10 things to see in Oslo

I can struggle to find the beauty in big cities and start by seeking out singular factors which make them endearing.

Oslo is large and spread out but not in a way that feels overwhelming.

There was no way of avoiding the fact this city is expensive: a theme which became familiar in the Scandinavian cities we visited. Spending around 36 hours in Oslo, to help our budgets Renee and I stayed in a shared Airbnb in the Gamle district, and made the majority of our meals in the apartment.

We wandered around Oslo taking it in and found the top things to see in Oslo which will make you more than a little amoured with this city.

1. Akershus Fortress

Akershus Fortress is a castle built to protect Oslo which has also been used as a prison. It is still in use as a military area.

It also houses two military museums: The Norwegian Armed Forces Museum and Norway’s Resistance Museum.

It’s quite charming to walk around and offers views all over the city. We wandered around the walls taking in the views, buildings and grassy areas before checking out the gift shop.

Fortress things to see in Oslo

castle things to see in Oslo

2. The Waterfront

Seeing Oslo’s waterfront first from the fortress before exploring it, this is the perfect place for people watching and checking out restaurants, sailing tours and pop-up festivals.

waterfront things to see in Oslo

3. The Royal Palace

Still in action housing the Norwegian Royal Family (who were obviously home at the time) the palace is impressive to look at as are it’s gardens.

Royal Palace things to see in Oslo

4. The Botanical Gardens

We found the botanic gardens by accident, passing through them per GoogleMaps’ suggestion to reach another city attraction.

We stopped more than once – first to rest on a park bench and watch the ducks on a pond, the second time with a glass of rose at a cafe following a confusing encounter with a driverless lawnmower.

The foliage and landscape was varied and it looks like a popular sunbathing spot for locals.

5. Oslo’s Parliament building

We had to consult Google Maps to find out what this building was but it turned out to be the long-time seat of Norway’s parliament.

You can head inside for a free guided tour.

Parliament things to see in Oslo

6. The Markets

Mathellen Oslo was an European Foodhall inspired market which wasn’t too crowded and I’m sure everyone else there was also a visitor to the city.

Markets are unique to each city and it was the sweet pies and cupcakes that tempted us into purchase here.

Markets things to see in Oslo

7. Churches

As well as markets, in every European city you’ll find a church. Some of the aspects which make them unique include their decoration, stained glass windows, images of Christ and his disciples, the amount of gold, and the organ.

Trinity Church and the Oslo Cathedral are each very individual churches which also have similarities.

things to see in Oslo church

8. The Vigeland Park

The Vigeland Park in Oslo is the world’s largest sculpture park made by a single artist. It was recommended to us by a random New Zealand cyclist we got talking to at a stop on Iceland’s Golden Circle.

It was an hour’s walk from our accommodation but worth the effort. Take a picnic if you go there as there wasn’t much to buy for lunch nearby.

sculpture park things to see in Oslo

the vigeland park things to see in Oslo

9. Tim Wendelboe

Probably not a ‘must see’ unless you’re a coffee addict but I’d reached five weeks between decent coffees so wanted to head straight for Tim Wendelboe’s as soon as I heard about the number of coffee awards they were stashing behind the counter.

My cappuccino must have cost close to $10NZ but it was perfect.

10. The riverside

The last of the things to see in Oslo is the riverside. Walking along the river we encountered street art, hip bars on balconies, coffee joints, bridges, parks, statues, and even a man struggling to get up on a SUP board.

Have you been to Oslo? Do you think 36 hours in Oslo is enough?


  1. Bee
    November 2, 2017 / 8:21 pm

    I’m heading here tomorrow then Sweden. I’ll save this as my guide 🙂

  2. September 4, 2017 / 10:21 am

    Oh man it looks so amazing! My grandma is from Norway, so it’s been on my bucket list for ever! Would love to go!

    • September 4, 2017 / 12:58 pm

      Oh what a cool family connection! Hope you can cross it off your bucket list some time soon 🙂

  3. September 4, 2017 / 4:38 am

    Oslo is on my list! I hope to visit one day 🙂

  4. September 3, 2017 / 8:22 pm

    I need to visit Oslo – sadly we’ve only transited through the airport on our way to pastures more Northern!

    • September 4, 2017 / 12:58 pm

      Oslo is certainly worth a stopover for a couple of days another time when you’re heading North Emma!

  5. Polly (Follow Your Sunshine)
    September 3, 2017 / 1:05 am

    I read this with interest as we spent some time in Oslo at the beginning of the year. You brought back some great memories! My brother in law loves there so wait to go back there soon.

    Polly xx

    • September 4, 2017 / 12:59 pm

      Thanks Polly! Glad you enjoyed your own time in Oslo enough to want to head back soon

  6. Vicky Dalton-Banks
    September 2, 2017 / 8:29 pm

    Great list – would love to visit Oslo, though I’ve heard its very expensive. I’m hoping to visit my brother in Copenhagen later this year, just need to find affordable accommodation!

    • September 4, 2017 / 12:38 pm

      So expensive! And it’s everything not just the non-essentials like alcohol . Oh I’d love to visit Copenhagen, good luck with the accommodation hunt, Airbnb might be your answer if staying with your brother isn’t an option.

  7. Ngaire
    September 1, 2017 / 10:13 pm

    I never quite got to Oslo, did visit Tromso though. Norway looks like a pretty incredible country!

    • September 1, 2017 / 10:53 pm

      Oslo is jaw-dropping really! I loved Bergen as well. Everything I know about Tromso is from Van’s blog Snow in Tromso and it does look incredible!

  8. September 1, 2017 / 9:29 pm

    great choices! I’ve done most of these plus a couple of museums when I visited Oslo:) #travellinkup

    • September 1, 2017 / 10:56 pm

      Thanks Tanja, I’ve heard great things about the museums in Oslo actually and the Oslo Pass for exploring them.

  9. Connie Consumes
    September 1, 2017 / 8:13 pm

    I wish I had this post before my visit a couple of weeks ago – great run down, particularly with some free activities! We also had to google the Parliament building… I could actually see it from our hotel room!

    • September 1, 2017 / 10:55 pm

      That would have been an awesome location to stay in. Your Oslo food pics on Twitter looked delicious Connie, so much food envy!