Oslo Opera house seen from the waterfront with people relaxing on the pier

7 reasons to visit Oslo

With an amazing culinary scene, trendy hipster neighborhoods and eye catching architectural design, Norway’s capital has lots to offer its visitors.

Over the past few years, Oslo has reinvented itself and quickly climbed the list of Europe’s top destinations to visit. Below are 7 reasons to visit Oslo – at least once – maybe twice – or more.

Nature in the city

Nestled between forested hills with the Oslofjord stretching south from the city, Oslo is surrounded by nature. Its privileged location is not only ideal for out of the city excursions. It also offers many opportunities for outdoor activities in the heart of the city. 

Featuring numerous beaches, Oslo is the perfect place for swimming, kayaking or fishing. In the summertime, the crowds gather in Sørenga, a newly transformed neighborhood by the waterfront. Hiking trails, promenades ideal for cycling and green parks where you can soak up the sun and savor an outdoor picnic, are scattered throughout the city.

floating sauna in front of the Oslo Opera House
Photo: Didrick Stenersen | Visit Oslo

Experience Islands hopping

Island hopping might be the last thing you’d expect to see on this list, but we assure you it’s a must do when in Oslo. The Oslofjord is dotted with islands that easily can be reached from the city center by a short ferry ride (approx. 15 minute rides).

Hovedøya is the closest one and well-known for its lush forests and ruins from the Medieval Ages. The postcard-perfect Lindøya island with colorful summer cabins and Langøyene with its hiking trails, are also close to Oslo and popular with locals and visitors alike.

Ferry sailing on Oslofjorden
Photo: Didrick Stenersen | Visit Oslo

Oslo has the ideal size for a short getaway

Oslo’s compact and cute size makes it the ideal destination for a short getaway. You can choose to wheel around the city on a bike, on foot, or by public transportation and you’ll still be able to discover most of the city’s attractions in a day or two.

Moreover, combining nature, with culture and modern design, the Norwegian capital will have you covered no matter what you’re looking for. Explore world-class museums in the morning and at night, taste the Nordic cuisine in one of Oslo’s refined restaurants.

Ekeberg skulpture park in Oslo
Photo: Didrick Stenersen | Visit Oslo

Its cultural scene

Art lovers will find plenty of reasons to visit Oslo. From Viking Age museums to the marvelous collection at the National Gallery and The Ibsen Museum, the city’s cultural scene is bound to keep you entertained. Those fascinated by maritime viking art, should make sure to pay a visit to the Bygdøy peninsula that houses the world’s best-preserved Viking ship in the Viking Museum. 

Over the last ten years, urban artists of international standing and local art enthusiasts have turned the streets of Oslo into one of the city’s most interesting and vibrant art scenes, with the neighbourhood of Tøyen being particularly rich in beautiful urban art work.

Viking ship in Oslo
Photo: Thomas Johannessen | Visit Oslo

Vibrant Music scene

With the Oslo Opera House attracting all the attention, the city’s vibrant music scene is often overshadowed. However, over 5,000 concerts take place in Oslo every year.

Live music venues are located all over the city hosting bands and artists from both the international and local music scene. Øya, Inferno Metal Festival, Oslo World and Granittorock are some of the city’s most popular annual music festivals.

Oya Music Festival in Oslo
Photo: Tord Baklund | Visit Oslo

The culinary scene

Featuring Michelin-star restaurants and a bustling street-food scene, Oslo’s culinary delicacies are bound to tickle your tastebuds. In the indoor Mathallen Food Hall over 30 stores offer mouthwatering dishes and snacks from the local and international cuisines. 

Maschmanns Food Market sells high-quality products from Norway and abroad. For a more upscale dining experience Kontrast, Omakase Oslo and Maaemo will do the trick among others.

Oslo Food Hall
Photo: Didrick Stenersen | Visit Oslo

Shopping scene

Oslo’s diverse shopping scene covers all tastes and budgets. Vintage shops, luxurious boutiques and numerous shopping malls are located in the city center side by side. 

Of course, design shops showcasing Norway’s and Scandinavia’s minimalist, modern furniture and interior decor elements are highly prevalent in the capital’s shopping scene.

Karl Johan Gate is lined up with numerous shops and attractions
Photo: Didrick Stenersen | Visit Oslo

Experience Oslo from the waterfront

electric ferry on a sightseeing cruise in the Oslofjord

Oslofjord Sightseeing Cruise

A 2-hour silent cruise on the Oslofjord
From NOK 440
Brim explorer sailing in the Oslofjord

Silent Oslo Fjord Cruise

A silent cruise of the Oslo Fjord onboard the Brim Explorer seeing several Oslo landmarks
From NOK 590