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Oslo Travel Guide: Akerselva

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by Erik Schmuck, 3 months ago
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Off the beaten path, but right at the center of Oslo is the river that divides Oslo into east and west. Akerselva starts at Maridalsvannet lake in the north of Oslo, and discharges into the Oslo Fjord, right behind the Oslo Opera. Despite being a much used green area by Oslo locals, not many tourists find their way to Akerselva.

The area around the lowest parts of Akerselva is called Vaterland, and is right behind of Oslo Central Station. The Vaterland area isn’t particularly nice as there are some shady characters hanging around there, but it’s safe to walk there at daytime.

Above Vaterland the river passes to the west of Grünerløkka. Around the two bridges Nybrua and Ankerbrua, there are a number of cafes, bars and restaurants. There are also some interesting houses along the river, like Hausmania, which is a squatted house that has turned into kind of a culture house.

Adjacent to Hausmania are some of the most popular east side venues, Blå and Ingensteds. They are cafes during the daytime and bars/nightclubs at nighttime. The area around Blå is also popular for the many graffiti murals, and for the Sunday flee-market.

Next up is Mathallen, Oslo Food Court. At Mathallen there are a number of restaurants and bars, like Smelteverket (The Smelter) which is at the basement of Mathallen, by the river. Also by Mathallen is Dansens hus, National stage for dance.

At the opposite side of the river from Mathallen there is an old grain silo which has been converted into student apartments. By the silo, which is on the Grünerløkka side of the river, is the most famous coffee shop in Oslo, Tim Wendelboe. It's a coffee roastery, espresso bar, and a coffee school.

Upstream there is an area of Akerselva called Kuba, where there is a park called Kubaparken. In the park there is a bar, Fyrhuset Kuba, meaning the Lighthouse.

Above Kuba is an old suspension bridge, Åmot bru, by a scenic waterfall. There is an even larger waterfall a ten minute walk up-river. It’s called Vøyenfossen, and there are a few venues around there: Wallmans, Hønse-Lovisas hus and Månefisken.

A few kilometers up, at the north of Oslo is Nydalen. Akerselva runs through Nydalen. Nydalen Bryggeri og Spiseri is a good gastro pub and brewery by the river, and if you are staying at the Radisson Blu hotel in Nydalen, this is a nice option.

There are a few dams where you can swim in Akerselva, at the north of Nydalen is one of them. A more scenic dam is Frysja, which is a few kilometers north, closer to the rivers source. The dam is also known as Brekkedammen.

The source of Akerselva is Maridalsvannet lake. It’s not possible to go down to the lake because it’s Oslo’s main supply of drinking water. But there are plenty of footpaths around the lake and into the vast forest that is to the north of Oslo.

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