Oslo is the beautiful capital of Norway and the perfect place to start your trip around the country. You’ll find everything from sauna boats, to world-class museums, and the stunning Royal Palace. No matter how long you have to explore the city, there is truly something for everyone! Here are the best things to do in Oslo Norway and great tips from our own visit.
13 Things to do in Oslo Norway
1. Stroll Along the Harbor
The Oslo harbor is one of the most popular areas of the city. When visiting in the summer we loved seeing everyone jumping in the ocean from the small platforms and laying out on the docks.
Make sure to spend plenty of time walking along the Oslo harbor! There are many outdoor cafes, restaurants, and bars overlooking the water.
2. Climb the Oslo Opera House
The Opera House is one of the most iconic buildings in the city and is located right along the harbor. One of the best things to do in Oslo Norway is to actually walk up to the top!
The unique design is one of the coolest we’ve seen in Europe, and the views from the roof are even better. The slanted angles allow for visitors to make the steep climb up and enjoy looking out over the city.
3. Go Swimming at Opera Beach
Just below the Oslo Norway Opera House is a small sandy beach that might surprise you! We certainly didn’t expect to see one in the middle of the capital city.
In the summer months, Opera Beach was full of people swimming and enjoying the sunny afternoon. There is also a small dock right off of the shore that you can swim out to.
4. See History at the Many Museums
Oslo Norway is home to countless museums! There is everything from viking and maritime history to sculptures, and even skiing! Especially on a rainy or cold day, visiting a museum can be one of the best things to do in Oslo. Here are a few of our favorites we experienced below.
5. Take the Boat to Museum Island
While we’re on the subject… Another awesome way to see the history of Norway is to take a boat to Museum Island. Not only will you be able to visit three amazing Museums, but the boat has gorgeous views of the harbor. The island itself is even a nice place to walk around and enjoy the scenery.
If you plan to make the trip to Museum Island getting the Oslo Pass will save you time and money. This covers both the ferry cost & museum entrances. The Oslo pass also gains you entry to many other attractions and public transportation around the city.
6. Go Shopping on Karl Johan
Karl Johan is a massive walking street that will take you from the Oslo Norway Central Station all the way to the Royal Palace. The street is always buzzing with activity and where you’ll find endless shops, cafes, and restaurants.
7. Tour the Royal Palace
The Royal Palace is very unique in the sense that you can literally walk right up to it! During certain times of the year, you can actually tour the famous palace as well. From late June until the middle of August, travelers can take a guided tour of the grounds.
The palace was built in the early 19th century as the home to King Charles III John who reigned over both Norway and Sweden. Interestingly enough, it’s still the current home to King Harald V of Norway!
8. Eat at Mathallen Market
One of the best things to do in Oslo Norway is to sample all the delicious food! Around the city, you’ll find traditional Norwegian treats, fresh seafood, and great international dishes!
One of our favorite places to go for a little bit of everything is Mathallen Market. Located in the Grünerløkka neighborhood, this large food court makes for a nice day trip for lunch or dinner.
→ Mathallen Oslo: 7 Things to Know About the Popular Food Market
9. Visit the Akershus Fortress
Completed in the early 1300’s, the medeival Akershus Fortress protected Oslo for many centuries. Under the reign of King Christian IV it was converted into a royal castle and residence.
The outdoor area is completely free to walk around and includes several stunning viewpoints of the city. You can also take guided tours of the indoor space during the summer months.
10. Explore Aker Brygge
Many of the best things to do in Oslo Norway can be found in the Aker Brygge neighborhood. Set right on the water, it’s the perfect place to grab some high-end Nordic cuisine.
This is also where many of the fun dinner cruises leave from at night! So when you’re not strolling along the waterfront, you can get onto the water and see it from a different perspective.
11. Experience a Floating Sauna
You may be surprised to see some small huts floating along the Oslo Norway harbor. Well, these wooden structures are actually floating saunas!
That’s right! You can get a membership if you live in Oslo or simply pay for a day pass at KOK Oslo Sauna. Jumping between the chilly water and warm sauna makes for one of the most unique things to do in Oslo.
12. Spend the Afternoon at SALT
Salt is a popular spot in Norway that offers something for everyone. It is one of the stops on the boat from Munch Bjørvika Pier to Museum Island so you can easily visit it on your way back.
Overlooking the city, there are wooden tables on the water serving international food and delicious drinks. You can also go to a small cafe made of driftwood or hit the sauna! SALT also has live music and plenty of events going on throughout the summer.
13. Jump on a Fjord Boat Tour
One of the best things to do in Oslo is to take a fjord boat tour from the city center. We would highly recommend this especially if you’re not planning to do a road trip through the rest of Norway’s fjords. How special is it that you can take a tour like this right from the capital of the country??
Have any questions about what to do in Oslo Norway or want to share your own favorite tips and activities? Let us know in the comments below!
Brigitte & Jake
Where in the world are we? Follow our daily adventures on Instagram @nothingfamiliar!
Where to Stay in Oslo Norway
Ultra Luxury – Amerikalinjen – Beautiful boutique hotel named after the 19th century cruise ship line. Enjoy the spacious and luxurious rooms with a classic Norwegian touch.
Fun Vacation – Clarion Hotel Oslo – Located in the heart of downtown, the Clarion is a great place to stay near the waterfront. We loved the modern rooms, buffet breakfast, and being within walking distance of all the best Oslo attractions.
Hostel – HI Oslo Haraldsheim – As one of the hotel hostels in the city enjoy the green nature around the Grefsen neighborhood just outside the city center. Hi Oslo is a fun place to meet friends and has both private and dorm rooms available.
Oslo to Copenhagen Cruise – DFDS Ferry – Jump on an overnight cruise from Oslo to Copenhagen Denmark! This is a great option if Oslo is your only stop in Norway and you plan to continue your travels through Europe.
More Norway Tips
- 12 Best Tips To Know Before Exploring the Norway Fjords
- Best Clothes for Norway: What to Pack & Wear On Your Holiday
- Norway Itinerary: Amazing 7 Day Fjord Road Trip from Oslo
- Planning a Trip to Norway: 10 Step Easy to Follow Travel Guide
- 9 Important Things to Know Before Renting a Car in Norway
Norway Travel Planning
Flights: We always find deals using Skyscanner and Kayak. That’s how we got flights from Italy to Prague for under $40 USD!
Rental Car: We use Discover Cars when abroad. It is especially popular to rent a car and spend one week cruising between the Fjords.
Accommodation: Compare competitive sites for hotels such as Booking.com and Agoda. Also, Hostelworld should be your go-to source if you’re traveling on a budget.
Tours: Check out Get Your Guide for activities all over Norway. You can book everything from an Oslo pass for museums and transportation to a Bergen Fjord tour and even take a famous Tromsø Aurora Borealis Tour!
Travel Insurance: Never travel abroad without being covered. We’ve been using SafetyWing for the last few years on the road and they are there when we need them.
Packing Lists: Here’s all the inspiration you need with our Amazon packing lists! Including electronics and camera gear, must-have medical items, and long flight essentials!
*We receive a commission for purchases made through links in this post. This allows us to continue our travels and keep providing great content to our readers! Also, as an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.