Attractions in Oslo
If you plan to visit several of Oslo’s attractions, it will definitely be worthwhile to buy an OsloPass, which gives you free access to most museums, public transport and parking, and sightseeing discounts, Daisies and restaurants.
Prices are not bad at all, and you buy passports that last 24 hours, 48 hours or 72 hours. You can buy the passport at the Tourist Information at City Hall or at the Traffic Station at the Central Station, or Oslo Pass online here!
Oslo’s main tourist attraction is the Vigeland Park, which is part of the larger and public Frogner Park. In this incredibly beautiful and relaxing park you will find over 212 symbolically filled human statues of bronze or granite by artist Gustav Vigeland (1869-1944). The most famous are the 17-meter-high Monolith, consisting of 121 figures, all carved out of one boulder, and Oslo’s little pet boy Sinnataggen, depicting a furious little boy.
Free admission. More information about Vigeland Park and Vigelandsmuseet.
The over 700-year-old Akershus fortress is located on a hill at Pipervika right in the center. The fortress has been exposed to several sieges and attacks, and the area also houses Akershus Slott, where many Norwegian kings lie in a mausoleum.
At Akershus Fortress it is exciting and pleasant to stroll along cobblestone paths, steep stone stairs and old cannons. Along the walls you have a great view of the Oslo Fjord and Aker Brygge. Also nearby are Home Front Museum and Defense Museum.
Free admission, but it costs to enter the castle or museums. These are open daily from 1100-1700, but closed Mondays during the winter.
The Opera House in Oslo
With 19,000 square meters of marble surface, the Opera House is in the countryside and with its groundbreaking and inclusive arctic structure, the building has become the people’s favorite. The Opera House has become more than a landmark, today it is also built a meeting point for Oslo people, and a mandatory tourist attraction to experience for tourists.
You can both eat and shop souvenirs inside the Opera House, as well as see performances in Opera and ballet.
Open from morning until 2300 every day of the week throughout (2200 Sundays). Address: Kirsten Flagstad Place 1, on the sea side of Oslo Central Station.
Holmenkollen Ski Museum and Jump Tower
Oslo’s most visited tourist attraction is the jump hill Holmenkollen, which has been in use since 1893 and set many world records. The ground you now see was completed in 2010 and it was a female ski jumper, Anette Sagen, who inaugurated the ground with the first official jump.
In Holmenkollen you will also find the Ski Museum which shows the history of the skis over 4000 years, and exhibitions about the Olympics in both 1952 and 1994. There is also a café and a souvenir shop, and you have a great view of Oslo city.
Open all days of the year, NOK 140 for adults, substantial discounts for students and children. Opening hours and more information about Holmenkollen.
Over half of all the works of the most famous artist of all time in Norway, Edvard Munch (1863-1944), can be found in this museum at Tøyen, 20 minutes walk or two metro stops from the city center. There is also a café and a gift shop.
Open daily from 10-18 in June-August, 10-16 Tues-Fri and 11-17 Sat-Sun between September and May. Entry NOK 65 for adults, 35 for students, pensioners and children. More information about the Munch Museum.
The apartment where Norway’s most famous author and the country’s most famous person ever, Henrik Ibsen lived for the last 11 years of his life, is the core of this museum which opened its doors in 2006. Here Ibsen wrote the pieces John Gabriel Borkmann and Naar Vi Døde Vågner. Guided tours every full hour.
The museum is located at Henrik Ibsen’s gate 26, just off the castle. Open Tuesday to Sunday 1100 to 1800. Entrance 70 NOK for adults and 25 NOK for children. More information about the Ibsen Museum.
In the Viking Ship House at Bygdøy you will find another of Oslo’s biggest tourist magnets. Here you can see three almost intact Viking ships, built around the year 800 and excavated from large chieftains where they were intended to transport the owners to the realm of death. There are also exhibitions of the objects found on board, and maps and drawings that explain the construction. The museum is located right next to the Oslo Folk Museum, and is very popular with children and youth.
Admission costs 50 for adults, children half price. Free with OsloPass.
Open every day, from 0900 to 1800 from May to September, 1100 to 1600 in the winter.
More information about the Viking ships.
More than 150 historical buildings have been rebuilt at the Folk Museum in Bygdøy, from the Middle Ages up to our time, such as Gol Stave Church from around the year 1200, stables and mountain lodges. Here are also exhibitions that deal with Norwegian culture, history and traditions, taken care of and demonstrated by museum workers in contemporary costumes.
Admission costs 160 for adults, discounts for children and families. Free with OsloPass.
Open every day, from 1000 to 1800 from May to September, 1100 to 1500 in the winter.
More information about the Norwegian Folk Museum
Kon-Tiki and Fram museums
As a maritime nation, there are of course several maritime museums in Oslo, and on the Bygdøy peninsula just south of the city center are two of the most visited. Kon-Tiki is the vessel Thor Heyerdahl crossed the Pacific with in 1947, and Fram is the boat Roald Amundsen traveled to the South Pole with in 1911. The museums are located right next to each other. Entrance to each of the museums costs about NOK 120, half the price for children and students.
Opening hours and more information about the Kon-Tiki Museum and the Fram Museum.
The Royal Castle
The castle was built in the period 1825-1848, and is an H-shaped brick building in the classicist style. At the foundation stone closure the idea was that the castle should be at a height well outside the city, with a wide street leading up to the main gates a la Versailles outside Paris. The castle has been home to the kings of Norway since 1849, and is surrounded by a large and pleasant park with lakes, plants and trails on the Bellevue hill just opposite Karl Johan’s gate.
Since 2002, it has been possible to visit the Castle from June to August. Tickets for a guided tour are available at Ticket Service. You must be out early with your order as it will be sold out quickly.
Old Aker Church
Just off Oslo Cathedral School, in Akersbakken 26, is Oslo’s oldest church. This is a relatively simple limestone church built in the Romanesque style around the year 1080 by King Olav Kyrre. In the cemetery are several of Norway’s most famous people buried, including Hans Nielsen Hauge. Free admission, open Tuesday and Friday 1200-1400. More information about Aker Church.
The Viking Planet
One of the newest tourist attractions in Oslo is The Viking Planet, located at Fridtjof Nansen’s square 4. For those of you who are not known in Oslo, it is in Borggården in front of City Hall.
The attraction may be primarily aimed at foreign tourists, but is equally suitable for Norwegians. Here you get to know the Vikings and also participate in a Viking tour wearing VR glasses where the fight for life and death takes place right in front of you.
There is a 12 year limit for the VR movie and in general we also think that the theme house is best suited for those over 12 years. Tickets cost approx. DKK 300 for adults. Read more about The Viking Planet here!
The National Gallery is located in the University Street, a side street of Karl Johan, and has Norway’s largest collection of visual arts. Here you can see works by both Norwegian and foreign artists, mainly from the 18th century until the 1950s.
Closed Mondays, open 1000-1800 Tues / Wed / Fri, 1000-1900 Thursday and 1100-1700 Sat / Sunday. Free admission.
Tourist in Oslo
Although Oslo is a small city and the city center is compact, many of the attractions are well outside the city center, such as the museums at Bygdøy, Vigeland Park and Holmenkollen.
If you prefer combined sightseeing and transport, with English information, you can hop on a “Hop On – Hop Off bus” that drives around Oslo with 16 regular stops. Here you can jump off wherever you want, spend as long as you want before jumping on again. But it is not particularly cheap. The tickets are valid for 24 hours and cost about NOK 400 (discount for children). The buses operate during the summer season from late May to mid September. More information about tourist buses in Oslo.
If you plan to visit several of Oslo’s attractions in a short period of time, it will definitely be worthwhile to buy an OsloPass, which gives you free access to most museums, public transport and parking, and sightseeing discounts, Daisies and restaurants. Prices for adults / children are NOK 445/235 for 24 hours, 655/325 for 48 hours and 820/410 for 72 hours. The passport can be purchased at the Tourist Information Center at the City Hall or at the Trafikanten at Central Station.
Day 1 in Oslo
Have a hearty breakfast at the hotel before heading to the nearest subway. Feel free to buy a day pass for NOK 108, so you have free use of public transport for one day. The first stop is Tøyen, just east of the city center. Near the metro station is the museum dedicated to Norway’s most famous artist, Edvard Munch. At the Munch Museum you can see all his most famous paintings, such as Scream, Vampire, Madonna and Sick Girl. There is also a small cafe and a gift shop.
Right next to the Munch Museum is the Natural History Museum, which consists of the departments of the Geological, Botanical and Geological Museum. This is again surrounded by a beautiful botanical garden and you can easily spend several hours in this area.
Take the subway down to the center again, or stroll via the multicultural district of Greenland. From the Railway Square. starts Oslo’s main street, Karl Johan. The lower part of Karl Johan has been characterized by the city’s drug addicts, beggars and prostitutes in recent years, but you need not feel any fear for a reason. At the top of the slope you will see the Oslo Cathedral on your right, listed in Baroque style around 1697. This is the main church of the Oslo Diocese and the nation’s national church, the site of royal weddings and ceremonies. However, start the visit by turning left towards the sea side. You will quickly see the marble white Opera House in Oslo which offers a nice view of the city from its roof.
When you’re done with the Opera House, you’ll go up Karl Johan from Central Station and after a possible detour to the Cathedral you will come to Egertorget, a small square where street singers and artists usually queue up to perform in the summer. Just behind is the Stortingsbygningen, which was inaugurated in 1866. Here Karl Johan ends up being a pedestrian street, but you can continue west in the Studenterlunden, a green and pleasant oasis with outdoor seating and the fountain, which in winter becomes a skating rink. On your right, you will pass Oslo’s old Grand Hotel and the University Building, which many tourists take to be the Castle. To the left you come to the National Theater, where Norway’s national poets such as Henrik Ibsen and Bjørnstärn Bjørnsson stand on the shelf.
In front of you is now the castle, where all the kings of Norway have lived since the inauguration in 1848. The castle is surrounded by a large and pleasant park with small water, plants and walking paths. From 2002 it has been possible to visit the Castle in the period June to August. Tickets for a guided tour cost NOK 95 for adults and NOK 65 for children / students / pensioners.
You can now take a U-turn and walk back again along Karl Johans parallel street in the north, Kristian Augusts gate. At the Tullinløkka is the Historical Museum, and just after you pass the National Gallery. Shortly afterwards you come to Oslo Tinghus, and many may want to see the facade just to the left of this. The building here has for a number of years posed as Hotel Caesar, Norway’s longest running soap opera with action around a hotel. Now is probably the time for a lunch. At Tinghuset and Tullinnløkka, or parallel street Kristian IV’s gate or its parallel street Karl Johan, you will find a number of places to eat.
After lunch, take the metro to Majorstua. Not far from the station you will find Oslo’s largest park, Frognerparken, and in the middle is the beautiful Vigeland Park. Along a path with a bridge over duck ponds and magnificent fountains stands 212 symbolically-filled human statues of bronze or granite by artist Gustav Vigeland (1869-1944). The most famous are the 17-meter-high Monolith, consisting of 121 figures, all carved out of one boulder, and Oslo’s little pet boy Sinnataggen, depicting a furious little boy. Free admission.
Now you have gone a long way and are certainly ready for a breather in the hotel. Shopping happy can squeeze in a walk in Bogstadveien or Karl Johan first. When evening comes, you set the course for Aker Brygge, a lively and wonderful place where you have a view of the Oslo Fjord, Akershus Fortress and Oslo City Hall. A drink here is almost mandatory for an Oslo tourist, although it is perhaps Oslo’s most expensive area for food and drink. For dinner we can instead recommend a very authentic Thai restaurant in Munkedamsveien, just behind Aker Brygge. Entering YaYas is like going to a beachfront restaurant in Thailand, with aluminum cutlery and menus in plastic bags, speakers on the reggae and regular 20-second power outages and thunderous noise.
Afterwards, the road is short to a myriad of nightlife on Aker Brygge, Olav Vs gate, around City Hall, Karl Johans gate and Stortingsgaten.
Day 2 in Oslo
The next day we start at Aker Brygge again, but now pass over the town hall square in the direction of the over 700 year old Akershus fortress. For centuries, this fortress has been under siege and attack. In the area is Akershus Castle, where many Norwegian kings lie in a mausoleum. It is exciting and enjoyable to stroll along cobbled paths, up steep stone stairs and enjoy the magnificent view of the Oslofjord and Aker Brygge. Also in the area are the Home Front Museum and the Defense Museum.
Head down again to City Hall Square, and find the ferry that takes you to Bygdøy Peninsula, just southwest of downtown Oslo. At Bygdøy are many of Oslo’s most popular museums, and you can easily spend the rest of the day visiting these. Start with the Viking Ship House. Here you can see three almost intact Viking ships, built around the year 800 and excavated from large chieftains where the answers meant to transport the owners to the realm of death. There are also exhibitions of the objects found on board, and maps and drawings that explain the construction.
Right next to you will find the Norwegian Folk Museum. Here, more than 150 historical buildings have been rebuilt, from the Middle Ages up to our time, such as Gol Stave Church from around the year 1200, stables and mountain lodges. Here are also exhibitions that deal with Norwegian culture, history and traditions, taken care of and demonstrated by museum workers in contemporary costumes.
As a maritime nation, there are of course several maritime museums in Oslo, and by Bygdøy are two of the most visited. At the Kon-Tiki Museum you can see the vessel Thor Heyerdahl crossed the Pacific Ocean in 1947. The film about the Kon-Tiki expedition won the Oscar in 1951, and Thor Heyerdahl (1914-2002) is one of the most famous Norwegians abroad. Here is also the Fram Museum with the boat Fram that Fritjof Nansen traveled to the Arctic with in 1893-96, and which Roald Amundsen traveled to the South Pole with in 1910-12. Both museums have a full exhibition and pictures next to the ships, and are located right next to each other.
If the weather is warm, remember your bathing suits, at Bygdøy you will find the Huk bathing beach, which must probably be said to be Oslo’s most popular beach.
Back in the center of Oslo we can recommend a simple and tasty dinner visit to Justisen in Møllergata. This is a traditional restaurant located in a 19th-century farm with both Norwegian and international cuisine at acceptable prices in a rustic environment. In the evening you can walk north to lively Grünerløkka in a quarter of an hour and find a nice bar to spend the rest of the evening on.