Oslo is Norway’s capital city. Located in the East of the country, it is a trendy and cosmopolitan city with many things to do and see. Oslo is the third-largest city in Scandinavia and one of Europe’s greenest cities.
The city is surrounded by lush nature and green spaces, and you’re never far from magnificent fjords, mountains with amazing walking trails, and deep valleys. Visiting Oslo also means refined cultural attractions such as one of Scandinavia’s most iconic modern buildings, the Oslo Opera House.
How to Get to Oslo?
Before we get into the list, did you know that Norway’s capital is extremely well-connected by an extensive network of bus routes running all over Scandinavia and the four corners of Norway? Taking the bus in Norway and Scandinavia is the greenest and cheapest mode of transportation. You can easily get to and from cities in Sweden and Denmark with renowned bus companies such as Europe’s green giant, Flixbus, and Scandinavia’s leading bus operator, Vy (Nettbuss).
You’ll be able to take a bus Copenhagen Oslo for as little as $29. If you’re arriving from Sweden or wish to travel to Sweden after, you’re in luck. You can reach Norway by bus from Stockholm or take the bus from Gothenburg to Oslo with tickets starting at $29 and $17 respectively.
Now that you know how to get to Norway and get around the country, let’s explore the best things to do in Oslo Norway!
1. Frogner Park & Vigeland – FREE
Frogner Park is a massive public park located in the borough of Frogner in Oslo. The park holds the world-famous Vigeland installation, the world’s largest sculpture park with pieces by the same artist, Gustav Vigeland. Frogner Park is known for its well-manicured lawns and architectural outline. The park’s entry is fully free and is open 24 hours a day.
Locals and tourists alike flock to the park to enjoy a picnic, sunbathe, or simply relax outdoors. Since it is one of the top things to do in Oslo, it can get very crowded, especially when the weather is nice.
The Vigeland installation holds more than 200 sculptures in bronze, granite, and cast iron arranged in five distinct areas: the Main Gate, the Wheel of Life, the Fountain, the Monolith Plateau, and the Bridge. You can easily get to the park with tram No. 12 or the No. 2
2. Oslo Opera House – FREE
Completed in 2007, the stunning Oslo Opera House is quite the sight. Inspired by icebergs, architecture enthusiasts will not want to miss this landmark. Not only is this building beautiful, it also offers incredible city views from its vantage point.
Music lovers will also rejoice with one of the best programs in Europe. Visiting the outside of the Opera House is free, while an indoor tour costs just short of $15. Tickets to music performances vary depending on the program.
The grounds of the opera are open 24 hours a day, while English tours are held Sunday through Friday at 1 pm. To get to the venue, travelers can take one of several buses to the Tollboden stop, ride the No. 17 tram to the Bjørvika station, or simply walk there!
3. Bygdøy Peninsula
You can easily spend a full day on the Bygdøy peninsula. Located just west of central Oslo, this green haven is home to no less than five state-of-the-art museums as well as beautiful green spaces and beaches. If you’re in town during the summer, don’t hesitate to join the locals and take a dip.
The peninsula also has coastal and countryside trails to walk or cycle, making it the perfect day trip from the center of Oslo.
You can easily get there from central Oslo in 20 minutes by taking bus no. 30 from the central station or bus terminal, or hop on a boat from Pier 3, located near the City Hall.
4. Aker Brygge – FREE
Aker Brygge is a new, stylish waterfront development for shopping and eating. This old shipyard has been repurposed to offer one of the best dining areas in town. In the summertime, there are over 2,500 outdoor seats right by the water while local shops serve up some amazing seafood.
Take the steps down to the fjord and relax by watching the maritime traffic slowly cruising down the Oslo fjord from Pier 3 and the marina.
The access to Aker Brygge is completely free. You can take bus No. 81 or many tram lines to Nationaltheatret stasjon and then walk towards the water!
5. Royal Palace – FREE
The Royal Palace draws people from all over the world with its imposing structure. Located at the western end of the Karl Johans gate, the Royal Palace is the official residence of Norway’s king. You can get very close to the palace and its grounds are free to explore 24 hours a day.
If you wish to have a guided tour, you can buy tickets online. Be sure to buy your tickets in advance, as they sell out pretty quickly. Tickets cost about $16 and tours are offered both in English and Norwegian.
6. Island hop around the Oslo Fjord
The Oslo Fjord is the main waterway around Norway’s capital. Not as narrow as the world-renowned fjords of Norway’s west coast, but with its many islands and easy access from Oslo, it is one of the most visited. From Aker Brygge, you can hop on a ferry that will take you around the many islands of the Oslo Fjord. If you’re visiting in the summer, you can bring a swimsuit and take a dip in the fjord.
The islands of the Oslo Fjord offer many beaches, hiking trails, and sites of cultural heritage. We recommend a trip to Langøyene island. With its big beach, shops, volleyball courts, football field, and many hiking trails, you can easily spend a full day on this island.
7. Oslo City Hall – FREE
The Oslo City Hall annually hosts the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony. The building’s particular architecture can be easily recognized with its two towers and brick facade, including a carillion that plays on the hour.
The entrance to the City Hall is completely free. We recommend taking a peek inside, as some travelers have mixed feelings about the somber facade of the building. The inside is much more welcoming with multiple works of Norwegian art depicting the country’s rich history. On Sundays, you can also attend a carillion concert for free.
8. Nobel Peace Centre
Now that you’ve visited the City Hall, the building that hosts the yearly Nobel Peace Prize ceremony, head over to the Nobel Peace Centre to get to know more about past winners of one of the world’s most coveted award.
The Centre hosts exhibitions representing the works of past winners as well as permanent exhibitions about Alfred Nobel himself and the institution that is the Nobel prizes.
The entry to the Centre costs around $13 per person. It is open every day between 10 am and 6 pm during the Summer season (April 29 to September 30) and closed on Mondays during the Winter season (October 1 to April 28).
9. Holmenkollen Ski Jump
Norway’s skiing tradition is deeply rooted in its history. Visiting the Holmenkollen Ski Jump & Museum will not only make you escape the bustle and hustle of downtown Oslo, it will also surprise you with its informative exhibitions and amazing grounds.
The Holmenkollen jump has been staging ski jumping competitions since 1892. The ski jumping events of the Winter Olympics were held here in 1952 and four World Ski Championships have taken place at this location. You can climb up to the top of the jump to an observation deck that looks over Oslo and its fjord. For adventure lovers, you can also try your hand a zip-lining.
Entry to the ski museum costs around $17, while guided tours and the zip line are extra. The grounds are open daily from 10 a.m. until 4, 5 or 8 p.m., depending on the month. You can get there with Line 1 of the T-bane to Holmenkollen station and then walk to the jump.
10. Akershus Fortress – Free
Overlooking the Oslo Fjord in downtown Oslo, the Akershus Fortress has been standing tall for over 700 years. The fortress grounds are one of the best vantage points to admire Oslo’s beautiful waterways, while its castle-like structure is quite the sight.
You can freely walk around the fortress from 7 am to 9 pm, while the on-site museum and gift store cost extra to enter.
It’s a wrap for the top things to do in Oslo! Once you’re done exploring the capital, hop on a bus to Norway’s wild west coast to visit some of the most beautiful Norwegian fjords.