10 things to do and see in Oslo

A complete and detailed guide about 10 things to do and see in Oslo in 1, 2 or 3 days

10 things to do and see in Oslo
10 things to do and see in Oslo

Oslo is a must- see city with its natural reserves, beautiful parks and green spaces. The capital of Norway is situated between the Oslo Fjord and the green hills with so many woods that  in 2007 it was named the second city more green and eco- friendly that the others.

Taking a walk  in the city center you’ll need a few steps to find a nice park where you can relax and in just 10 minutes by boat, you’ll discover the beautiful beaches of the Oslo Fjord. The capital of Norway is also rich of attractions, museums, art galleries and shops. And remember: you can’t leave Oslo without having first met its painter, Edvard Munch. The paintings of this tormented genius  are exposed at the Munch Museum and the National Gallery. To admire the artistic sense of this city you don’t have to enter in  a museum: the Vigeland Park is one of the most popular tourist destinations of Oslo and offers 212 statues of the sculptor Gustav Vigeland. Here we suggest you 10 things  to do and see  in this city !

If you are looking for a hotel in Oslo, we suggest you to choose among those offered by Booking.com. There are about 320 hotels with prices, pictures and comments of guests already stayed there. Go to Booking.com

The Akershus Castle in Oslo

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Located on the hill overlooking the Oslo Fjord, the Akershus fortress is the main architectural symbol of the Norwegian capital. It was built under the reign of Håkon V in the late XIII century to protect the city from invaders (as evidenced by the four defensive towers).  In the first half of 1600 the medieval building was transformed into a Renaissance palace by order of Christian IV.

The Akershus Castle in Oslo
The Akershus Castle in Oslo

During the 1700s, the structure had some signs of decay but the renovations were started only in 1899. Today the complex, while remaining a military installation, looks like a park often used for theatrical performances and outdoor concerts during the summer. In the Akershus Festning there is the old Castle (Akershus Slott) whose sumptuous rooms are now used by the Government as boardrooms. The royal chapel instead houses the mausoleum of the Norwegian Royal. Within the walls of the fortress there are also the Norwegian Resistance Museum and the Museum of the Armed Forces. You’ll have also a beautiful views over the harbour and the city. Don’t miss the changing of the guard that takes place every day at 1.30 pm

When:
Fortress – every day from 7 am to 9 pm.
Castle – September to April: Sat. and Sun. 12 – 5 pm
May-August: Mon – Sat 10 am 4 pm ; Sun. 12 – 4 pm .
N.B: the castle or parts of it may be closed on certain days due to public events (for info http://www.forsvarsbygg.no/festningene)
Tickets Fortress: free entrance
Tickets Castle: ordinary ticket Kr 70
seniors / students / groups of over 10 people Kr 50
Children (6-18 years) 30 Kr.
Free entrance with the Oslo Pass

The National Gallery in Oslo

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One of the top destinations in Oslo is the National Gallery, in Norwegian:  Nasjonalgalleriet.

The National Gallery in Oslo
The National Gallery in Oslo

This gallery, included in the complex of the National Museum, houses the largest collection of Norwegian art from the Romantic period to the modern works, ranging from the XIX century to the Second World War. There’s a great interest for  many Edvard Munch masterpieces, including a version of the famous Scream.

In the National Gallery there are not only works by Norwegian artists, but also works of many important European painters like Picasso, Gauguin and El Greco. Don’t miss the masterpieces of Impressionist Monet, Manet, Renoir, Degas, Cezanne and Matisse. The collection of sculptures is big too: “Triumph of  Afrodite” by Renoir and “The Morning Toilette” by Degas. The gallery also hosts temporary exhibitions of historical and contemporary art.

When: Tues, Wed. and Fri. 10:00 am  to 6:00 pm ; Thur. 10:00 am  to 7:00 pm ; Sat. and Sun. 11:00 am to 5:00 pm.
Never: Monday
Tickets: Adults 50 Kr; b30 Kr
children free entrance
Free admission with the Oslo Pass.
Free admission on Sunday.

Oslo Cathedral

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The beautiful Our Savior’s Church was  consecrated in 1697 and restored to its original appearance (Baroque) in 1950. It deserves a visit especially for the beautiful stained glass windows, designed by Emanuel Vigeland and for the beautiful painted ceiling with scenes from the Old and New Testaments.

Oslo Cathedral
Oslo Cathedral

The altarpiece, depicting the Last Supper and the Crucifixion, was built in 1748 by Michael Rasch and was a distinctive element of the church: later was  moved to different cities in Norway until in 1950 when was returned by the church Prestnes in Majorstuen. If you are lucky you can watch one of the suggestive concerts that sometimes take place in the Cathedral. The arches and porches on the back of the Cathedral (Le Basarhallene, the bazaar halls) dating back to 1858, now host shops and markets.

When: Mon. – Thurs. / Sat. and Sun. 10 am -4 pm ; Fri. 6 am – 4 pm
Tickets: free entrance

The Vigeland Park in Oslo

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Probably you will go to the Vigeland Sculpture Park, the heart of the very popular Frognerparken, without any clue of what it is.

The Vigeland Park in Oslo
The Vigeland Park in Oslo

Annoyed statues of children, lovers embraced and old people will surprise you for their exceptional beauty. The Vigeland Park is an outdoor museum of masterpieces of the most famous Norwegian sculptor Gustav Vigeland, with 212 granite and bronze sculptures all to admire and to photograph. The most famous statues is that of Sinataggen, the “Little hot-head”, which depicts a very angry child, and Monolitten (Monolith), a high tower of 17 meters with 121 human figures one close to  another,  struggling to reach the top of the obelisk. You should visit the park at sunset, when the shadows create games of light.

When: every day
Ticket: free entrance

The Viking Ship Museum in Oslo

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The Viking ships in the Museum inspire a little bit of fear and subjection, so that visitors use to talk in a low voice with no reason.

The Viking Ship Museum in Oslo
The Viking Ship Museum in Oslo

Funerary boats at Vikingskipshuset are imposing and majestic and tell a piece of history of ancient sailor people. The ships made of oak wood,  were buried more than 1100 years ago because they were  used as big coffins for the noble people. In these ships were placed all the object that could have been useful for people after life from jewelry to tapestries (many finds are in the museum). As believed the Vikings, ships would have transported their owners, members of the royal family, in the world of the dead. The most solemn of all the ships is the Oseberg, decorated on the stern and on the bow with sculpures depicting dragons and snakes; the strongest ship is the Gokstad, the most meaningful and important example of a Viking ship; the third vessel, Tune, made of just few fragments and axes. The three ships were found in the Oslo Fjord and excavated in the second half of the XIX century.

Where: Huk Aveny 35 (penisola di Bygdøy)
When: May to September every day from 9 am to 6 pm
October to April every day from 10 am to 4 pm
Tickets: Adults 80 Kr
students and seniors 50 Kr
children free entrance
Free entrance with the Oslo Pass

Tusenfryd Amusement Park in Oslo

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Oslo is not only rich in art, museums and monuments, but it has also a big  amusement park: the TusenFryd Amusement Park is a beautiful amusement park, about 20 km far from the city center, loved both by adults and children.

Tusenfryd Amusement Park in Oslo
Tusenfryd Amusement Park in Oslo

In the park there are  exciting attractions, a water park, the BadeFryd, and an area dedicated to children. Don’t miss  the SpeedMonster, exciting roller coasters inspired by racing cars: it will take you from 0 to 90 km / h in just 2 seconds and will reach zero gravity 12 times. After you have walked the streets of Oslo, you can finish your trip with some shivers!

Where: Vinterbro. From Oslo: Bus 541 Drøbak / TusenFryd from the bus stop near the Central Station (Fred Olsens Gate). Buses four departures per hour.
When – Hours: from May to October (BadeFryd June to August).
to know the opening days and timing (variable) please visit http://tusenfryd.no
Tickets: adults 299-389 Kr
over 60 209 Kr
children 269-315 Kr
kids free entrance  (the ticket price also includes the entrance to BadeFryd)

Oslo Opera House

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The Opera House, with its glass building and white Carrara marble on the banks of the Oslofjord, emerges from the sea like a huge glittering ice.

Oslo Opera House
Oslo Opera House

The structure was inaugurate in 2008 to house the Opera’s activities  and the Ballet of Norway.  It has already become the symbol of the redevelopment project of the sea in front of Oslo. The monumental work, designed by the Norwegian office Snøhetta, cost about 600 million euros and is considered a bold experiment of  urban architecture, as evidenced by the entrance of the theatre with a sloping floor . The interior rooms are made by fine materials (foyers and theaters) and  Baltic oak. The building has 1,100 rooms, including a large auditorium whose stage measures several thousands of square meters. To visit the interior of the building you need to book (in advance) a guided tour (in English); the atrium and roof instead are open to visitors.

Where: former port area of the peninsula Bjøzvika
When – Hours: guided tours with fee (discount with the Oslo Pass): Mon, Wed., Ven. and Sun. 1 pm ; Sat. 12 pm To book the tour: E-mail to omvisninger@operaen.no and at the ticket office of the Opera

Folk Muneum in Oslo

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Located in the Bygdøy peninsula, the Norvegian Folk Museum is the largest open-air museum in Norway, where through the reconstruction of rural and urban landscapes, rich collections and many activities, the visitors can relive the Norwegian cultural history from the Middle Ages to nowadays

Folk Muneum in Oslo
Folk Muneum in Oslo

The museum includes more than 150 buildings from different regions of the country dating back to the XVII and XVIII centuries and a stavkirke (church with bearing piles) built entirely with  wood in 1200 and transported there in 1885 at the behest of King Oscar II of Sweden. In the museum you can admire also the old shops, craft workshops, the coaches, the music and the dancing, the guides dressed in traditional costumes and even a historical playground. If you want to have  an outdoor day and discover the life, the arts and Norwegian traditions, the Norsk Folke Museum will not disappoint you!

Where: former port area of the peninsula Bjøzvika
When – Hours: guided tours with fee (discount with the Oslo Pass): Mon, Wed., Ven. and Sun. 1 pm ; Sat. 12 pm To book the tour: E-mail to omvisninger@operaen.no and at the ticket office of the Opera

Things to eat in Oslo

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The Oslo dishes are related to its ancient and deep seafaring tradition, in this city you can enjoy different kinds of fresh fish and seafood specialties that you have never tasted in any other place

Things to eat in Oslo
Things to eat in Oslo

Don’t miss the famous salmon to eat smoked or grilled, cod,  catfish , herring, clams and prawns, cooked or freshly caught. If you prefer meat, Oslo isn’t  unprepared: moose, reindeer and deer with an already strong flavor but often served with sour cream sauce . You have to taste also the dried meat, accompanied perhaps by geitost , fresh cheese made from cow  and goat milk. To enjoy these dishes we suggest you to taste the delicious local beer and the exquisite brandy.

Where to sleep in Oslo

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Oslo offers a wide selection of hotels, B&Bs, cottages, and hostels. Most B&Bs are located in the city, but some are also scattered in the country: beware of signs along the roads, looking for the Rom or Husrom words.

Where to sleep in Oslo
Where to sleep in Oslo

Another place where you can sleep are the fishermen’s houses, the so-called Rorbu. A little outside the city, these houses are completely independent, with living room and kitchen in one room, a bedroom and a bathroom. A rorbu with two bedrooms, costs  from 600 NOK per night and often you have to pay a little more for towels and linens. Hostels in Oslo belong to two different chains: Hostelling International and VIP Backpackers Resort International, both very cozy and comfortable. A bedroom costs from 100 to 300 NOK per night, while a double room from 300 to 600 NOK. In the rooms you will find blankets and pillows, but you have to bring  the sheets or, if you want, you can  rent them at the hostel. Hotels offer some discounts especially during  weekends and the  summer: compared to the rest of Europe, the prices in Oslo are not very high. Another very convenient solution for your holidays are farms, located in the western part of Oslo, where you can take care of the animals and do many different activities: fishing, hiking, horseback riding and boat excursions.

If you are looking for a hotel in Oslo, we suggest you to choose among those offered by Booking.com. There are about 320 hotels with prices, pictures and comments of guests already stayed there. Go to Booking.com