20 Things To Do In Oslo

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Oslo is Norway’s capital city and a must-visit Scandinavian city-break destination. The city lies on the banks of the Oslo Fjord and is surrounded by mountains making it the ideal destination to experience city life and relax in nature. The fjords, mountains and forests are all only a short drive away. In the winter, Oslo is a great base for those looking towards the mountains for skiing. Oslo is a compact city and is perfect for exploring on foot.

As a city, it is an excellent destination for all travellers with plenty of family-friendly activities, welcoming locals and many places to socialise. Oslo is particularly fond of good food, and you will find many tasty destinations to visit in the city. Mathallen Food Hall is the best destination for variety, with 33 stalls selling Norway’s best food.

The city is filled with beautiful buildings merging the ancient, for example, the 14th century Akershus Fortress, against more modern structures such as the Opera House. Immerse yourself in the city’s beauty by simply walking its streets, keeping your eyes peeled for Oslo’s beauty and capturing it on camera.

The city is also filled with various museums covering everything from history, arts and sciences and much more in between. This popular Scandinavian destination can be visited year-round, with many choosing its icy winters or warm summers as their favourite time of year to spend there. Whenever you choose to visit, here are the best things to do to in Oslo to help you immerse yourself in city life, learn about its traditions and unwind in its outstanding beauty.

Oslo, Norway

Top Tours

One of the iconic things to do in Oslo is to cruise past the Opera House.

20 Things To Do In Oslo

1- Go On A Fjord Tour

The best way to take in the beauty of Norway’s many fjords is from the water, so why not book a sightseeing cruise and enjoy the beauty of Oslo Fjord and the surrounding forests and mountains?

You will see many of Oslo’s landmarks from your vessel, including the Munch Museum, Opera House, Akershus Fortress and Dyna Lighthouse.

Many boats embarking on fjord tours are electric, so expect a quiet and relaxing trip without the noise of an engine.

Your knowledgeable onboard guide will provide you with a wealth of information on the city’s history, the importance of the fjord and the surrounding geography.

Fjord sightseeing tours often meet at City Hall Pier 4.

Recommended tours:

2- Walk on the Opera House Roof

Opera House, Oslo
Walking the Opera House roof is one of the top things to do in Oslo Norway.

Situated on the edge of the Oslo Fjord is the Opera House.

Snøhetta, an architecture firm, designed the modern and angular structure, which was first opened to the public in 2008.

The design firm wanted the structure accessible to all and included a roof terrace to create a public space where all are welcome to admire the awe-inspiring views across the city.

Inside, the foyer is bright, open and airy and features design touches, works of art and sculptures from 17 artists.

Some of these works of art spill out onto the surrounding area, including ‘She Lies’, a sculpture in the waters by Monica Bonvicini.

Oslo Opera House is at Kirsten Flagstads Pass 1, 0150 Oslo.

Recommended tour: Oslo: 24 or 48-Hour Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Bus Ticket

3- Admire The Art Collections At Munch Museum

The Munch Museum is a must-visit destination for art lovers, having been relocated from Tøyen to Norway’s capital in 2021.

The museum houses the most extensive collection of artworks by Edvard Munch and special exhibits from other influential Norwegian artists.

Munch donated his entire collection of works to Oslo shortly before he died in 1944.

The Scream, Munch’s most famous work, is housed within the museum, alongside several other iterations of the piece, including one in crayon and a lithograph.

Munch Museum is at Munch, Bjørvika, Edvard Munch Plass 1, 0194 Oslo.

Recommended tickets:

4- Discover The Secrets Of Akershus Festning

Akershus Festning
Exploring Akershus Festning is one of the things to do for couples in Oslo.

Akershus Festing, or Akershus Fortress, is a must-visit historical destination in Oslo.

King Håkon V built the castle in 1299 as a strategic fortress overlooking the waters of Oslo’s headland.

During its time as a functioning fortress, Akershus was imposing and impenetrable, having withstood many sieges.

Akershus Festning was converted into a royal palace during the late 1500s and today is open to the public on guided tours during the summer months.

Inside the fortress, each room is immaculately presented, and information on the historical significance can be gained through audio tours or by speaking to one of the knowledgeable guides.

Akershus Festning is at 0150 Oslo.

Recommended tour: Oslo: Self-Guided Mystery Tour by Akershus Fortress

5- Walk Through Vigeland Sculpture Park

The Vigeland Park In Oslo Scenic View
Exploring Vigeland Park is one of the unique things to do in Oslo.

Inside the larger Frogner Park is Vigeland Sculpture Park, a collection of more than 200 sculptures designed by Norwegian sculptor Gustav Vigeland.

The sculpture park is the largest in the world, featuring the works of one artist only and is one of Oslo’s most popular tourist destinations.

Vigeland created his sculptures using bronze or iron to cast forms or granite to carve.

The Angry Boy and The Wheel of Life are some of the sculptor’s most famous works within the park.

The park is free to enter and makes for an interesting and inspiring afternoon strolling around to try to see all 200 works of art.

Vigeland Sculpture Park is at Frognerparken, Nobels Gate 32, 0268 Oslo.

Recommended tour: Oslo: Grand City Tour and Fjord Cruise

6- Step Back In History At Kon-Tiki Museum

Visiting the Kon-Tiki Museum is a great thing to do in Oslo for those wanting to learn a little more about Norwegian history, and to uncover more about one of the country’s most famous explorers.

The museum is dedicated to Thor Heyerdahl, an explorer who crossed the Pacific Ocean on a simple balsa wood raft in 1947.

The expedition was filmed, with clips of it shown throughout the museum.

The museum’s most famous exhibit is the Kon-Tiki vessel that Heyerdahl used on his exhibition.

Other objects displayed in the museum include the explorer’s library collection, exhibitions dedicated to Heyerdahl and his work and an expansive 30ft (9.14m) replica of a cave he explored on Easter Island.

Kon-Tiki Museum is at Bygdøynesveien 36, 0286 Oslo.

Recommended tour: Oslo: Norwegian Explorers and Culture 3 Museum Tour

7- See the Royal Palace

Oslo Royal Palace and blue sky
Seeing Oslo Royal Palace is one of the things to do in Oslo.

The Royal Palace is the home to HM King Harald V and HM Queen Sonja.

Built in 1849 in the neo-classical style, the palace has been the home of Norway’s royal family ever since.

The place is at the top of Karl Johans Gate, a wide road surrounded by inviting parkland filled with trees, statues, ponds and plenty of places to sit down and enjoy the view.

Royal Palace opens some of its rooms to the public during the summer months, including the Council Chamber and the Banqueting Hall.

If you reach the palace at 1pm, watch the impressive Changing of the Guard ceremony daily outside the palace.

The Royal Palace is at Slottsplassen 1, 0010 Oslo.

Recommended tour: Oslo Discovery Tour

8- Admire Norwegian Art At The National Museum

National Art Museum In Oslo, Norway
Visiting the National Art Museum is one of the things to do in Oslo for culture vultures.

The National Museum is a beautiful building combining classical architecture with the modern, all housing a range of artworks from across the centuries.

National Museum has a range of permanent and temporary collections, including celebrations of Norwegian works of art and those from further afield.

Throughout its history, the museum has been in several locations and has undergone many expansions.

Kleihues + Schuwerk built the new museum building, which was opened in 2022, focusing on larger exhibition spaces in a more airy and bright setting, allowing the museum to show more of its works than ever.

National Museum is at Pb, 7014 St Olavs PLass, N-0130 Oslo.

Recommended tour: Oslo: Norwegian Explorers and Culture 3 Museum Tour

9- Visit The Nobel Peace Centre

Nobel Peace Center Oslo Norway
Exploring the Nobel Peace Center is one of the things to do in Oslo.

Nobel Peace Centre is a must-visit destination in Oslo for its global significance.

Nobel Peace Centre represents the Nobel Peace Prize, what it means, and the ideas it represents.

David Adjaye, a British architect, designed the centre in the former railway station.

Inside the centre is the story of Alfred Nobel, who founded the Peace Prize, a range of exhibitions on some of the prize’s previous winners, and regular changing exhibits and works.

One of the centre’s newest and permanent exhibits, due to open in August 2023, is a series of large forget-me-not flowers by art duo Petrit Jalilaj and Álvaro Urbano, which will be displayed at the entrance to the building.

Nobel Peace Centre is at Brynjulf Bulls Plass 1, 0250 Oslo.

Recommended tour: Oslo: Best of Oslo Walking Tour

10- Explore Grünerløkka

Grünerløkka is fast becoming one of the coolest areas in Oslo and worth visiting during your trip.

The streets are filled with cosy cafes, plenty of restaurants offering outdoor seating in the summer and a pleasant riverside location that is perfect for strolling along year-round.

Grünerløkka is the former farmers’ district of Oslo but now is home to many independent shops and boutiques.

After grabbing a coffee and a bite to eat, stroll through one of the area’s many parks or visit open of its museums and galleries.

Grünerløkka is an area of Oslo close to the Akerselva River.

Recommended tour: Oslo Highlights 3-Hour Bike Tour

11- Wander Around Astrup Fearnley Museum

Astrup Fearnley Museum Of Modern Art In Oslo, Norway
Visiting Astrup Fearnley Museum is one of things to do in Oslo Norway.

First opened in 1993, Astrup Fearnley Museum is an extensive collection of contemporary art.

The descendants of Thomas Fearnley, a romantic painter from the early 1800s, founded the museum.

The works displayed are primarily from the Astrup Fearnley Collection and include pieces by Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons and Trisha Donnelly.

The museum regularly changes its temporary exhibits and provides guided tours of new collections, offering a detailed insight into the works of art, the meaning behind the pieces and how the artist created them.

Astrup Fearnley Museum Strandpromenaden 2, 0252 Oslo.

Recommended tour: Oslo: Norwegian Explorers and Culture 3 Museum Tour

12- Discover History At Norsk Folkemuseum

Learn more about Norway’s history at the open-air Norsk Folkemuseum.

The museum is a vast collection of 160 buildings from across Norway, dating from different periods, before being transported and rebuilt in one site.

While walking around the museum, look out for the Gol Stave Church, which dates from the 1200s.

Inside, the buildings are set up to reflect the period in which they were built, with some dedicated to smaller exhibits on folk art and Sami culture.

The museum hosts many events throughout the year, including a Midsummer festival and folk dancing classes.

Norsk Folkemuseum is at Museumsveien 10, Bygdøy, 0287 Oslo.

Recommended tour: Oslo: Norwegian Explorers and Culture 3 Museum Tour

13- Stroll Along Karl Johans Gate

People On Warm Day At Karl Johans Gate Oslo
Exploring Karl Johans Gate is one of the free things to do in Oslo.

Karl Johans Gate is one of the most famous streets in Norway, extending from the central train station to the Royal Palace.

The street is perfect for exploring on foot and is a bustling and popular destination for locals and tourists year-round.

There are many shops, restaurants and cafes lining the streets, and street performers and buskers to entertain passers-by.

The street changes as you walk closer to the palace, with more greenery, ponds and parks appearing alongside some of the most famous buildings in the city, including the National Theatre.

Karl Johans Gate runs between Central Station and Royal Palace.

Recommended tour: Oslo: Street Food Culture Walking Tour

14- Find Tranquility At Botanisk Hage

Botanisk Hage is the University of Oslo’s botanical garden, a tranquil and beautiful oasis.

More than 1800 plants are in the arboretum area, with trees and shrubs planted from various countries and climates.

Inside the botanical garden is are two beautiful glass houses, both dating from the 1800s.

The Victoria House, one of the two glasshouses, has a range of exotic plants from around the globe.

The Scent Garden is one of the best garden areas, particularly if you are travelling with anyone with an impairment.

The Scent Garden has been designed to accommodate every kind of visitor with various accessibility options and plenty of interactive elements.

Botanisk Hage is at Sars’ Gate 1, 0562 Oslo.

Recommended tour: Oslo Nature Walks: Island Hopping Tour

15- Taste Your Way Around The World At Vippa

If you are unsure where to dine, you are bound to find a tasty meal at Vippa, an excellent local food market on the Oslo Fjord.

While Vippa does not offer the vast scale of Mathallen Food Hall, they pride themselves on providing customers with local foods that are sustainably sourced.

The building houses 11 food stands that do occasionally change with the seasons.

Each food stand offered by Vippa has interesting concepts and provides dishes from around the world.

Enjoy fresh, sustainable and local seafood at Fra Dypet, authentic Chinese noodles made daily by hand at Kinakål or indulge in delicious, flavourful and organic Syrian street food dishes at Aleppo Bahebek.

Vippa is at Akershusstranda 25, 0150 Oslo.

16- Enjoy A Michelin-starred meal at Maaem

Splurge on a delicious meal focusing on the dining experience at the three Michelin-starred restaurant Maaem.

Maaem is an exclusive dining experience, with tables needing to be booked more than 2 months in advance.

Maaem offers a seasonal tasting menu with additional wine and juice pairings and a prestige wine selection for those wanting the ultimate luxury dining experience.

The dishes are exquisitely presented and numerous, consisting of single delicious bites.

Maaem is at Dronning Eufemias Gate 23, 0194 Oslo.

17- Walk Through Ekebergparken

Ekebergparken is another of Oslo’s excellent sculpture parks.

The park is also a national heritage park as inside its boundaries are rock carvings dating back to the Stone Age, ruins of ancient buildings and even a cemetery from 900-400BC.

The sculptures in the park include works from Damien Hurst, Roni Horn and Sarah Lucas.

For those wanting more than just a wander through a beautiful park, there are guided tours that offer visitors an extensive exploration into many of the parks’ sculptures and the area’s history.

Ekebergparken is at Kongsveien 23, 0193.

If you like art installations, you may also like to see The Rose Castle.

18- Explore The Holmenkollen Ski Museum and Tower

Experience the unique design, incredible city, and fjord views from the unique Holmenkollen Ski Museum and Tower.

Visitors can climb to the top of the ski jump hill for some of the best views over the city, including unbroken panoramas.

Adding to the thrill of the site, a ski simulator is available where visitors can experience a ski jump without the danger.

If you are visiting when a skiing competition is on, more than 70,000 seats are available to accommodate you alongside the jump itself.

Holmenkollen Ski Museum and Tower is at Kongeveien 5, 0787 Oslo.

Recommended tour: Oslo: Day Pass for Downhill Skiing at SNØ Ski Dome

19- Visit the market at Blå

There is no better place in Oslo to pick up unique souvenirs than the Sunday Market in Blå.

Every Sunday, the market is held on the streets of Blå, with many sellers offering vintage and antique items.

Some stalls sell handmade crafts such as soaps, paintings, ceramics and jewellery.

There are plenty of places to eat or for a drink, as every Sunday, a range of street food vendors pitch up in the market.

Blå is an artist hotspot, so pack your camera and snap some pictures of the local street art.

Blå Market is at Brenneriveien 9C, 0182 Oslo.

20- Take a dip at Sørenga Seawater Pool

Sørenga is another of Oslo’s trendy neighbourhoods, however, its biggest draw is its seawater pool.

The pool is filled with natural seawater flowing from the Oslo Fjord and also includes access to a swimming pool, smaller pools for children and a beach area that is open throughout the summer.

Despite the chilly temperatures in winter, the pool is open year-round, with many locals enjoying an icy dip in the cold waters after spending some time in the sauna.

After your swim, head into Sørenga and enjoy its many harbourfront cafes and restaurants, all with beautiful views over the water.

Sørenga Seawater Pool is at 0194 Oslo.

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sarah holmes travel writer
Sarah Holmes is a travel and fashion writer living in the heart of England. From family adventures in numerous parts of the UK and Europe to exploring cities as an adult, Sarah has a wide knowledge of the best areas, sights and local tips that the UK and the neighbouring continent can offer. Sarah grew up in the North East of England, with incredible sights and landmarks only a short drive away. Her favourite places to visit include Seaham Beach, the Lake District and Alnwick Castle. Sarah has written for a range of fashion and travel blogs and print publications.