I really had no idea what I was going to see when I booked a trip to Scandinavia in 2015 and included Oslo on my itinerary. I knew I wanted to visit Henrik Ibsen’s house because although I wasn’t working in theatre anymore, I was still a huge theatre nerd who had studied his plays in college. And I’d read there was a Norwegian Resistance Museum about how the people of Norway resisted the Nazis, so that sounded right up my alley, too. But other than that my itinerary was an open canvas.
Just in case you were also planning on taking a trip to Oslo soon, I wanted to write about the top 5 things I think you should do while you’re there (but also, go pick up a Lonely Planet guide for additional inspiration – that’s not sponsored, I just really like their guides!).
- Take a sunset boat cruise around the fjords: I’m not one to join group tours normally but I knew there was no other way to see some of the fjords in Oslo so I picked a boat and purchased a ticket. I’d highly suggest doing a sunset cruise because it was SO gorgeous. The ride lasted a couple of hours, I think, and you got a free drink with the purchase of your ticket. It wasn’t too crowded and it was quite peaceful. Do this on your first night in Oslo!
- Visit the Vigeland Sculpture Park: I dedicated an entire post to this already but Vigeland was a famous Norwegian sculptor as well as a Noble Prize winner and it’s free to visit so why wouldn’t you? It’s worth the trek up to Frogner Park!
- Go to a Museum: I went to the Vikingmuseet, the Ibsenmuseet, the Noble Peace Center, Norway Resistance Museum, and the Villa Grande Holocaust Center. There are probably ten other museums you could also visit. Learn everything you can about Norway while you’re in Oslo!Villa Grande
- Visit the Akershus Fortress: Pronounced ah-ker-shows. I did a self-guided audio tour of this castle and it was super interesting. It’s located right on the water which means awesome views out the centuries old windows and you get to learn a lot about the various kings who have ruled Norway over the course of history.
- Walk on the roof of the Olso Opera House: You’ll pass by this beautifully constructed building on your fjord cruise but you should definitely go visit it in person, too. Walk up the sloping sides and take a ton of selfies (let’s just agree that you will not use a self stick, okay?) and you won’t be along. Everyone else will be too! It opened in 2008 and was constructed to look like an iceberg gliding into the sea. It’s just gorgeous.
Bonus: If you eat meat, eat an interesting type of meat that you wouldn’t normally find at home (example: reindeer or elk – I think I ate elk back in 2015, and reindeer in Helsinki!).
So there you have my top five suggestions for your future trip to Oslo. Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments!