3 days in Oslo

3 Days in Oslo (Budget Guide + Itinerary!)

3 days in Oslo is just the right amount of time to see the Norwegian capital. It’s not the biggest city, so you can easily see almost everything in three days!

You can visit the magnificent Oslo Opera House, check out the crazy sculptures in Vigeland Park and see not one, but three authentic Viking ships!

This 3-day itinerary of Oslo will let you know the best places to visit in the city, where you should stay, the best places to eat and much more!

Oslo is the gateway to Norway if you’re flying in, and it’s a great place for a city break too. However you are travelling to Norway, Oslo is one place you have to check out during your time there!

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How to spend 3 days in Oslo

Quick 3 Days in Oslo itinerary
Day 1 – Walk around Oslo, Oslo Opera House, Vigeland Park
Day 2 – Viking Ship Museum, Akershus Fortress, The Royal Palace
Day 3 – Tjuvholmen Sculpture Park, Nobel Peace Centre, Oslo Vinterpark

My thoughts on Oslo

Oslo is an interesting city and one that surprised me in a few ways. I was expecting it to be modern, clean and nice, but I didn’t realise just how nice it is.

It would be a fantastic place to live, despite how expensive it is, because of the layout of the city. You can easily walk around, there are numerous parks to relax in and the waterfront area is lovely.

Oslo is a lively place. Walking around, it’s easy to get the sense that a lot is going on. It may not be an epicentre of entertainment like Barcelona or London, but there is still a lot to do nonetheless. It felt like a bigger version of Helsinki with more to do.

One of the best aspects of visiting Oslo is its history. I was surprised by how much there is to discover in the city. From Viking ships to Norway’s resistance against the Nazis, I didn’t realise just how much history had taken place in the city!

The one downside to Oslo is that it’s expensive. You will pay a lot more for everyday items here, due to the strength of the Norwegian krone. However, if you’re visiting for a weekend or longer, it’s a small price to pay to enjoy a fantastic city!

It’s easily one of the best places to visit in Norway and somewhere you’ll want to visit again and again!

Some of the best things to do in Oslo

There are many things to do in Oslo, which considering it’s the capital of Norway isn’t a surprise!

One problem is that because there is so much to do, it’s hard to know which places you have to see while you’re there and which ones you can skip.

If you’re wondering what to do in Oslo, I’ve listed some of the best stuff below. I’ve also included the best places to visit on my itineraries or each day.

I would also recommend you purchase an Oslo Pass before you visit. You’ll enjoy discounted entry to over 30 attractions in Oslo and you get unlimited access to the public transport system in the city too!

It’s useful to have and will save you a lot of money, which in a city as expensive as Oslo, is a real plus!

Oslo Opera House

Opera House in Oslo

The Oslo Opera House is a beautiful building and one of the most unique I have ever visited. The unique aspect is the fact you can walk up the building and view Oslo from the top.

The idea comes from the fact that Norwegian nature is free for everyone to walk in. The Opera House was designed as an extension of this idea.

It’s a beautiful piece of architecture and one you have to check out while you’re in the city. It doesn’t take long to get to the top and you will be rewarded with beautiful views of Oslo and the bay.

I’m not a fan of opera, so I didn’t go inside, but if it’s your thing then that is another reason to visit!

Viking Ship Museum

Viking Ship in Oslo

Without a doubt, the Viking Ship Museum is one of the best places to visit in Oslo. As the name suggests, it’s a museum that is home to Viking ships.

However, there isn’t just one ship, there are three big ships and numerous artefacts from the discovery of these ships. 

It is worth visiting the museum just to see the ships, so impressive are they in person. The craftsmanship and size of the boats need to be seen to be believed.

While the museum doesn’t go into too much detail about the history of the Vikings as a whole, you can still learn a lot about their voyages, the ships themselves and what their journeys entailed!

Book Your Tour Now

Oslo Itinerary – Day 1

Walking Tour

View of Oslo Town Hall

One of the first things I do when I go to a new city is to walk around and explore the city. Normally, I just walk out of my accommodation and just see where I end up.

This way I get to see parts of the city that I wouldn’t otherwise see and get my bearings at the same time.

However, I realise this is not everyone’s cup of tea. The best alternative is to go on a walking tour to see the city. There aren’t many free ones in Oslo, but there are numerous paid tours if you can’t find a free one.

They are a good way to get to grips with a city and you will learn a lot about the history of Oslo from the guides too!

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Oslo Opera House

Oslo Opera House

As I mentioned before, the Oslo Opera House is somewhere you have to visit. It is a striking building and very unique. From afar, it doesn’t look that special, but once you’re up close you’ll realise why!

As you make your way up to the building, you realise that you can walk around the side. Walking up the staircase, you realise that you are getting ever and ever higher until you are on top of the roof of the Opera House!

There are not many buildings where you can walk up to the roof! You get a great view of the city from the top of the Opera House. It’s somewhere you have to check out while you’re in Oslo for 3 days!

If you enjoy Opera, it may be worth planning your trip to coincide with an event. If you’re not a fan of opera, you can go on a tour to see inside the building instead. You’ll learn about the history of the buildings and what happens behind the scenes!

Vigeland Park

Vigeland Park

Vigeland Park is a sculpture park located in the larger Frogner Park. It features more than 200 sculptures by the artist Gustav Vigeland.

One thing you notice while walking around the park is the sheer number of sculptures and how strange some of them are.

One of the most famous is a statue of an angry boy. His face contorted and shoulders risen in rage, it is an odd statue to come across as you make your way around the park.

A museum is located in the park, which is worth visiting if you want to learn more about Vigeland and his sculptures. It’s certainly a good idea if you’re baffled by some of them as I was!

Oslo Itinerary – Day 2

Viking Ship Museum

Viking Ship Museum

As you walk into the Viking Ship Museum it becomes apparent this museum is different from most others. A gigantic wooden ship is the first thing you see as you enter the building.

It’s hard to express just how big it is! It’s an impressive sight and one I won’t forget in a while. However, the fun doesn’t end there.

Walking further into the museum you come to a crossroads, if you look both ways you will be greeted by more ships that have been recovered from the surrounding area.

They are in varying states of disrepair, but they are no less impressive! The wooden structure and size of the ships are a sight to behold!

Even if you’re not interested in history, you should visit the Viking Ship museum just to see the ships and admire their beauty. You won’t regret it!

Akershus Fortress

Akershus Fortress

The Akershus Fortress was built to protect and provide a royal residence for Oslo. The castle was built around 1290 and was involved in numerous battles in Norwegian history.

The fortress is still used for military purposes today, but it is now open to the public from 6:00 and 21:00 daily. The Royal Mausoleum is also located in the fortress and includes several Royal figures such as King Sigurd I and King Haakon V.

Akershus covers a large area and there are a few museums on the grounds that you should check out. The Armed Forces Museum is one and focuses on the history of Norway’s military.

You can also visit Norway’s Resistance Museum, which focuses on the efforts of the Norwegian resistance during the occupation of the country by Nazi Germany from 1940 to 1945.

You can explore the fortress by yourself, but if you want a more in-depth experience it may be worth booking a tour which explains the history behind the fortress takes you to some hidden areas and visit other historical places in the city!

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The Royal Palace

Royal Palace in Oslo

The first thing that strikes you as walk up towards The Royal Palace is just how big it is. It’s an impressive and monstrous building. Located in the heart of the city, it is the official residence of the Norwegian monarchy.

Construction started in 1825 under the instruction of the French-born King Karl Johan and didn’t finish until 1849, five years after his death. Until 1905 was not continuously occupied when King Haakon VII and Queen Maud decided to move in permanently.

I still find it incredible how easy it is to walk right up to the Palace. Unlike Buckingham Palace in England, no barriers are preventing you from getting in the grounds. Here, you are right next to the building and can even pose with guards metres from the door!

The palace is only open to visitors during the summer and you can only visit as part of a guided tour. This tour will take you around the building and lasts about an hour.

Oslo Itinerary – Day 3

Tjuvholmen Sculpture Park

Tjuvholmen Sculpture Park
Photo credit: Kvikk

Walking towards the sculpture park, past the numerous shops and restaurants on Oslo’s waterfront, you can’t see the park. At the time, I was unsure, if I was in the right place!

However, once you walk deeper into the area, you begin to see the park. The first thing that strikes is how big the sculptures and how weird they are. To giant balls with nipples stand out, as does the giant anchor!

In the summer this place is teeming with people. Hundreds and hundreds of locals and tourists descend on the area to bask in the sunshine and jump into the water. It’s a great place to spend a sunny afternoon if you’re lucky enough to visit Oslo during the summer!

Once you’ve finished admiring the sculptures and the scenery, I recommend heading back down the waterfront and trying some of the local food. You have a wide choice of restaurants and cafes, and it’s a perfect place to eat a meal in the evening with amazing views!

Nobel Peace Centre

Nobel Peace Centre

The Nobel Peace Centre is the museum of the Nobel Peace Prize. The museum is located on the waterfront not far from the Tjuvholmen Sculpture Park.

The Peace Prize is well-known around the world and the museum details its history as well as letting you know about the various people who have won the award.

The museum also delves into how the prize was created and the history of the man’s who it is named after, Alfred Nobel.

It costs 120 NOK to enter and it’s well worth it if you want to learn more about the prize and its importance.

Oslo Vinterpark

The white slopes of Oslo Vinterpark
Photo credit: Keanu4

The Oslo Vinterpark is somewhere you should visit if you’re going to Oslo during winter. It’s a wasted trip if you go during the summer, as there won’t be much snow!

The park is 40 minutes away from Oslo. It’s easy to get there from the city centre, you just take the subway line 1 Frognerseteren and get off at the Voksenkollen stop!

Once you’re there, you’ll find there are 18 different runs of varying difficulty. Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, you’ll find a slope to suit your level!

The season tends to run from December until early April, but it can start earlier and end later depending on the weather.

If you’re not a huge skier, or you want to do some skiing during the summer, you can visit the Holmenkollen Ski Museum, which has a dry ski slope. It may not be the same as a proper slope, but it’s fun nonetheless!

Other places to visit in Oslo

  • Munch museum -If you’re familiar with art, you’ll know that Munch is the artist who created the iconic painting The Scream. The museum hosts the biggest collection of Munch’s art in the world, as well as his most famous work. The museum is worth visiting for a glance at The Scream alone!
  • Oslo beer tasting tour – Norway isn’t famous for its beer, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have great beer! On this tour, you will be taken around several venues in the trendy Grunerløkka area. You’ll try a beer at each place and some snacks too! Click here to book your tour!
  • Fjords tour – Norway is famous for its fjords and Oslo is no exception. They may not be on the scale of the ones you would see hiking Preikestolen, but they are still worth checking out! Click here to book your tour! 

Oslo travel tips

Where to stay in Oslo

View of Oslo city across the water

As the capital of Norway, you have plenty of places to choose from when it comes to somewhere to stay in Oslo. You have a wide range of accommodation to choose from budget hostels to luxury high-end hotels.

Admittedly, the choice of hostels in Oslo is on the low side. This is because Oslo isn’t your quintessential backpacker location. However, there are still some good ones to stay at!

Saga Poshtel Oslo Central is one of the best in the city. It’s centrally located, which makes getting around easy. Plys, there is a daily breakfast buffet and living area for you to relax in!

If you’re looking for a hotel, there are plenty of places to choose from in Oslo. Be aware though that prices in the city will be a lot more than you expect to pay owing to the strong Norwegian Krone.

Hotel Verdandi is a good place to stay. It’s reasonably priced, has excellent facilities and is located in the centre near to Akershus Fortress. It’s certainly a decent place to base yourself during your 3 days in Oslo!

Cost of travel in Oslo

Waterfront in Oslo

It’s best just to say this straight away… Oslo is an expensive place. Norway is a rich country and as the capital, Oslo is an expensive place to visit.

Depending on where you’re coming from and your home currency, you may have to budget for this trip, otherwise, you could end up spending a fortune! This is one reason why it’s a good idea to only visit for three days!

The following prices are for the average travel budget. That is someone who is not going to splurge, but someone who will not be travelling on an ultra-frugal budget either.

They don’t include prices for extras such as nights out at a bar/pub, club entry fees, souvenirs/clothing purchases, tours. etc. You will have to budget extra for these purchases as they are ‘non-essential!’ 

Here’s a rough breakdown of essential travel costs in Oslo:

Prices are in Euros for ease of use. Check out XE.com for the latest exchange rates between your currency and Norwegian krone (NOK).

Bed icon

Accommodation

Hostel: Dorm – €20-38; Private – €90-150
Hotels: €95-150
Rental Apartment: €100-200

Restaurant Icon

Food and Drink

Breakfast: Free-€10
Dinner: €14-20
Takeaway meal: €7-10+
Pint of beer: €10

 

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Transport

City Metro / Bus: €3.50
Day ticket: €10

 

Best time to visit Oslo

View of Oslo from Royal Palace

If you want good weather, the best time to visit Oslo is definitely during the summer months. From June to mid-September, the temperatures in the city are warm and the sun is out most of the time.

This is, in contrast, to wither months and autumn when the temperatures start to dip and the nights start to draw in. If you plan on going during these months, check out my Norway packing list to see what you should bring with you!

Due to Norway’s position on the globe, days are longer and shorter than most other places during summer and winter respectively. This is important to factor in when your planning to visit Oslo.

Due to the prices in Norway, visiting at one time of the year does not make much of a difference cost-wise. You may get cheaper flights during winter, but everything else will be more or less throughout the year.

My preference would be to visit Oslo during winter, but it’s a charming place in winter and, in the end, it comes down to a personal choice!

How to get around Oslo

Getting around Oslo

Getting around Olso isn’t too difficult. The city isn’t the biggest and everything is within walking distance once you are in the city centre.

If you’re not a fan of walking, there are numerous electric scooters in the city from companies such as Lime, which allow you to ride around the city for a small fee. They are a quick way of getting around.

If your accommodation is outside the city centre you will need to use the public transport system in Oslo. Thankfully, it’s very easy to use and highly efficient. You can get around with ease.

A single ticket costs 36 NOK (€3.50), while a day ticket costs 108 NOK (€10). If you’re going to be using the metro and buses a lot during the day it’s a good idea to get a day ticket. Otherwise, I would get single tickets, as it works out cheaper.

You can buy tickets from Naversen and 7-Eleven stores as well as at every station.

Concluding thoughts

3 days in Oslo is the perfect amount of time to visit this lovely city. You can see all that there is to see in this time and potentially explore a few ideas further afield.

It may be an expensive city, but with great places to visit such as the Viking Ship Museum and the Opera House, it’s one you shouldn’t miss out on solely due to money issues!

Have you been to Oslo? Did you do all of the things on my itinerary? Is there anything I missed? Leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts!

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How to spend 3 days in Oslo