Oslo

Norway

Photo: Lasse Røed

Hiking in Oslo

Once the snow has melted and the forest trails have started to dry, the season for hiking in Oslo kicks off. That means a lot of relaxing long strolls, day hikes in the woods, and overnight camping trips by secluded lakes.

See all hikes around Oslo →

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. Volunteers help to maintain the forest trails and the iconic blue painted markers help hikers stay on the right track.

Marked tree on a hiking trail in Nordmarka

A marked tree on a hiking trail in Nordmarka
Photo: Espen Oldeman Lund

Tips for hiking in Oslo

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.

The islands in the Oslofjord south of the city offer relaxing walks and beaches. Woods to the north, east, and west are filled with well-marked trails, quiet lakes, and beautiful views. Nordmarka, the forested area stretching north from the city, is particularly popular with trails deep into the forest and many cosy cabins offering food and accommodation.

To get the full Norwegian experience, 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.

Prefer a map? Explore our hiking trails and adventures in an interactive map →

Kobberhaughytta cabin in Nordmarka

Kobberhaughytta cabin
Photo: Espen Oldeman Lund

In the city

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.

Parks

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.

Akerselva river

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.

Woman relaxing in a hammock by Hauktjern lake in Østmarka

Hauktjern lake
Photo: Kristine Stordal

Harbor Promenade

The Harbor Promenade “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. Highlights include:

  • Aker Brygge and Tjuvholmen, home to some of Oslo’s most expensive real estate
  • Rådhuset, the town hall
  • Vippetangen, home to Vippa with excellent food stalls and relaxed outdoor seating
  • The famous Opera house, Barcode, and extensive construction at Bjørvika including a new public library and Munch museum
  • Sørenga, with its beautifully designed swimming and sunbathing deck

Islands in the Oslofjord

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 DNT cabin.

Read more: Island Hopping in the Oslofjord →

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.

View of the Oslofjord from Hovedøya island

View of the Oslofjord from Hovedøya island
Photo: Lauren Guido

Nordmarka

Nordmarka is a large area of forest, lakes, and extensive trails north of the city. It's 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.

Frognerseteren

Situated at the western end of metro line 1, Frognerseteren is a common departure point for hikes into Nordmarka. The Frognerseteren Restaurant and Café, near to the metro station, offers refreshments with city views.

Frognerseteren-Ullevålseter-Sognsvann

Vandring 10.4 km · 2.5 – 3.5 t

Kobberhaughytta

Vandring 16.4 km · 4 – 6 t

See also: Tryvannstua or Skjennungstua cabins, both signposted from Frognerseteren. Vettakollen is also accessible on line 1 from the stop of the same name, and is a short hike with beautiful city views.

Sognsvann

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.

Sognsvann Lake

Vandring 3.3 km · 1 – 1.5 t

Store Åklungen

Vandring 7.8 km · 2 – 3 t

Sørkedalen

Sørkedalen is a bit further away than the other entry points, but provides quick access to some of Nordmarka’s more scenic cabins. 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. From Jernbanetorget (by Oslo central station), take metro line 2 westbound to Røa. From there, take bus 41 to the stop “Sørkedalen skole”.

Looking for a multi-day hike? Spend a weekend in Nordmarka →

Kikutstua

Overnatting

Maridalen

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 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.

Øyungen Lake

Vandring 5.1 km · 1.5 – 2 t

Mellomkollen

Vandring 12.3 km · 2.5 – 3.5 t

Østmarka

For Østmarka, the woods bordering the east of Oslo, the Skullerud metro stop (line 3) is the most popular access point. 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 frequently 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.

Hauktjern

Vandring 3.4 km · 2 – 3 t

Østmarksetra to Mariholtet

Vandring 7.8 km · 2.5 – 3.5 t

Bærumsmarka

To the west of Oslo no peak is more well-known than Kolsåstoppen. It’s an excellent hike close to the city with stunning views. For a relaxing experience with a touch of history, the historic estate Bogstadgård has beautiful grounds to explore as well as Bogstadvannet lake.

Kolsåstoppen

Vandring 7.4 km · 2 – 2.5 t

Bogstadgård

Vandring 2.7 km · 1 t