The ultimate Walking Tour in Oslo – City by foot
If you are looking for a free guided walking tour, you can meet up at Jernbanetorget (next to The Tiger statue) at 10am every day. They even schedule an additional tour at 4pm every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The tour takes 90 minutes and will take you to the Opera House, Harbour and Parliament, and you will learn the basics about the history and some practical information. If you prefer to walk on your own, it is very easy to do the walking trip without any guide. From the Oslo Central Station walk towards track 18-20. Just walk out the entrance between the Espresso House and Narvesen kiosk and walk straight out for 100 meters and you will find the Opera House. It opened in 2008 and is already established as one of the biggest landmarks of Oslo. The Opera House is a beautiful architectural monument and one of the most successful architectural buildings of the entire capital, a building most Norwegians should be very proud of. It should be your number one attraction, and you should definitely compare it with the world’s most famous Opera House in Sydney. Oslo has got a mix of stone, glass, timber, oak tree and metal materials. This is very traditional Norwegian design, and it was created by Norwegian architects, Snøhetta. It is really nice to walk on the roof of the Opera House, it’s feeling almost like snow. The Carrara stone material is imported from Italy and gives a nice esthetic look. Be careful as it may be a bit slippery in the winter. There are also many interesting events throughout the year which are open for everyone to join, like free outdoor concerts and TV shows. You should also have a look inside of the Opera building which is normally open until late. There can be as many as 1900 audience members in the building. 1400 in the main auditorium, 400 in stage 2 and 150 in rehearsal room 1, which doubles as a black box theatre. If you want to have a guided trip of the entire Opera building, you can check out prices and visting hours here. There are also some restaurants and bars in the Opera house. One of them with a beautiful sea view. If you want to learn more about the design and the architecture plans of the Opera you can check out Deezens article.
Discover the Barcode area of Oslo
The surroundings of the Oslo Central Station are also worth to check out. Next to the Opera, you have the Barcode area, the new business district in Oslo. The architecture here is so unique and stand out from the rest of the design of buildings in Oslo. There are already many places to eat and drink along Dronning Eufemias gate. The first restaurant you will find on the way from the Opera is Vaaghals which is an authentic and innovative Norwegian restaurant, and you don’t find many similar restaurants like this one in Oslo. The chefs here use Norwegian ingredients to prepare the most flavourful Norwegian and international dishes. Food is put on the table and passed around. The concept is that food is meant for sharing, so here you can bring your friends and enjoy the companionship.
Next to it, the Barcode Passage is a building with a Narvesen kiosk, another Espresso House, Joe and the Juice, TacoPop (Mexican Food) and a Bambus Sushi restaurant.
You will also find Stock on the corner of the Barcode Passage which is a less formal restaurant, but still they serve quality food made from scratch. They also have a nice bar, and it is probably the best place on Barcode to eat if you don’t have company.
If you continue down the Eufemia Street you will find an Italian restaurant and next to it there is a Japanese restaurant, Nodee. They also have a panoramic elevator, taking you up to the 13th level where they have a trendy bar and a beautiful roof top terrace with views towards the water side. On the 14th level they have a restaurant. It may be a bit noisy as there are not much space between the tables, but we like the atmosphere.
If you continue some few hundred meters and head to the right, you will arrive Sørenga, which is a new waterside resort. There are lots of new apartments in this elegant area next to the sea. They have also made a public beach area which is open for everyone, and it is very popular on sunny days of the summer. You will also find plenty of new restaurants and cafeterias along the waterside. There is a bridge connecting Sørenga with the Opera building, and it is a time-saving shortcut.
The restaurants in Sørenga
Hakkaiza is an elegant Asian restaurant with wok dishes, dumplings, springrolls, fried chicken and noodle on the menu. The location is brilliant and the seating area is beautiful. Open every day.
Cargo is an Italian restaurant serving anti-pasti, pizza from a stove-oven, fresh pasta, meat and fish straight from the grill. The restaurant has a beautiful indoor area, but it is also great to enjoy the sun on the outdoor area near the waterside. They also have a cocktailbar if you only want to enjoy a cold drink.
Bun’s Burger is surprisingly the highest ranked of the Sørenga restaurants on Tripadvisor. For the moment it is number 51 of 1142 restaurants. It is an American bar serving Norwegian’s favorite food – burgers. Most of the guests are very happy with their awesome burgers, great beers and excellent service.
There is also a cafeteria there if you only want to buy a hot drink and enjoy the sun.
Stay tuned, as the entire Opera and Barcode area are not completely finished. They are constructing the new main library of Oslo and the new Munch Museum, and during the development process the area is noisy and looks like a mess. But we are looking forward to seeing the future of this new area of Oslo.
Have a walk along Oslo’s new shoreline
After relaxing in the sun at the Sørenga area you can simply walk over the bridge to the Opera again and walk along the Fiord Promenade. This is the best viewing point for beautiful views of the Opera House. From all the other angles, the Opera House is almost blocked by other skyscrapers. If you continue to walk along the waterside, there are just some few hundred metres to some pop up exhibitions. For the moment SALT is the exhibition, a nomadic art project of wooden buildings. There you will find one of the worlds largest saunas. There is also a 70-meter-long Arctic Pyramid, bringing a reminder of coastal Arctic landscape where people, for thousands of years, have lived in harmony with a rough climate.
After the cultural discovery you will have another chance to try out local and exotic food. A new food court has opened along the shoreline at Vippetangen, named Vippa. For the moment there are 9 street market stands inside of the building. There is also a live DJ playing music all day and one common bar where you can buy ISBJØRN beer and other drinks. You can choose if you want to enjoy the food inside or bring it out. The location is brilliant, next to the water and there are plenty of outdoor seats. In 2018 they are also planning to make a second floor here with a roof top terrace. You can choose between Vietnamese soup and vegetarian dishes, Norwegian hot dogs, Italian pizza, Chili con carne with nachos or rice, Pulled duck with french fries, Sushi, Syrian shawarma and falafel, Chinese dumplings and Thai wok.
You can check out Vippa reviews at Tripadvisor and Dagbladet. If you don’t want to walk along the shoreline from the Opera house, you can also take the bus 60 from Jernbanetorget (just outside of Oslo central station) to Vippetangen (last stop).
The Fiord Promenade continues along the cruise port and the Fortress, Akershus festning. On the top of the fortress, there’s a nice little restaurant named Festningen. Here you can also enjoy the outdoor seatings with stunning views of the harbour, Aker Brygge. But before you are heading towards the harbour, walk up to the right, and you will see Oslo City Hall. It is possible to discover the art and history and enter the guided tours as well.
The Parliament building and the Royal Palace are both located in Karl Johans gate, the most popular street (stretching all the way from the central station to castle).
They are both worth to check out and they are just some few hundred meters from the harbour area.
Aker Brygge and Tjuvholmen
Just walk down again afterwards to the sea and you will find the most popular part of Oslo for nightlife and recreation.
In the summer it is very popular to take the ferries to several islands located near Oslo. You will find the ferry stop near the Town Hall. If you already have bought a Ruter ticket for public transport, most of the ferries are included (except that one going to the Vikingship museums). We would recommend you to take a ferry to Lindøya. It is a very beautiful island consisting of 300 residential, cozy cottages, all in green, yellow and red and never more than 40 square meters in size, making this island unique and beautiful. Here you can relax in the sun and walk along the waterside. There are even two smaller “islands” with a bridge connection from Lindøya. The first one you will discover is “Stadion” where you can plunge into the ocean from a diving board. The small bridge leads to a slope where you can enjoy the views of the other islands. The second one is “Kjøkkenet” or “The Kitchen” where the wives used to walk to cook and prepare food for the families. This was back to the 1920s. Today it is a place you can sit and relax and enjoy the views. You even have public showers, available for everyone. Please note that BBQing is not allowed on the two mini islands or Lindøya itself. Lindøya also has got a supermarket and a public toilet located on the middle of the island. The trip from Aker Brygge to Lindøya takes 30 minutes and you can walk around it in less than one hour. This makes it a perfect short getaway from the stressful city life in Oslo. If you want to do BBQing you should consider to visit Hovedøya instead that has dedicated grill spots.
Aker Brygge has a rich selection of high quality restaurants, cafeterias, ice cream shops and bars. You may be sure the entire area is full of people on sunny days. They have extended Aker Brygge with the new resort Tjuvholmen which also contain a spa, hotel, a roof top terrace and a public beach. This is also the place where you find the Astrup Fearnley Museum. It is a private museum of contemporary art. This summer you have the opportunity to see a large group exhibition of Chinese Temporary art. The building itself is quite beautiful and has a modern architecture, like most of the residential area that surrounds Tjuvholmen, so if you are really no into museums you can just have a walk around it.