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Top 10 Awesome FREE Things To Do In Oslo (Norway)


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Danna Moon



Oslo, the capital city of Norway, is known for its stunning natural landscapes, rich history, and vibrant culture. While the city may have a reputation for being expensive, there are still plenty of free activities to enjoy. Whether you’re a budget traveler or simply looking to explore Oslo on a shoestring, you’ll find a variety of free things to do that will allow you to immerse yourself in the city’s charm.


In this article, we will take a closer look at the top 10 awesome free things to do in Oslo. From exploring world-class museums to admiring captivating outdoor sculptures, there’s something for everyone to enjoy without spending a dime. So, let’s dive in and discover the best free activities that Oslo has to offer!


1. Explore the Vigeland Sculpture Park


The Vigeland Sculpture Park is one of Oslo’s most iconic attractions. This expansive park is filled with over 200 sculptures created by renowned Norwegian artist Gustav Vigeland. The sculptures depict the human experience in various forms and emotions, making it a fascinating place to explore. Take a leisurely walk through the park, admire the intricate details of each sculpture, and immerse yourself in the artistry and beauty of Vigeland’s work.


2. Visit the National Gallery


Located in the heart of Oslo, the National Gallery houses an impressive collection of Norwegian and international art. From iconic works by Edvard Munch, including “The Scream,” to masterpieces by other renowned artists, you can experience the rich artistic heritage of Norway. Admission to the permanent collection at the National Gallery is free, providing an opportunity to appreciate world-class art without breaking the bank.


3. Wander around the Akershus Fortress


The Akershus Fortress, situated on a hill overlooking Oslo’s harbor, is a medieval castle that holds centuries of history within its walls. Explore the fortress grounds, walk along the ramparts, and soak in panoramic views of the city. Entry to the fortress is free, and you can even visit the museum inside for a small fee if you’re interested in delving deeper into Oslo’s past.


4. Enjoy the beauty of the Oslo Opera House


The Oslo Opera House is not only an architectural masterpiece but also a cultural hub for performing arts. Take a leisurely stroll on the sloping roof of the opera house, enjoying panoramic views of the city and the Oslofjord. You can also catch a free outdoor concert or performance during the summer months. Whether you’re an opera enthusiast or simply appreciate stunning architecture, the Oslo Opera House is a must-visit.


5. Discover the Viking Ship Museum


Explore the Vigeland Sculpture Park

The Vigeland Sculpture Park, located in the Frogner Park, is a true haven for art enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. Created by Gustav Vigeland, one of Norway’s most celebrated sculptors, the park boasts over 200 bronze, granite, and wrought iron sculptures that depict the human experience in all its forms.


As you enter the park, you’ll be greeted by the iconic Monolith, a towering granite sculpture that stands at the center of the park. This massive structure is made from a single block of stone and intricately carved with intertwined human figures. It’s a sight that is sure to leave you in awe of the artist’s skill and vision.


Take a leisurely stroll along the pathways that wind through the park, allowing yourself to be captivated by the diverse range of sculptures that adorn the landscape. From intimate depictions of human connection to larger-than-life statues that celebrate the human form, each artwork tells a unique story, inviting you to reflect on the complexities of life.


One of the most popular attractions in the park is the Vigeland Bridge, adorned with 58 bronze sculptures depicting people of all ages engaged in various activities. Whether it’s a group of children playing, a couple engaged in a tender embrace, or an elderly person gracefully aging, these sculptures beautifully capture the different stages and facets of human life.


Another notable highlight is the Circle of Life, a circular arrangement of sculptures that explores different aspects of human existence from birth to death. This thought-provoking installation provokes contemplation on the cycle of life and the universal experiences we all share.


Aside from the sculptures, the Vigeland Sculpture Park also offers lush green spaces, serene ponds, and picturesque flowerbeds, making it an ideal spot for a leisurely picnic or a peaceful moment of relaxation. The park is particularly enchanting during the spring and summer months when the vibrant colors of blooming flowers provide a stunning backdrop to the sculptures.


Visiting the Vigeland Sculpture Park is not only an opportunity to appreciate art in a natural setting, but also a chance to connect with the history and culture of Norway. The park is open year-round and is accessible free of charge, making it an essential part of any visit to Oslo.


Visit the National Gallery

If you’re a fan of art and culture, a visit to the National Gallery in Oslo is a must-do. Located in the city center, this renowned museum houses an extensive collection of Norwegian and international art that spans centuries.


Stepping into the National Gallery, you’ll be greeted by a treasure trove of artistic masterpieces. One of the highlights of the museum is the collection of works by Norway’s most iconic artist, Edvard Munch. Here, you can witness the powerful emotions conveyed in his world-famous painting, “The Scream,” along with other significant works that provide insight into Munch’s artistic journey.


In addition to Munch’s works, the National Gallery showcases a diverse range of art from various periods and genres. From classic Norwegian landscape paintings to modern abstract art, the museum offers something for every artistic taste. Admire the stunning portraits by renowned Norwegian artist Christian Krohg or immerse yourself in the beauty of landscape paintings by Johan Christian Dahl, one of the pioneers of Norwegian Romanticism.


Besides the Norwegian collection, the National Gallery also features an impressive selection of international art. Marvel at the works of European masters, such as Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet, and Pablo Picasso. The opportunity to see these renowned artworks up close and personal is truly a treat.


What’s even better is that admission to the permanent collection of the National Gallery is free, making it accessible to all visitors. However, please note that there may be a fee for special exhibitions or events, so be sure to check the museum’s website for any additional information.


Don’t miss the chance to explore the beautiful architecture of the museum itself. Built in 1837, the National Gallery building is a work of art in its own right. The elegant neoclassical structure adds to the overall charm of the museum and provides a fitting backdrop for the incredible artwork on display.


Overall, a visit to the National Gallery is not only an opportunity to admire extraordinary works of art but also a chance to gain a deeper understanding of Norwegian and international artistic heritage. Whether you’re an art enthusiast or simply looking to immerse yourself in culture, the National Gallery should definitely be on your list of free things to do in Oslo.


Wander around the Akershus Fortress

Situated on a hill overlooking the Oslofjord, the Akershus Fortress is a medieval castle that holds centuries of history within its walls. Built in the late 13th century to protect the city, this fortress has witnessed countless events and played a significant role in Norway’s past.


As you wander through the fortress grounds, you’ll be transported back in time. The well-preserved ramparts, towers, and buildings provide a glimpse into the country’s medieval past. Take a leisurely stroll along the fortress walls and admire the breathtaking views of Oslo’s harbor and the surrounding cityscape.


While exploring the fortress, make sure to visit the Castle Keep, the oldest part of the complex. The Keep houses a small museum where you can learn more about the history of the fortress and its strategic importance throughout the years. From medieval battles to royal ceremonies, the artifacts and displays offer fascinating insights into Oslo’s rich past.


One of the notable features of the Akershus Fortress is the Norwegian Resistance Museum, located in a bunker within the fortress grounds. This museum provides a comprehensive overview of Norway’s resistance movement during World War II. Explore the exhibits, learn about the brave men and women who fought against the occupation, and gain a deeper understanding of the country’s wartime history.


Another highlight of the fortress is the beautiful Oslo Cathedral, located just outside the main entrance. Step inside and admire the stunning architecture and intricate details of this 17th-century cathedral. Take a moment to soak in the peaceful atmosphere and reflect on the historical significance of this sacred space.


One of the best parts about visiting the Akershus Fortress is that entry to the grounds is completely free. You can spend as much time as you like exploring the fortress and immersing yourself in its history. However, if you’re interested in delving deeper into Oslo’s past, there is a small fee to enter the museum and the Resistance Museum.


In addition to its rich history, the fortress offers picturesque views and beautiful green spaces. Enjoy a picnic on the fortress grounds or simply find a quiet spot to relax and take in the serenity of the surroundings. It’s a peaceful retreat from the bustling city and a chance to connect with the past.


Overall, a visit to the Akershus Fortress is a must-do when in Oslo. Immerse yourself in the history, explore the exhibits, and soak in the beauty of this medieval castle. It’s a truly memorable experience that combines culture, architecture, and natural beauty, all accessible to visitors free of charge.


Enjoy the beauty of the Oslo Opera House

The Oslo Opera House, located on the waterfront of the Oslofjord, is not only a stunning architectural masterpiece but also a cultural hub for performing arts. Designed by the renowned Norwegian architecture firm Snøhetta, this iconic building is a must-visit attraction for both architecture enthusiasts and culture lovers.


One of the unique features of the Oslo Opera House is its accessible rooftop. The sloping roof is designed to resemble an iceberg rising from the waters of the fjord, creating a visually striking and distinctive aesthetic. Visitors can walk up the roof and enjoy panoramic views of the city, the harbor, and the surrounding natural beauty. It’s a perfect spot to capture breathtaking photographs or simply soak in the serene atmosphere.


The Oslo Opera House is not just about its exterior beauty; it’s also home to world-class performances. The opera house hosts a wide range of productions, including opera, ballet, concerts, and musicals. If you’re lucky, you may even catch a free outdoor concert or performance during the summer months, as the opera house often organizes events on the waterfront plaza.


Even if you’re not attending a performance, it’s worth exploring the interior of the opera house. The main foyer is grand and inviting, with modern design elements that create a sense of elegance and sophistication. You can also take a guided tour to learn more about the building’s architecture, history, and the behind-the-scenes workings of the opera house (note that a small fee may apply for guided tours).


Whether you’re an opera enthusiast or simply appreciate stunning architecture, the Oslo Opera House is a must-visit. It combines cultural experiences with breathtaking views, creating a captivating and immersive journey for visitors. From admiring the architecture to experiencing a world-class performance, the Opera House offers something for everyone to enjoy.


Access to the Oslo Opera House is completely free, allowing you to explore the building, enjoy the rooftop views, and experience the vibrant atmosphere without spending a dime. Don’t miss the chance to immerse yourself in the beauty and cultural significance of this iconic landmark in Oslo.


Discover the Viking Ship Museum

No visit to Oslo would be complete without a journey back in time to the Viking era. The Viking Ship Museum, located on the Bygdøy peninsula, houses the world’s best-preserved Viking ships and an array of artifacts that offer a glimpse into the rich maritime history of Norway.


Upon entering the museum, you’ll be greeted by three impressive Viking ships that date back to the 9th century. These perfectly preserved vessels, known as the Oseberg, Gokstad, and Tune ships, were used as burial ships for high-ranking individuals in Viking society. Marvel at the intricate carvings, the elegant lines of the ships, and the craftsmanship of the Viking seafarers.


Not only can you admire the ships themselves, but the museum also houses an array of artifacts discovered in the burial mounds. From ornamental weaponry to everyday tools and household objects, these artifacts provide fascinating insights into the lives and customs of the Viking people.


One of the highlights of the Viking Ship Museum is the Oseberg ship, which is exceptionally well-preserved. Step aboard and imagine yourself sailing across the seas in this magnificent vessel. The detailed carvings and decorative elements showcase the artistic prowess of the Vikings and provide a captivating glimpse into their seafaring culture.


In addition to the ships and artifacts, the museum offers interactive exhibits and multimedia presentations that bring the Viking age to life. Learn about the incredible navigational skills of the Vikings, their trade routes, and their cultural practices. Gain a deeper understanding of their impact on European history and their lasting legacy.


Visiting the Viking Ship Museum is not only an opportunity to witness historical artifacts but also a chance to learn about the fascinating world of the Vikings. Immerse yourself in their rich maritime heritage and appreciate their contributions to exploration and craftsmanship.


Entry to the Viking Ship Museum is free with the Oslo Pass, which provides access to various museums and attractions in the city. Without the pass, there may be a small admission fee. Regardless, it is a worthwhile investment to explore the incredible history and maritime culture that the Viking Ship Museum has to offer.


Make sure to allocate enough time for your visit, as the museum is filled with captivating exhibits and intriguing details that will transport you to the Viking era. It’s an experience that is sure to leave a lasting impression and deepen your appreciation for the fascinating history of Norway’s seafaring past.


Take a stroll along Aker Brygge

Aker Brygge is a vibrant waterfront area in Oslo that offers a delightful mix of modern architecture, trendy restaurants, and picturesque views of the Oslofjord. Taking a leisurely stroll along this bustling promenade is a perfect way to soak in the atmosphere and enjoy the beauty of the city.


Formerly a shipyard, Aker Brygge has undergone a transformation into a bustling urban district filled with shops, cafes, and cultural attractions. From upscale boutiques to local art galleries, there’s something for every taste and interest.


As you walk along the waterfront, you’ll find a wide range of dining options, from casual eateries to fine dining restaurants. Enjoy a delicious meal while enjoying panoramic views of the fjord and the bobbing boats in the marina. You can also grab a refreshing drink at one of the trendy bars or relax on outdoor terraces, taking in the lively atmosphere.


Aker Brygge is also home to Tjuvholmen, a nearby peninsula that houses contemporary art galleries and a distinctive architectural landscape. Don’t miss a visit to the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, which showcases an impressive collection of contemporary art from both Norwegian and international artists.


For a unique experience, hop on a boat and take a short cruise around the Oslofjord from Aker Brygge. From the water, you’ll be able to appreciate the beauty of the city’s coastline, passing by islands, forests, and charming coastal villages.


During the warmer months, Aker Brygge comes alive with outdoor events and entertainment. You might stumble upon live music performances, art exhibitions, or even a street market. It’s always a pleasure to wander around the promenade, exploring the various attractions and soaking up the vibrant atmosphere.


Visiting Aker Brygge is completely free, allowing you to enjoy the ambience and stunning views without spending a penny. It’s an ideal spot for a leisurely stroll, a romantic sunset walk, or simply a place to relax and people-watch.


Whether you’re looking for shopping, dining, art, or simply a place to unwind, Aker Brygge offers it all. This lively waterfront district is a favorite among both locals and visitors, and it’s easy to see why: the combination of modern architecture, cultural attractions, and stunning views creates an unforgettable experience in the heart of Oslo.


Experience the tranquility of the Botanical Garden

If you’re in need of a peaceful escape from the bustling city, look no further than the Botanical Garden in Oslo. Nestled in the Tøyen neighborhood, this hidden oasis offers a serene retreat filled with vibrant flowers, lush greenery, and a diverse collection of plant species.


As you enter the Botanical Garden, you’ll be greeted by a vast array of colorful blooms and fragrant scents. Take your time to explore the various themed gardens, each carefully designed to showcase different plant varieties from around the world. From beautifully landscaped flower beds to scenic walking paths, there’s something for every nature lover to enjoy.


One of the highlights of the garden is the Rock Garden, featuring a collection of alpine plants and unique rock formations. Marvel at the resilience and beauty of these plants that have adapted to thrive in rocky terrain. It’s a mesmerizing sight that will transport you to a different natural landscape.


Another must-visit area is the Vegetable Garden, where you’ll find an assortment of fruits, vegetables, and herbs grown in neatly organized plots. This section not only showcases the different varieties of edible plants but also provides educational information on sustainable practices and gardening techniques.


If you’re a fan of exotic plants, make sure to explore the Tropical House, a climate-controlled environment that mimicks the conditions of tropical regions. Step inside and be enveloped by the warmth and humidity, as you discover an assortment of lush foliage, vibrant flowers, and even a small waterfall. It’s a tranquil and immersive experience that will transport you to a tropical paradise.


The Botanical Garden is not just a visual delight; it’s also a haven for biodiversity. The garden serves as a research and conservation center, playing a crucial role in protecting endangered plant species and promoting sustainable practices. As you explore the garden, you’ll have the opportunity to learn about ongoing conservation efforts and the importance of preserving our natural heritage.


Entry to the Botanical Garden is free, making it easily accessible to all visitors. Whether you’re seeking a moment of tranquility, an educational experience, or simply a place to connect with nature, the Botanical Garden delivers on all fronts. It’s a haven of peace and beauty in the heart of Oslo, offering a welcome respite from the busy city streets.


Take a leisurely stroll, find a cozy bench to sit on, or bring a picnic to enjoy amidst the serene surroundings. The Botanical Garden is a true gem that allows you to immerse yourself in the wonders of nature while fostering a deeper appreciation for the world’s plant life.


Learn about Norwegian history at the Nobel Peace Center

The Nobel Peace Center in Oslo offers a unique opportunity to delve into the history and impact of the Nobel Peace Prize. Located in the former train station building, the center provides a captivating journey through the stories of Nobel laureates and their significant contributions to peace and social change.


As you step inside the Nobel Peace Center, you’ll be greeted by engaging exhibits that bring the laureates and their inspiring work to life. Learn about the life and principles of Alfred Nobel, the founder of the Nobel Prizes, and understand his vision of recognizing individuals and organizations that have made a positive impact on our world.


One of the highlights of the center is the permanent exhibition, which showcases the journeys and achievements of Nobel Peace Prize laureates. Engaging multimedia presentations, interactive displays, and thought-provoking artifacts allow visitors to gain a deeper understanding of the laureates’ stories and the challenges they faced.


Explore the personal stories and accomplishments of notable laureates, such as Martin Luther King Jr., Malala Yousafzai, and Desmond Tutu, among many others. Each laureate’s journey is a testament to the power of perseverance, compassion, and courage in the face of adversity.


The Nobel Peace Center also hosts temporary exhibitions that focus on various aspects of peace and conflict resolution, shedding light on pressing global issues and encouraging critical thinking. These exhibitions offer a unique and dynamic experience, bringing to light current events and inspiring dialogue about the challenges we face as a global society.


In addition to the exhibitions, the center organizes a range of events, lectures, and educational programs that further explore the themes of peace and social justice. From discussion panels to film screenings, there are numerous opportunities to engage with important topics and connect with like-minded individuals.


Visiting the Nobel Peace Center provides an unparalleled opportunity to reflect on the achievements of peacemakers throughout history and gain a deeper understanding of the global pursuit of peace. It’s a reminder of the power of individuals to make a positive impact and the importance of fostering a culture of peace in our own lives and communities.


Admission to the Nobel Peace Center is not free, but the experience is well worth the fee. The center offers discounted rates for students and seniors, and children under the age of 16 can enter for free. By visiting the center, you’re not only supporting the preservation of Nobel laureates’ legacies but also contributing to the center’s efforts to promote peace and social change.


Immerse yourself in the intriguing stories, inspiring achievements, and thought-provoking exhibits at the Nobel Peace Center. It’s an experience that will leave a lasting impression and inspire you to make a difference in the pursuit of peace.


Take a free guided tour of the Parliament Building

The Parliament Building, also known as Stortinget, is the seat of Norway’s democratic system and a symbol of the country’s commitment to transparency and open governance. Taking a guided tour of this historic building offers a fascinating insight into Norwegian politics and the inner workings of the government.


During the guided tour, you’ll have the opportunity to explore the grand halls, impressive chambers, and intricately decorated spaces within the Parliament Building. Knowledgeable guides will provide detailed explanations about the architecture, history, and functioning of the parliamentary system in Norway.


As you enter the building, you’ll be greeted by the grandeur of the Main Lobby, where notable events and ceremonies take place. Admire the intricate marble columns, exquisite artwork, and the iconic staircase that leads to the heart of the Parliament.


Next, you’ll visit the Assembly Hall, where the Members of Parliament gather to debate and make decisions. Marvel at the ornate décor, the symbolic elements, and the sense of history that fills the room. Learn about the democratic process and the role of Parliament in shaping laws and policies that impact the lives of Norwegians.


You’ll also have the opportunity to step inside the Council Chamber, which is where the government meets to discuss matters of importance. This space exudes a sense of power and authority, and it’s intriguing to imagine the discussions and decision-making that takes place within these walls.


The guided tour of the Parliament Building provides a unique opportunity to witness Norwegian democracy in action and gain a deeper understanding of the democratic principles that underpin Norwegian society. It’s also a chance to appreciate the beautiful architecture and the rich history that surrounds this iconic building.


One of the best parts about visiting the Parliament Building is that the guided tour is completely free of charge. However, it’s important to note that tours are only available during specific times and must be booked in advance. Make sure to check the official website of the Stortinget for the most up-to-date information regarding tour availability and booking.


Whether you’re interested in politics, history, or simply want to see an important landmark in Oslo, a guided tour of the Parliament Building is not to be missed. It’s an opportunity to gain insight into how Norwegian democracy functions and to experience firsthand the principles that make the country one of the most transparent and open societies in the world.


Relax in the lush surroundings of Frogner Park

Frogner Park, located in the heart of Oslo, is a sprawling green oasis that offers a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. Known for its stunning natural landscapes and iconic sculpture installations, this park is the perfect place to unwind and connect with nature.


As you enter Frogner Park, you’ll be greeted by lush lawns, majestic trees, and well-manicured flower beds. It’s a haven for nature lovers, providing ample space for a leisurely stroll, a family picnic, or simply a moment of relaxation on one of the many benches.


The centerpiece of the park is the Vigeland Sculpture Park, a permanent outdoor exhibition that showcases the incredible sculptures of Gustav Vigeland. This collection of over 200 bronze and granite sculptures depicts the human experience in all its forms, creating a visually stunning and thought-provoking display.


Wander through the park and admire the intricately crafted sculptures that adorn the landscape. From the iconic Monolith to the intimate depictions of human connection, each sculpture tells a unique story and invites contemplation on the human condition.


Aside from the sculptures, Frogner Park offers a variety of recreational activities. Bring a Frisbee or a ball and enjoy a game on the open lawns, or take advantage of the jogging and cycling paths that wind through the park. In the warmer months, you can even rent a paddleboat to explore the serene Frogner Pond.


For those with children, the park also features several playgrounds where kids can burn off some energy while parents relax nearby. There’s even a dedicated section called the Children’s Playground, filled with whimsical structures and activities designed specifically for little ones.


Frogner Park is not just about nature and sculpture; it’s also a place for cultural events and entertainment. During the summer months, the park often hosts concerts, festivals, and outdoor performances, providing a vibrant and festive atmosphere.


Best of all, entry to Frogner Park is entirely free, making it accessible to everyone. You can spend as much time as you like exploring the park’s many attractions and appreciating its natural beauty.


Whether you’re looking for a peaceful retreat, a place to reconnect with nature, or simply a spot to enjoy a leisurely day outdoors, Frogner Park has it all. Take a break from the city and immerse yourself in the lush surroundings, breathtaking sculptures, and vibrant atmosphere of this beloved Oslo gem.



Oslo offers a wealth of opportunities to explore and experience the beauty of Norway without breaking the bank. From exploring the captivating Vigeland Sculpture Park to immersing yourself in the cultural offerings of the National Gallery, there are numerous free activities that allow you to fully appreciate the city’s rich history and vibrant culture.


Wandering through the Akershus Fortress offers a glimpse into Norway’s medieval past, while the Oslo Opera House combines stunning architecture with world-class performances. The Viking Ship Museum takes you back in time to the era of the Vikings, and Aker Brygge provides a vibrant waterfront area to enjoy shopping, dining, and scenic walks.


For those seeking tranquility, the Botanical Garden offers a peaceful retreat amidst lush greenery and blooming flowers, while the Nobel Peace Center provides insights into global efforts towards peace and social change.


A free guided tour of the Parliament Building gives a fascinating insight into Norway’s democratic system, and Frogner Park allows you to relax in the midst of lush landscapes and the iconic Vigeland sculptures.


Whether you’re a budget traveler, a history enthusiast, an art lover, or simply seeking moments of serenity, Oslo offers an array of free activities to cater to your interests. Take advantage of these opportunities to deepen your appreciation for Norwegian culture, history, and natural beauty.


In conclusion, Oslo’s free attractions showcase the best of what the city has to offer, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in art, history, nature, and culture without spending a fortune. By taking advantage of these amazing free experiences, you can enjoy a remarkable journey through Norway’s capital city and create lasting memories that will stay with you for years to come.