If it's coffee, art, nature and pretty people you gravitate toward on vacation, most cities will suitably sort you out with their ground beans, vast galleries, new trees and intriguing babes. Oslo is a great playground with plenty of it all, but the inner city can be covered in just a couple of days — and is often unforgiving on the wallet. After taking in the compact urban splendor, you may want to explore just outside the city, whether by car or train. Here are some top jaunts within spitting distance of Oslo.

The Art Adventure: Moss (Momentum 9)

via Website. Courtesy of The Mediated Matter Group

Less than an hour’s drive from Oslo is the beautiful and extremely popular summer getaway of Moss, the most beach-heavy in the whole of Østfold county and home to a booming art scene. The 2017 edition of the Moss biennial includes exhibition spaces within an early-20th-century brewery-turned-kunsthall, a secluded country house, old industrial units, a onetime paper factory next to the river, and a huge mansion on an island in a fjord (!). Since its inception in 1998, the event has presented amazing works and ventures in Norway and the Nordic context. Daniel Birnbaum curated it once. Momentum 9 takes the notion of alienation as its starting thematic point and incorporates cool science-fiction elements. The biennial launches in June, and and the online platform will showcase newly commissioned works prior to the launch, such as a podcast series by Third Ear and a graphic novel by Ylva Westerlund. A specially commissioned novel by Johannes Heldén will be published in conjunction with the biennial’s opening on June 17.

Where: Galleri F15, Alby Gård, Biørn Biørnstadsvei, 1519 Jeløy, Moss, Norway
When: June 17-Oct. 11. Tues.-Sun., 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
More info: +47 692 71 033; momentum9.no


The Literature Escapade: Nordmarka (The Future Library)

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I discovered this amazing place through a New Yorker interview with Margaret Atwood and now there’s little more that I, a self-proclaimed Scandi fetishist, dream about — other than the northern lights. For artist Katie Paterson's project Future Library, over the course of 100 years, 100 writers will contribute a manuscript to be held in trust. Atwood was the first contributor to this nature-meets-literature project that will see an anthology of books published in 2114, printed on paper made from trees planted in Nordmarka, north of Oslo. Spruce, birch and pine flourish and are protected by the city against the threat of urban sprawl. Paterson and dedicated foresters from the Agency of Urban Environment, who have been nurturing this land for over a century, planted 1,000 Norwegian spruce trees three years ago, and heaps remain in the forest to allow it to regenerate from its own seed bank.

Where: Forest, 30 minutes' hike from 
Frognerseteren Station; see Google map
More info: futurelibrary.no


The West Coast Visit: Stavanger

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Depending on your hocking power (I’m looking at you, Leo and Kate in Titanic), "spitting distance" from Oslo this may not be, but after a quick eight-hour train ride you'll be in the coastal industrial town that’s twinned with Houston, Texas. If the Petroleum Museum doesn’t whet your gears, there’s always the natural landscape and some fantastic new food spots. It’s an ideal summer getaway, but later in the year is the place to be for film and art buffs. This is when the Screen City Biennial unleashes its stories of moving image, sound and architecture of the urban sphere within a Stavangan context. The town’s most popular butcher serves up American-style dishes at three Shack locations, plus there’s local beer to guzzle.

Petroleum Museum
Where: Kjeringholmen 1, 4004 Stavanger, Norway
When: Until May 31, Mon.-Sat., 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sun., 10 a.m.-6 p.m. June 1-Aug. 31, daily, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
More info: 
+47 51 93 93 00; norskolje.museum.no

Screen City Biennial
Where: Stavanger, Norway; see venues
When: Oct. 5-31
More info: 2017.screencity.no


The Pampering Trip: Sofiemyr (The Well Spa)

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The Well is the most enormous spa in the country, and whilst it’s not in the city, it’s a tiny, easy spa-provided shuttle journey away. Swimwear is typically banned in the saunas and steam rooms for hygiene reasons, and is optional in the pools except for shy-and-retiring Tuesdays, when special spa-provided swimwear is mandatory for all. They do ask that you robe up whilst meandering about the 10,000-square-meter relaxation haven, juice in hand. There’s also an on-site luxury hotel if you’re feeling too chill to walk back to the bright lights of the city. Don't miss the Japanese gardens.

Where: Kongeveien 65, 1412 Sofiemyr, Norway
When: Mon.-Thurs. & Sun., 10 a.m.-10 p.m.; Fri. & Sat., 10 a.m.-11 p.m.
More info: +47 480 44 888; thewell.no


The Fjord Safari: Sognefjord

Flåmsbana. © Morten Rakke via Website

Sognefjord is the longest, deepest, sexiest, most famous fjord in the land  and a delightfully short 50-minute flight from the capital. Fly into Sognedal and stay overnight in either the village of Sogndalsfjøra or Sogndal after your day of sailing and gawping at the wide waters. You can swim and hike near both and find cozy hotels and helpful cruise tours on your doorstep. Request a brochure here.

By Alexandra Pereira

Alexandra currently lives in Berlin and loves anything rhubarb-themed, the smell of old book pages and loud shoe gaze. She has written music, art, film and opinion stories for lots of magazines, and she keeps a story blog. She loves to travel alone or with easygoing companions.