Student-friendly ways to enjoy autumn in Oslo

View of Hovedøya in autumn colours and the Oslo skyline.

With the days getting shorter and cooler, one of Oslo’s most beautiful seasons has arrived. Whether you’re a returning student or are brand new to Oslo, autumn is a great time to explore the city. Head outdoors to enjoy the season’s brilliant colours, and then come inside to warm up and get cozy, or, as the Norwegians say, koselig.

Take an urban hike

For a few weeks every fall, Oslo explodes into rich shades of yellow, burgundy, and orange. Along with the changing of colours of the leaves, the season often brings sunny, clear skies.

Go for a walk along the Akerselva river, where you’ll see rocky waterfalls and peaceful waters reflecting the vibrant trees. Hidden along the river in the Grünerløkka neighbourhood you’ll find a quirky art district that offers both buzzing nightlife and daytime charm. There’s even a Sunday market with handmade crafts and cheap, tasty eats.

Street art by the club Ingensteds at Akerselva river.

Want to make some art of your own? For great photo opportunities during this picturesque time of year, head to some of the neighbourhoods famous for their historic wooden houses, such as Damstredet, Telthusbakken, Kampen and Rodeløkka.

Bundle up in Norwegian wool

There’s a saying in Norwegian: “Det finnes ikke dårlig vær, bare dårlig klær.” (“There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes”). While that might not always be true, dressing in the right cold-weather clothing does make it easier to enjoy these chilly days. 

Wool can often be expensive, but there are plenty of ways to stay warm on a student budget. Basics like socks and long underwear made from soft Merino wool can be found at your local supermarket. For a traditional knitted sweater that’s affordable (and often handmade), try one of the city’s many second-hand shops such as Fretex or UFF.

Head out to the woods

Oslo is surrounded by lush, easily accessible forests that can be enjoyed any time of year, and on any budget. OsloMet organizes trips for new students to places like Ekebergparken and Vettakollen. These group events are a great way to meet other students while discovering how easy it is to get out in nature without leaving the city. 

If you want to explore on your own, it’s easy to get to Oslomarka (the wooded areas around the city) by subway, tram, and bus. In autumn, clear, dark nights offer great opportunities for bonfires and stargazing, and if you’re lucky, maybe even a sighting of the infamous northern lights. Visit Norway has a northern lights forecast tool that shows when the conditions are right.

Woman with wool hat and jumper reading a book in a hammock in the forest.

To make the trip a bit cozier, consider bringing along a hengekøye, or hammock, which you can use for overnight trips or relaxing during a day trip. And finally, don’t forget your camera - this season comes with long, colourful sunsets.

Sit outside at a cafe under a blanket and enjoy a hot drink

In Oslo it’s popular to sit outside year-round, regardless of the temperature. Many street-side coffee shops and restaurants have outdoor chairs even in the chilly seasons, with blankets, sheepskin, and overhead heating lamps to keep you toasty.

To help you warm up on the inside, check out some of Oslo’s famous coffee brewers, like Tim Wendelboe or Supreme Roastworks. 

If you’re looking for a cool and cozy spot to study, check out Kulturhuset in the popular Youngstorget district, or Oslo’s brand new public library, which has sweeping views of the fjord.

Interior of the new Deichman Library next to the Opera House

Explore the city by bike

Cooler temperatures and fewer tourists make fall a great season for biking. Oslo is getting more bicycle-friendly all the time, and throughout the city you will find bike lanes and car-free streets.

Consider a membership with Oslo City Bike, which offers an easy and affordable way to get around town on a student budget. Stop into Oslovelo for a coffee and Peloton for a gourmet pizza; both spots celebrate bicycle culture and are meeting places for fellow bike enthusiasts. 

If you want to venture out of the city, there are hundreds of kilometres in Oslo’s forests to explore on two wheels. 

Cook up some seasonal Norwegian dishes

When autumn arrives, many Norwegian families and friends gather to share a meal and mark the start of the new season. The most traditional autumn dish in Norway is fårikål, a lamb and cabbage stew. If that isn’t your thing, try something that features the country’s bountiful apple harvest, like the rich, cinnamon-spiced eplekake (apple cake).

Hands holding a cup of hot cocoa with whipped cream

Learn what it means to be koselig, and embrace the great indoors

Just as much as Norwegians love being out in nature, they have also perfected the art of enjoying themselves inside when the weather turns cold. With the arrival of autumn, now is the time to embrace the season and get in the spirit of koselig (remember your Norwegian lesson above? Koselig means “cozy.”)

Light some candles, open a bottle of wine, and enjoy the warmth of the great indoors. Whether you’re gathering with friends or relaxing with a good book, to be koselig means to enjoy yourself, whatever that means to you.

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Published: 09/10/2020 | Ariana Hendrix