Oslo is Norway’s capital city and is located at the head of the Oslofjord. The city is renowned for its fascinating museums and green spaces, which can be enjoyed in summer, as well as a winter park, where skiing and snowboarding are available. Visitors can book the perfect Airbnb in Oslo’s Sentrum, then rent solar-powered bikes to explore one of the many convenient cycle tracks brought in as an effort to promote a cleaner environment. This modern and exciting destination is also host to several festivals, dedicated to opera, world music, dance, rock, literature, and film. There is a zoo to visit, plus several outdoor exercise parks, as well as many museums and cultural centers. If you don’t know where to start, you can also join an awesome GetYourGuide tour. The following things to do in Oslo, Norway, will fill your Norwegian holiday with fun and adventure.
1. Visit the stately Akershus Fortress
One of the best things to do in Oslo is to find out about the city’s history at Akershus Fortress, a medieval castle located at the end of the headland, in the city of Oslo. Built to protect the city, construction was completed in the 1300s and has it stood up to many sieges over the years. The fortress was later modernized into a royal residence and a renaissance castle. Guided tours are available in summer and the fortress also hosts many major concerts and ceremonies. On the same premises, you can find the Norway Resistance Museum, mentioned below.
Address: Oslo, Norway
Website: Akershus Fortress
2. Tour the fascinating Viking Ship Museum
The fascinating Viking Ship Museum, in Oslo, forms part of the Museum of Cultural History. There are three Viking ships on display here, including the Oseberg, Tune and Gokstad. There are also smaller boats, a cart, sledges and various tools and household utensils from Viking days. While in the museum, visitors can enjoy an adventure movie “The Vikings Alive,” which screens on the wall and ceilings, inside the museum. One ticket gives visitors access to the Viking Ship Museum and the history museum, described below.
Viking Ship Museum
Address: Huk Aveny 35, 0287 Oslo, Norway
Website: Viking Ship Museum
3. Check out the exhibits at Kon-Tiki Museum
The Kon-Tiki Museum is a fascinating visit, offering exhibits related to Thor Heyerdahl’s famous expeditions. Heyerdahl crossed the Pacific Ocean in 1947, on a balsa wood raft, named the Kon-Tiki, which can be seen in the museum. He also made other expeditions in reed boats, named Ra, Ra II and Tigris. Ra II is also available to view, in the museum, along with various objects relating to his journey and excavations made on the Galapagos Islands.
Address: Bygdøynesveien 36, 0286 Oslo
Website: Kon-Tiki Museum
4. Spend an afternoon at Norwegian Museum of Cultural History
The Norwegian Museum of Cultural History is located in the city of Oslo, in a beautiful four-storey building, and featuring a mix of permanent and updated exhibitions. On the ground floor, is an exhibit relating to the Middle Ages and the Viking age. The second and fourth floors offer exhibits of antique art and Egyptian mummies, along with artefacts from various Arctic exhibitions. There are also exhibits relating to American, East Asian and African cultures. Your ticket includes a visit to the Viking Ship Museum, mentioned above.
Norwegian Museum of Cultural History
Address: Museumsveien 10, 0287 Oslo, Norway
Website: Norwegian Museum of Cultural History
5. View contemporary art displays at Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art
A point of interest in Oslo, this beautiful museum building is part of the modern-day city and offers displays of contemporary art by Northern European and other artists, in three pavilions. There are works by artists from other countries, including Brazil, China, Japan, India and America. The pavilions are housed under an impressive glass roof, shaped like a boat sail, to mirror the nearby Oslo harbour.
Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art
Address: Strandpromenaden 2, 0252 Oslo, Norway
Website: Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art
6. Learn about the sport of skiing at Holmenkollen Ski Museum and Tower
Located at the base of the Holmenkollen Ski Jump, the ski museum was founded in 1923 and is considered to be the oldest ski museum in the world. The museum offers exhibits relating to more than 100 years of skiing competitions, as well as artefacts relating to the history of skiing, going back some 4,000 years. There are also various artefacts relating to polar exploration and an observation deck on the tower offering panoramic and beautiful views of the city. There is also a café and gift shop on site, as well as a ski simulator.
Holmenkollen Ski Museum
Address: Kongeveien 5, 0787 Oslo, Norway
Website: Holmenkollen Ski Museum
7. Stroll around Frogner Park
Frogner Park is the largest in the city and a popular destination for residents and visitors alike. A well-known tourist attraction in Oslo, the park offers the Vigeland Sculpture Park as well as beautiful open and green areas for picnics and barbecues. There is also a large rose garden in the park, with around 14,000 plants on view. There is also an open air pool in the park, as well as the Frogner Stadium, the original Frogner Manor House and the Oslo City Museum. There is also a restaurant and café, open in the summer months.
Address: Kirkeveien, 0268 Oslo, Norway
Website: Frogner Park
8. Plan a visit to Norway's Resistance Museum
The Norway Resistance Museum is located inside Akershus Fortress and offers exhibits relating to the domestic history of Norway, during World War II, from 1940 to 1945. There are various photos, posters, objects and original newspaper clippings from the time. The museum is located in a 17th-century building, separate to the fortress and includes a memorial to Norwegian patriots, who were executed in the war.
Norway's Resistance Museum
Address: Akershus Festning, 0015 Oslo, Norway
Website: Norway’s Resistance Museum
9. Take a day tour of Hovedøya Island
One of a number of small islands off the city’s coast, Hovedøya is a popular destination for locals and visitors alike. The island is small but well known for its beautiful green nature and flowers. There are two boat routes out to the island from the city. In the summer months, a café is available, and there are the ruins of a monastery on the island, which is also an interesting visit. There are also several beaches suitable for swimming on the island. If you’re looking for fun things to do in Oslo, this island offers plenty of activities.
Address: Oslo, Norway
Website: Hovedøya Island
10. Spend the day out in nature at University Botanical Garden
The University Botanical Garden is one of Oslo’s most beautiful, green spaces with a large variety of plants, shrubs and trees. Particularly the blind will enjoy the Scent Garden, arranged to offer gorgeous scents of the various plants, to those who cannot directly enjoy their beauty. On site are the Palm House and the Victoria House, dating back to the 1800s and exhibiting exotic plants from all over the world.
University Botanical Garden
Address: Sars’ gate/Monrads gate, Tøyen, 0562 Oslo
Website: University Botanical Garden
11. Watch a performance at Oslo Opera House
Plan ahead before you get to Oslo and book tickets to catch an upcoming performance at Oslo Opera House. Tickets to the opera and ballet, as well as concert tickets, are available on their official website. Besides coming here to watch a show, visitors are welcome to enjoy panoramic city views from the plaza and check out the art projects on display around the property.
Oslo Opera House
Address: Kirsten Flagstads Plass 1, 0150 Oslo, Norway
Website: Oslo Opera House
12. Book a guided tour of the Royal Palace
This picturesque and stately building is the official residence of Norway’s monarchy and dates back to 1814. The palace is usually open for tours during the summer, so if you’re traveling to Oslo between the months of June to September, this is a must-visit. Besides admiring the architecture, visitors can watch the changing of the guard and tour the grounds. Taking a walk around the palace at night is also a great option, since the building is lit up with yellow lights when the sun goes down.
The Royal Palace
Address: Slottsplassen 1, 0010 Oslo, Norway
Website: The Royal Palace
13. Check out Holmenkollbakken
If you’re a fan of winter sports, you may recognize Holmenkollbakken, a ski jump hill that’s a part of Holmenkollen National Arena. If you’re not familiar with ski jumping, then a visit here is a must because there’s also a ski museum, a cafe, a gift shop, and viewing tower on-site. The museum is located under the ski jump, and guests can learn about the history of skiing and see displays related to the sport. The viewing tower is the best part since you’ll be able to go to the top of the ski jump and get the best city views.
Address: Kongeveien 5, 0787 Oslo, Norway
Opening hours: 10am - 5pm (daily)
14. Tour the stave church from Gol
An interesting structure in the modern city of Oslo, Gol Stave Church dates back to 1157. Once a stave church - a medieval Christian church made of wood - this attraction is now a museum listed as a Norwegian Cultural Heritage Site. Visitors will be able to see some medieval artifacts and murals inside.
Gol Stave Church
Address: The Norwegian Museum of Cultural History, Museumsveien 10, 0287 Oslo, Norway
Website: Gol Stave Church
Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 11am - 3pm; Sat - Sun: 11am - 4pm
Besides joining tours and visiting historic places, there’s no better way to learn - and remember - a city than by tasting its food. Eat like a local and join this food tour so you can sample the best food in Oslo. For three to four hours, your guide will take you to six stops where you’ll not only learn some local history but also get a chance to taste dishes from four different places. The last stop is Mathallen Oslo, where you’ll sample cheeses, cured meat, and beer.
Taste of Oslo Walking Tour
Duration: 3 to 4 hours
Enjoy your tour of beautiful and contemporary Oslo
With its history and modern, contemporary buildings, along with many attractions and parks, Oslo is a fascinating city to visit, while travelling in Norway. Be sure to try these fun things to do in Oslo during your holiday.
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