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Even after we’d bought our tickets, it wasn’t somewhere that I felt insanely excited to visit (unlike how I felt before visiting New York, Venice and Budapest). However, literally as soon as we stepped off the plane to an abundance of snow for miles around us, I instantly fell in love. It’s now made its way to a very high up spot on my favourite places in Europe and I’m so excited to share this post about how we spent 4 days in Oslo with you guys.
If you’ve got a trip planned to the Norwegian capital city or you’re looking for a good winter city break idea, here’s how to spend 4 days in Oslo, Norway.
How to spend 4 days in Oslo
We spent pretty much four whole days in Oslo; we arrived just after lunchtime on Friday and didn’t fly home until Monday night so we had plenty of time to explore the Norwegian capital.
If you’re looking for a jam-packed city break, then I definitely think you can visit Oslo and experience pretty much everything it has to offer over three or four days; anything less than that and you might struggle to tick everything off your bucket list.
If you have got a trip to Oslo lined up (I’m not jealous at all!) then the extensive guide below will give you some inspiration on how to spend 4 days in Oslo.
Your 4 days in Oslo should begin with a visit to the Royal Palace for a wander around the picturesque grounds
We arrived in Oslo just after lunchtime and couldn’t check in to our apartment until after 4pm so we grabbed a bite to eat at Pizza Crudo, and then headed to the Royal Palace for a wander around the snow-covered grounds.
According to Google and Pinterest, the Palace looks stunning at any time of year, but it looked particularly picturesque in the remarkably deep snow.
You can get tours for inside the Palace itself but it’s only open to the public during the summer months. It was also just utterly perfect to wander around the gardens and the park surrounding the Palace; there were areas where the snow was totally untouched and it looked so magical!
Karl Johans Gate is the main street running through the city of Oslo and is home to a plethora of shops, restaurants and cafes.
Despite it being the main street in Oslo and pretty much running all the way from the Royal Palace to Oslo Central Station, it was actually remarkably quiet. In most capital cities, you expect hundreds and even thousands of tourists to be swarming the main areas but Karl Johans Gate was pleasantly quiet.
Aker Brygge was actually our favourite neighbourhood in Oslo; it’s home to a plethora of eateries, shopping malls and plentiful views of the sea and islands in the distance.
According to many blog posts I’ve read, Aker Brygge gets incredibly busy during the summer months – and it’s not hard to see why; it’s such a stunning place with the sea, pier and many shops and restaurants.
You can also catch a number of ferries that will take you around Oslo Fjord and to various islands located close by. We ate in Aker Brygge a couple of times and we may have also looked in a few estate agents’ windows to get a feel for how much we’d be paying for a rooftop apartment overlooking the fjord…
The Nobel Peace Center is a museum dedicated entirely to the Nobel Peace Prize. There are numerous exhibitions, guided tours and events that you can visit and enjoy inside the Center.
During our time in Oslo, we did go inside the Nobel Peace Center building (and have a hot chocolate!) but we didn’t actually walk around the museum.
The building itself is beautiful and imposing and resides just before the bustling area of Aker Brygge, with views straight out on to the harbour.
When we first saw the Oslo City Hall, I honestly didn’t pay too much attention to it; while it’s impressive in size, its exterior architecture isn’t particularly attractive.
However, once you wander inside (free entry), you’re sure to be captivated by the stunning works of art surrounding the walls in the main hall. The stairs (pictured above) reminded me somewhat of the New York Public Library.
It would have been good to explore more of City Hall but there was a wedding going on just as we went in so we were prohibited from seeing more of it.
The Storting is the Norwegian Parliament; with their headquarters located right in the centre of Oslo.
The parliament building is beautiful and could even pass for some kind of palace, it’s that grand.
There are guided tours of inside the parliament building but only from 16th February until 15th June so we just missed out when we visited Oslo but I’m sure it’s well worth doing as it’d be fascinating to learn more about the Norwegian Parliament.
This medieval castle dates all the way back to the 1200s and most of the fortress still remains in pristine condition.
Akershus Fortress is free to walk around the complex itself, with free tickets available to go inside the buildings. You can also get guided tours of the complex during the summer (are you sensing a pattern here? Most of the things on this list aren’t open during the winter months, but they’re arguably better to enjoy from the outside anyway!).
Most of the fortress was also still covered in snow so it made it look even more impressive and mysterious when we visited.
Climbing up to the roof of the Oslo Opera House is no easy feat at any time of year but during the winter with huge piles of snow everywhere was certainly a mighty task!
Thankfully, it was entirely worth it for the imposing views over Oslo. You can spend a good half an hour wandering around the rooftop, admiring the city below from different angles.
As there was so much snow on the ground of the roof, Matt and I thought it entirely appropriate to indulge in a snowball fight which was so much fun!
Completed in 2016, these brand-new, modern high-rise buildings are built upon a former dock and industrial land in the centre of Oslo.
While there’s not exactly much to do around this particular area, it’s still worth having a nosy at the relatively new buildings as they make for a good Insta shot!
Admire the ‘She Lies’ sculpture
You can catch a glimpse of the ‘She Lies’ “floating” sculpture from the top of Oslo Opera House.
While the sculpture isn’t actually floating, from a distance it would appear that your eyes deceive you and it looks like huge shards of glass floating in the water.
Our island hopping adventure in Oslo was actually a spur of the moment decision; we planned to go to Hovedøya Island anyway, but we thought we’d just head straight there in a ferry rather than sailing around numerous other islands in the fjord too.
It turns out that it was one of the best decisions of our whole trip as it really was otherworldly to sail around the likes of Lindøya east and west and Nakholmen.
The views from our little ferry really were like out of a scene in a book or a movie and the postcard-perfect islands made for the most idyllic pictures. I imagine that island hopping around the Oslo fjord at anytime of the year would be incredible but there really was something so magical and mystical about seeing the different islands covered in snow.
Our stop off on Hovedøya island was arguably my favourite thing that we did during our entire visit to Oslo.
We were the only ones on the island (not entirely true – there are a few people who live on the island, but we didn’t see another person while we were there apart from when we went to catch the ferry back) and the whole place was like a scene out of Game of Thrones.
It had such a unique and slightly eerie feel to it, especially around the ruins of the Cistercian monastery that originates from 1147!
Matt and I spent ages frolicking around the ruins and with absolutely everything covered in snow, it really was one of the most beautiful and surreal places I’ve ever visited. I even teared up at one point as I was just so overwhelmed that somewhere so amazing existed!
A trip to Hovedøya should definitely be on your list of things to do in Oslo; if you visit in the summer months you’ll also be able to make use of the cafe located on the island. However, if you’d prefer to see the island in a more serene and peaceful state then definitely consider visiting in winter!
Vigeland Sculpture Park was the most suggested place to see in Oslo when I was doing my research before our trip.
However, the day that we visited, it was absolutely lashing it down with rain which meant our experience was ruined somewhat. It was actually remarkably hard trampling through melting ankle-deep snow and getting soaked from the rain.
From what we did see of the sculptures created by Gustav Vigeland however, we were pretty impressed.
Also known as Frogner Park, Vigeland Park is the world’s largest sculpture park containing the work from one single artist. It’s home to Vigeland’s lifework and features more than 200 sculptures made from different metals.
There are also various parts of the park to explore including the children’s playground, the bridge and the fountain; we barely made it passed the main gate however, as the entire park was covered in sludgy snow and lashing rain. I’d love to go back and visit properly in the summer months though!
This is potentially one of the smallest “tourist attractions” in the whole of Oslo but one that I’d definitely recommend visiting anyway, especially if you’re looking for a fun and cute Instagram opportunity!
The cobblestone avenues are home to wooden houses that are painted in a plethora of striking colours. Damstredet og Telthusbakken was covered in a smattering of snow when we visited but that didn’t dampen the aesthetic at all; if anything, it made it look even more alluring.
There are still people living in these houses however, so if you’re heading for a visit (and a sneaky Instagram photo shoot) just remember to be respectful of the houses and surrounding properties.
I’m not really one for museums and whenever we go to a new city, we only pay a visit to the museums if they’re free as oftentimes they just don’t captivate my attention. I’m glad we did pay to visit this museum however as it was such an intriguing experience.
The Fram Museum tells the story of the Norwegian polar expedition and exploration. It essentially tells the stories of the thousands of men who’ve attempted to explore the poles; with more detailed recounts of the men who were actually successful and explored the north and south pole that we know today.
To get to the Fram Museum, you can take the bus or ferry from the City Hall harbour which will take you directly to Bygdøy.
Tickets to the museum:
Adults: 120kr (£10.80)
Children and students: 50kr (£4.50)
Admire the sea views from Bygdøy
Bygdøy is the place where numerous museums such as the Fram and Kon-Tiki reside and we didn’t even realise before we visited but it’s also home to the most spectacular views of Oslo fjord.
This was also probably one of my favourite places in Oslo as the views of the sea and surrounding islands were ever so magical.
As the sun was shining brightly down on the sea, it cast picturesque shadows over everything and made the little “beach” light up brilliantly. If you make your way to one of the museums, make sure you leave enough time to wander around the shores of Bygdøy; you certainly won’t regret it!
Ice skating on Spikersuppa Rink was actually the very last thing we did in Oslo before catching our flight home and I’m so glad we managed to squeeze it in.
The rink is located in the middle of Karl Johans Gate, somewhere between the National Theatre and the parliament building and offers professional, beginner and inexperienced skaters the opportunity to whizz around the ice.
There were various people on the rink of all abilities when we visited, but it never, ever seemed to get too busy, which really is a relief if you’re not a confident and comfortable skater!
It’s open everyday in winter from around 11am until 9pm, from November until March and is a great way to spend an hour or two in central Oslo.
You can hire skates from the Spikersuppa Rink pavillion for 120kr (£10.80) per day or you can bring your own skates and enjoy frolicking on the ice free of charge!
Spending 4 days in Oslo is easy enough if you have a detailed itinerary and a plan of the things you want to see/do so I hope this travel guide to Oslo has given you plenty of inspiration!
Have you ever been to the beautiful capital of Norway? How would you recommend spending 4 days in Oslo? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @imjustagirl_16.