Oslo: Gay life by the fjord

When Norway gained full independence in 1905, it was one of the poorest countries in Europe. One century later its one of the richest in the world, per capita, mostly due to heavy industry, shipping, fishing and, of course, oil.
Norway maintains a Scandinavian welfare model with universal healthcare, subsidised higher education and a comprehensive social security system. For several years, it has been number one on UNs list of countries with the highest standard of living. Since gay equality and high quality of life usually correlate almost precisely, it is no surprise Norway was also the second country in the world to legalize same-sex partnerships, and in 2009 it granted marriage equality to same-sex couples.

Oslo is one of the charming smaller capitals of Europe, (greater Oslo only counts 900,000 people, and the city itself 600,000). But it maintains most of the attractions and offers you would expect to find in any modern metropolis: shopping, dining and partying. Its located by the fjord with easy access to the many islands popular during summer when the sun seems to shine forever just as it refuses in the winter. In winter there is world-class skiing, both downhill and cross country, only twenty minutes by tube from the city centre.

The gay scene is not the biggest in Europe, but most visitors will find something to their taste, whether bars, discos, saunas, s & m clubs, nude beaches or simply cruising the blond boys and girls. Norwegians are keen on partying, especially when weekends roll around, and though they may appear a bit shy at first, you will soon realize that most will go to great lengths to help visitors enjoy their stay.

Must-dos in Oslo:

-Munchs Scream at The National Gallery
-The roof of the new Opera House
-Frest seafood and white wine at the Solsiden restaurant in the harbour
-Stroll in the beautiful Vigeland Sculpture Park, including hundreds of all nude sculptures
-Theater by the great Ibsen in his hometown
-Be conquered by a viking (or vice versa)