Return to Norway

Arkershus Fortress, Oslo Fjord
Arkershus Fortress, © Can Stock Photo / Nanisimova

Oslo is the capital of Norway and its largest city, with an urban population of more than a million.  It is located at the northern tip of the extensive Oslo Fjord, off of the North Sea, however this fjord is not the caliber of the fjords on the west coast that are commonly seen in photographs.  Habitation in the city dates back to 1,000 AD.  The first king of Norway living in Oslo was King Haakon V in the early 1300s.  After repeated fires destroyed the city, it was rebuilt nearby and renamed Christiania by King Christian IV of Denmark-Norway.  It was known as Christiania until 1925 when it took back its Norse name of Oslo once again.  King Karl Johan of Sweden took Norway from Denmark and built the Royal Palace in Oslo.  Today Oslo receives high rankings for quality of life and is also one of the most expensive cities in Europe.


The weather in Oslo is influenced by the North Sea and its northern latitude.  The height of summer is July and August, when average highs of 72 F (22 C) can be expected, while average lows are 55 F (13 C).  From December - February, average high temperatures barely reach above freezing and average lows are around 25 F (-4 C).  Precipitation levels are slightly higher in summer.  The summer months are the most popular for tourism.



Oslo Gardermoen Airport (OSL) is located north of the city and is the main access point to Norway.  The Flytoget Express Train  provides frequent access to the downtown area in just over 30 minutes.  Oslo Central Station is the transportation center for the city.  Oslo excels at public transportation, with 6 metro lines, 6 tram lines and commuter rail services too.  Ruter operates the city's transportation systems.  There are regular connections on Norwegian State Railways to Bergen, which takes just over 7 hours.  Trains run from Oslo to Stockholm as well.  The cruise ship terminal is located in the heart of the downtown area, near the Akershus Fortress.

Nobel Peace Center, Oslo, Norway

Nobel Peace Center, © Can Stock Photo / mareesw

Attractions in Oslo:

Things to see and do:

  • Frognerparken - the park northwest of the center of town contains the Olso City Museum and the Vigeland Park with more than 200 sculptures by Gustav Vigeland.  It's the largest park by a single artist in the world and it's a great opportunity to join local Norwegian's enjoying their city.

  • Walk around the waterfront at the city center, right beside the cruise ship terminals.  Sights include the Oslo City Hall and the Nobel Peace Center with exhibits about the Nobel Peace Prize and its recipients.  The Nobel Peace Prize ceremony takes place at Oslo City Hall annually on December 10th, followed by the Nobel Peace Prize banquet at the Grand Hotel Oslo.  The other Nobel prizes are awarded that day at the Nobel Museum in Stockholm Sweden.  Take a boat trip on the Oslo Fjord with Batservice Sightseeing.  Also nearby on the waterfront is the Roosevelt Monument (revered in Norway for his support in World War II), the Akershus Fortress, a medieval castle built around 1300 AD to protect the city of Oslo, and Norway's Resistance Museum (Norges Hjemmefront Museum).  To the east of the City Hall, the Giant Pointing Finger Fountain is a sculpture in Christiana Torv (Square) marking the spot where King Christian IV indicated the city would be rebuilt after the fire in 1624.  To the west of the Nobel Peace Center along the waterfront is Aker Brygge, a great area to enjoy a beer with views of the harbor and Akershus Castle.  

Gol Stave Church, Norsk Folkemuseum, Oslo

Gol Stave Church, © Can Stock Photo / vyskoczilova

  • There are also several sites within reasonable walking distance of the waterfront. The Karl Johans Gate is a street that is popular to stroll along.  The street is home to the Oslo Cathedral, the Stortinget (Parliament), the Grand Hotel Oslo, the National Theatre, the National Gallery and it leads directly to the Royal Palace (Slottet)Oslo Cathedral is the main church of the Norwegian Royal Family and the Church of Norway.  Trinity Church nearby is also part of the Church of Norway.  The Stortinget is the seat of Norway's parliament.  The Royal Palace (Slottet) is the home of the Royal Family.  It includes the Royal Gardens (Slottsparken) and a daily changing of the guard popular with tourists. The National Gallery has Norway's largest collection of art, including the most well known of Edvard Munch's four versions of The Scream

  • Catch a ferry from the harbor to Bygdøy for a visit a number of significant museums.  The Norsk Folkemuseum  (The Norwegian Museum of Cultural History) shows the cultural history of Norway from 1500 to present, including Gol Stave Church and other 150 other heritage buildings originally built throughout the country.  The Viking Ship Museum houses three Viking burial vessels, the Oseberg, Gokstad and Tune, which were recovered from the shores of Oslo Fjord in the 1800s. The Fram Museum houses the Polar Ship Fram and a tribute to the history of Norwegian exploration of the Arctic and Antarctic.  The Fram was stuck in Arctic ice for 3 years.  The Kon Tiki Museum has artifacts from Thor Heyerdahl's reed boat trip supporting the theory of  the settlement of Polynesia from South America.  Huk Beach is also located in Bygdoy.

  • Gamle Aker - the Old Aker Church, which is the oldest building in Oslo and dates to the 12th century.  Stroll the Aker River for a lovely riverside walk and old wooden houses not seen in the downtown area.

Vigeland Park, Oslo

Vigeland Park, © Can Stock Photo / gary718

Oslo Tours:

Hotels in Oslo:

Hotel Listings for Oslo

Oslo Airport - OSL - including a list of hotels with a shuttle.

View Oslo map

View Oslo Pics