13 Fun Things to do in Oslo Norway On Your First Visit

Things to do in Oslo

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 13 things to do in Oslo Norway and fun tips from our own visit. 

How to Get Around Oslo Norway

Oslo is the capital and largest city in Norway. Many travelers come here to visit and start their journey to the magical fjords. Once you arrive know that it’s easy to get around. Oslo Central Station is in the heart of the city and can take you to many destinations around the country. 

We used the Oslo Pass on our visit which included access to the buses and trams. Public transport is simple and efficient here, but also know that much of the city is walkable. 

How to Get Around Oslo Norway

13 Fun Things to do in Oslo Norway

1. Stroll Along the Harbor

The Oslo harbor is one of the most popular areas of the city. During 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 so many outdoor cafes, restaurants, and bars overlooking the water to enjoy. 

Best Things to Do in Oslo

2. Climb the Oslo Opera House

The Opera House is one of the most iconic buildings in Oslo and 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 best views are from the roof. The slanted angles allow for visitors to make the steep climb up and look out over the city.

You may even be able to see the Norwegian National Opera here depending on the time of your visit.

Fun Things to do in Oslo

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 Norway’s capital.

In the summer months, Opera Beach was full of people swimming and enjoying the sunny day. There is also a small dock right off of the shore that you can swim out to.

Oslo Things to Do

4. Visit a Historical Museum 

Oslo Norway is home to countless museums. There is everything from Viking ship museum to the Vigeland Sculpture Park, and art galleries! 

Specifically 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 near the city centre.

Oslo Norway Museums

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 also a great way 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 and ticket prices for entrance. The Oslo pass even gains you entry to many other attractions and public transportation around the city. 

Things to Do Oslo Norway

6. Go Shopping in Oslo Norway 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 Residence. The street is always lively and where you’ll find endless shops, cafes, and restaurants.

We actually had to replace our travel backpacks and were able to find numerous outdoor adventure stores here. Karl Johans Gate is also the start of the Oslo Christmas Market if you’re there over the holidays.

Best Oslo Things to Do

7. Tour the Oslo 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 are actually able to go inside famous palace. From late June until the middle of August, travelers can take a guided tour of the grounds. 

The historic building was constructed 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!

Oslo Norway Royal Palace

8. Eat at Mathallen Market

One of the top things to do in Oslo Norway is to sample all the delicious food. All around the city, you’ll find traditional Norwegian treats, fresh seafood, and great international dishes.

A great place that has 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. We took a beautiful stroll from the city to Mathallen and had such a great meal! 

Mathallen Oslo: 7 Things to Know About the Popular Food Market

What to Do in Oslo Norway

9. Experience the Akershus Fortress

Completed in the early 1300’s, the Akershus castle protected Oslo for many centuries. Under the reign of King Christian IV it was converted into a royal medieval 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.

Fun Things to Do in Oslo Norway

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 spot 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 taking a short walk along the waterfront, you can head to Aker Brygge to see it from a different perspective.

Oslo Norway Aker Brygge

11. Relax in 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.

Oslo Norway Floating Sauna

12. Spend the Afternoon at SALT

Salt is a popular place in Oslo 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.

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. 

Things to Do Oslo

13. Jump on a Fjord Boat Tour

One of the best things to do in Oslo is to take a fjord boat from the city center. We would highly recommend this, especially if you’re not planning on a tour of the world-famous fjords. 

We recently went on an epic 7 day fjord road trip which you can read more about here. How special is it that you can take a tour like this right from the capital of the country? 

Oslo Norway Fjord Boat Tour

More Things to do in Oslo Norway

Obviously, there are more than just 13 things to do in Oslo! Still, we hope this gave you a glimpse into all the fun outdoor activities, museums, and great food this city has to offer. 

We’ve now been to Oslo several times and it’s always a place we enjoy returning to. Have any questions about what to do in Oslo Norway or want to share your own tips? Let us know in the comments below!

Safe Travels,
Brigitte & Jake

 Where in the world are we? Follow our daily adventures on Instagram @nothingfamiliar

Where to Stay in Oslo Norway

Ultra LuxuryAmerikalinjen – Beautiful boutique hotel named after the 19th century cruise ship line. Enjoy the spacious and luxurious rooms with a classic Norwegian touch. 

Fun VacationClarion 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.

HostelHI 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. 

DFDS Ferry


Oslo Norway

More Norway Tips

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

Norway Travel

*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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *