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A tour of the Nordic countries in Europe should always include Oslo, Norway. As a bustling cosmopolitan city of more than half a million people, it has been consistently named as one of the world’s top tourism destinations. Below are several reasons why Oslo, Norway should be at the top of your travel list.

Exciting Culinary Scene

With its more than 30 Michelin star restaurants, Oslo has already achieved a reputation as a culinary haven. One of these notable places is Maaemo, a 3-star rated fine dining place which is housed in a nondescript office building near a railway track. These fine dining restaurants often feature seasonal ingredients found in Norway.

As a foodie destination, there are several certified tours in Oslo which shows the real culinary vibe of the city. These tours often show where locals hang out and eat authentic Norwegian dishes. During these tours, you will be able to taste local ingredients, from reindeer to brown cheese. Oslo’s microbreweries are sometimes included in some tours so a draft of handcrafted beer could be part of the sampling menu if you’re lucky.

Most Eco-Friendly City

Bar none, Oslo has set the standards, together with its Nordic neighbors, as one of Europe’s greenest capitals. The city is surrounded by nature, including the impressive Oslofjord and swathes of green forests. They also have several urban farms which are managed by the community.

For the eco-conscious traveler, a majority of the hotels and restaurants apply sustainable practices. Visitors can also explore the city through an efficient transportation network, which includes a fleet of bio-fueled buses. Exploring Oslo by foot or bike is also another eco-friendly option. Even the Oslo Airport has been recognized for its eco-friendly architecture, snow-based cooling system, and other green features.

Center of Art, Culture and Architecture

For those who like to visit museums and galleries, Oslo has several options including a museum which has a fully preserved Viking ship. Visiting Oslo should also include a tour of the Munch Museum to see the works of famous Norwegian painter Edvard Munch. The National Gallery also houses an impressive collection from Old European masters as well as more contemporary pieces by Renoir, Monet, and Picasso.

More than just a city in Norway, Oslo has a unique identity that makes it stand out. This Nordic capital offers an interesting mix of experiences. From its natural ecology, food, to local culture, Oslo has an interesting vibe that makes it a memorable European destination.