Oslo, the capital of Norway, is an interesting and attractive city. There is Viking history, world famous art, ancient castles, and excellent parks, just to name a few possibilities. But Oslo can be an expensive city, one of the costliest to visit in Europe. While you won’t get by without spending any money, here are five things to do in Oslo that are affordable for most people and represent some of Oslo’s main attractions.
1. City Walk
Karl Johans gate is the main street of Oslo. The mostly pedestrian street runs from the Central Train Station to the Royal Palace, a distance of just over a kilometre. Starting at the Central Station end the walk up Karl Johans gate takes in the Oslo Cathedral (1694), the National Parliament, and the National Theatre.
The section of the avenue leading to the Royal Palace is lined with 1840’s buildings that make for a lovely stroll to the palace.
If you’re lucky you’ll catch the changing of the guard at the palace.
From the Palace head down to the port area and the Akershus Fortress (see #2) and on to the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet. The walk to the roof of the Opera House to enjoy the view of the harbour is a fun activity in its own right. It is then just a short walk back to the Central Station to complete the loop.
Depending on your interests there are also attractions such as the Film Museum, City Hall, Nobel Peace Centre, Historical Museum and National Gallery (see #3) on this circuit.
2. Akershus Festning (Fortress)
Cost: Fortress free/ Resistance Museum: NKR60/$AUS9.50/$US7/ Castle: NKR100/$AUS15.50/$US11.50
Akershus Festning is a medieval fortress begun in 1299 by King Hakon. You can wander the grounds for free enjoying the water views over Oslofjord.
On the site is also the Norwegian Resistance Museum which tells the story of the Nazi occupation of Norway during the second world war and the efforts of the populace to resist.
The Akershus Castle on the grounds can also be visited for an entry fee.
3. Historical Museum and National Gallery
Cost (each site): NKR100/$AUS15.50/$US11.50
Norway’s most famous artist is Edvard Munch and his most famous work (he did several versions) is the Scream. This can be viewed at the National Gallery along with other paintings by Munch and a number of works by other famous artists such as Cézanne and Manet.
Next door the Historical Museum gives a good understanding of Viking history, culture and daily life. It’s a good place to visit prior to going to the Viking Ship Museum.
4. Viking Ship Museum
Cost: NKR100/$AUS15.50/$US11.50. This ticket can be used for a free visit to the Historical Museum if used within 48 hours.
If you’re visiting Norway, the land of the Vikings, then there is no better way to get into the zone than a trip to the Viking Museum.
It has the world’s best preserved Viking ships. The four ships were excavated from burial sites and other artefacts found with them are also on display. These include sleds, small boats, and remnants of clothing.
The museum is on the Bygdøy peninsula. This is a short bus or ferry ride from Central Oslo. We’d recommend the ferry ride. It only takes 20 minutes but gives you a little glimpse of Oslo’s harbour. Cost is only NKR65 return p.p/$AUS10.
The Bygdøy peninsula also houses the Norwegian Folkmuseum, Norwegian Maritime Museum, Polar Ship Fram and Kon-Tiki Museum, so there are several days’ activities in this area alone.
5. Vigeland Sculpture Park
This park, which is open 24/7, is home to a more than 200 bronze, stone and iron sculptures created by Gustav Vigeland (1869 – 1943).
The impressive park in which the sculptures sit was also designed by Vigeland. It is a very popular picnic and viewing place with both locals and tourists.
Here are some images to give you the idea.
The Oslo pass is a good way to visit Oslo’s many attractions using one pre-paid pass. It gives entry to 30 museums as well as free public transport. There are also a range of other benefits.
It’s worth doing your research first and deciding where you want to visit and how long you want to take to do it. This will help you to decide if the Oslo pass is a good deal for your visit.
24 hours: 395 NOK (≈ 42 EUR)
48 hours: 595 NOK (≈ 63 EUR)
72 hours: 745 NOK (≈ 79 EUR)
24 hours: 210 NOK (≈ 22 EUR)
48 hours: 295 NOK (≈ 31 EUR)
72 hours: 370 NOK (≈ 39 EUR)
24 hours: 315 NOK (≈ 33 EUR)
48 hours: 475 NOK (≈ 50 EUR)
72 hours: 595 NOK (≈ 63 EUR)
Here’s the Oslo Pass website:
Here we’ve given just a small taste of what Oslo has to offer the visitor. If you’re lucky, as we were, to get good weather it is a very pleasant and easy city to stroll around and many of the main attractions are near to each other. It can be an expensive city but many of the attractions warrant quite a few hours of your time so the costs don’t work out to be that high when you consider what you get. And there is also a good number of free possibilities, a couple of which we have mentioned here.
Oslo is definitely a city that’s worth having on your ‘must visit’ list.
Ken and Cally
PS A big thanks to our sister-in-law Nina, who is Norwegian and gave us lots of good ideas for our short time in Oslo.