27 best sights in Oslo
The city of Oslo, located in southeastern Norway, was founded by the ancient Vikings. It is full of picturesque lakes, parks and historical sites that highlight the cultural peculiarities of the Scandinavian people.
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Who should come here and why
The capital of Norway is interesting to tourists from different countries. People come to see the dynamic, fast-paced city where ancient architecture meets modern buildings. Oslo has a vibrant nightlife. There are discos, rock concerts, entertainment shows in the clubs. Among the youth enjoy great popularity night bar “Oslo’s Smuget”, clubs “Blaa” and “Nivou”.
The city also attracts fans of outdoor activities. In summer, here gather passionate fishermen to do their own fishing in Oslo-fjord, or to take part in fishing trips organized by private companies. Anyone can rent a boat or canoe. In winter, guests can go ice skating, skiing and ski jumps.
To take the kids on modern rides, go to TusenFryd. The park has playgrounds for the little ones, an aqua park, a Ferris wheel, and a roller coaster. And there are many interesting museums and entertainment centers, suitable for families.
As a memento of a trip to Oslo tourists massively buy sweaters, knitted from natural wool, silver jewelry, wooden crafts and goat cheese flavored caramel.
Historical sites and architecture
Oslo’s central pedestrian street is home to major cultural and historical attractions. Tourists come here to see the palace park, the National Theater and Parliament building.
Here are open high-end boutiques, large stores and small souvenir shops. In the warmer months there are artists and musicians working in the open air. And in winter the elegant Christmas tree is installed near the building of the University.
Christiania Square, named after the Danish king and founder of Oslo, is the heart of the capital. Here are the old buildings, popular museums, cafes and restaurants. Under the ground lay a tunnel that freed the historic place of traffic.
In the center of the square you can see the original fountain in the form of the glove of King Christian. With his finger the monarch indicates where to build the city.
It was in the Old Town (or Damstredet) where the construction of Oslo began in 1049. Unfortunately, the ancient buildings have not been preserved. In a small picturesque quarter are residential houses built in the XVIII century.
Walking along the cobblestone streets, you can admire the beautiful buildings, buy souvenirs in local stores, and take original photos.
The first mention of the fortress dates back to 1300. It was founded by konung Hakon V for protection of the city from enemies. The castle was rebuilt several times and for a long time was used as a royal prison. It withstood all sieges of the enemy, and only during World War II did the fortress surrender without a fight to the German invaders.
Now there are museums in the inner bastion and in the castle. Tourists can visit the barracks, prison cells and banquet halls and see ancient cannons, weapons and documents covering Norwegian military history since the Viking Age.
Oslo is home to the Royal Palace, built in the nineteenth century in the style of classicism. The facade of the two-story building is decorated with columns, in front of the entrance stands a monument to Karl Johan XIV. The palace – the current residence of the King of Norway.
When the monarch’s family is not here, guided tours are held inside. But tourists can walk through the palace park and see the changing of the guard, which takes place daily at 13 hours, any day.
Houses of Parliament
The residence of the Norwegian parliament is in the building designed by Swedish architect E. Langlet. The palace, built of yellow brick, combined different architectural styles. A two-storey semi-circular section stands at the front, with two wings on either side.
The main entrance to Parliament is guarded by statues of helmeted lions. It is only possible to enter the interior as part of a guided tour.
The house, which was built in the first half of the last century, combines features of classicism, functionalism and northern art nouveau. It consists of a central structure, where town hall meetings are held, and two towers, in which the office staff work.
In the east tower there are 49 bells. You can see them by signing up for a tour.
City Hall is an outstanding architectural monument, considered one of the symbols of Oslo. Every year on December 10, it is in her solemn presentation of the Nobel Peace Prize.
Drama Theater on Karl-Johan Street opened in 1899. The two-story yellow brick house is decorated with columns, arched windows, and bas-reliefs. There are several sculptures on its roof. In front of the entrance is a monument to Henrik Ibsen.
Norwegian National Theater – the cultural center of Oslo. Here you can see dramatic performances, visit poetry evenings and exhibitions.
Opera House is considered one of the best modern attractions in Oslo. The building, standing on the shore of the fjord, like an iceberg floating above the water.
Its calling card is the white flat roof, sloping toward the bay. It is made in such a way that everyone can climb from the lowest point of the roof using the ramps and admire the panorama of the fjord and the city.
The theater’s concert hall is shaped like a horseshoe and has excellent acoustics. Here are daily opera and ballet performances.
In the park Vigeland in a mansion of XVIII century opened the City Museum. Its exhibition presents exhibits telling the history of Oslo from antiquity to the present day.
At the exhibition visitors get acquainted with archaeological finds, learn about famous personalities of the city, study rare documents. Among the exhibits are many paintings by Norwegian artists.
Historical Museum occupies four spacious floors of a separate building. There are stored the oldest skull in Norway, gold and silver coins, objects from the Middle Ages.
Visitors can see permanent exhibitions:
The most popular are considered to be the exhibitions about natural phenomena and Vikings.
Viking Ship Museum
Three ancient Viking ships are on display in the museum. Ships that had lain about 1,000 years at the bottom of the Oslo-fjord, were raised to the surface and restored. On a tour of the museum you can also see religious artifacts, women’s jewelry, Viking household items.
The museum tells about the life of Thor Heyerdahl – the Norwegian archaeologist, who in 1947, together with his friends made a trip on a log raft “Kon-Tiki” to Polynesia.
The gallery contains the raft itself, documents and objects used on this incredible expedition. The museum has a souvenir store and a movie theater. Each year the exhibition is visited by 200 thousand people.
Norwegian artist Edvard Munch, who created in the style of expressionism, is world famous for his painting “The Scream. The museum collection holds 1,100 canvases, 4,500 pencil drawings and a huge number of graphic sketches of the wizard.
By the way, in 2004, the attackers stole from the gallery paintings “Scream” and “Madonna”. After 2 years, the police managed to find the criminals and return the priceless paintings in their place.
Museum of cultural history
The Ethnographic Museum in Oslo is 125 years old. Here are the exhibits from all regions of Norway. Tourists can learn about the cultural characteristics and everyday life of the Scandinavian peoples, from the 16th century to the present.
Within the museum is an open-air exhibition – there are 160 old Norwegian houses. Walking around this unusual village, you can see everyday objects, learn ancient crafts or take a photo in the national costume.
Churches and Temples
The city’s main cathedral, built in the 17th century, attracts tourists with a tall tower topped with a pointed dome. On top of it adorned by a large round clock. In the cathedral recently conducted a restoration, which fully restored the medieval interior.
Tourists come to hear religious services, view stained glass windows on the walls, view the ancient altar depicting the Crucifixion and the Last Supper, and enjoy the organ music.
St. Olof Cathedral
This Neo-Gothic style temple is a prime example of 19th century architecture. Inside there is a copy of Raphael’s famous Sistine Madonna, a gift from the Queen of Norway, and a marble monstrance from Pope Pius IX.
At the end of the last century, John Paul II visited the cathedral and brought the relics of St. Olof to the faithful.
Aker Old Church
The oldest church in Oslo was built in the 12th century on the site of Akerberg silver mine, which was used in the Viking Age. The church has been attacked several times by barbarians and looted, but has always been restored by the parishioners.
Now it is open again to the faithful. Coming to the service, you can see the ancient baptismal font, the pulpit in the Baroque style, and behind the walls of the Acer – the old cemetery, where famous people of the city are buried.
Church of the Holy Trinity
A working church belonging to the Lutheran denomination, located in the center of Oslo. It is the largest religious building in the city, accommodating up to 1,000 parishioners. The building is decorated with several towers and a wide dome.
Inside there are beautiful stained glass windows, arches and columns. The altar is in Neo-Gothic style and depicts the baptism of Adolphus Tiedemands Jesus.
Natural attractions, parks and attractions
The popular landmark is located in the western part of Oslo. It was created by a famous Norwegian sculptor at the beginning of the last century. On an area of 30 hectares there are 227 sculptures, showing human feelings and relationships.
Each sculpture depicts people doing different things. Visitors can see small children, dancers, joggers, and couples embracing. The central sculpture of the park is the Monolith Plateau, which together with the neighboring figures forms the installation “Circle of Life”. The park has a lot of greenery and places to relax, and there is a working fountain.
In the center of the city the Botanical Garden is planted, divided into several thematic zones. Visitors and locals love to relax in the shade of its trees. The flora is sorted into varieties and species.
A total of 1800 different shrubs and trees and over 2000 flowers grow in the garden. Within the park there is a large greenhouse, which grows palm trees and exotic herbs.
A beautiful natural landmark, a length of 102 km, is divided into 2 parts by a narrow strait Drebak. This is a picturesque place, where there are a lot of small hilly islands.
In the summer, tourists are here in kayaks and canoes, doing sailing. Along the bay for ecotourism enthusiasts equipped with sites for camping.
Lake Sognsvann, located 3 km from Oslo, attracts tourists all year round. In summer, guests relax on the well-appointed beaches, in winter the large ice rink for children and adults.
Near the lake there is free parking, toilets, a store that sells souvenirs and everything you need for a picnic (you do not need to bring anything). It’s a great place for families and sports activities.
In 30 minutes from the city center is the largest climbing park in Scandinavia. In the warm season there are 12 tracks of varying difficulty level. Tourists are waiting for rope roads, laid in the treetops, exciting jumps and descents.
The park employs professional instructors. Everyone can rent equipment.
Reptile Park in Oslo
On the street Storgat opened a real reptile park. This is an interesting place for people who love exotic animals.
In a spacious room there are large and small aquariums where different species of reptiles and spiders live, including:
- poisonous frogs;
- boa constrictors;
- monitor monkeys; varanas;
- the Black Widow spider.
In the park, children and adults can see a pygmy crocodile, talking parrots, monkeys, and watch these animals being fed.
Child Planet Atlantis Play Center
The Child Planet Atlantis play center at Scandic Hotel Fornebu is designed for children. It is a nautical style playground suitable for children of all ages. In the playground there is a long maze, low and high slides, trampolines, even dry pools with balls for the little ones.
It is easy to spend the whole day here, playing with the animators and riding the rides. There is a cafe in the play center, and if necessary, you can use the services of a babysitter.
The Väster Aker area is located on a hill, where guests are welcomed by the Holmenkollen recreation and culture center. This resort is home to a biathlon track and the world’s first ski jump.
From November to April, fans of alpine skiing come here to take part in sports, biathlon, Nordic combined or folklore festivals. In Holmenkollen you can rent a guest house, taste the national cuisine, buy souvenirs and visit the Ski Museum.