Is Oslo Worth Visiting? 15 Pros and Cons to Help You Decide

Have you been wondering If oslo is worth visiting? I’ve got you covered!

I’ve often heard people say that Oslo isn’t worth visiting, but they’re wrong. Having experienced the beauty and charm of this city, it’s definitely worth your time, annual leave and money – depending on the type of trip you’re looking for!

From the moment I arrived, I was blown away by its stunning architecture, welcoming locals, and breathtaking natural landscapes. The city is a perfect blend of modernity and tradition, with its impressive skyscrapers standing tall next to historic buildings. Walking through the streets of Oslo, you can feel the vibrant energy and see the unique blend of cultures from around the world.

So if you’re asking yourself, ‘is Oslo worth visiting’, then keep on reading!

READ MORE | Oslo is often described as one of the most expensive cities in the world, but in some ways Oslo isn’t really that expensive.

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Snow-covered railway tracks winding through trees in Oslo, Norway. Discover if Oslo is worth visiting in this post about the 15 pros and cons of travelling the city!

10 Reasons Oslo is Worth Visiting

Filled with world-class museums, delicious food, and heaps of natural beauty, Oslo is a bustling city that has a lot to offer. If you’re asking your self, ‘is Oslo worth visiting’, you should know that the city is packed with fantastic places to eat and fun things to do, even if you’re on a budget!

No matter how you like to travel, Oslo truly does have something for everyone. Whether you want to appreciate the breathtaking scenery of the fjords and forests, or embrace the Scandi sauna lifestyle, Oslo is a fantastic place to visit.

Here’s 10 reasons why Oslo is worth visiting!

1. Oslo is Filled with Gorgeous Art

From traditional museums to contemporary galleries, Oslo has a great art scene.

Vigeland Sculpture Park is an absolute must-visit for both art lovers and budget travellers. This unique park has over 200 sculptures, each of which is sculpted from bronze, granite, and cast iron. The park itself was created by a world-renowned artist, Gustav Vigeland, who designed both the park and the sculptures within.

It’s a popular attraction year-round and particularly enchanting during the winter months, when I got to visit. As an added bonus, park entry is completely free of charge and it’s open 24 hours a day. Catch stunning golden hour for stunning photos of the sculptures!

2. Oslo has heaps of Culture

Oslo is worth visiting as a fantastic introduction to Norwegian culture. From its breathtaking landscapes to its rich history and traditions, there’s no better place to immerse yourself in all things Norwegian.

The iconic Viking Ship Museum will educate you about the Viking history of Oslo and give you a glimpse into their seafaring ways. But that’s not all, check out the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History where you can learn about the Sami people and their unique way of life.

3. Oslo has a Rich and Interesting History

If you’re interested in history, Oslo is well worth visiting with a rich past dating back centuries. From the grandeur of the Royal Palace to the impressive Akershund Fortress, there is no shortage of historical landmarks to discover.

So if you’re debating whether or not to add Oslo to your travel bucket list, the city’s history alone makes it well worth the visit!

Woman walking in front of a snow-covered Oslo Opera House. If you're wondering whether Oslo is worth visiting, check out this post!

4. Oslo has Wonderful Museums

Oslo’s museums are unparalleled – in both diversity and ticket price. You have over 50 museums to choose from, and free entry to most of these with the Oslo Pass. Whether you’re looking for traditional art and history museums to unique and interactive experiences, there really is something for everyone.

So, if you’re wondering whether Oslo is worth visiting solely for its museums – the answer is an enthusiastic yes!

Here are a few of my favourite museums in Oslo that are well worth the visit.

Fram Museum

The Fram Museum in Oslo, Norway is a must-visit destination for any history buff or adventure enthusiast. This unique museum showcases the incredible story of polar exploration through its main attraction, the legendary ship Fram.

Built in 1892 and used on three expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctic, the Fram is the strongest wooden ship ever built and has been perfectly preserved for visitors to admire up close. Not only does the museum have an impressive display of artifacts and interactive exhibits, but it also offers a fascinating insight into the lives of famous explorers such as Fridtjof Nansen and Roald Amundsen.

Viking Ship Museum

The Viking Ship Museum is dedicated to showcasing the well-preserved Viking ships that were once used for warfare, trade, and exploration by the Norse people. The main attraction of the museum is undoubtedly the three impressive 9th-century Viking ships: Oseberg, Gokstad, and Tune. They have been carefully restored and are now on display for you to enjoy.

As you enter the museum, you will be greeted by knowledgeable staff who can give you a detailed history of each ship and its significance in Viking culture. You will also be able to see artifacts found within the ships such as tools, weapons, and clothing. It’s a really incredible place to learn about the Vikings, and well worth the visit!

Norwegian Museum of Cultural History

The Norwegian Museum of Cultural History is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in learning about the rich history and heritage of Norway.

This museum showcases over 150 buildings from different eras and regions of Norway, making it one of the largest open-air museums in Europe. From traditional farmhouses to stave churches, visitors can get an insight into how Norwegians lived throughout history. The museum also has an impressive collection of artifacts, including tools, clothing, and household items, that offer a glimpse into the daily life of past generations.

With its beautifully curated displays and informative exhibits, the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History is a fascinating place to explore and discover more about the country’s culture and traditions.

A view of the ski lifts across the snowy, tree-filled mountains in Oslo. Oslo is definitely worth visiting for the fantastic winter sports!

5. Oslo has Delicious Food

People don’t always talk about Oslo’s food culture in the way they do other places, but it’s still well worth visiting for the food alone. With its proximity to the ocean, Norway is known for its seafood – and Oslo definitely lives up to that reputation. Make sure to try some freshly caught salmon or herring at one of the many seafood restaurants in the city. If you’re feeling adventurous, you could also go for some whale meat or reindeer stew – both are considered delicacies in Norway.

But Oslo isn’t just about seafood – the city also boasts a thriving street food scene. Head to Mathallen Food Hall to find one of the largest and most diverse food halls in the city. With over 30 specialty cafés, restaurants and food stalls, you can take the opportunity to try some traditional Norwegian dishes!

6. Oslo has Fantastic Winter Sports

If you’re wondering whether Oslo is worth visiting during winter, it definitely is. As a self-confessed hater of sports, I’m surprised to say that Oslo’s winter sport experiences truly won me over. From testing my ski skills at Skimore Oslo to praying for my life sledding down Korketrekkeren, taking part in Oslo’s winter sports scene is some of the most fun I’ve had on my travels!

Skimore Oslo is the city’s ski resort, located just 20 minutes away from the city centre by public transport. It offers surprisingly budget-friendly skiing, as well as some breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains. The slopes are perfect for both beginners and intermediate skiers, with a variety of trails to choose from. They also offer a few Black trails for those who are more advanced. Not only that, but Skimore also offers night skiing, so you can hit the slopes even after the sun goes down.

If you’re feeling even more adventurous, I recommend visiting Korketrekkeren to do some sledding. This 2-kilometer long track is a popular spot among locals and tourists alike. Once you try it, it’s very easy to see why! The best part? You don’t need any previous experience or expensive equipment, just rent a sled and enjoy the ride!

7. Oslo has Incredible Views

Are you wondering if Oslo is worth visiting for its natural beauty? The answer is a resounding yes!

This stunning city has so much to offer, including some of the most breathtaking views you will ever see. From panoramic vistas over the sparkling fjords to sweeping cityscapes dotted with colourful buildings, Oslo will take your breath away. Whether you are a nature lover or an urban explorer, there is no shortage of jaw-dropping views waiting for you in Oslo.

8. oslo has breathtaking Nature

With its breathtaking landscapes, lush forests, and crystal clear lakes, Oslo is definitely worth visiting if you are a nature lover.

The city is surrounded by more than 40 islands, making it a perfect destination for those who seek to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. Whether you want to hike through the mountains, explore the stunning fjords or simply relax on a peaceful beach, Oslo has something for everyone.

And let’s not forget about the beautiful parks and gardens spread throughout the city. Trust me when I say that Oslo will leave you in awe with its natural beauty!

Gorgeous orange and blue sunset by the lake outside the Fran Museum in Oslo. The Fram Museum is one of Oslo's best museums and it's well worth visiting.

9. oslo is a very Walkable City

One of my favourite parts about Oslo is how walkable the city is. From the bustling streets of downtown to the tranquil parks and gardens scattered throughout, exploring Oslo on foot is truly a treat. Not only will you get a closer look at the stunning architecture and charming neighbourhoods, but you’ll also stumble upon hidden gems and local hotspots that only the locals know about!

10. Oslo is super easy to visit

First of all, language isn’t a barrier. Everyone speaks English fluently, so you can easily communicate with the locals and get around without any trouble.

Plus, contrary to popular belief, visiting Oslo isn’t as expensive as you might think. With affordable accommodation options and plenty of free activities to enjoy, your wallet won’t take a major hit.

And let’s not forget about the flights. As the capital city of Norway, there are loads of options to fly into Oslo from various destinations. You can find incredible flight deals if you know where to look.

Finally, Oslo is super safe it is for tourists. The crime rate is low and the city is very clean, making it a perfect destination for solo travellers or families.

5 Reasons Oslo Isn’t Worth Visiting

Just because there’s a lot to do in the city, it doesn’t always mean Oslo is worth visiting for everybody. Depending on the budget you’re travelling with and the vacation you’re looking for, a trip to Oslo might not necessarily be for you.

Read on to find out my 5 reasons why Oslo isn’t worth visiting!

1. Oslo is Very Cold in Winter

You won’t be surprised to hear that Oslo’s winters are cold – and I mean cold. If you’re planning to visit Oslo in winter, make sure to wrap up warm and wear plenty of layers. You’ll need boots sufficient for walking in snow, thermal underlayers and a thick wind-proof and snow-proof coat.

Not only do the pavements fill with snow, but the Oslo fjords are oft known to freeze over – sometimes even allowing you to ice skate on top of the lakes! It’s a winter wonderland, but if you don’t like cold weather and don’t enjoy walking through snow, then a winter trip to Oslo is not for you.

2. Oslo isn’t Famed for its Hiking

Although an incredibly beautiful city, with plenty of fun activities to satisfy your adventurous spirit, Oslo isn’t known for its hiking. It’s an urban city and doesn’t have great options for hiking trails.

Although you can find hiking opportunities a short ride away from the city centre, they can often be touristy. Nothing kills the vibe more than constantly bumping into other hikers whilst trying to connect with nature!

If you are looking for a quiet and serene location, where you can hike to your heart’s content, then Oslo isn’t the place for you. Instead, head to a more remote part of Norway to enjoy their beautiful landscapes.

3. Oslo is Still Pretty Expensive

I know, I know, I wrote a whole post telling you that Oslo isn’t that expensive! And that remains true. But it’s also true that it’s still a pretty pricey city in a number of ways.

Ultimately, Oslo is a popular city in a country with an incredibly high cost of living. Between high living standards, a strong economy, and the remote nature that makes it such a beautiful place to visit, it’s unsurprising that food is expensive. After all, it has to travel a long way.

To add to this, the Norwegian Government imposes high taxation on alcohol and cigarettes. This makes going for a nice meal with a few glasses of wine a surprisingly pricey affair.

So whilst it’s perfectly possible to visit Oslo on a budget, it’s certainly not easy and you might need to miss out on seeing some of the things that make this such an incredible city to visit. If you’re working with a tight budget, why not skip Scandinavia altogether?

4. Oslo isn’t a Great Party City

With super high taxes on alcohol and cigarettes, Norway is hardly known for its drinking culture. A pint of beer will cost around £8, and a glass of wine will start from about £13. Of course, you can pick up bottles from a supermarket at cheaper prices, but it’s unlikely you’re planning to travel this far to sit in your hotel room.

If you’re interested in a city with a fun and vibrant nightlife scene, you might want to skip Oslo altogether. Whilst it can be lively, it’ll also be very tough on your wallet. You’ll find cities within mainland Europe to have a much fun:cost ratio that’s much kinder on your bank balance.

5. Oslo is a Small city

Surrounded by forests and with a population of less than 700k, it’s not surprising that Oslo is a very small city. Let’s compare this to London: London has a population of around 9m and is roughly 3x the size.

If you’re looking for a large city, where you can spend heaps of time exploring, Oslo probably isn’t for you. This charming city is instead perfect for weekend getaways and short breaks. On our first visit, we spent 5 winter sports-filled days in Oslo, and I still feel that was the perfect amount of time.

Is Oslo Worth Visiting? Yes, if just for the wonderful Vigeland Sculpture Museum shown in the photo!

FAQs About Whether Oslo is Worth Visiting

1. Is Oslo worth visiting for a short trip or only for longer stays?

Oslo is definitely worth visiting for both short and long trips! While it’s true that there is plenty to see and do in the city, even a brief visit will give you a taste of its unique charm and culture.

2. What are some must-see attractions in Oslo?

Some top attractions in Oslo include the Viking Ship Museum, the Holmenkollen Ski Jump, and the stunning Vigeland Sculpture Park. Don’t miss out on exploring the city’s vibrant neighborhoods such as Grünerløkka and Aker Brygge, famous for their trendy cafes, restaurants, and shops.

3. Are there any outdoor activities to enjoy in Oslo?

Absolutely! Oslo is surrounded by beautiful nature and there are plenty of outdoor activities to choose from. You can go hiking in the nearby forests or take a boat trip around the scenic Oslo Fjord. In winter, skiing and ice skating are popular options.

4. Is Oslo expensive to visit?

While Oslo may have a reputation for being an expensive city, there are ways to save money during your visit. Use public transportation or embrace the city’s walkability, opt for budget-friendly accommodations, and avoid drinking alcohol. You might be surprised to find Oslo isn’t as expensive as you think!

5. What is the best way to get around Oslo?

The most efficient way to get around Oslo is by using their extensive public transportation system which includes buses, trams, trains, and ferries. You can purchase a day pass or a multi-day pass for unlimited rides. Biking is also popular and there are many rental options available throughout the city.

6. What should I pack for my trip to Oslo?

Be sure to pack comfortable walking shoes as the city is very pedestrian-friendly. Layers are also important, especially during colder months, as the weather can be unpredictable. Don’t forget your camera to capture all the beautiful sights and your passport if you plan on taking any trips outside of the city.

7. How can I experience Norwegian culture while visiting Oslo?

Visit some of Oslo’s famous museums such as the Viking Ship Museum or the Munch Museum to learn about Norway’s history and art. You can also attend traditional concerts at venues like the Oslo Opera House or visit local markets to sample traditional Norwegian cuisine.

8. Is it easy to get around Oslo?

Yes, Oslo has a very efficient public transportation system that includes buses, trams, and subways. You can also easily walk or bike around the city as many areas are pedestrian and cyclist friendly.

9. When is Oslo worth visiting?

Oslo is worth visiting all year round, but the best season is totally dependent on your preference! If you enjoy winter activities such as skiing and ice skating, then the colder months from December to March are ideal. For warmer weather and longer days, plan your trip between June and August. Spring and fall tend to be less crowded and offer pleasant temperatures for outdoor activities.

10. Are there any hidden gems in Oslo that I shouldn’t miss?

Absolutely! Oslo is full of unique and charming spots that are often overlooked by tourists. Some must-visit hidden gems include the medieval castle Akershus Fortress, the botanical gardens at Tøyen Park, and the rooftop bar at The Thief hotel for stunning views of the city.

11. Is Norwegian cuisine worth trying?

Definitely! Norway is known for its fresh seafood such as salmon, cod, and shrimp, as well as traditional dishes like reindeer stew and lutefisk (dried white fish). You can also find modern twists on traditional dishes in many restaurants around the city. Don’t forget to try some delicious Norwegian pastries like krumkake and skillingsboller too!

12. Is Oslo worth visiting compared to other Scandinavian cities?

Yes, Oslo is definitely worth visiting compared to other Scandinavian cities. With its picturesque waterfront, vibrant culture, and abundance of outdoor activities, it offers a unique experience that sets it apart from other cities in the region.

13. Is Oslo worth visiting on a cruise?

Oslo is definitely worth visiting on a cruise. It has stunning views, a rich culture and history, and some unique attractions. Although you’ll only get one day to explore the city, you’ll be surprised how much you can see if you plan your trip well!

14. Is Oslo worth visiting if you’re travelling on a budget?

Yes, Oslo is worth visiting even if you’re traveling on a budget. While it may be known as an expensive city, there are many ways to enjoy the city without breaking the bank. From free attractions like Vigeland Sculpture Park to affordable food options at local markets and street vendors, there are plenty of opportunities to experience Oslo on a budget. Plus, with efficient public transportation and walking/biking paths, you can save on transportation costs while still seeing all that this beautiful city has to offer.

Final Thoughts: Is Oslo Worth Visiting?

So, is Oslo worth visiting?

As someone who has never been to this charming Scandinavian city before, I can understand your hesitation. But after talking to numerous people who have experienced all that Oslo has to offer, I can confidently say: Yes, it is definitely worth the visit!

From its vibrant art scene and stunning natural landscapes to its rich history and welcoming locals, Oslo offers something for everyone. And with my carefully planned two-day itinerary, you’ll be able to experience the best of what this city has to offer.

But don’t just take my word for it – go out and explore for yourself! Immerse yourself in the culture, indulge in delicious Norwegian cuisine, and make memories that will last a lifetime. Trust me, you won’t regret it.

Happy travels!

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