Five Amazing Places You Need To Visit in Oslo, Norway
We've been to many places over the years, but none have come close to the magic of Oslo, Norway. It's quiet, charming, and peaceful—an inviting city for nature and art lovers alike. We stayed here for six days in 2014 and loved it. Loved it. It was the highlight of all our trips thus far (topped only recently by Iceland).
Are you headed to Oslo? Don't miss these five amazing places you just need to visit during your trip. Best of all, they're FREE (what's better than free?), so pay special attention if you're a budget traveler! This is a great way to see a bit of Norway without spending a dime.
• The National Gallery•
The National Gallery art museum is a great place to visit on a rainy afternoon (of which there often are in Norway). Inside, it's quiet and welcoming. People shuffle through various rooms (all numbered to guide you through a progression of art and culture) to contemplate paintings, sculptures, and statues.
Each piece of artwork tells a story—showing famous works like The Scream by Edvard Munch and sculptures by Auguste Rodin. They also showcase a lot of artwork by local Norwegians, which is really fun to see.
If you want to visit the National Gallery, admission is FREE on Thursdays (open 10 a.m. until 7 p.m.). Otherwise, adult admission is around $11 USD and student admission (with valid student ID card) is around $6. Weekdays are generally less busy (just keep in mind that they're closed on Mondays). You can visit their website for more information.
• Frogner Park •
Holding the title as the largest park in Oslo, Frogner Park is truly a wonder to behold. It has acres of park and trails, ponds, lush green grass, an astounding variety of flowers, and is home to Vigelandsanlegget—an area of 80 acres that consists of 212 sculptures, statues, and fountains Gustav Vigeland, a local Norwegian sculptor, created during his lifetime.
If you're looking for somewhere peaceful to go to have a picnic, sit next to a lake, wander amongst the art, and walk the trails—this is it.
Vigeland's sculpture installation is really unique. He seems to run a commentary, through his artwork, on the various aspects of human life and the intricacy of personal relationships. The best part is, it's all up for interpretation! The entire park really makes you contemplate what it means to be alive in this world.
If you want to visit Frogner Park, admission is free! You can go anytime, but we highly recommend going in the spring or summer (April-September) when the weather is warm and the flowers are in bloom.
• Akershus Festnig •
Akershus Fortress is a castle that was built in Oslo in the late 1200s to early 1300s. Early on, they used it for protection against Swedish invasions (of which there were surprisingly many); later on, they used it as a prison. Nowadays, it's a great place to take a stroll and see the old stonework. Akershus Fortress is on the water, too, if you want to sit on a bench and watch the ships sail past.
We unfortunately didn't get to go inside the fortress. There was a festival going on while we were there (think renaissance festival), and we arrived too late to purchase tickets. But the outside of the fortress and the views from the top of the hill were absolutely worth seeing, regardless!
Currently, the Visit Oslo website says that admission to the fortress is free. The hours they're open also depend on the time of year you visit. We suggest checking the website for the most up-to-date information before you go.
• Oslo Opera House •
The Oslo Opera House is a really neat building with unique architecture and great views of the harbor. This might be the first building we've seen that we can freely walk all over and scale up to the top. We didn't go inside (just got glimpses through the glass windows), but if you have the chance to take a tour, the inside sounds equally as beautiful as the outside!
Admission is free, and visitors are welcome anytime of the year. Just beware of teenagers flying down the slopes on their skateboards! For more information, check out the Visit Oslo website.
• The Royal Palace and Gardens •
The Royal Palace is a must-see in Oslo, specifically because you can walk right up to the front doors (a huge contrast to, say, Buckingham Palace in London, England) and take a stroll through the royal gardens in their backyard. They do tours of the palace in the summer, but we stayed outside—for free!—and had a grand ol' time.
We'll let the photos of The Royal Palace and the gardens speak for themselves.
Speaking of photos, we really wish we'd taken more of the palace and its strikingly lush grounds. The walking paths are very peaceful. There are fountains, gazebos, lots of beautiful flowers...
Despite many tourists, we found the palace gardens to be contemplative and serene. Not to mention, at any point you can see the back of the palace and people (probably royalty) entering and exiting the palace through tall iron gates.
There are guards of course, but the general feeling we got is that Norwegians are way more laid back and want people to enjoy themselves—hence the invitation to traipse around the palace grounds uninterrupted!
Are you planning a trip to Oslo?
Here are a few related blogs we've written on Norway: