17 Best Things to do in Oslo

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things to do in Oslo
Photo by Aapo Haapanen on Flickr

Wondering about what things to do in Oslo? Well, Oslo is one of the most admired cities and the capital of ‘The Land of The Midnight Sun’, Norway with over 6,50,000 inhabitants on the country’s southern coast at the head of Oslofjord.

This famous city is also known as ‘The Tiger City’ or ‘Tigerstaden’ by its locals as the name was given by the author Bjornstjerne Bjornson in around 1870 because the city was super cold and a dangerous place.

The economic and governmental centre of Norway, Oslo is a hub of Norwegian trade, banking, industry, and shipping. Oslo is also an important centre of maritime trade and maritime industries in Europe. It is also home to the world’s largest shipping companies, brokers, and maritime insurance brokers.

What makes Oslo Unique?

Norway’s capital, Oslo is a very beautiful and unique place to visit. This beautiful place is located by the lovely picturesque Oslofjord, with an extensive list of things to do in Oslo and an extensive shoreline surrounded by charming hills of woodland and forests. Because of the shape of the city, the forest area is easily accessible from every part of the city.

Oslo’s NORDMARKA forests, Oslofjord, its coffee shops, and other tourist attractions make Oslo a unique place to visit and have fun in there.

Why is Oslo a Popular Tourist Destination?

Norway’s second-largest city and one of the best cities in the world, Oslo is rich in its cultural background and has several fun things to do with various famous theatres, extraordinary museums, and galleries.

This place is more of a Scandinavian capital, combining past, present, and future-such as Copenhagen and Stockholm. It also gives a very romantic feel which makes it one of the best places to visit for a couple. Besides being a beautiful and exciting city, it also offers and provides a perfect setting for both explorings and relaxation.

Oslo has numerous tourist destinations and a lot of fun and engaging things to do in Oslo. From the alluring Viking ship museum, Oslo opera house, Norwegian maritime museum, royal palace, and the beautiful Kon tiki museum to Oslo’s main shopping street, Fram Museum, and city hall, it has a lot to offer.

So if you are planning a trip to Oslo, the magical city of Norway, and are confused as to what to do, then don’t worry because here is a list of more than 15 fascinating things to do in Oslo.

Fascinating Things to Do in Oslo

1. Witness the Past at the Alluring Viking Ship Museum

The Viking ship museum.
Photo by Steve Cadman, from Flickr

Located on the site called Bygdøy peninsula in Oslo, Norway, this alluring Viking ship museum is a historical museum and a must-visit if you are someone interested in Viking history. The views of Oslofjord from here are unbeatable on a clear summer day.

This famous Viking ship museum is a part of the Museum of the cultural history of the University of Oslo. The main jaw-dropping attractions here are the three Viking ships that were excavated from the largest known ship burial in the world. The three ships are the one and only Oseberg ship, the Gokstad ship, and the Tune ship.

The other attractions are the Viking age sledges, beds, a horse cart, wooden carvings, tent components, buckets, and other grave goods.

To witness the past at the Viking alluring ship museum, you need to go to Oslo’s main station or the bus terminal on the number 30 or take the boat from Pier 3 along the city hall. It is one of the best things to do in Oslo if you are a Viking history lover.

2. Experience the Rich Opera at the Oslo Opera House

Oslo Opera House
Photo by Fred Montwell from Flickr

The opera house in Oslo is placed in the Bjorvika neighbourhood of mean Oslo is the origin of the National Opera of Norwegian and Ballet, and the national opera theatre of Norway. The opera house in Oslo is a very beautiful and breathtaking building and is considered to be an iconic modern Scandinavian building.

The exterior of the building is surrounded with marble stone from Carrara, Italy, and white granite. The whole structure was made to make it represent to arise from the water just like a glacier.

The opera house in Oslo consists of 1,100 rooms, the important auditorium which accommodate up to 1,364 people, and the other two performance spaces which can seat 200-400 people.

The opera house in Oslo is one of the top Oslo attractions and is at the centre of Oslo’s rapidly developing waterfront as well as one of the musts to do things to do in Oslo. One of the main purposes of the opera house in Oslo is to be the national producer of opera, ballet, music and dance, theatre, and concerts.

Every year this famous Opera house has approximately 300 shows and 2,50,000 visitors. The opera house has got two awards which are World Architecture Festival Culture Award 2008 and the Mies Van der Rohe award 2009.

3. Explore the Norwegian Maritime Museum

Norwegian Museum
Photo by Jon Callas on Flickr

To step back in time and experience the lives of seafaring Norwegians over the past thousand years, you have to visit this museum. It is another thing to do in Oslo if you love museums.

Located at Bygdoynesveien on the Bygdoy peninsula, the west side of Oslo this Norwegian maritime museum reveals the coast culture and maritime history by displaying several subjects such as shipbuilding, boat models, fishing, marine archaeology, and shipping. The museum is the biggest in the world of its kind.

The Norwegian Museum is located near five other national museums namely the famous Viking Ship Museum, the great Fram Museum, The Norwegian Museum, and the beautiful Kon tiki museum. You will get to witness marine archaeology in this museum. The museum also showcases a collection of 40 plus maritime paintings by talented artists.

There are several exhibits for the children as well such as the Queen of Congo exhibit where the children can board the ship, play with instruments, and have some playtime in the gallery. Other exhibitions include fishing, shipbuilding, and marine archaeology.

The place is great for both adults as well as children which makes it a perfect place to visit with your little ones. Thereby, it is the best thing to do in Oslo for both children and adults.

4. Take a Quick Tour of the Royal Palace

The Royal Palace
Photo by Hakan Dahlstrom on Flickr

The magnificent Royal Palace located at the end of Karl Johans Gate in central Oslo served as the residence of the Norwegian of the French King Charles III John in the first half of the 19th century. The Royal palace is now the main residence of the present Norwegian monarch.

The building is made in the Neo-classical style. The construction of the palace started in 1825 and was completely constructed by 1849. The palace contains 173 rooms.

The public tours started in 2002 and the constant changing of the guards become a tourist attraction. The main changing of the guards takes place every day at 1:30 pm. The Royal Palace is guarded by His Majesty the King’s Guard, the Royal guards. The guided tours are conducted lasting for about one hour through the important rooms of The Royal Palace.

The Royal palace should be on your “What to see list” of Oslo. You will never regret witnessing the royal life and it is also the best thing to do in Oslo.

5. Observe the Munch Museum

Munch Museum.
Photo by Jorn Eriksson on Flickr

Established on 29th May 1963, the Munch Museum was opened to dedicate to the life and work of the Norwegian artist Edward Munch. It is an art museum, located in Bjorvika, Oslo, Norway. The museum was first located in Toyen but then it was shifted to the new museum building in Bjorvika which was opened in October 2021.

The Munch Museum contains a lot of artistic works from the great artist Edward Munch and other artists as well. It contains a great collection of paintings, graphic art, drawings, watercolours, and sculptures and is also combined with the exhibitions of contemporary Norwegian art.

It is one of the top Oslo tourist destinations. There are around 1,200 famous Munch paintings, two of them are the scream and madonna. You can do the guided tours in English every day and look closely at the paintings. The other attractions of the Munch Museum include “The sick childand “Puberty”.

6. Go Inside the National Museum

The National Museum also known as The National Museum of Art, Architecture, and Design is a Norwegian state-owned museum. It is another cool thing to do in Oslo.

The National Museum collects, displays, and preserves the county’s collection of Arts, architecture, and design. It has up to 4,00,000 collections.

The National Museum features a lot of different exhibitions, and they have a lot of attractions. You can visit the National Museum and give your eyes a good treat of Art by seeing the works at The National Gallery, Graphics and drawing collections, Museum of Contemporary Arts, National Museum-Arts, Art Industry Museum, and National exhibitions.

Make sure you visit all these venues because one of the best things to do in Oslo is if you are a fan of the Arts.

7. Go on an Adventure in the beautiful Kon Tiki Museum

Kon tiki Museum.
Photo by Jim G on Flickr

Located in Bygdoy peninsula, Oslo, the Kon tiki Museum is a museum that contains the vessels and maps from the Kon tiki expenditure. The museum also contains a library with about 8,000 books in it.

The museum was built to keep a raft, namely the Kon tiki used during Norwegian adventure. The raft is housed in the museum and beneath the rath is a model of the whale shark which the crew encountered during their voyage. In this Kon tiki museum, you will be seeing the two vessels and a duplicate of the female tiger.

At noon every day, an award-winning chronicle like Oscar is shown which is about this whole Kon tiki expenditure. Other than that, you will get to see the artefacts, pictures, and description from the entire Kon tiki expenditures.

8. Visit The Ski Museum

Located at the base of the Holmenkollen ski jump in the museum, the Holmenkollen ski museum is the world’s oldest ski museum founded in 1923. The private collections of the antique and historic skis of the architect Hjalmar Welhaven formed the foundation of the Holmenkollen ski museum as he put them on display in the museum.

The best part of the Holmenkollen Ski museum is that entry is free in the museum with the Oslo Pass. The Oslo Pass is a pass or a card given to the tourists that give you free entry to 30 museums and other attractions, free public transportation, free outdoor swimming pool, walking tours, and other discounts on Oslo sightseeing.

The museum contains the ski history back from the stone age and also displays the skiers and skies from the Viking age.

You can go to the museum and experience this amazing past here. You can also go to the highest part of the Holmenkollen Ski jump and look at the beautiful view of Oslo and its fjord. Hence, it is such a cool thing to do in Oslo.

9. Have a look at the Norwegian Museum of Science and Technology

Towards the north of Oslo, you can find this beautiful Museum of Science and Technology which you can reach by bus, train, or tram in a few minutes.

The Norwegian Museum of Science and Technology is an educational institution that showcases the signs of progress made in Science, technology, industry, and medicine. It consists of collections, exhibitions, and publications.

In this breathtaking Science Museum, you will get to witness the exhibitions on Norwegian Industrial history, music machines, electricity, oil, gas, calculating machines, computers, and the science centre.

In addition to all these, the National Museum of Medicine is also here with detailed information about how the diseases like Cholera were treated in the past. It is also a must-visit. There are many amazing things to do in Oslo and visiting the Norwegian Museum of Science and Technology is one of them.

10. See through the City Hall of Oslo

The capital of Norway and a municipal building, the city hall of Oslo which stands tall today was developed between 1931-1950. The city hall of Oslo is located in the centre of the city, in the Northern part of the Pipervika neighbourhood, and the building faces Oslofjord.

The building is built with red bricks, and it contains two towers. A lot of ceremonies and functions take place in the building. The Nobel peace prize ceremony is one of the ceremonies which takes place every year in December.

The city hall of Oslo also holds the “Structure of the Century Award.” This jaw-dropping site should be on your “things to do in Oslo” list because it is one of the best things to do in Oslo.

11. Shop at the Oslo City Centre

Oslo City Centre.
Photo by Lars Tiede on Flickr

If you are a shopping freak, the Oslo City Centre should be on your list. It is the largest shopping centre in Oslo. The Oslo city centre is visited by 50,000 people every day and by 16 million people a year. It has 26,0000 square metres of commercial place with 93 stores on five floors. The city centre generated gross revenue of 1,444 billion Norwegian kroner in 2005.

12. Explore The Oslo Cathedral

The Oslo Cathedral, which is formally known as Our Savior’s Church is the main Church for the Church of Norway Diocese of Oslo and the parish church for downtown Oslo. The Church is used by the Norwegian Royal Family and the Norwegian Government for public events.

The church is a perfect place to disconnect yourself for a while and feel at peace. The Oslo Cathedral is very beautifully made with stained windows and an impressive painting ceiling. Don’t forget to look up at the ceiling and gaze at this beautiful painting. Give it a try and visit Oslo Cathedral and you will never regret it.

13. Look into the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art

Another amazing thing to do in Oslo is to look into the privately owned contemporary art gallery in Oslo, which was founded and opened to the public in 1993.

The Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art has its main focus on the American appropriation artist but now it is developing towards the international contemporary art scenes from the artists like Jeff Koons, Richard Prince, Tom Sachs, and many more.

The museum holds 6 to 7 contemporary art exhibitions every year which you can go and visit. And look around all the beautiful contemporary arts from different great artists.

14. Spend Time in The Fram Museum

The Fram Museum.
Photo by Pedro Layant on Flickr

Located on the peninsula of Bygdoy in Oslo, the great Fram Museum is a museum that tells the story of Norwegian polar exploration. It is located near other museums such as the Viking Museum, Kon tiki museum, and Norwegian maritime museum.

The great Fram museum glorifies Norwegian polar investigation and three explorers as well as such as Fridtjof Nansen, Otto Sverdrup, and no one but Roald Amundsen. You will also get to witness the exhibition of the pictures of the animals of polar regions, such as polar bears and penguins.

One of the main attractions here is the wooden ships that were used by the above-mentioned explorers and an impressive collection of models and paintings. A visit here will not take much of your time, instead, it will entertain you and you will have a great time here.

15. Walkthrough the Famous Tjuvholmen Park of Scultputre

The Tjuvholmen Park of Sculpture designed by Renzo Piano is a park of sculpture in the Tjuvholmen neighbourhood, bought in Oslo. This park consists of seven sculptures which are the main areas of interest in the sculpture park and some of the best things to do in Oslo. The seven sculptures are:

  • Things for a house on an island by Peter Fischil and David Weiss.

  • Eyes by Louise Bourgeois.

  • Edge II by Antony Gormley.

  • Untitled by Anish Kapoor.

  • Untitled (Totem) by Ellsworth Kelly.

  • Moonrise by Ugo Rondinone.

  • Spalt by Franz West.

All the seven sculptures are worth the visit. If you are in Oslo then you must visit the Oslo park.

16. Spend Quality Time in the Vigeland Sculpture Park

The Vigeland park of sculpture is the largest park by only one artist in the entire world. The park consists of more than 200 sculptures made of bronze, granite, and cast iron. All these works of the famous sculptor of Norwegian, Gustav Vigeland. All his works represent the philosophy of human life and its emotions.

The park has free entry and is open 24 hours a day for all 365 days. The park is also responsible for the design and architectural outline which attracts more than one million annual visitors.

The Vigeland sculpture park is Norway’s top tourist destination, a must-visit and one of the great things to do in Oslo. After the sculpture park, you must visit the Vigeland museum in the neoclassical building, which was built in the 1920s as the home of Gustav Vigeland after he donated his work to the city. 

To reach the park, you can take line 3 subway from the Oslo central station or can also take the Blue Tram No 12. If you want, you can also walk or bike from the Oslo city centre which is just 2 miles away from the Sculpture Park.

17. Wander in Akershus Fortress

Akershus Fortress.
Photo by Jorge Lascar on Flickr

The Akershus fortress or the Akershus castle situated in the Norwegian capital Oslo is a medieval castle that was built to protect and provide royal residence to the city. The castle has been used as a prison, military base, and office of the Prime Minister of Norway.

The Akershus fortress is completely free to visit. The main gates of the Akershus fortress are opened from 6:00 am till 21:00 every day for 365 days. Although the Akershus Fortress is free to visit, other museums, events, restaurants, and concerts charge fees and their entrance timings may vary.

It is a very appealing building, and one should visit it if in Oslo as visiting Akershus Fortress is one of the great things to do in Oslo.

The Footnote

Oslo is a very great city in Norway. It is like heaven for a person who loves to travel and is a great fan of museums and arts. With the help of the above guide, you can easily go and visit the most fascinating things in Oslo.

Other than the above-mentioned places, you can do other things as well such as tasting Norwegian dishes. You can try the most famous dishes from the most famous restaurants. If you are a foodie, then this part of the trip will have your heart.

You can also go to the national theatre and get yourself indulged in the performance of dramatic arts because there are numerous fascinating things to do in Oslo. You can also see the modern architecture, Skidmore Oslo, the pacific ocean, and the oldest brick building because it is a place with hundreds of attractions.

While making a list of other things to do in Oslo and fun things to do in the Uk, remember that Oslo is a great place for adventures and exciting things. Apart from all the above-mentioned things, there are tons of other things to do in Oslo. You can book budget hotels to stay there. There are super stylish budget hotels that will make your trip to Oslo the most remembered trip ever.

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