The Best Places to Visit in Oslo
Norway’s capital, Oslo, is a city unlike any other; a cosmopolitan hub buzzing with energy which still manages to stay close to nature. With plenty of museums, stunning architecture, cutting-edge food, and an established fashion and art scene, it should definitely be on your travel bucket list.
Oslo’s compact city centre makes it ideal for exploring by bike or on foot, and its efficient public transport system means you’ll have no problem getting to all the best sites.
Here are some of the best tourist sights you should add to your Oslo travel itinerary:
1. Vigeland Sculpture Park (Vigelandsparken)
Situated within Frogner Park, this sculpture park is the largest in the world made by a single artist. With more than 200 sculptures by Gustav Vigeland in bronze, cast iron, and granite, the collection is undoubtedly impressive.
Although the type of statues on display vary greatly, they are all naked. Vigeland wished to emphasize that they could “be anyone, anywhere, at any time”, and felt no desire to define traits such as religion or nationality. On a nice day, this becomes the go-to picnic spot for locals and tourists alike.
2. National Opera House (Operahuset)
Just 500 metres from the central station (Oslo S), this architectural masterpiece is considered to be the pride of the city. Sitting at the water’s edge in the harbour, it has an angled, white exterior with large-scale windows which allow a glimpse inside. In fact, it looks like the building is mysteriously rising up from the water.
There is a restaurant in the lobby and visitors are encouraged to take a stroll on the roof, which offers great views over the city as well as the Oslo fjord.
3. The Viking Ship Museum (Vikingskipshuset)
For a true Viking Age experience, head to the Viking Ship Museum on the Bygdøy peninsula. It’s home to the world’s best preserved Viking ships and showcases artefacts found in Viking tombs around the Oslo fjord.
You can also explore discoveries from the Gokstad, Oseberg, and Tune ships, as well as a variety of items such as small boats, tools, and eating utensils. As a bonus, you can use your ticket to enter the Historical Museum for free within 24 hours of your visit.
4. Holmenkollen Ski Museum & Ski Jump
The Holmenkollen neighbourhood is located on a hill on the Northwestern side of the city at 375 metres above sea level. It’s easily accessed by subway and offers excellent views over Oslo.
The Ski Museum is underneath the famous ski jump and presents over 4.000 years of skiing history. It also showcases an extensive collection of Norwegian polar exploration artefacts, as well as a modern skiing and snowboarding exhibition.
Head to the observation deck on top of the jump for panoramic views over the city, which are particularly spectacular at night.
5. Akershus Fortress (Akershus Festning)
Rising above the city on a hill, visit the Akershus Fortress and Castle to discover some of Oslo’s rich history and enjoy a nice walk with great views. Guided tours are available during the summer.
Its history dates back to 1299 and was commenced under King Håkon V. It was modernised in the 17th century under the rule of King Christian IV and turned into a Renaissance palace, but the front still remains medieval.
6. Norsk Folkemuseum
Vsit one of the world’s oldest and largest open-air museums to experience Norway’s rich cultural history. Also on the Bygdøy peninsula, the Norsk Folkemuseum features real-sized historical buildings which represent the different regions of the country.
Staff are dressed in traditional clothes from various time periods and demonstrate activities such as brewing beer and baking lefse with plenty of storytelling. It’s one of the best places to see a traditional Stavkirke, a medieval wooden Christian church dating back to the year 1200.
There are also indoor exhibitions featuring traditional handicraft items, folk costumes, and pharmaceutical history. In the summer, they offer extra activities such as feeding animals and horse and carriage rides.
7. National Gallery (Nasjonalmuseet)
Established in 1837, Oslo’s National Museum houses the largest collection of paintings, drawings, and sculptures in Norway. Its permanent collection features some of Edvard Munch’s most famous paintings, including “Scream”, and they also have impressive temporary collections.
As well as national artists, you can take in pieces by famous European artists such as Gauguin, Picasso, and Manet. For an enchanting experience, head to the Fairy Tale Room which features art depicting princesses, trolls, and other magical creatures.
8. TusenFryd Amusement Park
The park is open from mid April through to September and located 30 minutes south of Oslo, so if you fancy doing something different, hop on a bus and spend the day having fun.
TusenFryd is Norway’s largest amusement park, and with over 30 attractions which cater to all ages, there’s something for everyone. Entrance also includes access to a small water park.
By Cal Bailey
Looking to book a trip to Oslo? The following websites are recommended: