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Oslo Sightseeing Checklist: A Collection of Must-See Places

If you are preparing to visit Oslo anytime soon, you are likely to have a need to compose a list of things to see in Oslo. This Oslo sightseeing checklist of ours provides you with the best attractions, museum and galleries, bars and restaurants in the Norwegian capital, as well as you will be able to get links to the top-notch tours across this marvelous city. The entire Oslo sightseeing checklist is broken up into three sections: the first section is dedicated to attractions and, actually, sightseeing, while the latter two sections contain museums and restaurants respectively. Enjoy!

Oslo Sightseeing Checklist: Best Oslo Attractions

So, this part of our Oslo sightseeing checklist contains the top attractions that draw tourists to the Norwegian capital. In particular, such attractions include notable buildings, ancient edifices, gorgeous parks, and historical sights. Keep in mind that the attractions are listed not in the superiority order.

  • Akershus Fortress. The ancient brick fortress that dominates the waterfront of Oslofjord was actually constructed back in 1297 with a purpose to defend the city from foreign conquerors. The fortress still belongs to the Norwegian militaries and you are able to observe the cannon firing, which takes place at 12:00 P.M. on weekdays and at 1:00 P.M. on Sundays.
  • Oslo Opera House. Resembling a glacier that emerged from a Norwegian fjord, this ultra-modern edifice was built in 2008, while the construction costs amounted to 500 million Euro. Nowadays, this building appears to be one of the most visited tourist sites in the Norwegian capital. Just be bold climb up to the roof of this edifice and get a great viewpoint of the surroundings.
  • Oslo City Hall. The construction of this monumental building, designed in the pure Scandinavian brick style, started in 1931, but the World War II caused the delay in the edifice’s construction, which was finished only by 1950. The building hosts numerous ceremonies (such as the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony) nowadays and is open to visitors. We can suggest you not only to look at the distinguished interior of the Oslo rådhus, which narrates the entire history of Norway, but also at the exterior. The carvings imaged on the sides before the entry to the building depict the Scandinavian mythology.
  • The Royal Palace and Park. This is another special item in our Oslo sightseeing checklist, since the majestic palace draws attention of everyone who gets to stroll across the central street of Oslo. It was built by the Norwegian people for Karl Johan – yes, the central street is named exactly after him. The paradoxical thing is the fact that Karl Johan, as a former French general and a Swedish king, conquered Norway. Yet, the Norwegian people were thankful for his decision to grant a large autonomy to Norway that decided to erect this building. At that time, Norway was poor and, ironical enough, the palace was finished only after the king’s death. Nowadays, the palace serves as a residence of the royal family.
  • Aker Brygge. This waterfront that once was a poor and industrial part of the Norwegian capital was turned into a progressive area in the 1950s. Nowadays, this street, filled with kitschy cafés and boutiques as well as myriads of benches, is a popular venue among locals.
  • Stortinget. The construction of this edifice, which was designed by Evil Victor Langlet, a Swedish architect, took place in the second part of the 19th century. The building’s architecture contains the elements of the French and Italian architecture of that time.
  • Karl Johans Gate. The famous two-lined street is a home to many notable buildings, including the building of National Theater, Parliament (Stortinget), Royal Palace, University, and Domkirke.
  • Oslo Domkirke. This church, which was previously known as Our Savior’s Church, occupies a special place in our Oslo sightseeing checklist and was constructed back in 1694.
  • The Gustav Vigeland Park. Known also as Frogner Park, this park has served as an exhibition place for the works of the renowned Norwegian architect Gustav Vigeland. All those sculptures relating to the theme of humanity, he built in the period between 1924 and 1943, and all of the park’s routes lead to the magnificent monolith.
  • Holmenkollen. The legendary ski jumping hill also features a great observation deck, from which you can get a breathtaking view of the Norwegian capital.
  • The Nobel Peace Center. The King of Norway, Harald V opened the Nobel Peace Center with a purpose to make the building represent the ideals of the Nobel Peace Prize. In addition to that, the center contains information about every recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize and holds frequent debates on the topics of peace, war, and resolution of conflicts.
  • Kvadraturen. This district appears to be the oldest part of Oslo, featuring numerous kitschy boutiques, contemporary museums, and elegant buildings.
  • Tjuvholmen Sculpture Park. Located in the proximity from Aker Brygge, this is another sculpture park in Oslo – less renowned than the Frogner Park, but not less captivating. It was opened back in 2012 and expanded a year later, featuring works of such prominent artists like Franz West, Ugo Rondinone, Ellsworth Kelly, Anish Kapoor, Antony Gormley, David Weiss, Peter Fischli, and Louise Bourgeois. While strolling across the park, you will get a great view of the Oslofjord and Akershus.
  • The National Library. Even though the national library in Norway was opened only recently, the building is really outstanding and captivating with its mightiness.

Yet, can take advantage of our tours and explore these attractions with the help of professional guides:

  • Oslo City Highlights will help you to explore the buildings of Parliament, Kvadraturen district, Royal Palace, and Oslo City Hall.
  • Explore Aker Brygge by purchasing The Essential Oslo Walking Tour that is complementing the Oslo City Highlights.
  • Combine any of those sights by purchasing the Walking Tour: Oslo Transformed.
  • Explore the Oslo City Hall, Akershus Fortress and Castle, as well as the city center and Royal Palace with the help of the Explore the Historic Side of Oslo: Akershus Fortress and Castle
  • Explore Frogner Park by purchasing the Norwegian Cultural Heritage: Vigeland Park.

You can view all of our tours in Oslo on this page.

Oslo Sightseeing Checklist: Best Museums and Galleries in Oslo

Oslo has become the cultural capital of northern Europe thanks to its numerous artistic parks, innovative buildings, and numerous impressive and interesting museums. At this point in our Oslo sightseeing checklist, we will list the best museums and galleries in the Norwegian capital.

  • The National Gallery. The National Gallery in Oslo houses an impressive collection of paintings and artworks, whereas the gallery is broken up into different periods. You can find there the works of such renowned masters as Pablo Picasso, Paul Cezanne, Claude Monet, Auguste Renoir, Andrea Locatelli, Gaulli, and El Greco, as well as the works of many Norwegian artists. This gallery occupies a special place in our Oslo sightseeing checklist, indeed.
  • The Viking Ship Museum. This museum is located at Bygdøy, the so-called island of museums. The museum is home to three Viking ships (two of them are well-preserved) and numerous artifacts that help you to explore the everyday life of the Vikings.
  • The Fram Museum. This is just another Bygdøy-based museum and appears to be, perhaps, the most exciting museum on this Oslo sightseeing checklist. There, you can see and even access the famous Fram vessel, the first vessel to reach both the North and South Poles. Also, it narrates the stories of the expeditions of Fridtjof Nansen and Roald Amundsen. Besides, the museum also houses Gjøa, another famous vessel of Roald Amundsen.
  • Norsk Folkemuseum. This open-air museum, which is also located at Bygdøy, houses an extensive collection of artifacts and buildings that have been brought there from all the regions of the country.
  • Kon-Tiki Museum. Located at Bygdøy, this museum narrates the story of Thor Heyerdahl’s expedition and houses the famous Kon-Tiki vessel.
  • Norwegian Maritime Museum. This is also a Bygdøy-based museum, which covers the history of coastal explorations, marine archaeology, fishing, shipbuilding, as well as houses a number of boat models.
  • Ski Museum. Located at Holmenkollen, this ski museum was founded in 1923 and appears to be the oldest museum dedicated to the theme of skiing. At the present time, the museum houses over 4,000 ski artifacts.
  • Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art. This privately-held gallery of contemporary art houses 6-7 temporary exhibitions every year and is located at Tjuvholmen, in proximity from Aker Brygge.
  • Ibsen Museum. The museum is housed in the last home of Henrik Ibsen, where he lived the last years of his life. Ibsenmuseet contains a fine collection of artifacts, dedicated to the famous playwright.
  • Rod Bianco Gallery. This gallery of contemporary art holds temporary exhibitions of many Norwegian and internationally renowned artists.
  • Munch Museum. Some of the works of Edvard Munch are displayed in the National Gallery, placed in the first place in this section of our Oslo sightseeing checklist. This museum, however, also houses a large collection of Munch’s works, as well as it explores the life of this genius artist.
  • The Historical Museum. Apart from the captivating building this museum is housed in, it attracts many visitors thanks to the permanent and temporary exhibitions it holds. The permanent exhibition is divided into various periods of history and contains really precious artifacts, such as Egyptian mummies, Antique art, and large collections dating back to the times of the Middle Ages.
  • The Norwegian Resistance Museum. This museum depicts the history of the Norwegian resistance against the Nazis during the World War II.

You can explore the times of the Vikings and the Norwegian culture by purchasing our Folkemuseum and Viking Ship Museum tour.

Oslo Sightseeing Checklist: The Most Distinguished Bars and Restaurants in Oslo

After all, our Oslo sightseeing checklist also includes a number of bars and restaurants you are likely to wish to visit. The city, indeed, abounds with them, but there are a couple of bars and restaurants that stand out.

  • Brutus. Brutus is rather a wine bar than a restaurant, yet shouldn’t be overlooked by the fanciers of this noble drink. Apart from the top-notch wines delivered from many countries of the European continent, snacks and sophisticated dishes are available as well.
  • Sentralen Restaurant. This restaurant, located in the city center, is a particularly special item in our Oslo sightseeing checklist, featuring many local dishes and a relaxed atmosphere.
  • Bass. The dishes at this café are a fusion of authentic Norwegian dishes and international meals, served on small plates.
  • Handwerk. This beautifully adorned café is stuffed with artwork and can boast an elegant interior. One should taste its sandwiches.
  • Mathallen Oslo. This food court allows you to taste the best examples of Norwegian regional cuisine and international fusion.
  • Kafe Oslo at Literaturhuset. Located in the Literature House, this café is a lovely place where you can taste authentic Norwegian dishes.
  • Ekeberg Restaurant. Featuring a summertime terrace, this restaurant is known for elegant cooking and a long history.
  • Vaaghals. The contemporary interior and environment is combined here with authentic Norwegian ingredients, including vegetables, foraged herbs, wild fish, and dry-aged meat.
  • Syvenkiosken. Hot dogs starting from 20 NOK are something that attracts both locals and tourists to this place, one of the last of its kind in Oslo.
  • Punjab Tandoori. Good value lunch deals, delicious Indian meals, and a specific interior make this Indian restaurant stand out.
  • Fiskeriet. Seafood is something you can’t imagine Norwegian cuisine without, and you can buy fresh seafood and fish at this seafood store. Don’t miss to order lunch or dinner here.
  • Pipervika. Takeaway shrimp fast-food meals are something that attracts customers to this bistro, but one shouldn’t miss sushi and the full seafood menu here as well.
  • Taco República. The most outstanding taqueria in Oslo, which sells tacos with locally bought fillings. In particular, you should definitely try the fish tacos.
  • Mucho Mas. Now, Oslo can boast a high-quality Mexican restaurant, featuring a full Tex-Mex menu. Burritos, nachos, and tacos are available on the menu.
  • Hotel Havana. Looking for a Spanish bar in Oslo? Visit Hotel Havana, which serves Andalucia-styled meals and tapas, though features some Norwegian notes.

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