Photo: Emily Talley Høye

Discover Oslo

Norway’s relaxed capital is packed with great opportunities for nature lovers. Even with a population of more than half a million, the outdoors is just a stone’s throw away in all directions.

The citizens of Oslo are a nature-loving bunch and can be found outdoors all throughout the year. In the warmer months, the parks, islands and hiking trails are filled with locals soaking up the sun. Once winter sets in and the snow arrives, they strap on their cross-country skis and head into the forest.

It's not hard to see why venturing into the woods is so popular. Fjord and city views, hidden lakes, and secluded cabins are just some of the highlights waiting to be discovered, whether you're on foot or skis.

Many of the main entry points and attractions can be quickly and easily reached on public transport. From there, well-marked and maintained trails guide you towards your destination. Often, there's a cabin along the way serving refreshments and many offer overnight stays.

The city itself is also filled with outdoor activities. There's island hopping, kayaking, and biking in the summer as well as picnics and sports in the park, or swimming at one of the many small beaches. In the winter you can stay warm with ice-skating and sledding.

For a change from city life, or a quick taste of Norway, a day-trip down the coast or to the mountains is an easy option. Within just two to four hours travel from Oslo awaits an endless array of adventures.

Why visit Oslo?

  • Explore the extensive trail network in the surrounding forest
  • Pop in to a secluded cabin for coffee and waffles – or even stay the night
  • Island hop in the Oslofjord and hike, swim, or just relax
  • Try classic winter activities such as skating, sledding, and cross-country skiing
  • Rent a bike and ride the streets or join a kayaking trip on the fjord
  • Take a day trip and go husky sledding in the mountains

For access to all our Oslo information and trail maps on the go, download the Outtt app. Save your favorite adventures and maps for offline use!

Photo: Lauren Guido

How to get to Oslo

Being the capital of Norway, Oslo is easily reached from most big cities in Europe. For flights, look to land at Oslo Airport in Gardermoen (OSL) which is north of Oslo and handles both domestic and international flights. There are frequent train and bus connections to the city.

The central train station is in the city center and the bus station is close by. Taking the train is an excellent way to travel and enjoy the scenery and the railway extends over large parts of the country.

NOR-WAY Bussekspress and Nettbuss are the biggest long-distance bus companies in Norway. They also connect to Sweden, as does Swebus and Flixbus.

How to travel around Oslo

Oslo is a wonderful city to walk around. If the weather is nice, the center can easily be explored on foot.

If you need to travel a little further, Oslo is serviced by an efficient and extensive public transport network consisting of trains, metro, buses, trams, and ferries. Many of the best adventures can be easily reached using one of these methods. The network is managed by Ruter and the integrated ticketing system makes it very easy to move around the city.

From April to November Oslo city bikes can be found throughout the city. Daily or season long subscriptions are available.

View from Gressholmen island in the Oslofjord

View from Gressholmen island in the Oslofjord
Photo: Lauren Guido

The best time to visit Oslo

Summer is easily the best time to recommend for a visit to Oslo. The days are long and it's easy to spend the whole time outside exploring and discovering areas which aren't easy to reach at other times of the year.

Spring and fall can offer lovely warm days and quieter streets and trails, but rain and cooler weather is a distinct possibility.

Visiting in wintertime requires layers and planning to stay warm and happy, but there are still lots of fun things to do. For cross-country skiing fans, wonderful conditions can 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.

Easter often marks the turning point from winter to spring. When spring does arrive in Oslo, the mood brightens and the city starts to look forward to the coming summer. The days quickly become longer and on warm clear days the city harbor is full of people happy to see the sun again.

Now it's just a matter of waiting for the snow to melt and the forest trails to dry before hiking season kicks off in May.

Summer can be short in Oslo, so every warm, dry day is appreciated. On warm evenings and weekends, people flock to the parks and lakes for barbecues and games. Ekebergparken and Frognerparken offer big green spaces and are quite popular.

It’s the best time to go island hopping and take a dip at any of the beaches around Oslo. The seemingly endless network of forest trails are filled with hikers and bikers.

September can still bring some warm, sunny days but summer is over and the fall months are the rainiest in Oslo. Hiking and biking in the forest is popular and Sundays are busy with locals enjoying the final stretch before winter arrives.

In many parts of the forest, snow might arrive as early as the beginning of November, but often it comes and goes until December.

Winter time means candles and cosiness, but also plenty of outdoor activities.

Oslo becomes a cross-country ski haven in the winter months. Expect to see people traveling around the city and on the metro with their skis in hand, as they head to Nordmarka and Østmarka for the skiing trails. Hiking is not recommended as the snow can get very deep.

Ice-skating rinks pop up and the thrilling Korketrekkeren toboggan-run usually opens in January. The Oslo Vinterpark alpine resort offers downhill skiing and snowboarding .

Canoes on a lake shore in Nordmarka

Canoes on a lake shore in Nordmarka
Photo: Mari Mathews