Monthly Archives: May 2017

Visiting Oslo in the Summer

Oslo is a gorgeous city, and in the summer time, it is no exception. Take advantage of the very late sunset and very early sunrise to do lots of sightseeing!

City Life

If you enjoy the city, there are plenty of sights to see without ever leaving the center of the city. If you intend on visiting several museums or other sightseeing attractions, it might be worth it to look into the Oslo Pass which includes free entry to a large list of museums and sightseeing opportunities, as well as discounts at various restaurants and bars. If a couple of the places on the lists interests you, it is probably worth it to purchase the pass. In addition, it includes free transport within zones 1 and 2.

There are many museums, but there are a few of note. The Munch Museum hosts various paintings by Edvard Munch, including the very famous “Scream” painting. The Norwegian Folk Museum showcases many exhibits of traditional Norwegian making, including a stave church from the year 1200. Holmenkollen is the giant ski jump which can be seen from elsewhere in the city, where you can head to the top and get a fantastic panoramic view of the whole city. For those that are especially daring, you can even take a zipline back down the bottom, and then visit the ski museum. The Viking Ship Museum has a collection of preserved viking ships, dating back to before the year 800. Admission to The Viking Ship Museum includes admission to The Historical Museum within 48 hours, where you can see various exhibits both from Norway and elsewhere in the world. The Astrup Fearnley Museum is a collection of modern and contemporary art, and the building itself is an exhibit of modern architecture and art. Akershus Fortress is free to the public, and was previously used as a defensive fortress and royal residence. Within its walls, you can find the Armed Forces Museum which is free, and the Resistance Museum which documents the resistance of Norwegians against the Nazi invaders during WWII. Akershus Castle can also be toured.

The Royal Palace can be toured in the summer, or just seen from the outside year round. The changing of the guard occurs at 1:30pm every day, and is an interesting ceremony to witness. Outside of the palace lies the Dronningparken (The Queen’s Park) which is a green oasis within the city center. Oscarshall is another royal residence in Oslo. Stortinget (The Parliament) can be visited in the summer on weekdays, where guided tours are given on a first come first serve basis. Karl Johans Plass is the street that connects Stortinget with The Royal Palace, and features wonderful fountains and other scenery, where you can also see Nationalteatret (The National Theatre)

There are also plenty of concerts, both modern and classical in the city. Check and search for events that interest you.


Vigeland Sculpture Park is within the city, but offers a wonderful escape into nature. It includes more than 200 statues of nude figures in various humorous and evocative poses, and were all created by Gustav Vigeland during his lifetime. A museum is also on the grounds. Various companies offer fjord tours where you can take a boat trip up and down Oslo’s fjord, or just kick back and go fishing. If you aren’t afraid of heights, you can see Oslo from the air in a helicopter tour.

Be Active

You can take the T-bane 1 line to Frognerseteren, and hike up to Oslo Sommerpark, where you can enjoy various physical activities, such as ropes courses, mountain biking, and RC car racing, or just take a stroll through the Nordmarka forest. Various hiking and biking opportunities exist all around and within the city as well. If you want a bit of exercise and want to tour the fjord, you can also take a kayak tour.


Take a stroll through Our Savior’s Graveyard (Vår Frelsers gravlund) and see Edvard Munch and Henrik Ibsen’s gravesites, as well as the oldest church and building in Oslo (Gamle Aker Kirke). Visit The Well, Scandinavia’s largest spa. Visit one of Oslo’s best coffee shops. Go see a movie (many movies are offered in English) or see it in 4DX.


Go to an opera, ballet, or classical music performance at the Oslo Opera House or simply walk on top of the building, and enjoy its unique and modern design. Cool down at the Magic Ice Bar, and view fantastic ice sculptures while sipping a drink from an ice glass. Visit one of Oslo’s three gay bars, SO, London Pub, or Elsker. Visit one of Oslo’s many clubs. Visit Blå and listen to live Jazz music, and walk around the trendy Grünerløkka area. Chill at the Colonel Mustard bar and restaurant and play one of the many board games they have around.


The weather is Oslo during the summer is relatively mild, with warm days, and cool evenings. Expect temperatures between 10ºC and 25ºC (50ºF and 80ºF). You’ll want to bring a jacket for the evenings, and possibly during the day as well. It will rain on average every other day, so you’ll also want to be prepared for some rain during the day, usually scattered showers. If you are going up in the mountains, you’ll need to make special preparations, so be sure to research the conditions before packing and check the forecast the day of.

All in all, Oslo has plenty to do, and you will never run out of things to do. If you need information on how to get to Oslo from the airport, see this post

Getting from the airport to Oslo

All of the airports in Oslo are actually quite a bit outside of Oslo, and getting from the airport to the city center can take a bit of going.

Gardermoen (OSL)

Gardermoen is Norway’s largest airport, and is generally the airport you will fly into. It is also the easiest to get to Oslo from. There are two main options, the normal train, and the flytoget train. The flytoget is the quickest way, but only by a little, and is substantially more expensive, and will generally only save you 10-20 minutes at the most. If you are in a huge hurry, or your expenses are being reimbursed, then the flytoget is a good option. Otherwise, taking a normal train is the best option. Both trains leave from the same general area. Once you have exited the baggage claim area, look for the signs to the trains (tog). Once you arrive, you may purchase your tickets at the automatic ticket kiosks. Be sure to select the correct kiosk. If you are using flytoget, use the orange flytoget kiosks, and if you are using the normal train, use the red NSB kiosks. It is also worth noting that if you will be staying in Oslo, you will likely need a zone 1 Ruter bus pass. If this is the case, then you will be best served by purchasing a zone 1 Ruter card from the Ruter kiosk for the duration of your stay, then you can simply purchase an extension for the trip from the airport to Oslo, which will be about half the cost. Ruter is the bus/metro company in Oslo, and NSB is the national train service. Ruter and NSB have an agreement where Ruter tickets are allowed to be used on NSB services within the zones that the Ruter pass is valid in. Expect travel times of about 45 minutes to arrive in the city center.

Going back is the same general process, however, it may be that you have a very early flight. If this is the case, you’ll need to take the flybussen, which runs, at minimum every hour throughout the night (be sure to check against your specific dates, however). Do keep in mind that the local busses run at different schedules at night, and some lines may shut down entirely. Even if you have a 24 hour line, it may only run once an hour, so you’ll need to carefully plan your journey. It may be that you have to order a cab to get to a stop where the flybussen picks up. If so, be prepared for a large cost.

Torp (TRF)

Torp is one of Oslo’s “low budget” airports, and is a decent amount further away from Oslo than Gardermoen. Expect travel times of 2 hours to the city center. NSB provides regular service from the airport, which is probably the easiest way to get there. Since Torp is completely outside of Ruter’s coverage, you’ll need to make sure to purchase an NSB ticket at the airport.

Another option if you cannot take the train for some reason is to use the Torp Ekspressen bus. The bus is a bit cheaper than the train, but will take a bit longer as well.

Rygge (RYG)

Rygge airport is no longer in operation. It was closed in late 2016, and has tentative plans to re-open in 2018 or 2019.


Once you are in Oslo, you will need to get around. You can purchase a Ruter pass for all modes of transport (bus/buss, tram/trikk, metro/t-bane, and above ground train/tog, and ferries/båt) within the various zones. Note that above ground trains are operated by NSB, not Ruter, but Ruter and NSB have an agreement that allows you to use the Ruter card on the NSB trains within zones that the Ruter card is otherwise valid for. It is important to be aware of what zone you are in, to make sure you are not accidentally taking a free ride. You can find what zones your trip is going through on this page. All underground services (t-bane) are in zone 1.

Ruter has an app, Ruter Reise (Ruter Travel) for Android and iPhone, which you can use to find and plan a journey. If you are using NSB services, it is better to use the NSB app for Android or iPhone.

You can purchase Ruter tickets through the Ruter Billett (Ruter Ticket) app for Android or iPhone if you have a scandinavian credit card. Otherwise, you will need to purchase a physical card and load service on it. These cards can be purchased from Narvesen, 7-Eleven, Deli de Luca or Mix or from Ruter service points at Oslo S and Gardermoen. You can also purchase single use tickets from those stores, or directly from the bus driver using cash only (and not at all on trams and t-bane), however you will probably want to purchase a period ticket instead for the zones you intend on being in during your stay. If you are planning to go around to the outlying areas of Oslo, then the easiest option is to probably purchase an all zone period ticket. If you do this, you can also use this to get from Gardermoen to the city center, and not have to worry about extra purchases along the way, and you can take any bus (both red Oslo city busses and Ruter green region busses), tram, underground, ferry or train within Oslo and Akershus without having to worry if you are on an invalid ticket.