Norway’s biggest (and easily most expensive) city is one that contains every sort of vibe imaginable. From hipster districts to sky-rise businesses, from old town architecture to modern panoramic glass buildings, the regions of Oslo all mesh into one creating the perfect sort of balance for anyone wanting to visit.
Here’s Oslo: My 1 Day Walking Tour through Photos:
As a part of my Scandinavian adventure, I came to Oslo on a flight from Tromsø and had a plan to spend 24 hours there before heading on to Stockholm.
Maybe it’s because I had already been traveling throughout Norway for just over a week when I got to Oslo, but there were times that I definitely felt out of place here. Walking around the city in the daytime, I almost felt underdressed in my Adidas running pants and H&M sweater; businessmen in suits and women in skirts and heels (even in middle of winter) waltz around the city like they’re on a mission. Multitudes of runners go flying past you on their marathon-length routes and, when you finally sit down to take a load off for one cup of coffee, you leave with nearly $10 less in your wallet.
When I visit a new city I usually spend all of my time walking around outside. Along with viewing the unique architecture, I enjoy learning about the historical aspects of the city and eating lots of food. I’m not a big museum or gallery person, even though Oslo has more than 50, so my walking tour combines all of these elements minus that.
If this sounds like the way you like to see a city too then this post about Oslo is for you.
Follow this Map for My Walking Tour of Oslo:
Starting at Point A
The AirBnb that I stayed in was just north of the Royal Palace so, before heading to there, I stroll through the unique Slottspark complete with odd sculptures and beautiful scenery.
A short couple minute walk to the south drops me off at one of the main tourist attractions in Oslo.
The Royal Palace
Unbeknownst to me before visiting, Norway is a constitutional monarchy ran by the House of Glücksburg. The beautiful yellow-tinted architecture with large columns over the entrance make a statement here in Oslo. While only the side and back portion of the Palace is fenced, guards are at their posts 24 hours a day. If you’re lucky, you may even get to see the changing of the guards as we did here.
Looking in the opposite direction, the prominence of the Royal Palace shines as the rest of Oslo exists beneath it. The mansion is surrounded by tree-lined parks and the openness of the city to the Royal Palace is a testament to Norwegians themselves; respectful, simple and unbarred.
Since it’s still quite early in the day, I walk from the Royal Palace through residential streets mimicking that European-style of architecture that I so dearly love.
A couple minutes walk down the way and I arrive to one heck of an Instagrammable spot.
Bagel & Juice
As soon as I walk in the door, I know this is the type of place for me. The dimmed lighting and artificial planters-turned-jungle set up in front of the bagel-decorated teal blue wall is an Instagrammer’s dream.
I walk up to the counter and am introduced to a slew of options for bagels: avocado, cream cheese, hummus spread, you name it. YUM!
The only down fall of Bagel & Juice is the price (a common consensus for nearly all of Oslo). I shell out almost TWENTY WHOLE DOLLARS for an egg and cheese bagel and a cappuccino.
I guess you really do pay for atmosphere.
Making a bee-line for the waterfront area, I pass by more adorable residential streets, corner flower shops and the area where Oslo’s old town coincides with the modernness of today’s style of buildings.
Aker Brygge is the home to that modern side of Oslo. Mainly a residential area, the expensive high-rises with jagged architecture and glass balconies line canal ways full of docks and seating areas used for sun bathing in the summertime.
Walking further through those residential masterpieces to where the sea hits the land is the area of Tjuvholmen. Here you’ll find the Sneak Peak (Tjuvtitten) view tower, the Modern Art Museum, a small pebbled beach and the Tjuvholmen Sculpture Park.
Making my way back north along the waterfront leads by more of those modern residential apartments featuring grocery stores and restaurants on the ground level. More sculptures dot the edge of the water and the views by the Marina of the yachts, fishing boats and cruises sailing by is a sight to see, even on a gloomy and cloudy day.
A short distance around the harbor and by City Hall, the elevation begins to climb as the brick wall of Oslo’s military landmark begins.
This enormous stone fortress was built around the year 1300 and immediately began use as the Royal Residence after the capital was moved from Bergen to Oslo.
In the early 1800s, the new Royal Palace on Karl Johans Gate was constructed by King Charles III and so the fortress began operating as a military base, which is still the case today.
A cobblestone pathway leads through a bold red door, portalling straight into the inside of the Askershus Fortress walls.
The stoned walkway continues on through a line of trees, opening up into a massive courtyard with another fortress wall in the distance.
Views of Oslo and the harbor span out and, after retreating back down the hill, I find more typical characteristics of this fortress through the stone archways, doors and tunnels.
The fortress wraps around the edge of the waterways, standing tall above Oslo and strong-arming any possible threats with the cannons aimed towards the sea.
Following along the water’s edge to the east, I come upon this sweet piece of art named the Arctic Pyramid, but I like to call it the Salt Triangle.
The Arctic Pyramid
Salt is an art and music company that runs the “Salt Village” near the waters edge of Oslo. The Village features different concert and art exhibition areas, a café and saunas, and even an area for night markets. The coolest part of the Salt Village is a temporary triangle-shaped fish-drying rack called the Arctic Pyramid. The pyramid actually moves locations around Europe and is only in Oslo until 2020 before it continues on to the north.
Still running parallel with that water’s edge, we’re on to my personal favorite part of Oslo.
The Opera House
This place has got to be one of the coolest architecturally-shaped buildings I have ever walked on top of. Yep, you read that right; you can literally walk on top of this amazing structure! But how about walking up to it first…
And we can’t just walk up to it we have to go inside too, especially with such a dramatic exterior.
Along with a gift shop dedicated to the opera and ballet performances that take place here, the incredible architecture continues on with uniquely-shaped walls and seating areas and the cylindrical stairwell that expands all the way to the top of the ceiling.
Continuing on with the tour brings us to the outside of the Opera House and I couldn’t wait to climb up on top of it. Views of the She Lies sculpture floating in the water like a glass iceberg can be seen in the distance.
My personal favorite view was of the colorful building across the icy-covered water.
After filling up with Oslo’s views, make a bee-line for some grub at Oslo Street Food.
Oslo Street Food
The newly-opened international food court called Oslo Street Food on Torggata offers every type of cuisine you could imagine. Full bars lined with beer taps; Indian, Hungarian, Korean, Cuban and Thai foods line the double-level hall and, the best stand by far, the Monky’s Bubble Waffle.
Spend some time hanging out in the City Centrum here by shopping in Oslo City’s Mall, stopping for a cup of coffee (or a beer if that’s what you prefer) and admiring the busyness of Oslo’s city.
After some beers and a quick game of bowling next door at Oslo Bar and Bowling, walk a little further north to hit up the south part of the coolest area of Oslo in my opinion.
The sassiest area in Oslo is home to the hipsters of the city. With multiple concert halls, poppin’ dance clubs, Indie boutiques and mellow cafés, Grünerloøkka has a vibe completely different than the rest of Oslo. Spend some time wandering the alleyways and admiring the vibrant street art and quirky alley-decorations.
We bring ourselves to another incredible food hall but one with a whole ‘nother feeling. Instead of cuisines listed by country like at Oslo Street Food, Mathallen features nearly 30 different booths, offering anything from fresh seafood or produce to wine bars and all-out bakeries. The best part is outside where twinkling lights criss-cross over the walkway with seating areas and a range of other restaurants. Pop into Døgnvill Burger for the best cheese fries and hard cider you could ask for.
Ending at Point B
And there you have it, my 1 day walking tour of Oslo. While I did enjoy seeing the city’s unique architecture and modernism come to head with the old areas of the town, I left Oslo feeling a bit defeated. It definitely could be because I spent over $100 for one day in that city, an amount that’s pretty insane on a backpacker’s budget! I wouldn’t mind revisiting Oslo again, especially during the summer months, just to give it another chance and possibly see it during the midnight twilight.
Have you ever been to Oslo? I’d love to hear how you spent a day there!
Like this Post? Pin It!
Shop My Style for Oslo!
*Note: This article contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking on an affiliate link, I could receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.
Read More Norway Posts: