See the Highlights of Oslo in 24 Hours

I’ve now been to Oslo twice, both visits right at the start of the year with temperatures as low as minus 7, thick snow on the ground, and minimal time to see all that much of it. On my visit last week, we arrived late and managed to see a bit of one neighbourhood on our walk to and from a restaurant, but we really made the most of our lunch break with a walk around the city centre.

Highlights of Oslo in 24 HoursPIN IT

When you’re pushed for time, and traveling with work, trying to see as much as possible is the priority for me in any city. Add in the fact that it is one of the most expensive cities in the world, wandering around is probably the cheapest way to see some of the best of Oslo. So, here’s a quick guide to a handful of the main tourist sights all within easy walking distance of each other.

Highlights of Oslo in 24 HoursPIN IT

The Oslo tiger

Oslo is home to many sculptures, art installations and even has its own sculpture park, but the most famous of all is the Oslo Tiger. You can find him right outside central station, which unless you have a spare £100 is the quickest and by far the cheapest way (£25 for a one way ticket..) of getting into the city centre from the airport.

Of course if you’re travelling in by ferry which I’ve done once, you’ll arrive down at the port. More on this later.

The tiger is sat on the open space right outside the station, and represents the reputation that Oslo has as the ‘Tiger City’. This dates back to a Norwegian poet in the 1800’s, but the statue was given to the city as a gift when it turned 1000 years old.

Highlights of Oslo in 24 HoursPIN IT

From the front of Oslo Central, and by the Tiger sculpture, head straight up the street named Karl Johans Gate. This huge long street is going to take you right past so many of the sights.

Oslo Cathedral

The first thing you’re going to come to is the Oslo Cathedral on the right. It’s free admission and open most days (seasonally dependent), and is the place for Royal occasions and events. Outside you can see a red heart statue, put there in remembrance of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, due to the huge spread of flowers that were laid around the cathedral grounds.

Highlights of Oslo in 24 HoursPIN IT

Promenaden Oslo Fashion District

Continue walking up Karl Johans Gate, past adorable Scandinavian coffee shops, and boutique stores, and your next stop is going to be what’s known as Promenaden Oslo fashion district, which as the name suggests is a high end fashion district.

Highlights of Oslo in 24 HoursPIN IT

The main street to look out for is Nedre Slottsgate, and this was my absolute heaven. The beautiful street is lined with designers, luxury brand names you can’t fail to recognise like Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Burberry, Valentino, Rolex and so on. Like most shopping streets of this nature it’s beautifully presented, cobblestoned with public benches and greenery dotted alongside.

Highlights of Oslo in 24 HoursPIN IT

As well as big fashion names you can also find the Norwegian luxury department store known as Steen & Strom. We went in purely because it has a Joe & the Juice, but it’s very much like a Harvey Nichols or Selfridges, but with a distinct Scandinavian feel to it. There’s a beautiful homeware section, complete with flower shop too.

Highlights of Oslo in 24 HoursPIN IT

Once you’ve had your fill of shopping, or window shopping, come back up to Karl Johans Gate again, and continue on. Your next stop is the parliament building that appears on your left. But before you arrive don’t forget to turn back and look back on where you’ve come, spot the giant Freia clock above the buildings.

This is the equivalent of Cadbury’s, and is the name of the most amazing Norwegian chocolate.

Highlights of Oslo in 24 HoursPIN IT

Stortinget

The impressive Parliament building is next, where the Norwegian parliament have met since 1866. You can go inside and participate in guided tours but again this is seasonal.

Highlights of Oslo in 24 HoursPIN IT

Walking further up Karl Johans Gate until you come to the big green space in the middle of the road. I say green, in winter it’s obviously covered in snow. The park has an old fashioned kiosk at the entrance, and paths that weave through past the ice rink, bandstand and park benches.

Highlights of Oslo in 24 HoursPIN IT

Take the right hand side path, and admire the beautiful buildings that line the road. Much further ahead you should begin to see the Royal Palace come into view, but don’t miss the Grand Oslo Hotel that you pass as you walk up past the park.

Oslo Grand Hotel and Fearless Girl

The Oslo Grand Hotel is every bit as grand as it’s name suggests, with a beautiful entrance, and an even more attractive lobby inside. The hotel is a famous spot, due to the fabulous view you get from it’s bedrooms, especially for the Royal parade that comes right past on Norway’s Constitution Day on 17th May.

Highlights of Oslo in 24 HoursPIN IT

The luxury hotel has a rooftop bar from which you can enjoy a drink overlooking the city, an indoor pool, and it’s very own famous ‘Fearless Girl’ statue stood outside.

You might recognise Fearless Girl from Wall Street, New York, but until my last visit to Oslo I had no idea there were more than one. She represents gender equality in the workplace, and the artist, Kristen Visbal create a fair few, Oslo being one of the first cities to buy and place one.

Highlights of Oslo in 24 HoursPIN IT

Freiabutikken

Remember the chocolate I mentioned earlier? The shop itself is located further up Karl Johans Gate and you will pass it as you continue up the street. It’s been there since 1899 and still has a traditional look to it inside. Don’t pass on the opportunity to buy some, because I’m seriously regretting it.

Highlights of Oslo in 24 HoursPIN IT

The last stretch of Karl Johans Gate will take you past the National Theatre building on your left, and the Oslo university buildings on your right.

Highlights of Oslo in 24 HoursPIN IT
Highlights of Oslo in 24 HoursPIN IT

Ahead you can see the Royal Palace. I’ve never been up close to it, but like many of the other stately buildings in Oslo it is open for guided tours during the summer months.

Highlights of Oslo in 24 HoursPIN IT

This little walking tour through the centre of the city allows you to see quite a bit of the tourist sights of Oslo, but there’s plenty more in other areas of the city.

Highlights of Oslo in 24 HoursPIN IT

Grunerlokka

This neighbourhood is thriving with little cafes, boutique shops, jazz bars and all sorts of little quirky places. We walked through in the evening, and it’s definitely a trendy area of the city, with street art on almost every wall and cute little vintage shops I wish I’d had the time to rummage through.

Highlights of Oslo in 24 HoursPIN IT
Highlights of Oslo in 24 HoursPIN IT

Aker Brygge Wharf

This trendy harbour front area of the city is known for its fine dining opportunities, boutique shopping, art installations, and a lovely view of the harbour.

Highlights of Oslo in 24 HoursPIN IT

There’s also some slightly less upscale, and cheaper restaurants, for example Døgnvill Burger, but for a burger and beer for two here it still cost around £90. It really is such an expensive place.

The popular area is attractive nevertheless, with it’s lively bars, outdoor eating in summer, and the place where you can set sail for a tour of the Norwegian fjords. You can also spot the Nobel Peace Centre close by.

Highlights of Oslo in 24 HoursPIN IT

Akershus Fortress

Across the harbour, you can see Akershus fort, towering up high. Previously a Royal Residence, it has a distinctive medieval look to it, especially when it is lit up at night. For those wishing to get a closer look, entry is free and it is open most days, offering an insight into Norwegian history.

Highlights of Oslo in 24 HoursPIN IT

The Harbour Promenade

Being famous for it’s cruises, DFDS ferry to Copenhagen, and Norwegian fjord tours, they have really transformed the harbour front that stretches right the way along the front of the city, connecting all of the areas together into a place a lot more interesting than your average docks.

Highlights of Oslo in 24 HoursPIN IT

Their aim is to offer a different experience regardless of which promenade you take along the waterfront. You can see the giant orange blocks that mark each section, and these are information points to tell you more about what is close by.

Highlights of Oslo in 24 HoursPIN IT

Activities to be found along this long stretch of water front include a saltwater swimming pool, public spaces to walk and enjoy the sun in the summer, the Aker Brygge wharf I mentioned above, an old warehouse used for sports, a skate park, and of course the iconic Norwegian National Opera & Ballet.

Highlights of Oslo in 24 HoursPIN IT

Norwegian National Opera & Ballet

Right on the harbour you can’t miss this modern and impressive white building. It blends right in with the snow in winter, and offers amazing views over the fjord.

Highlights of Oslo in 24 HoursPIN IT

Walking around from the Opera House, you can find further developed community areas, including Salt, an art project and outdoor food and drink, even in freezing temperatures! There’s also a floating sauna, and a full program of cultural displays and events.

Highlights of Oslo in 24 HoursPIN IT
Highlights of Oslo in 24 HoursPIN IT

Right next to the ferry terminal you can also find Vippa Oslo, which is like a food market, with indoor and outdoor spaces. It was deserted on a cold Tuesday, but I bet its a great spot in the summer.

Highlights of Oslo in 24 HoursPIN IT

This is a very quick overview of my experience so far of Oslo. I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface, and there are still so many amazing things to see and do in Oslo that I haven’t had chance to experience. The huge ski centre and jump, sledging, boat tours of the beautiful fjords and the Viking Ship museum are all very popular activities.

Highlights of Oslo in 24 HoursPIN IT

The fjords of course have a reputation of being stunning, and from the brief glimpse I got when sailing in for the first time I really would love to see more of them.

Have you been to Norway? It’s the coldest place I’ve ever been to but it really is beautiful, and perfect for a winter escape.

Other posts you might like:

How to spend 24 Hours in Copenhagen

14 Cities Perfect for a winter break

Experience a fairytale winter in Tallinn

Pin this post:

Highlights of Oslo in 24 hoursPIN IT
Highlights of Oslo in 24 hours


Comment

7 Comments

  • Maya
    26th January 2019

    Don’t know why but somehow I have never thought about Oslo as a destination I’d like to visit. You certainly changed my mind. It seems like such a cool city with so many attractions. The harbor looks beautiful and Aker Brygge Wharf seems right up my alley! Amazing pictures BTW took me straight to winter wonderland!

  • Sarah
    26th January 2019

    This so reminds me of my own (work) trip to Oslo. I also only had a few hours to walk around and take in as much as possible (also during winter). But it is a wonderful city and I would love to come back and explore it properly (and see the sculpture park). Did you try the cinnamon rolls at W.B. Samson? Those alone are worth coming back for.

    • Steph Fox
      Sarah
      27th January 2019

      Ah no I didn’t but I’ll have to next time!

  • Gemma jamieson
    27th January 2019

    This place looks stunning! Bet it’s a shopper paradise! Id love to see it in the summer too!

  • January Round Up 2019 | Stephanie Fox Blog
    2nd February 2019

    […] We got a guided tour from one of our colleagues of some of the city sights, and despite being one of the most expensive places in the world it is a beautiful winter city. Take a look at my Oslo highlights here. […]

  • Pincho Nation Tapas Restaurant, Oslo | Stephanie Fox Blog
    4th July 2019

    […] 24 Hours in Oslo […]

  • July 2019 Monthly Round Up | Stephanie Fox Blog
    1st August 2019

    […] quirky hotel room, but the further nights I had a good explore. I’ve only ever blogged about Oslo in winter so I’ll do a summer version […]

Leave a Reply