Things to do in Oslo

If it’s a scenic city break with plenty of variety you’re looking for, Oslo is a destination you’re bound to fall in love with. From exquisite art galleries and museums to Michelin-starred restaurants, outdoor swimming and the option of skiing and hiking nearby, the Norwegian capital has something for everyone.

Here are our top recommendations of what to do in Oslo to ensure you make the most of your time in this world-class city.                                                      

What to do in Oslo

Vigeland Park

Begin your visit by getting a feel for the city, wandering the city streets and sipping coffee in its trendy cafes. But once you’ve had your fill of the shops and urban areas, drink in the peaceful splendour of Vigelandsparken.

You’ll find Vigeland Park (as it’s otherwise known) between the Majorstuen and Skøyen neighbourhoods, and as the world’s largest sculpture park made by a single artist, it’s an unforgettable place to spend an afternoon.

It’s beautifully designed, brimming with intrigue and shows off Oslo’s spiritual side too; the sculptures are remarkably human, as you’ll see when you stumble across the marvellous ‘Angry Boy’.

Call into the Vigeland Museum while you’re in the park, or head over to the Bygdøy peninsula to explore the Fram Museum. You can climb on board the largest polar ship in history and brace yourself for a simulator to get an idea of how bitterly cold it would have been for the sailors. 

But, if you’re a more outdoorsy traveller, why not make your way to the Oslo Ski Centre at Tryvann? You’ll find it just north of the city centre, and you’ll have your choice of five snowy slopes.

Experienced skiers and snowboarders can take on the Grefsenkleiva hill, while beginners will feel perfectly comfortable on the Trollvannskleiva hill with its gentle downhill slopes and easy-to-use plate lift. While you’re here, get an unbeatable view of the city complete with a heady dose of adrenaline by trying out the Kollensvevet zipline: it’s a scary challenge, but it’s utterly thrilling to speed towards the city from an Olympic ski jump starting point.

Where to shop in Oslo

Man walking in Oslo

As well as art and history, you’ll have no trouble filling your shopping bags in Oslo. Karl Johans gate is Oslo’s main shopping street, laced with a variety of shops that head towards the Royal Palace.

A multicultural and vibrant shopping area, it’s packed with people from all over the world selling their wares and buskers vying with one another for your attention.

For those looking for particular items, such as vintage furniture and accessories, head straight to Fuglen - a vintage shop in the heart of the city close to the National Gallery. Here you’ll find Scandinavian designs from the 1950s and 1960s, with the shop brimming with tables, chairs, plates and accessories.

Pull up one of the chairs outside on a summer’s day – it’s the perfect spot for a spot of people-watching while you’re drinking one of Fuglen’s deep, delicious in-house coffees.

But skip the snacks – if you make your way to the Skøyen neighbourhood (west of the city), you’ll find the Maschmanns Food Market. Overflowing with Norwegian and European food and condiments, as well as a bakery and pizzeria, you’ll need as much room as possible if you want to sample Oslo’s finest foods.

Where to eat in Oslo

Of course, you’re likely to want to enjoy a sit-down meal during your trip, so consider booking a table at Maaemo. This fine dining restaurant is the most northerly in the world with a Michelin star, and its minimalist décor is as exquisite as its menu.

Restaurant Swan (in the Frogner district) serves mouth-watering Thai cuisine, and Lofoten Fiskerestaurant serves a fantastic menu of seasonal fish and seafood. It’s located on the harbour side in the city centre – ask for a seat beside the glass wall to make the most of its fantastic setting.

Wherever you decide to eat, don’t miss the chance to sample kvæfjordkake, Norway’s national cake. This sponge concoction is a heavenly combination of meringue, almond pieces and vanilla cream, and is exactly the treat you’ll be craving after exploring everything that’s waiting for you in Oslo.

But, how should you get around? Many of these attractions can be reached on foot, or easily accessed by car. But, while Oslo started enforcing measures to ban cars from its city centre in June 2017, it’s still the most convenient way to get around most of the districts of the city.

Having a car is particularly helpful if you fancy some outdoor adventures while you’re in Norway so consider hiring one if you also like idea of driving through majestic mountains or exploring the towering woodland while you’re in this beautiful part of Scandinavia.