Oslo

Karl Johans Gate, starting at Oslo Sentralstasjon (Oslo Central Station, also called Oslo S or simply Jernbanetorget ("railway square" in Norwegian), and ending at the Royal Palace, forms the backbone of downtown Oslo. Many major museums and historic buildings lie between the parallel streets of Grensen and Rådhusgata. West of downtown are Frogner and Majorstuen, residential areas with fine restaurants, shopping, cafés, galleries, and the Vigeland sculpture park. Southwest is the Bygdøy Peninsula, with a castle and five interesting museums that honor aspects of Norway's taste for maritime exploration.

Northwest of town is Holmenkollen, with its stunning bird's-eye view of the city and the surrounding fjords, a world-famous ski jump and museum, and three historic restaurants. On the more multicultural east side, where a diverse immigrant population lives alongside native Norwegians, are the Munch Museum and the Botanisk Hage og Naturhistorisk Museum (Botanical Gardens and Museum of Natural History), where you can see Ida, the oldest primate fossil ever found, our 47-million-year old ancestor. The trendy neighborhood of Grünerløkka, with lots of cafés and shops, is northeast of the center.

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  • 1. Aker Brygge

    Aker Brygge | Museum/Gallery

    This area was the site of a disused shipbuilding yard until redevelopment saw the addition of residential town houses and a commercial sector...

    This area was the site of a disused shipbuilding yard until redevelopment saw the addition of residential town houses and a commercial sector. Postmodern steel and glass buildings dominate the skyline now. The area has more than 60 shops and 35 restaurants, including upmarket fashion boutiques, pubs, cinemas, a theater, a comedy club, a shopping mall, galleries, and art installations. There is an open boulevard for strolling. Service facilities include banks, drugstores, and a large (and expensive) parking garage.

    Oslo, Oslo, 0250, Norway
    -22–83–26–80

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free
  • 2. Akershus Slott og Festning

    Sentrum

    Dating from 1299, this stone medieval castle and royal residence was developed into a fortress armed with cannons by 1592. After that time, it withstood...

    Dating from 1299, this stone medieval castle and royal residence was developed into a fortress armed with cannons by 1592. After that time, it withstood a number of sieges and then fell into decay. It was finally restored in 1899. Summer tours take you through its magnificent halls, the castle church, the royal mausoleum, reception rooms, and banquet halls. Explore Akershus Fortress and its resplendent green gardens on your own with the Fortress Trail Map, which you can pick up at the visitor center or download from the website.  The castle (or at least selected sections) may be closed to the public on short notice due to functions. Dates are always listed on the website.

    Oslo, Oslo, 0015, Norway
    23–09–39–17

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Fortress grounds entrance free, NKr 100 for Akershus Slott
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  • 3. Astrup Fearnley Museet

    Tjuvholmen

    Across the pedestrian bridge from Aker Brygge, the privately funded Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art is one of the city's architectural gems. The waterfront...

    Across the pedestrian bridge from Aker Brygge, the privately funded Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art is one of the city's architectural gems. The waterfront structure was designed by architect Renzo Piano, who placed three separate pavilions under one massive glass roof that—appropriate enough for this former shipbuilding center—resembles a billowing sail. The collection has earned a stellar reputation for its contemporary art from around the world.

    Strandpromenaden 2, Oslo, Oslo, 0252, Norway
    22–93–60–60

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: NKr 130, Closed Mon.
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  • 4. Emanuel Vigeland Museum

    Frogner

    Although he never gained the fame of his older brother Gustav, the creator of Vigeland Park, Emanuel is an artist of some notoriety. His alternately...

    Although he never gained the fame of his older brother Gustav, the creator of Vigeland Park, Emanuel is an artist of some notoriety. His alternately saucy, natural, and downright erotic frescoes make even the sexually liberated Norwegians blush. To get here, take the T-bane Line 1 from Nationaltheatret Station toward Frognerseteren and get off at Slemdal, one of Oslo’s hillside residential neighborhoods. Slightly off the beaten path near the neighborhood of Slemdal, this museum is a true wonder. Plan ahead, as hours are limited.

    Grimelundsvn. 8, Oslo, Oslo, Norway
    22–14–57–88

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: NKr 80, Closed weekdays mid-May–mid-Sept., Mon.–Sat. mid-Sept.–mid-May
  • 5. Frammuseet

    Bygdøy

    The Fram was used by the legendary Polar explorer Roald Amundsen when he became the first man to reach the South Pole in December 1911....

    The Fram was used by the legendary Polar explorer Roald Amundsen when he became the first man to reach the South Pole in December 1911. Once known as the strongest vessel in the world, this enormous Norwegian polar ship has advanced farther north and south than any other surface vessel. Built in 1892, the Fram made three voyages to the Arctic (they were conducted by Fridtjof Nansen and Otto Sverdrup, in addition to Amundsen). Climb on board and peer inside the captain's quarters, which has explorers' sealskin jackets and other relics on display. Surrounding the ship are many artifacts from expeditions. It boldly calls itself "the best museum in Norway," and it must be agreed that this is the quintessentially Norwegian fun-for-all museum.

    Bygdøynesvn. 36, Oslo, Oslo, 0286, Norway
    22–13–52–80

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: NKr 120
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  • 6. Frognerseteren

    Holmenkollen

    This lookout is the most common place to begin or end a cross-country ski outing or the traditional Sunday hike. It's also the spot where...

    This lookout is the most common place to begin or end a cross-country ski outing or the traditional Sunday hike. It's also the spot where every Oslo host will take his or her guests for a panoramic view of the fjords and city skyline. The lookout area has two restaurants in a building from 1891: the local favorite Kafe Seterstua, a self-service place with sandwiches and waffles, and the sit-down, special-occasion Restaurant Finstua, which specializes in Norwegian smoked and salted foods. Frognerseteren is made of rough-hewn logs and evokes the Norwegian mountain life that exists just minutes from urbane Oslo.

    Holmenkollveien 200, Oslo, Oslo, 0791, Norway
    22–92–40–40
  • 7. Munchmuseet

    Sentrum

    Edvard Munch, Norway's most famous artist, bequeathed his enormous collection of works (about 1,100 paintings, 3,000 drawings, and 18,000 graphic works) to the city when...

    Edvard Munch, Norway's most famous artist, bequeathed his enormous collection of works (about 1,100 paintings, 3,000 drawings, and 18,000 graphic works) to the city when he died in 1944. This newly built museum—moved here from a rather dowdy location in a residential neighborhood to the brand new fjord district of Bjørvika—is a monument to his artistic genius, housing the largest collection of his works and also mounting changing exhibitions. Munch actually painted four different versions of The Scream, the image for which he's best known, and one of them is on display here. While most of the Munch legend focuses on the artist as a troubled, angst-ridden man, he moved away from that pessimistic and dark approach to more optimistic themes later in his career. Fascinatingly, both the permanent and changing exhibitions cater to an expansive audience. Since its opening, the huge glass structure has seen Surrealist retrospectives, a mini--history museum on Munch's childhood, a sound installation collaboration with one of Norway's most revered black metal artists and new work from the likes of Tracey Emin and famed collectors---plus concerts and shows from global talent. Then there's the view from the top. The exquisite architectural design makes for indoor and outdoor panoramic views of the fjord and new district that's risen from the waters. A buzzing bistro-style restaurant serving everything from oysters to lamb and a great cocktail bar impresses. On the ground floor, a very chic and airy café offers open-faced sandwiches, salads, and jacket potatoes to munch on as you browse the life of Munch.

    Edvard Munchs pl. 1, Oslo, Oslo, Norway
    23–49–35–00

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: NKr 120
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  • 8. Nasjonalmuseet

    Sentrum

    Having reopened its doors in 2022, the newly constructed National Museum now stands as the largest art museum in the Nordic region. The eye-catching modern...

    Having reopened its doors in 2022, the newly constructed National Museum now stands as the largest art museum in the Nordic region. The eye-catching modern structure not far from the waterfront includes a rooftop hall longer than the Royal Palace and has views of Oslo City Hall, Akershus Fortress, and the Oslofjord. The Edvard Munch section holds such major paintings as The Dance of Life, one of two existing oil versions of The Scream, and several self-portraits. Classic landscapes by Hans Gude and Adolph Tidemand—including Bridal Voyage on the Hardangerfjord—share space with other works by major Norwegian artists. The museum also has works by Monet, Renoir, Van Gogh, and Gauguin, as well as contemporary works by 20th-century Nordic artists. Enjoy the landscaped garden seating areas and special events throughout the year.

    Brynjulf Bulls pl. 3, Oslo, Oslo, 0130, Norway
    21--98--20--00
  • 9. Norsk Folkemuseum

    Bygdøy

    One of the largest open-air museums in Europe offers the perfect way to see Norway in a day. From the stoic stave church (built in...

    One of the largest open-air museums in Europe offers the perfect way to see Norway in a day. From the stoic stave church (built in 1200) to farmers' houses made of sod, the old buildings here span Norway's regions and most of its recorded history. Indoors, fascinating displays of richly embroidered, colorful bunader (national costumes) from every region includes one set at a Telemark country wedding. The museum also has stunning dragon-style wood carvings from 1550 and some beautiful rosemaling, or decorative painted floral patterns. The traditional costumes of the Sámi (Lapp) people of northern Norway are exhibited around one of their tents. If you're visiting in summer, ask about Norwegian Evening, a summer program of folk dancing, guided tours, and food tastings. Great for kids.

    Museumsvn. 10, Oslo, Oslo, 0287, Norway
    22–12–37–00

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: NKr 160
  • 10. Operahuset

    Sentrum

    One of the crown jewels of Scandinavian architecture, the Oslo Opera House is a stunning addition to the city's waterfront. When it first opened its...

    One of the crown jewels of Scandinavian architecture, the Oslo Opera House is a stunning addition to the city's waterfront. When it first opened its doors, the gala ceremony attracted Denmark's royal family, the leaders of several countries, and a host of celebrities. Designed by the renowned Norwegian architect firm Snøhetta, the white marble and glass building slopes downward toward the water's edge, giving visitors spectacular views of the fjord, the surrounding mountains, and the city skyline. And it doesn't just look good: the acoustics inside the 1,364-seat auditorium are excellent, as are those in the two smaller performance spaces. The space is the permanent home of the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet and also hosts a full calendar of music, theater, and dance. The Oslo Biennale will be staging performances on the rooftop through 2023. The bistro restaurant, though typically Norwegian in pricey-ness, is gorgeous and offers seafood and wines you don't want to miss on this memorable visit.

    Kirsten Flagstads pl. 1, Oslo, Oslo, 0150, Norway
    21–42–21–21

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free; guided tours NKr 120
  • 11. Skimuseet i Holmenkollen

    Holmenkollen

    A feat of world-class engineering, this beloved ski jump was first constructed in 1892 and has been rebuilt numerous times, remaining a distinctive part of...

    A feat of world-class engineering, this beloved ski jump was first constructed in 1892 and has been rebuilt numerous times, remaining a distinctive part of Oslo's skyline. The cool, futuristic-looking jump you see today still hosts international competitions. The ski-jump simulator puts you in the skis of real jumpers, and the world's oldest ski museum presents 4,000 years of ski history. Guided tours of the museum are available.

    Kongevn. 5, Oslo, Oslo, 0787, Norway
    22–92–32–00

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: NKr 140
  • 12. Vigelandsparken

    Frogner

    A favorite hangout for locals, Vigeland Sculpture Park has 212 bronze, granite, and wrought-iron sculptures by Gustav Vigeland (1869–1943). The 56-foot-high granite Monolith is a...

    A favorite hangout for locals, Vigeland Sculpture Park has 212 bronze, granite, and wrought-iron sculptures by Gustav Vigeland (1869–1943). The 56-foot-high granite Monolith is a column of 121 upward-striving nudes surrounded by 36 groups on circular stairs. The Angry Boy, a bronze of an enraged cherubic child stamping his foot, draws legions of visitors and has been filmed, parodied, painted red, and even stolen. Kids love to climb on the statues. There's an on-site museum for those wishing to delve deeper into the artist's work.

    Oslo, Oslo, 0268, Norway
    23–49–37–00-for museum

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free
  • 13. Bygdø Kongsgård

    Bygdøy

    Part of the Norwegian Folk Museum, this manor house and farm of almost 500 acres actually belongs to, and has been occupied by, Norway's royal...

    Part of the Norwegian Folk Museum, this manor house and farm of almost 500 acres actually belongs to, and has been occupied by, Norway's royal family. It's a fully operational organic farm offering activities like horseback riding lessons and a chance for kids to pet barnyard animals. The manor house, the king's official summer residence, was built in 1733 by Count Christian Rantzau. Hours are erratic when the royal family is here.

    Dronning Biancas vei, Oslo, Oslo, 0287, Norway
    22–12–37–00

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Closed summer and winter
  • 14. Galleri Heer

    This exhibition space includes an eclectic mix of work: painting, drawing, photography, sculpture, and graphics. Around for four decades, it features a mix of artists...

    This exhibition space includes an eclectic mix of work: painting, drawing, photography, sculpture, and graphics. Around for four decades, it features a mix of artists of all ages and backgrounds.

    Seilduksgata 4B, Oslo, Oslo, 0553, Norway
    97–62–04–89

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Closed Mon. and Tues.
  • 15. Galleri Schaeffers Gate 5

    Grünerløkka

    This performance and exhibition space is known for intimate readings, art installations, and concerts within an elegant 1890s-era tenement building....

    This performance and exhibition space is known for intimate readings, art installations, and concerts within an elegant 1890s-era tenement building.

    Schaeffers gt. 5, Oslo, Oslo, 0555, Norway
    452–18–078
  • 16. Internasjonale Barnekunstmuseet

    Majorstuen

    The brainchild of Rafael Goldin, a Russian immigrant, this museum showcases an unusual collection of children’s drawings from more than 150 countries. You can see...

    The brainchild of Rafael Goldin, a Russian immigrant, this museum showcases an unusual collection of children’s drawings from more than 150 countries. You can see the world though the eyes of a child in its exhibitions of textiles, paintings, sculptures, and other works of art.

    Lille Frøens vei 4, Oslo, Oslo, 0371, Norway
    22–46–85–73

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: NKr 75, Closed Mon. and Fri. Closed mid-Aug.–mid-Sept.
  • 17. Kon-Tiki Museet

    Bygdøy

    The museum celebrates Norway's most famous 20th-century explorer. Thor Heyerdahl made a voyage in 1947 from Peru to Polynesia on the Kon-Tiki, a balsa raft,...

    The museum celebrates Norway's most famous 20th-century explorer. Thor Heyerdahl made a voyage in 1947 from Peru to Polynesia on the Kon-Tiki, a balsa raft, to lend weight to his theory that the first Polynesians came from the Americas. His second craft, the Ra II, was used to test his theory that a reed boat could have reached the West Indies before Columbus. The museum also has a film room and artifacts from Peru, Polynesia, and Easter Island. Open 10--6.

    Bygdøynesvn. 36, Oslo, Oslo, 0286, Norway
    23–08–67–67

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: NKr 120
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  • 18. Nationalbibliotek

    Frogner

    Complete with elaborate facades, classical statues, and painted dome ceilings, this large, peaceful library has a collection containing the entire cultural and knowledge heritage of...

    Complete with elaborate facades, classical statues, and painted dome ceilings, this large, peaceful library has a collection containing the entire cultural and knowledge heritage of Norway. Though mostly in Norwegian, the library regularly hosts exhibits, concerts, lectures, and guided tours (call ahead for English) that detail the vast collections. There's a very good café open all day serving open-faced sandwiches and pastries.

    Henrik Ibsens gt. 110, Oslo, Oslo, 0255, Norway
    81–00–13–00

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Closed Sun.
  • 19. Nationaltheatret

    Sentrum

    In front of this Neoclassical theater, built in 1899, are statues of Norway's great playwrights Henrik Ibsen and Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson, who also composed the national...

    In front of this Neoclassical theater, built in 1899, are statues of Norway's great playwrights Henrik Ibsen and Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson, who also composed the national anthem. Most performances are in Norwegian. An English-language guided tour of the interior, which costs NKr 90, can be booked in advance, details how the great writers of years gone by created this space.

    Johanne Dybwads pl. 1, Oslo, Oslo, 0161, Norway
    22–00–14–00
  • 20. Nobels Fredssenter

    Sentrum

    Every year the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded in Oslo. At this high-tech attraction by the harbor, you can learn about past and present laureates...

    Every year the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded in Oslo. At this high-tech attraction by the harbor, you can learn about past and present laureates and their work through an original installation featuring 1,000 fiber-optic lights; read about Alfred Nobel's inventions and travels in a huge interactive book; and see a documentary on the current laureate in the Passage of Honor room. There are wonderful activities for young would-be peace activists, and changing exhibitions throughout the year, including humanitarian aid spotlights on work from Fridtjof Nansen to Amal Clooney. 

    Brynjulf Bulls pl. 1, Oslo, Oslo, 0250, Norway
    483–01–000

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: NKr 120, Closed Mon. Oct.–Apr.

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