Oslo is an ideal city for cycling, with short distances between vibrant city life and beautiful nature. Here are three routes that take you past many of the capital's highlights.
Biking in Oslo
Norway is known for its many scenic bicycle routes, but you don’t have to travel outside the big city to go on a bike adventure.
“It’s great to cycle in Oslo, and tourists can experience a lot on two wheels,” says Øyvind Wold.
He knows what he’s talking about. Wold is the author of several books about cycling, including På Sykkel i Oslo ('Oslo by Bike'). During the last 25 years, he has seen almost everything the city has to offer from the seat of his bicycle.
But what makes Oslo such a bike-friendly city?
Norway’s capital combines nature and city life in a great way – with short distances between the city centre and the countryside. You can get to know the city in just one day.
“Oslo is not particularly large compared to other big cities, so it's nice to cycle here. In addition, the climate is bike-friendly. The temperature rarely exceeds 25 degrees Celsius,” says Wold.
Such things don’t go unnoticed. The interest for cycling in Norway has skyrocketed in the last few years, and both locals and tourists on two wheels are a common sight in the cityscape. In other words, it’s very easy to be a more responsible traveller in Norway’s capital. Hotels and local businesses often have rental bikes, and a lot of work has been done to make two-wheeled transport a safe alternative.
“Many of the city’s streets have separate bicycle lanes. Oslo as a cycling city gets better and better every year,” says Wold.
If you are in Oslo, don’t miss Wold’s recommended routes that give you the chance to experience many of the city’s highlights while enjoying a lovely bike ride.
Read our bike safety tips before you go – and always wear a helmet!
Cycling routes in Oslo
Here are Wold's top three bike routes you should try in the capital.
1. Oslo’s harbour promenade
Start/end: Kongshavn at the mouth of the Alnaelva river/Frognerkilen
Distance: 9 kilometres
Level: Easy, this route is flat and paved
Oslo harbour promenade (Havnepromenaden) runs along the city’s waterfront from east to west.
The route includes some of Norway’s most iconic buildings and ideal for sightseeing at a leisurely pace.
During the nine-kilometre long promenade, you can experience everything from famous museums and historic buildings to modern landmarks like The Oslo Opera House, The Astrup Fearnley Museum, and Bjørvika Barcode, an area consisting of several narrow high-rise buildings of differing heights and widths (that together form a striking barcode).
And be prepared – you are going to get hungry on this trip. You may notice the scent of fresh, local food from some of Oslo’s most exciting restaurants along the promenade. Here, you can be sure to find culinary experiences that fit your tastebuds (and budget).
2. Around the Bygdøy peninsula
Start/end: Skøyen station
Distance: 7.5 kilometres
Idyllic Bygdøy is a peninsula on the west side of the city centre. Although it is essentially a residential area, it is also known for its many popular museums, cafes, beaches, and forest trails for both walking and cycling.
This is a gentle 7.5-kilometre-long ride through a beautiful cultural landscape. Along the way, you can see animals at pasture and impressive buildings such as the Oscarshall Castle, which is the royal family’s summer palace.
The surrounding forest of Bygdøyskogen also has many different cycling trails to explore.
3. Around Maridalsvannet lake
Start/end: The Brekkekrysset junction close to Maridalsvannet or Kjelsås station
Distance: 13 kilometres
Do you want to experience the countryside while staying inside the big city? Rent a bike, bring your camera, and breathe in the fresh air on this trip around the Maridalsvannet lake.
Follow the trail through a large and open cultural landscape on both sides of the water. Along the way, you will see several Instagrammable spots, such as the ruins after the Margareta Church and the many viewpoints around the lake.
If you want a slightly less hilly route, you can take the road instead of the cycling trail.
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