Grünerløkka – The hipster park walk
Oslo is one of the greenest capitals in the world. From the lush hills and woodlands surrounding the city to the multitude of parks, gardens, and green spaces, one seldom has to walk more than a few minutes to enjoy this.
Even in Grünerløkka, Oslo’s most densely populated borough, parks are everywhere.
Come with us on this urban nature walk and discover your favorite. There are certainly plenty to choose from! The trip starts outside Oslo Visitor Centre at Jernbanetorget in Oslo city center.
A smalltown village in the middle of the city!
Our walk starts through the neighborhood of Rodeløkka, where it’s easy to forget that you’re in Oslo. Not inducted into to the city until 1878, Rodeløkka consists mostly of cozy, old wooden houses built before 1878 as the area wasn’t subject to the strict building codes of the city which stated that all houses should be built in stone to minimize fire hazard. Today it is a very popular, residential area that offers the small-town feel combined with a very central location and everything Grünerløkka can offer, just a few minutes away.
Today Sofienberg park is one of the most vibrant and lively parks in all of Oslo. On summer days up to 3000 people fill up the park, to play, barbecue, sunbathe and party. But what few of the people enjoying the park knows is that just a few feet below the grass, the remains of some 60.000 people lay. The park was originally built as the cemetery for Sofienberg church, which dominates the park. It was gradually converted into a park from the 1930s and onwards. The only visual sign of the parks former use is a small plot of land to the immediate north of the church where the former Jewish cemetery is located.
From the park, we continue up Københavngate (named after the capital of Denmark) where we walk past Grünerløkka Brygghus, the boroughs very own local brewery! Here you can pick up a bottle or two of a local brew to enjoy in the next park we pass through; Birkelunden.
In the northern part of central Grünerløkka vi find possibly it’s most elegant park. Connecting the beautiful Paulus church with Grünerløkka elementary school, Birkelunden is also one of the oldest parks in Oslo, tracing its origin back to the 1860’s. Various sculptures adorn the park, including a monument to Norwegians that fell in the Spanish civil war. In the music pavilion in the middle of the park you shouldn’t be surprised if you find an improvised orchestra or a salsa group entertaining bystanders.
Together with the church, school, and a total of 139 surrounding apartment buildings, this area was protected in 2006, being the first area under such status in all of Norway.
From Birkelunden we continue down Thorvald Meyers Street, the main commercial street and thoroughfare in Grünerløkka. It has its name from the man which owned most of Grünerløkka and parceled it out in the second half of the 1800’s. It is also him we can thank for the various parks and green spaces as it was a condition for entrepreneurs building in Grünerløkka that these spaces were reserved as parks.
Olaf Ryes Plass
This charming square lies in the very heart of Grünerløkka and takes its name from Olaf Rye, a Danish-Norwegian officer and athlete that lived in the first half of the 1800’s. A peculiar fact about Olaf Rye is that he is credited for having the world’s first official record in ski jumping when he in 1808 launched himself a whooping 9,5 meters through the air!
The southern part of Olaf Ryes Plass is adorned by inviting benches, flowerbeds, and a bust commemorating Eilert Sundt. Often considered the first sociologist in Norway, he lived from 1817-1875 and did extensive studies on many topics, including the lives of the poorer classes. It is also in his lifetime that Grünerløkka evolves into much of what we see today as the rapid industrialization of our city required extensive housing for the workers moving to the city from the countryside.
From Olaf Ryes plass we leave the parks behind and take the opportunity to stroll down Markveien, a cozy shopping-street best known for being the vintage mecca of Oslo. Small, independent shops invite you in and if you spend some time here you can surely find unexpected treasures you never knew existed.
From Markveien you’re just a block away from the tram-stop at Schous plass which will take you back down to the city-center, and we will finish the trip at Jernbanetorget.
Travelling is all about sharing experiences, so why not go on hike together with friends or family, and book one of our tours as a larger group? We will be delighted to offer you a group discount:
- Small groups of 5 can save 10% per person
- Groups of 10 can save 20% per person
- Group discounts will be applied against the base price of the tour
Please check the Calendar above. We recommend all participants to arrive 10 minutes before the tour starts.
This tour takes about 2 hours including public transportation (2 hours (1,5 hours walk and 0,5 hour tram ride)