I immediately fell in love with Oslo. It is simply stunning! With innovative architecture, vibrant social scene and lots of greenery, Oslo has a great combination of town and nature in one. Harbor waterfront, famous fresh seafood restaurants, and modern museums are all within walking distance from the centre. Let’s dive into places to visit in Oslo that you should definitely check out if you’re planning a visit.
Fly to the Olso airport and then take a metro to your hotel or apartment to the city centre. As mentioned, you can reach most places by walking, but use well connected public transportation if you decide to go further. Get an Oslo Pass for your stay. The price includes most museums, public transit, and the mini-cruise! It’s efficient and will save you some money, too.
When to go and where to stay
If you want to see snow and enjoy skiing, skating or other winter activities, come during the winter. Keep in mind that the days are quite short this time of the year, and you don’t have that many hours in the day. Therefore, even though it is dark at this time of the year, you will not probably see the northern lights. For this, you have to go further north, for example, Tromso.
In December, you can experience the Nobel price parade on December 10th. Join the crowds by Karl Johans gate and enjoy the torch parade.
In the summertime, you can enjoy long days, walking or sitting by the fjord and taking a boat tour around the area.
Find suitable accommodation near the centre because it is lovely to walk everywhere and convenient for some of the top places to visit in Oslo. There is a wide selection of AirBnBs and Hotels. However, Oslo is quite expensive, so you will have to search for a budget-sensitive place.
What to Eat
- Røkt Laks or Smoked Salmon
With many fishing areas around, salmon can be your number one option for trying fresh local food. You can eat it with traditional sauce or on an open sandwich.
Many can see this dish similar to the Swedish meatballs, which you can try in IKEA. However, it differs in beef, ginger, and nutmeg, and it is fried. Nowadays, you can try these delicates with many different seasonings or gravy.
Another dish from the fish family from the north of Norway is a cold-air dried codfish. Cold air-dried fish is one of the oldest preservation techniques. It has a vibrant flavour that might not suit everyone.
Places to visit in Oslo to eat
The usual time for dinner in Scandinavia is around 6 pm, so the restaurants might be busy at this time.
Aker Brygge area
Get a coffee and cake in Oslo’s trendy shopping, dining, and residential area. A few years back, this area was a busy dock and shipyard, now renovated into a car-free zone for locals and tourists to hang out. Many eating places and cafes have outside seating, which is great for watching the sunset! It is magnificent!
(Kirkeveien 40) This typical Norwegian restaurant is out of the city centre but with fabulous fresh food.
(Bankplassen 1) One of the oldest restaurants in Olso with a range of typical Norwegian dishes
Freddy Fuego Burrito Bar
(Hausmanns gate 31a) If you like Mexican, get this Amazing Mexican burrito!
(Universitetsgata 2) Great coffee during the day, even with seats outside or a cool cocktail bar at night. You can also sample coffee beans with different roasting methods. They even have exciting events happening like sake tasting or music shows.
Places to visit in Oslo for fun and activities
If you plan your stay in Oslo in the winter, you should not miss the 2km long toboggan run. Join this popular winter activity by renting the sled and helmet in some shops at the final metro stop at Frognerseteren, and off you go!
The Magic Ice bar Oslo
As I have never been to an ice bar before, I decided to check this experience off my bucket list. It is definitely something new and memorable. You get an opportunity to have a drink from an ice glass, and you can walk around in a fun coat with fur. It is a fun activity with friends as you can take loads of funny pictures with ice sculptures.
Check out a Viking ship
East of the city centre in Bygdøy, you can find one of the best-preserved old ships in the Viking ship museum. Learn about the history and see fantastic woodwork and ornament decorations.
Cute Norwegian town filled with small cozy shops and pastry shops. It is said this is the home of the Norwegian Santa Claus. You can even see walls covered with Santa’s letter in the city centre tourist office by the harbour. If you have more days available in your travel itinerary for the area of Oslo, this can be your half-day trip. Take bus #500 at Oslo S bus terminal or go for a scenic boat ride through Oslo fjords. It is definitely more enjoyable when the sun is out; otherwise, you can expect cold nordic wind and very few people out in the streets.
Cultural places to visit in Oslo
Akershus Fortress is a castle dating back to 1299. It has a beautiful park where you can take a stroll and take pictures. This is definitely one of the top places to visit in Oslo to immerse yourself into hundred years of Norwegian history.
Oslo Opera House
Capture photographs of the iconic venue, an outstanding landmark by the fjord. Tarald Lundevall designed the building and has been awarded many prestigious architecture prizes. You can walk around the modern square and even go on the roof and get a magnificent view. I loved seeing the sunset through the glass panels and reflected in the sculpture in the water just in front.
As you may know, Norway is a monarchy, so this landmark also belongs to the top places to visit in Oslo. It is awe-inspiring from the outside so just take a stroll around. Not worth the guided tour as it is quite short and only takes place in the summer.
Norsk Folk Museum
Traditional old houses in Norsk Folk Museum are my absolute favourite spot in Oslo. I read that this open-air museum stands as an inspiration for many movies! There are 150 buildings, and you will feel like in Viking times with all the carved wood decorated houses and churches.
Vigeland Museum Park
This park is enormous – 80 acres, and it’s the largest sculpture park made by a single artist named Gustav Vigeland. It represents his life work of 212 sculptures, each one portraying a different part of the “wheel of life”! It is delightful to walk around and admire his artistic skills.
It has become quite touristy in recent years, but it’s definitely worth visiting, especially if the weather is nice. Once you are there, you can combine it with visiting areas called Majorstuen (traditional) and Frogner (chic and lively). I recommend the latter, with its incredible interior design shops, high-end cafés, and picturesque residential streets. A definite must-visit if you really want to get a feel of the city outside the main tourist zone.