Oslo, Norway is perhaps one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever visited for many reasons. However, Norway as a whole is a very expensive destination.
Which is why so many of us only visit Norway for a very short time. For some only one day and that is why I came up with this guide on what to see in Oslo in one day.
To accommodate those on a short time scale, who want to see the most they can of the city we’ve put together this guide of what to see in Oslo in one day. With cheap flights with budget Airline to Oslo from all over Europe, it makes for the perfect day destination or weekend getaway.
The Norwegian National Opera & Ballet
On the front page of every guide book and at the top of every guide to Oslo in one day (or more) you’re probably going to find the incredible Norwegian National Opera & Ballet. It’s a striking building on the edge of the water and no, you don’t have to be interested in Opera or Ballet to enjoy this place.
That’s because the building itself is a complete and utter work of art. Better still, the building is completely walkable. Meaning you can climb it, walk all over it and when you make it to the top you’ll be rewarded with some of the most beautiful views of Oslo.
Once you’ve finished up at the Oslo Opera house take a left and walk along Rådhuset until you get into Oslo city centre. Here you’ll find Oslo City Hall…
Oslo City Hall
We found out about Oslo City Hall thanks to the VisitNorway website. Outside the building looks like a sight for sore eyes. However, inside couldn’t be more different. Filled with artwork and mureals it’s a wonderful escape from the hustle and bustle of the city just outside its doors.
If you’re looking for free things to do in Oslo Norway. Then Oslo City Hall is perfect! It also great for a fleeting visit as it doesn’t require a stop of more than 30 minutes.
Once you’ve finished up at Oslo’s city hall you want to head north to the Historisk museum. Walk along Rosenkrantz’ gate in order to pass the Norwegian theatre on your way. Home to classical and modern performances.
The Historical Museum or Historisk Museum as it’s known in Norwegian is located in what has been described as one of Oslo’s most beautiful buildings. The museum features both permanent and changing exhibitions spread over four floors.
On the ground floor, you’ll find large collections from the middle ages. These include the likes of gold and silver treasures as well as an interdisciplinary exhibition. The remaining floors feature highlights including; Egyptian mummies, antique art as well as multiple items from Arctic expedition and African, American and East Asian cultures.
While your ticket to the Historical Museum also includes entry to the Viking Museum this isn’t something you’ll be able to see in one day in Oslo and would only be suitable if you’re staying for another day – or longer.
The Royal Palace: Changing Of The Guards
Directly opposite the Historical Museum, you’ll see the Royal Palace. Climb the hill through the public green space surrounding the palace, Slottsparken to get to the top.
The Royal Palace, Oslo is no Buckingham Palace let me tell you. In fact, that’s one of the reasons we loved it. It’s simplicity, there are no railings meaning you can get a clear photo of the building. Better still, you can pay for a guided tour of the palace itself (which is actually rather reasonably priced as far as the pricing in Norway goes…)
If you’re planning on visiting Oslo in one day then consider catching the changing of the guards. This happens right outside the palace at 1.30pm every day. Much like the opera and ballet house, the walk up the somewhat steep hill to the palace is worth it for some amazing views of the city.
Oslo National Gallery
Once you’ve finished up at the palace head back down the hill and along Kristian IVs gate. You’ll walk past the Historical Museum to Oslo’s National Gallery.
This is without a doubt the most popular museum in Oslo. This is enhanced by two factors, the first being it’s free entry, and the second being it’s home to the famous Eduard Munch painting, The Scream – along with some of his other fantastic works.
browse through the 300 works of paintings and sculptures with a specific focus on the 19th century.
Once you’ve finished consider calling in the café for a hot drink to warm yourself up before heading back outdoors. Then head out and continue down Grensen to your next stop.
Oslo Cathedral is formerly known as Our Saviors Church and is the main parish church for the people of Oslo. The building was first constructed between 1694 and 1697, in 1950 it was restored back to its original baroque interior.
The church is used by the Norwegian Royal Family for weddings and funerals. Once inside take note of the highly elaborate stained-glass windows by Emanuel Vigeland. Outside of the church, you’ll notice the unique bazaar halls.
These date from 1858 and are currently used as sales outlets and cafés in the summer – if you’re looking for a souvenir for your trip and visiting in the summer months then this is the best place to pick one up for sure!
It is a great stop to add to your tour of what to see in Oslo in one day, you won’t regret it.
Oslo Botanical Gardens & Arboretum
The final stop on our trip around Oslo in one day is Oslo’s Botanical Gardens & Arboretum. It provides a great view of the city, however, if you’re on a really strict schedule then feel free to miss this out as it’s around a 20-minute walk from Oslo’s church and then a further 20 minutes back to the train station.
However, with more than 1,800 plants the Oslo Botanical Gardens & Arboretum it really is the greatest way to round off your day in Oslo.
This place is about a 20-minute walk from the city centre. Much like the vast number of other attractions in Oslo, it’s located at the top of a hill.
I particularly loved the scented garden. This has been designed and arranged as an experience for all but especially for the blind, mentally handicapped and wheel-chair bound.
Be sure to check the opening times online before you travel as they vary depending on the time of year you’re looking to visit.
Oslo In One Day Explorers Map
The map below is interactive and demonstrates the locations of each of the sights mentioned above.
The Oslo Pass
The Oslo Pass is an all-in-one discount card, providing you with free or heavily discounted entry into the major attractions within Norway’s capital as well as complimentary transport in and around Oslo using the metro.
The pass prices are broken down by the time period in which the pass is active (either 24, 48 or 72 hours). Your pass will be activated from its first use and then become inactive after the set time period.
The 24-hour pass is perfect for exploring Oslo in one day. The pass is currently 395 NOK for adults and 210 NOK for children (aged between 4 and 15). You can read more about the Oslo Pass on the Visit Oslo website.
That’s our complete guide to visiting Oslo in one day. While we’d never suggest spending just one day in any city, this guide is perfect for a short layover in the city before catching an onward flight or just making the most of your cruise stop here.
I’m sure the city of Oslo will charm you enough to make you want to come back for longer in the future. In the meantime, if you’re looking for somewhere else to visit in Norway, then considering visiting Bergen.