While Oslo is the smallest of the Scandinavian capitals, this brisk little city offers more sightseeing thrills than you might expect. Prowl through the remains of ancient Viking ships, dive into the traditional folk culture at the Norwegian open-air folk museum, get stirred up by the country's heroic spirit at the Norwegian Resistance Museum, and take a peek at sculptor Gustav Vigeland's people-pillars. Oslo's streets may be a mix of grand Neoclassical facades and boxy 60s-style modernism, but overall the feel of this major capital is green and pastoral — spread out, dotted with parks and lakes, and surrounded by hills and forests. For the visitor, Oslo is an all-you-can-see smörgåsbord of historic sights, trees, art, and Nordic fun.
At a Glance
▲▲▲ City Hall Oslo's artsy 20th-century government building, lined with huge, vibrant, municipal-themed murals, best visited with included tour.
▲▲▲ National Gallery Norway's cultural and natural essence, captured on canvas.
▲▲▲ Frogner Park Sprawling park with works by Norway's greatest sculptor, Gustav Vigeland, and the studio where he created them (now a museum).
▲▲▲ Norwegian Folk Museum Norway condensed into 150 historic buildings in a large open-air park.
▲▲ Norwegian Resistance Museum Gripping look at Norway's tumultuous WWII experience.
▲▲ Viking Ship Museum An impressive trio of ninth-century Viking ships, with exhibits on the people who built them.
▲▲ Fram Museum Captivating exhibit on the Arctic exploration ship.
▲▲ Kon-Tiki Museum Adventures of primitive Kon-Tiki and Ra II ships built by Thor Heyerdahl.
▲▲ Holmenkollen Ski Jump and Ski Museum Dizzying vista and a schuss through skiing history.
▲ Nobel Peace Center Exhibit celebrating the ideals of the Nobel Peace Prize and the lives of those who have won it.
▲ Opera House Stunning performance center that's helping revitalize the harborfront.
▲ Akershus Fortress Complex and Tours Historic military base and fortified old center, with guided tours, a ho-hum castle interior, and a couple of museums (including the excellent Norwegian Resistance Museum, listed above).
▲ Norwegian Holocaust Center High-tech walk through rise of anti-Semitism, the Holocaust in Norway, and racism today.
▲ Norwegian Maritime Museum Dusty cruise through Norway's rich seafaring heritage.
▲ Edvard Munch Museum Works of Norway's famous Expressionistic painter.
▲ Grünerløkka Oslo's bohemian district, with bustling cafés and pubs.