I’ve always lived in Oslo and know the city inside out thanks to my bicycle. Oslo has changed a lot over the past few years but it has been a gradual process, blending the old city with brand-new areas such as Oslobukta. I think residents often forget that Oslo is a city close to water, but the Oslobukta reminds us that the sea is part of the capital. It is also where art meets architecture and fashion. We opened our first concept store here last summer for Envelope1976, a sustainable high-fashion clothing brand. Everything is timeless, eco-conscious and natural.

Celine Aagaard at Oslo Badstuforening
Celine Aagaard at Oslo Badstuforening © Renate Torseth
Swimming in the fjord
Swimming in the fjord © Renate Torseth

I’m a morning person and love to start the day underwater. It does something for your body and soul. I like to swim in the fjord by the Munch Brygge complex next to my shop, where I spend most of my day. Oslo Badstuforening hires out floating saunas to warm up in after your swim, but often I like to just jump back into some warm clothes. The other spot I’ll often swim in is near the new Munch Museum, which opened right by Oslo’s waterfront in October. Many have said they find the architecture too different compared with the original building from 1963, but I’m a fan and think it sits perfectly among the tall buildings and the Opera House. I’ll meet a friend of mine from high school there around 7am and we’ll follow our dip with a cortado and a biscotto at Munch Deli & Kafé. 

A favourite for lunch is Kumi, where I have the spinach crêpe and the burrata with lentils. For dinner I have to recommend Feniqia, the best Lebanese in town. They even have vegan drinks. But on a night out, it has to be Marlow restaurant and bar – I went there with my friends for my 45th birthday. We rented the chambre séparée where you can turn the music up. They serve the best halibut tostadas.

The new Munch Museum on Oslo’s waterfront
The new Munch Museum on Oslo’s waterfront © Einar Aslaksen
Aagaard in plant-based eatery Kumi
Aagaard in plant-based eatery Kumi © Renate Torseth

I’ve visited galleries since I was in a stroller. Astrup Fearnley Museet is a personal favourite, showing contemporary art. The museum includes works by artists such as Ida Ekblad, Bjarne Melgaard and Jeff Koons. Sorgenfri is run by two creative women who opened a space to show exciting pieces mainly by Norwegian artists. Then there’s Kösk, which focuses on promoting young artists. I also like Shoot Gallery, exhibiting fine art photography in an old gas station in the well-to-do area of Frogner.

Marlow Oslo restaurant and bar
Marlow Oslo restaurant and bar © Renate Torseth
The exterior of Kumi restaurant
The exterior of Kumi restaurant © Renate Torseth

Grünerløkka is the other area that has a special place in my heart as it was the first place I lived in when I moved out of my childhood home. It’s on the urban side of Oslo and naturally has changed a lot since I lived there. But Delicatessen restaurant is still a favourite of mine, serving authentic Spanish tapas (I’ve been to Spain almost every year since I was a little girl). I go there to feel the intimate and genuine vibe they’ve had since they opened. I can’t leave without having pimientos de padrón and manchego. I also go to Supreme Roastworks to drink coffee, and if I have the time I buy their homemade ice cream to go – they do an espresso soft-serve.

Monica Flakk’s exhibition On Powdered Ground, on show at Kösk Gallery
Monica Flakk’s exhibition On Powdered Ground, on show at Kösk Gallery © Renate Torseth
Pieces at Velouria Vintage
Pieces at Velouria Vintage © Johanna Siring
A Sorgenfri perfume vase by Kaja Dahl and stool by Ingrid Bredholt at Sorgenfri gallery
A Sorgenfri perfume vase by Kaja Dahl and stool by Ingrid Bredholt at Sorgenfri gallery © Sorgenfri

This is also the part of the city with my favourite vintage clothing shop. Velouria Vintage has been there for years. I have so many pieces in my wardrobe from the time when I wore cowboy boots, leather jackets and band T-shirts as a music journalist. They have a rack behind the till with vintage Escada, Louis Vuitton and Fendi that you don’t want to miss. I’m also always hunting for great pre-loved pieces for my home or my vacation house in a village south of Oslo, so I’ll visit Fretex once in a while to look for odd vases, ceramics and other handicrafts.

I live by the idea that all the things you love can easily be done throughout the year, no matter what the weather forecast tells you. I swim in the sea all year around and I also cycle, even if there is a snowstorm. 

How to get there… 

Norwegian (norwegian.com) and SAS (flysas.com) fly from London, from €40 return

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2024. All rights reserved.
Reuse this content (opens in new window) CommentsJump to comments section

Follow the topics in this article