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Free things to do in Oslo

On a budget? A stay in the Norwegian capital can be cheaper than you'd think. In fact, many activities and attractions in Oslo are totally free! Check out how you can save money on your next trip to Norway.

1. Outdoor art

Go on a treasure hunt for art in parks and streets! 

Some of the largest parks have sculptures you can enjoy for free, like the Vigeland Sculpture Park and Ekebergparken. Enjoy the combination of vast green spaces and fascinating sculptures for all to see.

There's also a smaller and colourful sculpture park in Slottsparken, behind the Royal Palace. It's a great place to bring the kids. 

In addition, you'll find beautiful street art and many world-class sculptures dotted around town. Get some fresh air and exercise while exploring the city's public art and statues!

2. Adventurous urban walks

The best way to see the city is on your steam and Oslo is extremely walkable (not to mention accessible to wheelchairs).

A great tip is to head along Oslo’s waterfront on the nine-kilometre long Harbour Promenade. This route is jam-packed with things to see and do, like swimming spots and beaches, a marina, stunning architecture, world-class art, an outdoor gym, and an absolute gem of a public library, Deichman Bjørvika. And all that's just the free stuff!

You can also follow one of the waterways that run through Oslo – the trail along the river Akerselva is the most popular by far. Let yourself get a bit lost whilst sightseeing in the city centre or in one of its many parks.

3. Design your own architectour

Do you prefer historical highlights or funky new landmarks? Or did you just come to walk on the roof of the Opera House? New neighbourhoods with exciting architecture and trendy cafes and restaurants are popping up all over town, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy a few classics.

Discover cutting-edge Norwegian architecture in one of Oslo's newer areas, Oslobukta. Full of buzzing cafés, restaurants and shops, it's also right by the sea.

Walk from Bjørvika, a new and modern part of Oslo, all the way to the more historic neighbourhoods like Frogner. Experience the changes in architecture and enjoy the merging of modern and historic design. 

4. Oslo by bike

Oslo is an ideal city for cycling, with short distances between​ the city centre and the countryside. Many of the city’s streets have separate bicycle lanes. Rent a bike from a rental place,or use your phone to unlock Oslo city bikes at more than 100 stations in and around the city centre for a small fee.

How about a bike ride with a picnic stop in one of the lovely green spaces in the city, like the Botanical Gardens in Tøyen? Or travel a bit further out to the parks and beaches at Bygdøy. The nine-kilometre long Harbour Promenade along Oslo's waterfront has bike paths most of the way and plenty of exciting places to stop. 

5. Hit the beach

Oslo’s unique position between the sea and forest means there are plenty of swimming spots whether you prefer fresh or salty waters.

If you don’t even want to spend money on a metro or boat ticket (which are pretty inexpensive, by the way), you can dive off the piers in the city centre at Sørenga, Sukkerbiten, and Tjuvholmen. There's also a free city beach right in front of the Opera House.

Otherwise, we recommend that you go island hopping on the Oslofjord or find a private spot by a forest lake.

6. Free museums

If you want to go to a museum in Oslo, you usually have to buy a ticket. But most art galleries show their works for free, and some museums have free admission for their permanent collections or on selected days.

The 22nd of July Centre is always free to visit, whilst Munch is free on Wednesday evenings, and the Museum of Oslo and the Intercultural Museum have free entry on Thursdays.

Oslo City Hall is open to everyone and has plenty of exciting history, architecture and art by major artists like Edvard Munch. You can even get free guided tours during the summer months. 

7. Find inner peace in the forest

A short metro ride from Oslo city centre, 2,000 square kilometres of forest are waiting to fill your mind with tranquillity. A network of marked trails for hiking and skiing means that you can roam around the forest for days without getting lost, and every few hours you can stop by a cabin for a cinnamon roll.

Friluftsliv, or free-air-living, is very important in Norway. A lot of Norwegian's enjoy spending their free time in nature, and Oslo is perfect for combining city life with calmer days in the great outdoors. 

8. Historical Oslo

Oslo is packed with historic sites that you can still experience today. Discover rock carvings from the Stone Age, ruins from the Middle Ages, and buildings from the Dano–Norwegian Realm on your way through the city.

Let the Akershus Fortress take you back in time. Marvel at the impressive fortress complex that was completed in the 1300s. The historic fort also offers panoramic views of the stunning Oslofjord. 

Enjoy a picnic in Middelalderparken, a park where you'll find the ruins of St. Clemens church from the 12th century. It actually helped archaeologists determine when Oslo was founded. 

9. Winter activities

In the winter months, you can go cross-country skiing on groomed and lit trails in the Oslomarka forest or slide down the Korketrekkeren toboggan run. It's free to sled down the hill with your own toboggan, but if you don't have one you can easily rent one at the top. 

If you want to stay in the city centre, try ice skating in Spikersuppa or the many local ice skating rinks, or enjoy wandering around the cosy booths at a festive Christmas market.

There are also beautiful frozen lakes just outside of the city centre that are great for ice skating. If you're feeling brave, you can give ice bathing a go. There are certain areas where people drill though the ice in lakes or the sea for bathing or fishing.

Experience winter in Oslo

10. Buy the Oslo Pass

Fancy a good deal? The Oslo Pass gives you free entrance to museums and other attractions, free use of public transport, and discounts on everything from sightseeing tours to restaurants.

The pass is valid for 24, 48, or 72 hours. Get it online, as an app, or at a variety of places in Oslo, including the Oslo Visitor Centre, where they will tell you everything you need to know about the city.

Get the best offers from our partners Radisson Blu Hotels, CityboxScandic Hotels, Strawberry, and Thon Hotels.

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