Surrounded by forests and lakes, ringed by hills and embraced by waters of Oslo fjord, the capital of Norway is a true gem. It will not impress you with cosmopolitan busyness, with rush and loudness of large metropolises. Instead, you will be astonished by the gentle rhythm of this city, by the harmony of wild nature and architectural innovation.
Whether you’re a first-time tourist or just looking to get reacquainted with these spots, get your walking shoes on and prepare to fall in love with Oslo.
Oslo Opera (Operahuset)
No matter how you arrive to Oslo, you are most likely to begin at Oslo S (Central station). A mere 500 meters walk will bring you to a true architectural masterpiece and the pride of the city: Operahuset. This white marble beauty rises from the water right at the harbor of Oslo. Designed by architecture group Snohetta, the building was opened to public in 2008. The building was designed so you could freely walk on its roof, so grab a cup of coffee and take a stroll. There is a restaurant at the ground floor if you fancy a bite or a drink. Oslo fjord view is included!
Kirsten Flagstads Plass 1
Opening Hours Box Office:
Mon – Fri 10:00 am – 7:00 pm
Sat 11:00 am – 6:00 pm
Sun 12:00 am – 6:00 pm
Free entrance to lobby & roof
Barcode Project is an architectural section of Bjørvika district in central Oslo. The construction of the first building started in 2005. MVRDV, in collaboration with Norwegian firms Dark and A-lab, won the competition for redevelopment of Oslo industrial waterfront and it has been an absolute success. The mixture of glass, stone and metal in contemporary architecture is impressive. Start you walk from the bridge next to the tax office and discover this architectural wonder from both sides, making your way towards the sea. Don’t forget your camera!
Interesting fact: During construction, the remains of at least nine wrecked ships were discovered, dating back to the 16th century. This area has been under water until the 19th century. This is the largest collection of historical shipwrecks found in Norway and now is exhibited in Norwegian Maritime Museum.
→ Barcode Project
Vigeland Sculpture Park (Vigelandsparken/Frogner park)
Vigelandsparken is the world’s largest sculpture park made by a single artist. This should be a priority for every Oslo visitor! Showcasing sculptor Gustav Vigeland’s work – more than 200 sculptures in bronze, granite and cast iron – the park certainly leaves an impression. The statues vary from embracing couples to elderly people, representing the circle of life. All the statues are naked; Vigeland said, “Only when you start putting clothes on people, that you define either their religion or where they are from. When you are naked, you can be anyone, anywhere and any time.” Even if you are only in the city for a short visit, don’t miss this spot!
Expert tip: If it is good weather, have a picnic in the park like locals do.
Nobels Gate 32
Open all day, every day
Akershus Fortress (Akershus Festning)
Akershus Fortress and Castle rise above the city on a hill. Their history dates back to 1299, when construction commenced under King Håkon V. In the 17th century, Christian IV renovated the castle into a Renaissance palace, yet the front still remains medieval. The fortress and castle are a great place to discover Oslo’s rich history, or just a pleasant place for a walk with a great view.
Every day 6:00 am – 9:00 pm
Fortress Entrance is free
Castle Entrance 70NOK/adult, 30NOK/child, free with OsloPass.
National Museum (Nasjonalmuseet)
Want to see the famous “Scream” by Munch? Look no further. National Museum has collected some of Edvard Munch’s most famous paintings as part of the permanent collection. Founded in 1837, the museum houses the largest collection of art in Norway, featuring an impressive selection of Norwegian artists as well as famous European such as Gauguin, Picasso and Manet. Their temporary exhibitions are as impressive as well; check the calendar to see what’s coming up for your visit.
Tues, Weds & Fri 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Thurs 10:00 am – 7:00 pm
Sat & Sun 11:00 – 5:00 pm
100 NOK/ adults, 50 NOK/ Students, pensioners, concessions, 75NOK/ groups of more than 10
The ticket is valid for one day and gives free entry to Museum of Contemporary Art and National Museum – Architecture. Thursdays are free!
Edvard Munch bequeathed all his works of art to the city of Oslo. Today, Munch Museum houses more than a half of all paintings and prints by this phenomenal Norwegian artist. The museum, located in the eastern-Oslo district of Tøyen, opened its doors to visitors in 1963, one hundred years after the birth of Munch. There is a coffee shop in the museum where you can enjoy cake with motifs of Munch’s paintings on top. The museum is located next to the Botanical Gardens, so enjoy a stroll after your visit.
Interesting fact: The museum has outgrown the space, so a new Munch Museum is being built in Bjørvika, Oslo’s harbor area. Spanish architect group Herreros Arquitectos won the design competition and the new museum will be completed in 2019.
Every day 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
100 NOK/ adult, 60 NOK/ students, seniors & groups of more than 10
Free entrance with purchase of Oslo Pass
A hill on the north-west side of Oslo, rising 375 meters above sea level, is home to one of Oslo’s main attractions: the Ski Jump and Holmenkollen Ski Museum. The view from the subway on the way up the hill are already worth the ride; all of Oslo from a bird’s eye view!
The area is rich with recreational activities and is popular among locals for cross country and downhill skiing, snowboarding, and hiking at any season. There are several restaurants in the area, so grab a cup of coffee or a bite and enjoy a breathtaking view!
Norsk Folkemuseum (Open-Air Museum)
Founded in 1894 by Hans Aall, Norsk Folkemuseum is Norway’s largest cultural history museum. Situated at Bygdøy, a peninsula on the western side of Oslo, it is a favorite attractions among both locals and tourists. Be prepared for some authentic Norwegian beauty. The museum features 160 buildings representing the regions of Norway and showcases the difference between town and country, social classes and time periods. Walk around streets with real-size historical buildings, collected from around the country.
Inside you can find staff dressed in traditional clothes of various time periods performing activities such as beer brewing, baking lefse (Norwegian soft flat bread) or simply ready to welcome you with a story. Check their calendar for Christmas, Easter and other holiday markets and concerts.
Experts tip: This is you chance to see a stavkirke (stave church; a medieval wooden Christian church) in Oslo. There are not many left in Norway and they’re hard to find, so used your chance while you’re there!
Bygdøy, 0287 Oslo
May 15 – September 14
Every day 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
September 15 – May 14
Weekdays 11:00 am – 3:00 pm
Sat & Sun 11:00 am – 4:00 pm
130 NOK/adult, 40 NOK/children, children under 6 free, 260NOK/family (parents/grandparents with children), 100NOK/reduced (groups over 15, retired, students)
Free with Oslo Pass
Situated on the same peninsula as Norsk Folkemuseum, this museum opened its doors to the public in 1950 after the sensational Kon-Tiki expedition of 1947. This is a place to explore Thor Heyerdahl’s legacy and the famous Kon-Tiki raft that took him on his expedition across Pacific Ocean.
November – February every day 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
March – May every day 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
June – August every day 9:30 am – 6:00 pm
September – October every day 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
100 NOK/adult, 40 NOK/children, children under 6 free, 200NOK/ family (2+5), 60NOK/reduced (groups over 10, retired, students)
The museum provides a joint ticket for entrance to The Fram Museum and The Norwegian Maritime Museum.
Vikingskipshuset (Viking Ship Museum)
See the world’s best preserved Viking ship and artefacts from Viking tombs around Oslo Fjord. Just a few bus stop away from other museums on the Bygdøy peninsula, an incredible Viking age experience awaits you.
Huk Aveny 35
1 May – 30 September every day 9:00 am – 6:00 pm
1 October – 30 April every day 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
100 NOK/adult, children under 18 free, 80NOK/reduced (retired, students).
NB: with this ticket you can also visit the Museum of Cultural History – Historical Museum within 48 hours.
Take a Walk
Havnepromenaden (Harbor Walk)
Havnepromenaden or the Harbour promenade project is an approximately nine kilometre walk along the seafront of central Oslo, which opened to public in June 2015. The promenade brings the city together from east to west, from Sørenga to Bygdøy. Along the walk you’ll find large orange containers (“lighthouses”) that guide you not only through the walk, but through history as well. Havenpromenaden covers a large part of tourist sightseeing such as Tjuvholmen, Aker Brygge, Rådhuset, Akershus Festning, Opera, Bjørvika. So take a walk or ride a bike and enjoy sea breeze as you walk through the city.
Expert tip: Check this Facebook page for upcoming events along the waterfront.
One of the hidden gems of the city, this walk along the river is a true local experience. Akerselva starts at Maridalsvannet, Oslo’s largest lake. Start there if you’d like to do the full eight km hike. Otherwise, you can begin at Nydalen metro station a shorter, but no less beautiful, walk. Most of the old brick factory buildings have been turned into coffee shops, galleries, offices and apartments. Take your time and enjoy the spectacular waterfalls, old bridges and parks.
Whether you’re looking to take a walk, go dancing or have a leisurely bite; this is the place! Originally an industrial area by the river, Grünerløkka has become the trendiest district in Oslo. This area is home to independent art galleries, cool bars, microbreweries and hyped restaurants.
Islands Hopping in Oslo Fjord
Get a unique taste of Oslo life by visiting islands in the fjord. Ferries regularly departs right outside Rådhuset (City Hall) at Aker Brygge, taking passengers on a short ride and reaching one island at a time. Discover remains of a monastery from 1147 and have a picnic at a sandy beach at Hovedøya, go hiking, swimming and sunbathing at Gressholmen, admire idyllic island of Lindøya with its colorful wooden houses, enjoy the beach or even go camping at Langøyene. No matter which island you chose, an idyllic outdoor experience is guaranteed.
Ferries depart from Rådhusbrygge 4 (City Hall Pier 4). Check schedule at the pier.
Expert tip: Regular public transport tickets are valid on ferries