With their skis propped up against a colourful wooden wall or hiking boots cast casually aside, the customers in any Oslo café seem to be surprisingly cheerful. This is despite the fact that an open-faced meat sandwich and a modest cup of coffee has just burnt through a week’s salary. Okay, this is an exaggeration, but you get the picture. Perhaps it is the views across the glittering fjord, punctuated with emerald green islands, or perhaps it is the world-class ski jumps that make people smile.
It's no wonder that Oslo's residents love the outdoors: over half the city is made up of forests, parks and nature areas.
Wander through the Akershus Fortress, a medieval castle complex at the harbour edge, and visit the gentrified west district. The Scandinavian designer shops may tempt you, but you can preserve your budget at the open-air sculpture park. Also, take the scenic metro journey up Holmenkollen Mountain, where Oslo shows off its snowy pine forests and crisp, clean Nordic air.