The Bare Traveller

Unmissable things to do in Oslo

Top things to do in Oslo

A visit to Oslo can be done in the context of being in southern Norway, or as a separate excursion around the city. When you start planning a trip to Oslo, the question of what to do in Oslo quickly comes to mind. 

In general, relatively little is known about the Norwegian capital until we are interested. 

Elf with a Norway Flag Shop at Oslo Shop

After staying and experiencing Oslo, I will share with you the things to do in this article. Whether it is Oslo’s main attractions, museums or main events.

What to do in Oslo?

1) Viking Ship Museum (VIKINGSKIPSHUSET)

This venue displays only 3 ships in this very sober museum, but what a beauty. It has been found in excavations at Tune, Gokstad and Oseberg, which are over a thousand years old. 

They were used by exiled Vikings to travel to Iceland and Greenland, failed attempts to colonize America across the North Sea, and entered the Mediterranean into Istanbul for trade or blood raids.

Viking Ship Museum Oslo

Oseberg’s largest and best-preserved ship was the tomb of the Viking Queen.

Viking Ship Museum Oslo - Dragon Head

In this museum, the displays are very unique, such as this terrifying dragon’s head, the astonishing seal engraved with Buddha testifying to trade with the Asians, and a richly carved wagon depicting Gunnar in a non-existent snake pit.

When you visit, don’t miss the video projection on the wall regarding the history of Norway and the vikings. The duration of the projection is about 5 minutes.

Entrance fee: 40 NOK

Location: This museum is located on Bygdøy peninsula to get there, hop on a ferry to Bygdoyes from Ferger til øyene / Oslobåtene and will cost you 100 NOK.

2) Ekebergparken

Ekebergparken park is within a short tram ride from Oslo city center. It uniquely combines a long history, majestic nature, majestic views and amazing sculptures.

Artwork in the park has been created by internationally renowned artists such as Louise Bourgeois, James Terrell, Dan Graham, Sarah Lucas, Damien Hirst and Roni Horn.

EkebergParken - Oslo

In addition to works of art, you’ll find Oslo’s rich past, with cave paintings, the ruins of stone age buildings, and tombs from around 900-400 BC.

Anatomy of an Angel Ekebergparken Oslo

The Park is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and admission is free.

3) The Bonze tiger - Central Station

Sitting in front of the train station, the 4.5-metre-long bronze tiger is one of Oslo’s most photographed “residents”. 

This Tiger which was designed by Helena Engelsen, was given as a gift to celebrate Oslo’s millennium in 2000 and now is standing just outside of Oslo Central station in the main square.

Oslo Sentralstasjon

The reason why the city of Oslo chose a Tiger is because, as most Norwegians know, one of the city’s nickname is Tigerstaden (“City of Tigers”).

Nowadays, this name doesn’t necessarily have a negative connotation. Tiger City can be interesting and trendy, but not dangerous.

4) Oslo Royal Palace

The Royal Palace of Oslo is the residence of the Norwegian royal family and one of the main landmarks of Oslo. It’s nice to visit Oslo Royal Palace from the outside, however a visit of the inside is only possible from June to August.

The construction of the royal palace was completed in the mid-19th century and became a royal residence. 

Designed by architect Hans Linstow, the Royal Palace of Oslo has a chapel, a ballroom, a throne room and the famous “Bird Room”. 

In addition, the entire interior is adorned with paintings by renowned Norwegian artists. At the entrance to the palace is the equestrian statue of King Charles XIV of Sweden and Norway.

Oslo Royal Palace

Not only can you visit the royal palace of Oslo, but you can also take a walk in the surrounding gardens. It is open to the public from mid-May to October.

Built in 1840, these gardens are famous for their magnificent trees and sculptures of important Norwegian historical figures.

One of the main attractions of this mansion is the change of guards. His Royal Highness guards march for 40 minutes daily at 1:30pm. The Walk begins 30 minutes before at the Akershus Citadel.

Therefore, you can follow the parade when you are in this area. From this point, Kirkegaten’s Royal guard will move to Royal Palace’s Karl Johans Gate.

Location: 1 Slottsplassen.

Opening Hours: Every Day from 10AM to 5PM. Guided tours in English are available every day from 12PM to 4PM. 

Price: 140 Kr for Adults, 110 Kr for kids and students and Free for infants and people with a disability. 

How to get to the Oslo Royal palace by Public transport? 

Take the Tram or Bus and stop at either Nationaltheatret or Slottsparken.

5) Vigeland Sculpture Park

Visited by over a million people each year, the park is one of Norway’s main attractions. 

It features the lifetime work of sculptor Gustav Vigeland (1869-1943), along with more than 200 sculptures in bronze, granite and wrought iron. Vigeland also conceived and designed the architecture of the park. 

Sinnataggen (The Angry Statue) in Vigeland Park
Statue at Vigeland Sculpture Park

The Angry Boy Statue (Sinnataggen in Norwegian) is one of the most famous sculptures in Vigeland Park, along with the Monolitten and Livshjulet. Also, the Park is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

6) Jul i Vinterland

If you visit Oslo around the christmas season. I recommend visiting Oslo Christmas Market, featuring over 80 vendors offering crafts, traditional items, decorations and more!

Jul I Vinterland will immerse you in the magic of Christmas in the heart of Oslo around the Spikersuppa rink on Karl Johans Street.

Jul i Vinterland Oslo

Additionally, at the traditional Christmas market, where you can find local specialties such as valfers, gløggs, little Christmas cookies and other traditional Christmas items, the whole family can participate in a variety of Christmas activities.

Jul i Vinterland Moose, Oslo

When I visited, I enjoyed a very festive atmosphere. Don’t miss the moose Alfred talking to another moose in Norwegian. I obviously didn’t understand what those two were telling each other, but it sounded funny to locals.   

7) Oslo Fjord

If you want to visit the natural wonders of Oslo over the weekend, just look at the city’s harbor. Seeing Oslo from the water gives you a whole new perspective on the city. Not to mention great photo opportunities. Oslo Fjord is a great place to visit in Oslo in 48 hours. 

The easiest way to get to the fjord is to find a boat at Pier 3 and board it. It is near the city hall. Many sightseeing fjord cruises can also be booked online.

Oslo Harbour

Of course, you’ll have to travel further to Norway to see the more impressive mountain views of the fjords.

8) Heidis Bier Bar Oslo

Heidi’s Bier Bar in Oslo is a must see. I you want to party in a cool place. This place offers a year-round Oktoberfest. 

This venue offers a huge selection of beer towers,  bottled craft beers, and exceptional beer parties for beer lovers.

Address: Fridtjof Nansens plass 8, 0160 Oslo, Norway

Website: heidisbierbar.no/byer/oslo/ 

9) Folk Museum

This Oslo museum is one of the most popular museums in the city due to its character. It is truly a collection of typical Norwegian buildings repatriated from several villages in the Norwegian countryside. 

As you walk through the village of you will find buildings such as churches, farms, gas stations, houses, etc., as well as a collection of artifacts from different eras and all regions of Norway.

Folk Museum_Oslo

This Norwegian Folklore Museum in Oslo is on the Bygdøy Peninsula. The easiest way is to take the ferry from the pier near Oslo City Hall.

10) FRAM Maritime Museum (Frammuseet)

Along other museums on the Bygdoy Peninsula in Oslo, the Fram Museum invites visitors to explore the seas. 

Used during several expeditions, you can board the sturdy ship Fram, known for sailing in the polar regions.

FRAM Maritime Museum (Frammuseet)

Opened on May 20, 1936, the museum tells the adventures of explorers Fridtjof Nansen, Otto Sverdrup and Roald Amundsen during their polar expeditions.

Norway’s pride, Fram Museum, provides written testimony to the harsh transport conditions in Poland, the Arctic and Antarctica, along with black and white photos.

11) Oslo Opera House

Opened in 2008, this massive building is in the heart of Bjørvik Bay and appears on every postcard today. If you enjoy walking on the roof of this giant, considered to be the locals Terrace and offering 360-degree views of the city and fjords, going backstage is also very exciting! 

The opera actually consists of the Norwegian National Opera, the Norwegian National Ballet, the Norwegian National Orchestra and the Norwegian National Opera Choir. The corridors of the huge buildings are bustling with many people. 

Part of its wings are partially left in the visitor’s overall view through the large windows on the ground floor: rehearsal rooms, making costumes and decorations, etc. 

Oslo Opera House

The opera is a very rich program, divided into three levels: the main bedroom, the second bedroom and the studio. The roof is even used as a stage for some concerts. In addition to seating available to the public, the building and retrofitted equipment allow you to design your show from start to finish inside the building. 

This tour will take you behind the scenes in this enchanting world of the Oslo Opera House. If you are only planning to see a few places in Oslo, this is one of them. 

So cold and marbled but very warm, with its honey-coloured cylinders overlooking the fjord, its architecture makes us dream and takes us elsewhere.

12) Take a Picture next to the Statues of Roald Amundsen and his crew

Just 100 years after the Norwegian Antarctic expedition arrived in Antarctica on December 14, 2011, HM King Harald unveiled this bronze and granite monument.

Members of the expedition included Roald Amundsen, Olaf Vialand, Helmer Hansen, Sverre Hassel and Oscar Wisting. The sculpture by Håkon Anton Fagerås is a figurative adaptation of all five explorers who have reached Antarctica. 

Statues of the Norwegian fisherman of old stand watch over the Oslo bay

Now they are looking down on the Oslofjord. All sculptures have a realistic look and share what Aftenposten art critic Lotte Sandberg describes as “quality documentary.”

The monument is very popular with visitors and is probably one of the most photographed landmarks in Bygdøynes.

Location: N 59° 54.165 E 010° 41.967

13) Hang out at the Akker Brygge Marina

On the banks of the Oslofjord, this former shipyard is now a popular pastime, shop and restaurant.

Aker Brygge is a lively marina with over 60 shops, attractions, restaurants, bars and luxurious apartments. For over a century, Aker Brygge was one of Norway’s largest shipyards.

Akker Brygge Marina Oslo

The wharf was refurbished after the shipyard was closed in 1982. Today, old workshops have most of the district’s shops, with more than 12 million visitors annually. Here you will find men’s and women’s clothing, jewelry, delicatessen shop boutiques, cosmetologists and cosmetologists.

Take a walk along the promenade and be amazed by the acrobatics and magic tricks of traveling artists.

During the break, watch the boats moored at the marina and photograph the Aker Brygge monument as an “eternal flame of peace” that burns in all weather conditions.

Statue at Akker Brygge Marina

Relax with a drink or a meal at one of the floating restaurants and enjoy views of the harbor and the medieval Akershus fortress. Bypass the Fine Arts Gallery and find gorgeous oil paintings and other watercolors.

The Dock hosts major public events throughout the year, including the Oslo Wine Festival and midsummer celebrations.

Aker Brygge is located in the Oslofjord near the City Hall. The area is very well accessible by public transport such as trains, trams, buses and boats.

The Aker Brygge facility is open daily on Sundays and bank holidays, including January 1st and May 17th, Constitution Day and Norwegian National Foundation Day. Access to the platform is free.

14) The Storting (STORTINGET)

It is an old yellow brick building built in 1866. The interior is ornately decorated. There is a famous painting by Oskar Wergeland of the signing of the Constitution, a picture reproduced in all history textbooks.

Oslo Parliament Building

Guided tours in English are available in summer from 10:00 to 11:30 on weekdays and Saturdays in winter.

15) St Olav Catholic Church

This Dominican convent was built in 1216 of stone, but brick was the predominant material during the renovation in 1300, its aesthetic was subsequently modified. 

After the Reformation of 1537, the east wing of the structure became the residence of the Lutheran pastor in charge of the monastery.

St Olav's Catholic Church Oslo

Unfortunately there isn’t much to see, but this is one of the few ruins of the original Oslo. A few meters further, two other monuments are also worth seeing.

16) Take a Train to Stockholm from Oslo Central Station

If you are in Oslo and want to continue your Scandinavian tour, I recommend getting on a train to Stockholm. The journey lasts for about 5 hours and will take you through the remote areas of both Norway and Sweden.

Oslo Central Train Station - Train to Stockholm

I personally visited Scandinavia in winter, and I enjoyed both countries landscapes, frozen lakes and littles towns covered in snow. 

The ticket costs around 465 SEK. All info can be found here: Train to Stockholm

Final Thoughts

Visiting Oslo is easy to do from almost anywhere in Europe and is one of the most beautiful and interesting trips you can take.

Visiting Oslo, Norway’s captivating capital city, is one of the best ways to experience Scandinavia’s most distinct and progressive culture.

The Bare Traveller