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How to Spend 24 Hours in Oslo, Norway




Oslo is one of those places that I clicked with from the get-go. Partly due to the organization and cleanliness of the city and its environmental stewardship. But what struck me most was the incredible blend of modernity and tradition, where ultra-modern skyscrapers touch shoulders with landmarks from the Viking Age.

I’ve been lucky enough to visit the city a handful of times, and each time feels like returning to a familiar embrace. This city has an understated simplicity and elegance. It also doesn’t hurt that it’s so small it’s quite possible to explore within just one day.


And with that, I’ve compiled the perfect day in Oslo, from morning to evening, hitting a few of my favorite restaurants, viewpoints, and neighborhoods. All stops on this route are within walking distance from one another, with less than two and a half hours of walking total – not bad for a full day exploring the capital city of Norway!

PRO TIP: While the city is compact enough to explore within a day, I recommend setting aside around three days to experience Oslo in its entirety. This way, you can spend more time relaxing on the docks and indulging in a steaming sauna instead of rushing from one attraction to the next.


A Rich History

The Royal PalaceThe Royal Palace

Oslo’s History is a big contributor to its unique charm. It was initially founded as a Viking settlement as early as the 11th century, and has since evolved into a dynamic metropolis famous for its modern architecture, royal family, and stunning landscapes.

The city has always held onto its maritime heritage, which has been at the forefront of its industries since the Viking days. Its strategic position in a protected fjord in the North Sea means it is perfectly located for trading things like timber, fish, and minerals. Today, it is also a Scandinavian center for finance and commerce.

PRO TIP: The best time to visit Oslo is spring and summer. Typically falling between May and August, temperatures are mild and warm, and daylight hours are long. So long, in fact, that you could experience close to 24 hours of sunlight around the summer solstice. Naturally, the opposite is true for Oslos winter months, where daylight is limited and temperatures are frigid. No. thank. You.

Walk Through Frogner Park

Frogner Park

To get your day started, take a leisurely stroll through Frogner Park. This massive park just on the northwestern edge of the center, is home to a smaller garden section known as Vigeland Park. Scattered across this lush space are hundreds of bronze, granite, and cast-iron sculptures crafted by a famous Norwegian artist, Gustav Vigeland.

Frogner Park

It doesn’t hurt that the park is impeccably landscaped, with manicured flower beds color-coordinated throughout the summer. Follow the wide pathways through the park towards the rose garden. It’s a bit of a walk, but this rose garden is home to the largest collection of roses in Norway. It’s well worth the trek. Frogner Pond is another highlight, with quiet shaded lawns where you could enjoy a bit of peace and quiet.

The park is free to enter and open 24 hours a day. Across the park, there are a few restaurants and coffee stands where I recommend grabbing a steamy cappuccino to walk around with.

Breakfast at Baker Hansen


Norwegians LOVE to bakes. Every time I visit the country, I end up eating close to my body weight in bolle (sweet round white bread rolls).

Baker Hansen is the best place to start your day with a traditional Scandinavian breakfast. There is no better place to grab a freshly baked cinnamon roll, coffee, or freshly squeezed juice. A gluten—and dairy-free cinnamon bun costs 44 NOK, while a traditional bun is just 35 NOK. Opt for a Healthy bowl of cranberry and almond granola for 79 NOK.

There are six locations in central Oslo and dozens in the surrounding suburbs. Regardless of its franchise nature, Baker Hansen is worth a visit. My favorite location is in Frogner, right in the heart of the city. Their hours change with the season, but you can rest assured Baker Hansen will always be open for an early breakfast or brunch.

Morning Swim at Tjuvholmen Badeplass

Tjuvholmen Badeplass

With one day to spend in Oslo, start your day like a local would with a dip in the fjord at Tjuvholmen Badeplass. This dock is one of my favorite places in Norway. It’s one of those spots that is unlike any other country in the world, with beautifully crafted wooden docks jetting into the fjord. Along the docks, there are grassy spots, false beaches, stairs leading into the water, freshwater showers, seating areas, and even diving boards for the adventurous.

Baker Hansen Frogner is perfectly located in the middle of the walk between Frogner Park and the docks.

Tjuvholmen Badeplass
Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern ArtAstrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art

And the walk is all part of the fun. You’ll pass by the main Tjuvholmen ‘islands’, home to luxury apartments, office blocks, and plenty of high-end speed boats docked for the summer. This is also where the famous Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art is located. If you’re into modern art, make sure to take the time to visit this incredible private collection on the docks. The museum is open from midday until 5 pm most days and costs 150 NOK to enter.

A Walk Along the Aker Brygge

Aker Brygge

With a morning walk and a fjord swim under your belt, your day is primed for adventure. Head back towards the city along Aker Brygge, Norway’s equivalent of the Santa Monica waterfront. This scenic seafront promenade is dotted with trendy cafes, boutique shops, and art galleries.

This is where many of the city’s ferries depart and arrive, making their way in and out of the fjord and even as far as Denmark. The Oslo Piers are beautiful to walk along, with a unique combination of modern vessels and antique ships.

From the dock, look north towards the prominent Radhuset, or Oslo City Hall, as I would say in English. This solid structure houses the city council, admin, and other governmental organizations. During the summer months, it’s surrounded by gorgeous manicured flowerbeds coordinated in different colors.

Mathallen Oslo for Lunch

Mathallen Oslo Market

If you have the capacity for another walk, head north through Sentrum (city center) towards Oslo’s hip and happening Grünerløkka neighborhood. This area is known for its street art, mellow cafes and parks in the day, and quirky bars and nightlife at night. Think of it as a little slice of Brick Lane in Scandinavia.

The neighborhood sits along the Akerselva River, with plenty of walking and cycling trails that cris-cross the river, parks, and the trendy industrial neighborhood itself.

The walk to Grünerløkka from the pier takes around 30 minutes, the perfect distance to work up an apPetite for lunch. In true Grünerløkka style, I recommend you visit the Mathallen Oslo Market for lunch. Located in a huge industrial warehouse built in the early 1900s, Mathallen is a food market with cafes and eateries serving every type of cuisine you wish for. If Grünerløkka is Brick Lane’s equivalent, Mathallen is like Spitalfields Market.

Mathallen Oslo Market

Whether you’re in the mood for local seafood, Belgian waffles, pizza, baos, or Columbian-inspired street food, you’ll find what you’re looking for in Mathallen. Depending on where you eat, budget around 300 NOK on a meal with a drink.

The market has plenty of indoor and outdoor seating and is most popular for lunch, after-work drinks, and dinner. It’s open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 am to 8 pm, with limited hours on Sunday and Monday. When a place is as popular with locals as it is with tourists, you know it’s good.

Views from the Akershus Fortress

Views from Akershus Fortress

Views from the fortress

Back in the city, Akershus Fortress is a Medieval Castle overlooking the harbor. You can explore the grounds and climb onto the ramparts for free (or to take epic pictures of the city). If time is on your side, the museum dives into Oslo’s Military History.

Afternoon Sauna at SALT


Just a twelve-minute walk from the fortress, KOK Oslo Sauna is one of the city’s favored fjord saunas. Spending time in a sauna is a quintessential Scandinavian activity and one not to be missed.

There are hundreds of saunas to choose from, but SALT is on this list because it’s made from wooden barrels and sits right on the Oslo waterfront. There is no better way to end the day than hopping between the wood-fired saunas and the refreshing fjord waters.

One sauna session lasts two and a half hours and includes access to wardrobes, lockers, and hot and cold showers. An adult ticket costs between 205 and 255 NOK. If you don’t have a towel, you will need to rent one for 50 NOK. They also recommend you bring along flip-flops and a padlock to keep your things safe.

Dinner at Maaemo

Close off the day with a bang at Oslo’s premier fine dining establishment, just ten minutes’ walk from the sauna. With views of the Munch Museum (another museum for another day), it’s one of the fifty best-rated restaurants in the world.

The chef’s focus is on seafood from Norway and seasonal produce grown or foraged in the Oslo area. As you might expect, this establishment requires booking and a bit of a deep wallet.

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