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Do you think Norway is all about the Northern Lights and the Lofoten Islands? If yes, its capital, located on the shores of a fjord, might surprise you. Although ranked among the most expensive in the world, this elegant and futuristic city has a multitude of places to discover and a bustling cultural scene. In this article, we reveal the 10 must-do things in Oslo.
🏔️ Looking for the most beautiful fjords? It’s difficult to visit Norway without seeing the magnificent arms of water surrounded by mountains. It might even be the primary reason for your trip. Here are, in our opinion, the most beautiful fjords in the country.
🗒️ What you need to know before your trip to Oslo
Before we begin our list of must-do things in Oslo, here are some tips for your next trip.
When should you go to Oslo?
As for any beautiful city in Scandinavia, Oslo shines brightest at the end-of-year celebrations, between the snow and its beautiful Christmas lights. But if you want to take advantage of all its attractions, and visit famous West Fjords, it is better to go there in the heart of summer – June, July, and August. In addition to temperatures exceeding 15 degrees, you can enjoy the many festivals, including music ones, held there.
How should you dress in Oslo?
No matter what time of year you visit Oslo, take a good sweater. Even in the middle of summer, it will be handy in the evenings. Also consider a good waterproof coat for rain and gusts of wind. Obviously, if you visit in winter, you will need a very warm down jacket, good socks, and very warm, waterproof shoes – hiking is the best way to discover the rest of the country. Hat and gloves mandatory, of course.
How do you get from Oslo to the Westfjords?
Well, to begin with, and as said at the beginning, Oslo is itself located on a fjord (read more below). This is not a very small one: it extends over nearly 100 kilometres and hosts a beautiful variety of islands. But if you want to visit the West Fjords, Bergen is the ideal base. No car? The train will take you there in about six or seven hours, taking you through sublime landscapes. You can also opt for the plane, but you will save little time and spend a lot more money – we have also found a site that will change your mind about train travel.
Which hotel should you choose in Oslo?
Oslo is not lacking in modern hotels, but the prices are quite high (as with everything in the city). If you like colour and comfort, take a look at the Thon Hotel Storo. It is located close to the main attractions of the city and has a fitness centre to relax at during your stay.
For more luxury, the Grand Hotel Oslo By Scandic will welcome you in a contemporary and refined setting. What’s more, it is located just a few tens of meters from the Town Hall. The price of the rooms are proportionate with the services offered in this establishment, which also has a swimming pool and a bar on its roof.
For a hotel that’s just as central but cheaper than the first two, you can opt for the Saga Hotel Oslo Central. With half-Scandinavian, half-industrial decor, it will appeal to many visitors, and it is quite well located, not far from the central station.
🔝 Top 10 things to do in Oslo
Now let’s get to the heart of your Norwegian getaway. Without further ado, here is our selection of unmissable things to do in Oslo.
Oslo highlights its history, and in particular its heritage of navigators, through various museums scattered around the city. You can visit:
The Viking Ship Museum | Presenting 9th century longships. | More information
The Fram Museum | Focused on polar expeditions. | More information
The Kon-Tiki Museum | Dedicated to the adventurer Thor Heyerdahl and his expeditions. | More information
The Norwegian Naval Museum | Devoted to the general history of the navy. | More information
Explore the Royal Palace in Oslo
If you visit Oslo in the summer, you won’t have time to get bored. Take a guided tour of the Royal Palace in Oslo, for just a few kroner. Discover the majestic reception rooms, small lounges, and banquet halls.
Assault the citadel of Akershus
Among the must-do things in Oslo is, of course, a visit to the Akershus Citadel. This is a medieval castle, built around 1290 to protect the city. The building also contains the tombs of the last rulers of Norway. Although many parts of the citadel are not open to the public, a walk around the enclosure and a stop to admire the view of the city will surely satisfy you.
Admire The Scream, by Edvard Munch
Are you a fan of art? You will not be disappointed by Oslo. In its National Gallery, you can discover the famous painting The Scream by Edvard Munch, as well as a vast collection of Norwegian paintings, drawings, and sculptures.
Discover the Munch Museum
You can even discover the life and work of Norway’s most famous artist, Edvard Munch. This is also where the famous theft of The Scream,which we told you about earlier, took place.
Stroll through Frogner Park
Looking to relax? There’s nothing better than a walk in Frogner Park. This is the largest green space in the centre of the Norwegian capital, which is taken over by locals when the weather is good. It also houses the largest rose garden in the country and a restaurant in the summer.
🌌 Full eyes. Want to know where, when, and how to see the Northern Lights in Norway? Then this little guide is for you.
Take a tour of the Oslo Spektrum
You cannot go to Oslo without visiting the Oslo Spektrum. This amazing stadium is where major events in the city take place. However, you must schedule your visit and book in advance. Find out more here .
Explore the Oslo Fjord
Once in Oslo, you must explore the small islands the capital is famous for.The detour will delight you, with the sparkling blue waters. Many of the city’s ferry companies offer excursions at a relatively affordable price and there are also the traditional ferries to go from island to island. In the video below, we present three fjords that we love.
Spend a magical evening at the Oslo Opera House
A visit to the Opera House (inaugurated in 2008) where Norway’s national ballet is housed has to be on our selection of unmissable things to do in Oslo. In addition to the performances (the list is here), the Opera offers you pretty views of the fjord. There are guided tours available in English or Norwegian.
Getting to the Aker Brygge area
Taking a tour of Oslo also means visiting its neighbourhoods, including Aker Brygge. This district is built around an abandoned shipyard, which gives it an amazing, distinctive architecture. It is also a popular place for shopping. Neighbouring, you will find the district of Tjuvholmen, known for its many art galleries.
There you have it, our top 10 things to do in Oslo are complete. But if you have other ideas, do not hesitate to share them in comments. Thanks in advance!