If you wish to vacation in Scandinavia, Oslo is a delightful holiday destination that offers something for everyone. With its sophisticated character, rich culture and proximity to unique natural wonders, the capital of Norway comes in many flavors.
On Ferryhopper, you can learn what to do and see in Oslo, and discover our top vacation tips, favorite delicacies and interesting activities. Gather inspiration for your trip, learn how to travel to Oslo by ferry and book your tickets online!
Storting building, the impressive parliament of Norway in Oslo
Vacation in Oslo
Holidays in Oslo introduce you to the vivid city life of Norway’s capital, all while offering you natural sights, green spaces and suggestive spots to explore. From visiting cultural hotspots, such as the beautiful Oslo Opera House, to joining a boat tour to neighboring islands, Oslo is full of surprises.
Visiting Oslo in the summer is a rather great option, as the weather is much more forgiving and allows you to explore different outdoor activities, including water sports in the innermost part of the Oslofjord, where Oslo is located.
If you wish to visit Oslo in September or October, cloudy skies highlight the city's beauty and offer once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to lovers of photography. Christmas holidays in Oslo, on the other hand, are excellent for families with children, and you’ll be welcomed with scenic decorations, festive markets and sweet delicacies.
How to get to Oslo
When it comes to visiting Oslo, you can travel by ferry, train, bus or plane. The capital is well-connected to the rest of Scandinavia and other European countries.
Let’s start with the most beautiful and rewarding way to visit Oslo: traveling by ferry! You can catch a ferry from Denmark (Copenhagen and Frederikshavn) and Germany (Kiel). The sea journey to Oslo offers beautiful views of the Oslofjord, islands and seaside wonders. Below, you can learn more about ferries to Oslo and get in the right mood for your holidays!
You can also catch a plane from most major European cities and some locations in North America and Asia. Torp Sandefjord Airport, around 110 km from Oslo, offers numerous budget-friendly flight connections. Alternatively, Oslo Airport Gardermoen is closer to the capital (around 50 km) and is located at Gardermoen.
When it comes to train itineraries, there are both national and international lines, most of which are connected to Oslo Central Station. As for bus services, you can travel from other locations in Norway and abroad to Oslo Bussterminal, the capital's central bus terminal.
What to do in Oslo
From weekend gateways to week-long holidays, you cannot grow tired of Oslo and its multifaceted beauty. There are countless things to add to your bucket list, such as attending musical events and kayaking in the Oslofjord. Don’t worry, we are here to guide you through everything!
Below, you can discover the best of Oslo, including our favorite museums, traditional foods and activities for nature lovers.
Scenic landscapes with traditional houses across the Oslofjord
Sightseeing and activities in Oslo
Evert corner in Oslo exudes cultural significance, with important monuments and museums as far as the eye can see. Consider getting an Oslo Pass to gain free access to several venues and historical museums.
Here is a list of the most important sights in Oslo:
- The famous Oslo Opera House, offering stunning panoramic views of the Oslofjord, as well as guided tours and cultural events
- The medieval Akershus Fortress, which is situated at the port and offers guided tours and beautiful ceremonies
- The Historical Museum of Oslo, with interesting exhibitions of Norwegian history, including the Viking Age
- The Vigeland Sculpture Park, the largest park in the world dedicated to sculptures
- The contemporary art museum of Astrup Fearnley Museet, one of the many artistic landmarks close to Oslo’s port
- The digital museum of Viking Planet, with cutting-edge technology, such as VR exhibitions, holograms and immersive films
- The Climate Museum, which simulates different climate phenomena and provides visitors with educational material
- MUNCH, a modern museum dedicated to the work of the Nordic painter Edvard Munch
- The National Museum, a harmonious mix of old and contemporary art
- The imposing Oslo Cathedral, the capital’s main church
Once you’re settled with cultural sightseeing in Oslo, consider joining one of its countless activities! Most of them take advantage of the impressive Oslofjord. Here are the best activities in Oslo:
- Water sports in the Oslofjord, which include kayaking, stand-up paddling, diving and canoeing
- Island hopping in Oslofjord, where you can join a boat tour and visit neighboring islands, the closest one being Hovedøya
- Explore the diverse districts of Oslo, such as Gamle Aker with its unique architecture or Majorstuen with its energetic downtown
- Vintage shopping in Grünerløkka, an interesting district with artistic and second-hand shops
- Hike to Lake Maridal, the largest lake in Oslo, which is ideal for lovers of nature and photography
- Follow the challenging hiking trail to the forest of Lillomarka
- Walk along the river of Akerselva and admire its lush greenery
Sunny day at the beautiful Oslo Opera House
Nightlife in Oslo
Nights in Oslo are vibrant and sophisticated, with a perfect mix of entertainment, culture and tasty cocktails! There is a wide range of restaurants and bars to choose from, kicking off the evening in a more laid-back way.
Then, if you wish to explore the more vivid side of Oslo’s nightlife, there are plenty of clubs to dance the night away, and even spots with live music, like the famous club of Bla. There are also numerous LGBT-friendly bars and clubs scattered throughout the city.
As you start planning your trip, consider checking out what musical events are taking place in Oslo. Keep an eye out for the event calendar of Oslo Opera House, as well as the famous Festival of Chamber Music that takes place in August.
Tip: as it’s one of the most important cultural hubs in Scandinavia, many international artists perform in Oslo as part of their world tours. Don’t miss out on any A-list performances!
Food in Oslo
While Oslo’s restaurant scene is full of international elements and familiar food options, trying out Norwegian meals at more traditional locations is highly recommended! From breakfast delights to meat-based meals, Oslo has a lot in store for foodies!
Here are some Norwegian dishes and products to try in Oslo:
- Pyttipanne (a mix of leftovers, usually with potatoes, meat and other vegetables)
- Meatballs in brown sauce
- Tørrfisk (smoked salmon)
- Skolebrød (a sweet roll with coconut)
- Wrapped boiled sausage (the wrap is usually made from potatoes and resembles a tortilla)
- Rye bread and flatbread
- Cloudberry jam
- Brown cheese (a caramelized specialty)
- Norwegian waffles
Tip: don’t miss out on the famous Oslo Street Food, with both traditional and modern culinary experiences.
A mouthwatering plate of the Norwegian pyttipanne
Useful information about Oslo
As the modern city that it is, Oslo has everything you might need during your holidays there, including accommodation options that satisfy all budget needs. You can choose between luxurious hotels or less pricey hostels and Bed & Breakfasts that provide guests with modern value-for-money amenities.
Most districts are part of Oslo’s great transport network. Even if you choose a more secluded area, there are always visitor services, attractions and entertainment options within walking distance.
As for medical services in Oslo, you can find both private and public hospitals, and clinics with more specialized departments. Oslo University Hospital, specifically, is the most important hospital not just in Norway but in all of Scandinavia. In case of an emergency, there are also plenty of walk-in medical services.
Tip: ATMs might be hard to find in the city. Look out for major points of interest, such as shopping centers and transportation hubs. The national currency is the Norwegian Kroner.
Important phone numbers for your stay in Oslo
Find some useful phone numbers for your trip to Oslo below:
- Oslo Port Authority: +4721802180
- Oslo Emergency Ward: +47116117
- Oslo Airport Gardermoen: +47 64 81 00 00
- Police: 112
- Ambulance: 113
- Fire department: 110
- Information on road conditions: 175
- European emergency number: 112
Transportation in Oslo
Whether you prefer to walk, cycle or move around by train and bus, Oslo has a great transportation system. All means of transport (bus, tram, subway and local train lines) are part of the same ticket system. Some itineraries (usually when traveling by subway) require pre-booked tickets.
Most train and bus itineraries are operated frequently and allow you to move between central points of interest, such as downtown Oslo and the nearest airport (Oslo Airport Gardermoen).
There are also ferries and boats to the many islands of the Oslofjord. Each island is home to different traditions, cultural history and activities to try out. There are ticket packages that help you explore more than one island within a short timeframe.
Tip: consider getting an Oslo Pass, which includes free transportation, entrance to many museums and attractions, parking privileges and more!
Idyllic view of the Oslofjord and one of its islands
Ports in Oslo
Located in the south of the capital, the port of Oslo is a majorly important maritime center. It connects Norway to Denmark and Germany, and offers local boat services to the many islands and coasts of the Oslofjord. There are also plenty of unique ships made of wood, ideal for boat enthusiasts!
The port is within walking distance from the city center and has a long seafront with different kinds of monuments, visitor amenities and ferry terminals. Depending on the route and ferry operator, most conventional ferries arrive at the docks next to the Akershus Fortress.
Oslo ferry: schedules and tickets
The wonders of Oslo are easily reachable by ferry! The ferry routes from Denmark (Copenhagen and Frederikshavn) and Germany (Kiel) to Oslo are active throughout the year, usually operated by DFDS and Color. Specifically:
- Frederikshavn - Oslo ferry: you can catch a ferry from Frederikshavn to Oslo throughout the year with around 6 weekly crossings. Ferries usually travel at night, making the crossing in about 10 hours.
- Copenhagen - Oslo: you can reach Oslo from the capital of Denmark on most days of the week. Copenhagen - Oslo ferries make the crossing in around 18-19 hours.
- Kiel - Oslo: ferries to Oslo from Kiel in Germany depart around 8 times per week. The route lasts around 20 hours and is operated by cruise ferries.
Important: vehicle tickets and cabin options may be limited in availability in the high season. Consider planning your trip well in advance.
Ferry tip: there are indirect ferry routes from Sweden to the capital of Norway as well! You can travel from Gothenburg in Sweden to Oslo with a ferry change in Frederikshavn!
Sunset view of the busy port of Oslo
Where to book ferry tickets to Oslo online
Ready to explore the beauties of Oslo by ferry? All you need is 1 or 2 (or more) warmer clothes, comfy shoes and ferry tickets! Discover all ferry connections to Oslo on our Map of ferries, compare timetables and fares, and book your ferry tickets to Scandinavia hassle-free!