Whether it’s the glint of Norwegian sun on sea or snow, or the jewel-like twinkle of night-lights from its 40 or so little islands, Oslo has a sparkle about it. And a sheen of steely resilience built from tough winters, and some tough times. Our 24 hours in Norway’s beautiful capital was just enough to whet our appetite for a return visit.
Here are our top eight must-see attractions …
The Harbour: Shop and stroll around this stylishly redeveloped area, pausing for coffee, dinner or drinks. Marvel at the stunning Oslo Opera House–almost appearing to rise out of the harbour waters.
The Viking Ship Museum: Located on the Bygdøy peninsula with the world’s best-preserved Viking ships. Catch the Fram Museum, too–displaying the strongest wooden ship ever built; holding the record for travelling the furthest north, and south.
The Vigeland Sculpture Park: a mesmerising collection of more than 200 human sculptures in bronze, cast iron and granite, depicting scenes, relationships and conflicts from cradle to grave–the work of Gustav Vigeland, who developed at this beautiful site between 1939 and 1949. We’d probably rate this our number one attraction in Oslo.
Munch and more: The work of Norwegian artist Edvard Munch (including his famous “The Scream”) is housed in Oslo’s National Gallery–the country’s largest public collection of artwork. There is a separate Munch Museum, too.
The tram system! Oslo isn’t huge, so it’s not too difficult to get across the city by foot if you’re happy walking. If not, there’s a great, frequent tram service. In fact, public transport in the city and the county of Akershus falls within the same ticket and price system, run by Ruter. Their tickets can be used on buses, trams, subways, trains and some ferries. We found the trams really easy to use–routes and numbers are clear, and if you’ve bought an Oslo pass, you can jump on or off as many times as you like within your pre-arranged pass time limit.
The Holmenkollen Ski Musum and Tower offers a fascinating glimpse into Norway’s ski-ing history–from sport to the reliance of skis in polar exploration, and more. It’s right underneath the infamous ski jump–if you’ve got a head for heights!
The Nobel Peace Prize Museum traces the history of Alfred Nobel and the award’s recipients, who appear on digital screens in a beautiful display lit by a thousand fibre-optic lights. The museum’s permanent and changing exhibitions focus on a range of issues relating to war and peace, and efforts to resolve conflict. We found it incredibly thought-provoking.
Akershus Fortress includes Norway’s Resistance Museum, tracing Norway’s domestic World War II history from the years 1940-1945. Here you can learn about the country’s five years of occupation through a powerful yet simple collection of pictures, everyday items, documents, news reports and models. We’d never heard about Quisling before. Have you?
How to make the most of your stay
The Oslo Pass offers free entry to most of the city’s museums, and to many attractions. As well as free travel on public transport within zone 1 and zone 2, the Oslo Pass includes free entry to outdoor swimming pools, some free walking tours, discounts on sightseeing, ski simulator, Tusenfryd Amusement Park, a range of concert tickets, some climbing attractions, ski rental, and special offers in restaurants, shops, entertainment and leisure venues. You can find out more about prices, and terms and conditions of the pass, here.
In the interest of disclosure, we received a complimentary Oslo Pass on the promise of writing about the city. If we had had criticisms about any aspect of the pass, we would have written about it. For more on our disclosure policy, read here.