The Akerselva River leads from Oslo’s largest lake, Maridalsvannet, down through the city and into the Oslofjord. Maridalsvannet is Oslo’s main source of drinking water and has its own trails worth exploring. The 7.5 kilometer trail along the river travels through some of Oslo’s most charming neighborhoods and there are some excellent food and drink options in Nydalen, Grünerløkka, and Grønland.
The Harbor Promenade, or “Havnepromenaden”, is a relatively new initiative to tie together the different sights along Oslo’s rapidly developing waterfront. The path is 9 kilometres long, stretching from Frognerkilen at the entrance to Bygdøy in the west to Kongshavn in the east. It’s a must for those interested in urban development as certain parts have been transformed in recent years and other stretches are in the process of being, or soon will be, redeveloped.
A short ferry ride from Aker Brygge lies a collection of small islands. Each island has its own charm and trails to secluded points with city and fjord views. Hovedøya and Langøyene are good for swimming. Some islands have small cafés and on Langøyene it’s possible to camp or stay in a cabin. Boats run to some of the islands all year round, but full services don’t start until the beginning of June and run through to the end of the August.
Nordmarka is a large wilderness area north of the city and the go-to destination for many locals heading out on a Sunday. There are several main starting points for exploring Nordmarka and each is easily reachable on public transportation.
Situated at the western end of metro line 1 is Frognerseteren. The Frognerseteren Restaurant and Café, near to the metro station, offers refreshments with city views. For a great introduction to Nordmarka and to see just how closely nature is integrated into the city, try the route from Frognerseteren to Sognsvann via Ullevålseter.
For a deeper hike into the woods, and a visit to arguably the cosiest cabin around Oslo, hike to Kobberhaughytta. Other options include Tryvannstua or Skjennungstua cabins, both clearly signposted from Frognerseteren.
Sognsvann Lake is a family-friendly destination for strolls around the lake, swimming, barbecues, and mushroom picking. It’s also an excellent point for starting or finishing a hike in Nordmarka, located at the northern terminus of metro line 5. To explore more of the forest and find some more secluded spots, try the loop to Store Åklungen.
Sørkedalen is a bit further away than the other entry points, but provides quick access to some of Nordmarka’s more scenic cabins including Kobberhaughytta and Kikutstua. The cabins rent out canoes for exploring the local lakes. It’s also a good starting point for longer hikes back towards the city, to either Frognerseteren, Sognsvann, or Maridalen. The trails are well marked and you can access maps in the Outtt app. From Jernbanetorget (by Oslo central station), take metro line 2 westbound to Røa. From there, take bus 41 to the stop “Sørkedalen skole”.
The road to Skar, north of Maridalsvannet Lake, winds through a small strip of farmland before stopping at the edge of the forest. Take bus 51 from Nydalen metro station (line 5) to the final stop. From Skar, it’s a short and easy hike to Øyungen Lake which is an excellent stop for barbecues, swimming, and camping. For views, loop around over Mellomkollen. The trail network extends deep into the forest for longer trips.