Visiting Oslo can be an incredibly beautiful experience. However, it can also be a bit expensive as well. Known for its unique culture and its architectural design, it is one destination that you do not want to miss. So, if you want to visit Oslo on your Norwegian cruise but are put off by the price tag of certain venues or restaurants, follow this guide for 6 free things to do in Oslo. Vicky from Vicky Flip Flop advises, “keeping prices low on the activities means you'll have more for the premium-priced food and drink”. You won’t be disappointed.
The Harbour Promenade
Photo credit: Bilivoka.com
If you’re into strolling along city streets and taking in the architecture, then Bilivoka’s first suggestion is perfect for you. The Harbour Promenade spans across the city, giving you many opportunities to sightsee.
You can choose to cycle or walk along the 9-kilometre promenade, as travel blogger, Bilivoka suggests, “There’s plenty of coffee shops along the way and shopping options (such as Aker Brygge) for those that want a break from the walking and sightseeing.” As well as coffee shops and cafes, there are many different places to stop and admire like the stunning opera house or “Sørenga, a new neighbourhood very popular in the summer for swimming or simply enjoying the sun.
“Those seeking more information can also find very visible orange information towers along the promenade, providing historical information about the area, sights nearby and of course directions on how to find the path onwards.
“When we’re in Oslo we like walking along the promenade as it always changes and we get to discover new local sights, temporary art installations and things to do. Last time we visited there was a floating sauna in the harbour! How often do you get a chance to swim in the ocean in Norway during winter and get right back into a steaming hot room?”
The Royal Palace is also a great site to go on a walk. Located in the centre of Oslo, the Royal Palace is a great place to uncover a bit of Oslo’s history. It’s free to walk around The Palace Park or ‘Slottsparken’, which is one of the largest parks in the capital, boasting 54 acres of land and is open to the public all year round.
Lisa, the creator of travel blog Girl About the Globe suggests that “if you time it right, you can watch the changing of the guard at the palace at 1.30 pm. It takes place every day so if you do miss it you get another opportunity to see it, and if you can’t make it to the palace, sometimes you’ll see the guards and the band marching up Karl Johans Gate.” Something you should not miss while in Oslo.
Vigeland Sculpture Park
Art and culture are among other things that Oslo is great for. Vigeland Sculpture Park has more than 200 different sculptures all made by the same artist: Gustav Vigeland, and are made from bronze, granite and cast iron. The sculptures are both “bizarre and delightful” according to Atlas Obscura as they describe that the park is full of “one man's exploration of the human form”.
It is also another site that Bilivoka suggests is worth a visit as she explains, “just like several European cities have somewhat normal, yet extremely well-known sculptures (such as The Little Mermaid in Copenhagen and Manneken Pis in Brussels), Norway has “Sinnataggen”, a small angry boy.
“That’s of course not all, there is a huge monolith consisting of people in the middle of the park. We particularly enjoy relaxing in the large green spaces in the park to get away from busy city life.”
The castle and fortress were originally built in 1299. This medieval structure has been used as a strategic location for Oslo’s historical rulers and it has endured several sieges throughout its time. Located in the centre of Oslo, this fortress looks out at the city for all to see. There are guided tours that operate in the summer for all visitors which start at the Fortress visitor centre and take you all around the location. Filled with history, it is a hot spot for concerts, celebrations and ceremonies such as changing of the guard and public speeches.
Megan Starr, from the blog Megan and Aram, recommends beginning your Oslo adventure at the fortress as it “offers some of the best views of Oslo. Inside, you will also find the Norwegian Resistance Museum, a centre dedicated to those that perished during WWII and it, too, is free to visit”
A great thing about Oslo is the array of museums that it has to offer. Although not all free, many like the Historical Museum are free to under 18s or like the Museum of Oslo is free on the first Saturday of every month. They are worth a visit if they do apply to you but if not, Oslo also has a great scheme set up if you are on a tight budget but can spare some money.
While talking to Megan Starr, she discussed the Oslo Pass. She explains, “The pass is pretty affordable, and it will allow you access to several museums and landmarks for free. It also covers your transportation for the entire day while offering large discounts at restaurants. It is probably the best investment for your trip and is a fantastic value for those looking to explore the Norwegian capital's cultural side”
However, if you’re not the kind of visitor to utilise this, there are still plenty of museums that are free to visit. Museums such as the Intercultural Museum and the Labour Museum both offer free entry and are great ways to learn about Oslo’s history and culture.
Oslo cathedral was first consecrated in 1697. It is the main church for the Church of Norway Diocese of Oslo and is used for many events such as the Norwegian Royal family’s weddings and funerals. Recommended by travel bloggers Travel Family Blog who thought it was one location that should be at the top of the list because it is “Oslo’s oldest remaining building and the only remaining church from the Middle Ages”
Free things to do in Oslo:
- The Harbour Promenade
- Royal Palace
- Vigeland Sculpture Park
- Apercus Fortress
- Free Museums
- Oslo Cathedral
All these locations are a must-see when visiting Oslo. Being able to enjoy some free activities while in Oslo can make your cruise excursion even more enjoyable, and at no added cost to you.