A City guide to Oslo, Norway

Oslo is a city with many cultural and artistic places, but also with a wide offer of shops, restaurants, cafés and nature. If you’re planning a trip to this beautiful, Nowegian capital, two days certainly won’t be enough to spend in the city! Take enough time to explore all the nice places Oslo has to offer.

In this article I will tell you some more about ten of the places you definitely should visit when travelling to Oslo.

Karl Johans Gate

Karl Johans Gate
The Karl Johans Gate is the main street of Oslo and also the heart of the center. If you are going by train from the airport to the city center of Oslo, you will arrive at the central station, which is located just in front of the Karl Johans Gate. From here you can easily walk into the street. It’s a very long street with many (international) shops, restaurants and cafés with terraces. If you walk to the very end of the main street, you will come across the Royal Palace and its beautiful gardens.

If you’re looking for a good accommodation with the perfect location during your stay in Oslo, definitely chose a hotel or appartment which is located close to the Karl Johans Gate. The first two nights in Oslo, I stayed at City Box. This hotel is located just a street further from the Karl Johans Gate and also gives an excellent price-quality ratio. Read in this article more about the accommodation and if it may be something for you.

The Royal Palace
Like I said before, the Royal Palace is located at the very end of the Karl Johans Gate. The Royal Palace was built in the first half of the 19th Century as the Norwegian residence of the French-born King Charles III of Norway, who reigned as kind of Norway and Sweden. Together with its Palace Park and the Palace Square, it makes the location a very beautiful place to walk around and to have a relaxing day.

At this moment, the Royal Palace is now home to King Harald V and Queen Sonja. During the summer period, the Royal Palace is open to the public by means of guided tours. These tours take visitors through some of the most beautiful state rooms in the Palace. There are guided tours in English every day at 12 p.m, 2 p.m., 2.20 p.m. and 4 p.m. The entrance fee for an adult is 135 NOK; children and seniors will have a discount. It’s strongly recommended to book your tickets beforehand.

At approximately one hour walking distance (but also easily reachable by tram or bus), you can find the Vigelandsparken. During my stay I think this was for me the most impressive place that I’ve visited in Oslo. The Vigelandsparken is a large park just outside the city center of Oslo where you can find more than 200 sculptures, created by Gustav Vigeland. These sculptures are made in bronze, granite and cast iron. The most well-known sculpture of the park will probably be The Angry Boy; which you can find on the bridge. One of the reasons that this sculpture is popular, is the fact that the boy has a golden hand. Due to the fact that the boy has been damaged by the touch of tourists, he’s got his golden hand.

It’s very impressive to walk around the park and to wander around the diverse types of sculptures. Because of the fact that the park is so big, there are plenty of possibilities to have a relaxing day picknicking or just lying in the grass of the park. Of course the park has no entrance fee and is free to enter all time.

If you would like to explore more of the statues Gustav Vigeland has created and the story behind these statues, there also is a Vigeland Museum just outside of the park. Against a small entrance fee, you can walk around the museum and explore more about the several stories.

Photo via Flickr, by Jean-Pierre Dalbéra

Aker Brygge
Aker Brygge is an area in Oslo which is located at the water side. Here you can find many cosy restaurants where you can have a drink or where you can eat something. Besides it’s also the place to be for a night out in the city.

Aker Brygge also is the place from where you can go by boat to the several small islands within the Oslo fjord, whereby Bygdøy is one of the most well-known. Other islands to visit are Bleikøya, Gressholmen, lindøya vet, Nakholmen, Langøyene and Hovedøya. If you have enough time in the city, it’s definitely recommended to go island hopping one day!

Photo via Flickr, by Tim Adams

Bygdøy – island of museums
Bygdøy is the most well-known island within the Oslo fjord. This island (or peninsula, because it’s not really an island) has a rich amount of museums, from where the Norsk Folkemuseum is the most popular one; together with the Viking Ship Museum. If you are a museum lover and would like to know more about the Norwegian culture, you should definitely pay a visit to both of these museums.

The Norsk Folkemuseum is one of the world’s oldest and largest open-air museums, with 155 traditional houses from all parts of Norway and a stave church from the year 1200. The museum also features some exhibits and demonstrations during summer time. This museum is open each day: in summer time from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. and in winter time from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. Adults pay an entrance fee of 130 NOK and children and seniors will get a discount. For more up-to-date information, check out the official website.

The Viking Ship Museum is a museum with the world’s best-preserved Viking ships and finds from Viking tombs. The museum shows discoveries from the Gokstad, Oseberg and Tune ships, plus small boats, sledges, a beautiful cart, tools, textiles and household utensils. It’s open year round from Monday until Sunday from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. The entrance fee for adults is 100 NOK, children and seniors get a discount. For more up-to-date information, check out the official website.

One of the other islands which I’ve visited during my stay in Oslo, is Hovedøya. If you’re looking for some rest, nature and hiking possibilities, you are on this island at the right place. Because this island isn’t very popular by tourists, it’s also very quiet. You can walk around through the nature or you can just chill and have a picknick on the beach. Perfect when you are looking from some rest after the rush of the city center.

Photo via Flickr, by dconvertini

Eventhough this place is a little further from the city center, it’s absolutely worth a visit. Especially during winter time when you would like to do some winter sports, you are definitely at the right place here. But even in summer time it’s a beautiful place to visit, because it’s a great starting point for hikes and to have some magnificent views over the city. By means of the subway you will get to Holmenkollen. And of course the well-known ski jump with rich history is nice to pay a visit to.


The Akershus fortress is a castle which has been built at the end of the 13th Century with the reason to protect Oslo. Nowadays, the castle is still a military area, but also daily opened for visitors. Besides the castle, there is also a Norwegian armed forces museum and a resistance museum where you can pay a visit to.

The Akershus fortress itself is daily opened from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. approximately and there are guided tours in summer time at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. The price for the tour is 50 NOK and children will have a discount. More up-to-date information can be found on the official website.

The museums are daily opened from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. and has an entrance fee of 60 NOK, children will have a discount. More up-to-date information can be found on the official website.

Photo via Flickr, by Jean-Pierre Dalbéra

If you’re an art lover and would love to explore some art work of Edvard Munch, you should definitely pay a visit to his museum; located just outside of the city center. There are several exhibitions and also guided tours where you can wander around the beautiful art Edvard Munch has created throughout the years. On the official website you can find all the information you’ll need when planning a visit to the museum.

Opera House

Opera House
Another place to visit, and even beautiful from the outside; looking at the architecture, is the opera house of Oslo. You can walk all the way up to the roof of the opera house and enjoy the view over the water. This beautiful piece of architecture is designed by the artists Kristian Blystad, Kalle Grude and Jorunn Sannes and definitely worth a visit. If you love opera and ballet shows, this is also the place to be for a nice night out.

What is the first thing you’ll visit when travelling to Oslo? Let us know in the comment section below!

Author: Tamara

This article is part of the GPSmyCity iOS app. You can download it, read this article offline and obtain travel directions (by foot, car or bicycle) to the places mentioned in this article. Click here to download it.


  • Lisa

    I love this city guide, especially as I haven’t yet been to Oslo. The island, or rather peninsula, of museums is so interesting. I watch the show Vikings, and so would love to see their boats in real life! Will take your advice and head to the island away from the tourists. It just looks so peaceful there.

  • The Globe Trotter

    Oslo looks like a lovely city. If visiting, the first place I would head to is the Vigelandsparken. I like outdoor exhibits like this. A nice way to spend the afternoon, maybe enjoy a picnic, explore the sculpture trail and do some people watching.

  • Paige Wunder

    This is a great quick guide! I actually didn’t realize that Oslo is part of a fjord, but that makes sense. Visiting Bygdøy would be at the top of my list! An island of museums?! That’s right up my alley!

  • Rhonda Albom

    We only had one day in Oslo, but saw a few of these. I’d be very interested to revisit and see the Norsk Folkemuseum, we visited the Viking Ship Museum but seeing so many traditional houses sounds amazing. The Opera House architecture also looks beautiful.

  • Candy

    I have only been to Oslo once when I was on my way to Molde, so I didn’t get much time to explore the city. I would love to go back and check out Aker Brygge. I like the sound of cozy restaurants and a place to hang out for the night time activities.

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