Hiking in Oslo

Trail guides and maps

Hiking Kolsåstoppen. Photo: Lasse Røed

Oslo hiking tips

Oslo is surrounded by easily accessible nature and many trails are just a short boat, metro, or bus ride away. Not to mention that some of the most interesting parts of the city itself can be explored on foot.

Peaks at the edge of the city provide panoramic views. The islands in the Oslofjord offer relaxing walks and beaches. Forest to the north, east, and west have an extensive network of trails past secluded lakes. Volunteers help to maintain the trails and the iconic blue painted markers keep hikers on the right track.

In low-lying exposed areas where the snow melts faster, hiking is possible from April. Deep in the forest, especially on north-facing slopes, it can take a long time for the snow to melt and for the trails to dry up. But with solid footwear to handle the soggy ground, good hiking can be had from May. June, July, and August are all great months for hiking and camping, with long warm days. The weather cools significantly through September and October, but the fall colors are worth venturing out for as the first snowfall is not far away.

To get the full Norwegian experience when hiking in the woods, stop in at one of the cabins for a break and a snack. Black coffee and waffles with sour cream and jam is a classic combination. For those with a sweet tooth, try a Kvikk Lunsj and a bottle of Solo.

20 hiking trails in Oslo

Kolsåstoppen

Medium
7.4 km · 2 – 2.5 hr

Vettakollen

Medium
2.3 km · 1 – 1.5 hr

Østmarksetra to Mariholtet

Easy
7.8 km · 2.5 – 3.5 hr

Mellomkollen

Medium
12.3 km · 2.5 – 3.5 hr

Mørkgonga

Medium
7.3 km · 3 – 5 hr

Grefsenkollen

Easy
3.1 km · 1 – 1.5 hr

Frognerseteren to Ullevålseter and Sognsvann

Medium
10.4 km · 2.5 – 3.5 hr

Sognsvann Lake

Easy
3.3 km · 1 – 1.5 hr

Hauktjern

Easy
6.8 km · 2 – 3 hr

Kobberhaughytta

Medium
16.4 km · 4 – 6 hr

Gjersjøen

Easy
4.2 km · 2 – 2.5 hr

Øyungen Lake

Easy
5.1 km · 1.5 – 2 hr

Store Åklungen

Medium
7.8 km · 2 – 3 hr

Barlindåsen Ridge

Medium
5.7 km · 2 – 2.5 hr

Akerselva River Walk

Easy
7.4 km · 1.5 – 2.5 hr

Nøklevann

Easy
8 km · 1.5 – 2 hr

Bogstadgård

Easy
2.6 km · 1 hr

Ingierstrand

Medium
3.2 km · 1 hr

Pershusfjellet

Easy
11.4 km · 3.5 – 6 hr

Knivfjellet

Easy
3.3 km · 1 – 2.5 hr

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Where to hike

You can head in any direction and find an enjoyable hike in Oslo. Even the city itself has interesting routes to explore. The islands in the Oslofjord south of the city each have their own unique characteristics. Forest surrounds the rest of Oslo, and it is filled with well-marked trails, quiet lakes, and beautiful views. Nordmarka and Østmarka, located to the north and east respectively, are particularly popular with paths deep into the woods and cosy cabins offering food and accommodation.

City hikes and islands of the Oslofjord

When the sun is shining there is no better way to explore Oslo than by walking. Expansive city parks, the tree-lined Akerselva River, and a quickly developing waterfront area are all worthy destinations.

For views of Oslo and the Oslofjord, there are three popular peaks around the city’s edge, each offering a distinctive perspective. Kolsåstoppen lies out to the west while Vettakollen and Grefsenkollen sit to the north. Each can be reached on public transport.

Oslo is lucky to be filled with big city parks and on warm days they are filled with locals barbecuing and soaking up the sun. The Bygdøy peninsula in the west, while most famous for its museums, is also a pleasant spot for walking and has some lovely beaches. Frognerparken in Majorstuen is not to be missed, home to the incredible Vigeland sculpture park. In the east, Ekebergparken has stunning views of the city and fjord and is also filled with sculptures, with works from Dalí, Botero, and Rodin, among others.

View of the Oslofjord from Ekebergparken, Oslo

View of the Oslofjord from Ekebergparken. Photo: designium / Shutterstock

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

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.

Hiking trail and lake in Nordmarka, Oslo

A typical trail in Nordmarka. Photo: M.B. Madland / Shutterstock

Østmarka

The woods to the east of Oslo are known as Østmarka. The most popular access point is Skullerud metro stop, on line 3. Ulsrud and Bogerud (also on line 3) as well as Ellingsrudåsen (line 2) also act as good entry points. Østmarka is dotted with pretty lakes and some areas are often used for rock climbing. A Sunday walk around Nøklevann Lake is popular with locals and typically includes a stop at the Rustadsaga Sportsstue for coffee and waffles. For the more adventurous, continue to the small Hauktjern Lake or visit Mariholtet Café further in the forest.

Woman in a hammock by Hauktjern, Oslo

Relaxing at Hauktjern Lake in Østmarka. Photo: Kristine Stordal

Getting around

Many of the best hikes in Oslo can be easily reached on public transport. If you have a car it can offer some additional flexibility, and help you reach some more remote trails, but it is by no means a necessity.

Public transport

Oslo is serviced by an extensive and efficient public transport network consisting of trains, metro, buses, trams, and ferries. The network is managed by Ruter and the integrated ticketing system makes it very easy to move around the city. Typically, a zone one ticket is enough to get around.

From April to November Oslo City Bikes can be found throughout the city. Currently only season-long subscriptions are available, for 399 NOK.

Car

To reach some of the hiking trails further out of Oslo you may need to drive. Many of the main entry points into the forest around Oslo have car parks. Some are free while others are paid.

Sunset view from Grefsenkollen, Oslo

View of Oslo from Grefsenkollen. Photo: Arne JW Kolstoe / Shutterstock

When to go

Summer is easily the best time to recommend for a visit to Oslo. The days are long and you can often spend the whole time outside exploring. July and August are the warmest months.

Spring and fall can offer lovely warm days with quieter streets and trails, but rain and cooler weather is a distinct possibility. Easter often marks the turning point from winter to spring. Depending on the year it can be possible to hike on snowy and wet trails at Easter time, but the hiking season properly kicks off in May. September and October bring beautiful fall colors, and at the same time the days quickly become cooler and shorter.

Visiting Oslo in winter requires dressing in layers and some extra planning to stay warm and happy, but there are still lots of fun things to do. Hiking is limited to shorter walks, for example around Sognsvann Lake. For cross-country skiing fans, wonderful conditions can usually be had between January and March.

The true beginning and end of the seasons varies depending on snowfalls and general weather conditions. The Norwegian national weather service provides detailed weather reports and forecasts for Oslo in English.

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