Norway was among the first countries in the world to give equal rights to everyone no matter whom they love, and most Norwegians have a liberal attitude towards gay people. Cultural events, yearly parades – and a designated skiing festival for gays and lesbians are among the offerings.
Like its Nordic neighbours, most Norwegians have a liberal attitude towards LGBT people, and the country was among the first to enact anti-discrimination laws against gays and lesbians.
As of now, gay and lesbian couples have the same rights as heterosexuals, including church weddings, adoption and assisted pregnancies. The country is proud of its many openly gay and lesbian politicians and celebrities in sports and entertainment.
If you’re looking for bars, venues and cultural events aimed specifically at a gay and lesbian audience, most of them are found in the big cities like Oslo, Bergen and Trondheim.
Oslo Pride is a large yearly event, attracting thousands of people, where human rights and LGBT issues set the agenda through art, culture, politics – and parties. Similar events can be found in Stavanger, Bergen and Trondheim as well.
A film festival called Oslo/Fusion which focus on gender, sexuality and identity is held every year in Oslo, while the choir Oslo fagottkor was named the world’s best gay choir during an unofficial world championship in Copenhagen in 2009 (their traditional Christmas concerts are usually very entertaining).
Skeive ski, a skiing festival for gays and lesbians, was established in Hemsedal, one of Norway’s best ski destinations, in 2010. The festival is an initiative to establish new meeting places outside the cities.
Olso was founded around 1048 by King Harald Hardråde according to the Norse sagas. The city has been the capital since the reign of King Håkon V (1299–1319); the first king to reside here permanently, he began the building of the Akershus Fortress.
Oslo is a melting pot of cultures and people; 28% of the population is non-Norwegian, making many people members of one minority or another. The city is gay-friendly, and the LGBT community here has it all, from sophisticated art exhibitions to year-round dance parties. For romantic evenings on the town, there are few better places in the world.
Crowds of gay, lesbian, transgender, bisexual and straight party people mix it up all over town and you might run into the former chairman of the city council, Erling Lae and his partner, Jens Torstein Olsen, a priest. Norway was the second country in the world to legalise same-sex partnerships, and in 2009 granted marriage equality to same-sex couples. Oslo Pride each June, features ten days of celebrations that include film festival screenings, concerts, art exhibits, shows, political debates & a huge festival at Rådhusplassen.
Bogstadveien is a major shopping street at the centre, with many small restaurant options at reasonable prices. The nearby borough of Grünerløkka, a post-industrial neighborhood of many small cafés, pubs and parks, is very popular with a younger generation – vibrant and full of life, day and night.
Vigeland Sculpture Park, the world’s largest sculpture park done by a single sculptor. Set within Frogner Park, with several areas holding over 200 sculptures, it’s a testament to Gustav Vigeland’s artistry and overwhelming humanity.
Oslo Airport, Gardermoen, in Ullensaker, is 29 miles (47 km) from Oslo city centre. Trains, buses and taxis can get you there.
Walking or cycling are each a part of Norwegian life, so grab a map or your iPhone, and start exploring. The Ruter# website has info on trains, the metro system, tram cars, buses (day and night) and boats all around the region; plus apps for both the iPhone and Android systems, and access for any cell (mobile) phone that can get online, whatever the brand or model.
Norway’s second largest city. With several mountains surrounding the urban area of Bergen, trails and the Funicular are a big attraction. As an alternative cultural exploit, Bergen is leading the fashion of street art in Norway, with the city council having protected many of the most famous pieces. Water is the biggest focus though, as the city is located on a fjord, it is one of the defining features – a trip on the White Lady should make it onto your itinerary.
The Fincken is the only LGBT bar in Bergen and has a chill out bar area and an upstairs club.
Flights to Bergen are available direct from London with British Airways and Norwegian.