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The Traveller's Magazine
  •   3 min read

It’s no wonder Oslo is quickly climbing as one of the most popular northern cities to visit. And what’s not to love about the Norwegian capital? It’s got world-class museums and galleries, fab parks and fine food. It’s also budget-friendly too!

City Sights, museums and galleries

Several Oslo museums offer free entry on Sundays, so make sure you plan your flights to Oslo correctly. These include:

  • National Gallery
  • National Museum of Contemporary Art
  • Museum of Architecture
  • Museum of Decorative Arts and Design
  • Stenersen Museum (free on Tuesdays)

The Viking Ship Museum and the Historical Museum offer a 2-for-1 deal which allows you to visit both museums within 48 hours so you don’t have to cram them both in on the same day.

Vigelandsparken – Technically a park but we’ll class it as an outdoor museum due to the popularity of its sculptures. It is an essential stop on your Oslo city tour! The park is home to 200+ granite and bronze sculptures of men, women and children. The piece de resistance is the 15 metre monolith of arms, legs and bodies all tangled together, darned from a single piece of granite.

City Hall – While the building isn’t much to write home about, the murals inside are really spectacular. These huge works of art are collaborations between several important twentieth century Norwegian artists and are really something to see while in Oslo.

Opera House – The new Opera House building opened in Bjørvika in spring of 2008 and cost an astonishing 4.3 billion Norwegian crowns to build. Today, it’s one of the city’s most visited buildings and offers great views over the city.

Opera time!

Museums that are free all the time include: Armed Forces Museum, Film Museum, Intercultural Museum, Oslo City Museum, The Labour Museum and the Norwegian Customs Museum.

Parks and the great outdoors

Summer in Norway is incredible. Oslo is surrounded by the lush green forests of Oslomarka and is home to more than 200 kilometres of trails that are just 20 minutes from the city centre. Interspersed in the forests are 27 little cabins, called hytters where hikers can stop for food and drinks. Some even offer overnight accommodation!

Fancy taking a dip in the sea on a hot summery day? Head to Paradisbukta, named Paradise Bay for good reason, where you can join the locals for a swim. If you’d rather swim in the nude, head to Huk Beach. There are also some great lakes for swimming in Oslomarka.

Botanical Garden – Located in Tøyen, this park was founded in 1814 and is home to 7,500+ species of plants. It’s especially pretty in spring and autumn.

Quintessential Oslo

Royal Guards – Like London, Oslo also has its own changing of the guards outside the Royal Palace and seeing it is all part of the essential Oslo experience. It takes place daily at 1:30pm (even in the dead of winter when the temperatures drop way below zero). In the summer though, the troops are lead by mounted police officers and a Norwegian military band.

Norway's Royal Palace - Oslo
Norway's Royal Palace

Market shopping – If you’re after some unique Norwegian treasures, head to the second-hand and antique market on Vestkanttorvet in Marjorstuen on Sundays from March to December. The Birkelund flea market in Grünerløkka is also a great one to visit, also on Sundays.

Karl Johans Gate – This is one of the most important streets in Oslo. It’s home to the Royal Palace, it’s where all the city parades go down, hosts a seasonal ice rink and is a feverish bustle of shops, cafes and restaurants. It’s perfect for two free activities: people watching and window shopping.

Like to travel for free? We’ve created 30+ free city guides on the Traveller’s Blog from Venice to Vancouver, Paris to Hong Kong, Washington DC to New York and beyond.

Imgs: sister_madly, praktyczny_przewodnik, laszlo-photo,  / Flickr cc.

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