Oslo is located at the end of the sparkling Oslofjord. Surrounded by 40 islands, 343 lakes, and a mountain range in the distance, Norway’s capital is picturesque. Before you venture too far, check out 5 things we love at Oslo Harbour.
First things first, download the Oslo Pass app or buy the card. Sold in 24, 48 and 72-hour packages, Oslo Pass is a cost effective way to see museums, galleries and to use public transport. Forget ticket queuing at stations, simply board then hand over your card or open the app and your QR code is scanned. This, plus sightseeing and restaurant discounts make Oslo Pass worth considering. A quick tip for the app: activate it as close to redeeming your first ticket in order to maximise your package lifetime.
#1 Oslo City Hall, offers free guided tours during summer and group tours year round. City council and administration take place amongst galleries of Norwegian art. The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded here on December 10th, the anniversary of Alfred Nobel‘s death. Each year, the winner presents their lecture and collects their medal and diploma at a ceremony in the hall.
#2 Nobel Peace Centre is in the old train station outside City Hall. Changing exhibitions focus on war, peace, and conflict resolution. A permanent exhibition features the peace prize recipients. Each December, that year’s winner has a solo exhibition. Connect to an interactive book examining Alfred Nobel’s life, view a confronting exhibition on the effects of war on children, shop the fair trade merchandise in Red Shop or grab a coffee at Alfred, the centre’s café. Nobel Peace Centre is a must see and free with your Oslo Pass.
#3 At Pier 3, the lovely Helena awaits. She’s one of the Oslofjord sightseeing vessels. From her deck, take in Oslo’s varied architecture with statements like Barcode Project, and the contemporary National Ballet and Opera House.
Your 2-hour sightseeing cruise passes summer homes with boat houses used to smuggle liquor during prohibition; islands with weatherboard churches and the Bygdoy Peninsula, home of Norwegian Viking history. Refreshments are available so blow the froth off a local Ringnes, chow down on a crispy-onion-laden frankfurt and let the stunning Oslo scenery work its magic.
Early risers are in for a treat at Pier 3. Fishermen mooring around 07:00am with the night’s haul, sell their catch fresh from the boat. Prawns are steamed, and often, consumed on the spot. You can’t get much fresher than that.
#4 Bygdoy Peninsula‘s ferry departure point is also at Pier 3. Bygdoy houses 5 of Oslo’s museums and Oscarshall Castle, the King’s summer residence. High-end real estate affords scenic views across the water to Oslo. Hiking and biking trails through parks, forests, and beaches could keep you occupied here all day.
Visit the Viking Ship Museum. 3 excavated and restored burial ships from the 9th century tell the story of the deceased through their design and relics found within. Textiles, tools, domestic pets, food, and drink were buried with the host for use in the afterlife. The Oseberg, the more extravagantly decorated of the 3 is also the best preserved. Excavation took just 3 months, yet preparation and restoration took 21 years. The intricately carved spiral snake’s head design and other markings indicate a wealthy or high-born resident.
Easily walk from the Viking Ship Museum to the open-air Folk Museum where 16th-century daily life is recreated. Take a longer stroll, or reboard the ferry to the Maritime, Kon-Tiki, and Fram museums. Vikings, sailors, ship owners; polar expeditions, navigation; simulated voyages, treasure discoveries, and the Northern lights, these museums are a must for maritime lovers. All Bygdoy museums are free with your Oslo Pass and have cafés and gift shops for refreshments and souvenirs.
#5 Aker Brygge & Tjuvholmen are your eat, drink, shop stops but before you settle in, check out Astrup Fearnley. You can’t miss the curved roof building design at the end of the pier. The Astrup Fearnley collection is one of the most important and extensive private collections in Norway and is also free with your Oslo Pass.
Casual dining, upscale restaurants, and food trucks cater to all tastes and budgets in these 2 communities. At Restaurant Louise, tuck into fresh local seafood including whale steak! Jacob Aall Brasserie and Bar is a pleasant spot for a glass of wine and casual lunch. Bars with local beers on tap, pub menus and ample seating are an excellent choice for watching the comings and goings of the eclectic harbour.
Getting to know Oslo harbour: it’s a thing we love….