’t think of Norway without thinking of the Vikings! Norway has been famous for its ship building for centuries, and the Viking Ship Museum features archaeological pieces, historical artifacts and Viking tombs. This beloved museum has been enticing visitors for decades, because who doesn’t want to learn more about these Norse seafarers and see the world’s best-preserved viking ships live and in person?!

Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art | Photo by Compass + Twine

Explore the waterfront at Aker Brygge

Located on the waterfront in the heart of downtown Oslo, Aker Brygge is a beloved contemporary pier development that’s become one of the hottest gathering spots for locals and tourists alike. Boats are docked in the marina nearby, and from there, you can board tour operator ferries to see the Oslo Fjord. If you prefer to stay on land, you’ll find dozens of boutiques, big box retailers, cafés, restaurants and bars. At the start of the pier area, you’ll come upon the iconic yellow facade of the Nobel Peace Center. Then, wind your way down Aker Brygg pier for some coffee and shopping until you hit the Astrup Fearnley Museum at the end. The modern art museum is one of Oslo’s best!

Enjoy dinner at Pjoltergeist

This hidden speakeasy joint is tough to find, so you’ll have to keep your eyes peeled if you’re headed here for dinner. The address is Rosteds gate 15b. Find 15 and then look for the grimy entrance next door with no markings, a cracked glass window, and graffiti on the front. The façade is the only subpar thing about Pjoltergeist; inside, you’ll find one of the coolest restaurants in town. The Asian-inspired cuisine is served as small plates, so plan to share so you can sample everything! The Takoyaki (squid balls), Hel artsijokk (whole artichoke) and Kyllingvinger (chicken wings) are all innovative and excellent.

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Compass + Twine
Sarah Driggs and Lindsay Ridenour are the story-tellers behind the NYC-based luxury travel blog, Compass + Twine. Follow along on Instagram @compassandtwine as they unearth some of the best hotels and travel experiences around the globe. From scenic landscapes to local cafés, they reveal the true character of a destination, always highlighting the best place to stay on .

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