The urban heart of Norway, Oslo represents Scandinavia at its most rarefied. Packed with world-class art museums and head-turning architecture, the capital city is a beautiful (and often pricey) place to explore. Walking tours, hop-on-hop-off bus itineraries, and guided bike rides are among the best ways to take in the city’s highlights, which include Vigeland Sculpture Park, Akershus Fortress, the Viking Ship Museum, Oslo Opera House, and the waterfront. Food-minded travelers seeking to experience trendy New Nordic cuisine visit local-approved destinations on culinary tours. And for outdoorsy types, the city’s proximity to nature makes it a popular jumping-off point for cruises around Norway’s fjords and forays to Bergen and Tromso.
Vigeland Sculpture Park
Visitors needn’t be intimately acquainted with Norwegian artist Gustav Vigeland to enjoy his eponymous park. Among the world’s largest sculpture gardens, this tract of green, conveniently located near the city center, is filled with more than 200 statues that depict people of all ages (and in all emotional states). While the park is free to enter, walking tours help travelers learn the stories behind the artworks. The park is a frequent stop on bike and bus tours; its companion museum is also worth a visit.
This private option is great for groups wanting a more in-depth experience. Plus, the flexible departure time makes it easy to coordinate this tour with other activities.
Clients can cover more ground—both in the park and around the city center—than they would on foot with this guided bike ride.
All-Inclusive Oslo City Tour: Vigeland Park, Fram Museum or Kon-Tiki Museum, and the Viking Ship Museum
Consider this larger group bus tour for clients interested in a high-level overview of Oslo with quick stops at key attractions, including Vigeland Sculpture Park.
This package, which combines the above all-inclusive city tour with a cruise on Oslo Fjord, provides the perfect introduction to Oslo for time-pressed first-time visitors.
Read more about Vigeland Sculpture Park tour options here.
Viking Ship Museum
The Bygdoy Peninsula, located west of the city, is home to a number of Oslo’s top museums. The Fram Museum tells the story of Norwegian polar exploration, while the Kon-Tiki Museum sheds light on adventurer Thor Heyerdahl and his trans-Pacific journey. But the Viking Ship Museum—which houses three vessels that are more than 1,000 years old—is the arguable highlight. The museum is frequently paired with other nearby stops, but can also be visited independently.
Your clients can skip the long lines to see what are among the world’s best-preserved viking vessels with advance tickets to the Viking Ship Museum.
This pass grants admission to key Oslo attractions (including the Bygdoy Peninsula museums and the ferry that transports visitors to the peninsula itself), so you and your clients can bypass the hassle of booking separate tickets for specific days or time slots.
Clients visiting Oslo on a cruise should consider this private shore excursion, which showcases the best of the city in half a day and includes entry to the Viking Ship Museum.
Read more about Viking Ship Museum tour options here.
Akershus Castle and Fortress
Dating back to the turn of the 14th century, Akershus Castle and Fortress—Oslo’s original royal palace—provides a compelling glimpse into Norway’s past (though it also hosts concerts, public celebrations, and other contemporary events). Poised right on the harbor—and adjacent to City Hall, Oslo Opera House, and other landmarks—the castle complex is a popular stop on hop-on hop-off tours, walking tours, and other introductory city itineraries.
This top seller makes getting to and from Oslo’s attractions (including Akershus Castle and Fortress) easy, and is ideal for clients who prefer exploring independently.
A fun alternative to a traditional sightseeing tour, this experience portrays Akershus Castle and Fortress and the historic center through the lens of a byone era.
Clients short on time can see Akershus Castle and other landmarks from the comfort of a coach with this tour.
Read more about Akershus Castle and Fortress tour options here.
While multi-day Norwegian fjord cruises have their appeal, those seeking time on the water and natural scenery can take advantage of the fjord right on Oslo’s doorstep. The Oslo Fjord, while not technically glacier-carved, is an inlet that stretches over 68 miles (109 kilometers). Along the way are numerous beaches, islands, pine-covered hills, and other picturesque highlights. A number of day options are available, from speedy boat rides to evening cruises lasting several hours.
This basic cruise provides the perfect overview for first-time Oslo visitors. Morning and afternoon departure times are available, and passengers hear live commentary about local highlights.
Ideal for clients looking to maximize their time, this quick, convenient cruise allows passengers to disembark at multiple points for photo ops.
Consider this leisurely sailboat adventure for clients more interested in a memorable evening on the water than a quick way to see the sights.
Read more about Oslo Ford tour options here.
Things to Know
When to Visit:
Oslo blooms during the summer months, when its waterfront and green spaces come alive with activity. But its cold winters also attract snowsports lovers and those seeking a winter-wonderland escape.
Oslo is best appreciated by bike or on foot, but tram and bus lines also traverse the city. It’s worth hopping on a ferry to see another side of town.
Scandinavian drinking laws are notoriously strict, and Norway is no exception. Drinking in public spaces is illegal, and a bottle of wines can only be purchased at the state-run Vinmonopolet.
Things to Bring:
In late autumn, winter, and early spring, temperatures can dip into the teens (or lower), so be sure to bring thermal layers. Even in the summer, it’s wise to carry a jacket.
What the Locals Know:
The Oslo Opera House is famed for its striking design; because of its sloping angles, visitors can even ascend its roof. The space hosts free, outdoor performances throughout the year.