With the Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony coming up this weekend, Oslo is the obvious choice for this chapter in Magic of Cities. The focus will be free travel. That’s right: low-budget, or rather no-budget, free Oslo attractions. Norway is not exactly famous for being a budget destination, so you might be surprised how much is free.
The country’s premier attraction is nature, of course, and there are many, many ways to enjoy Oslo’s great outdoors, free of charge. But it’s cold out these days. And not absolutely everyone loves skiing in sub-zero temperatures. So here are 10 favourite cultural attractions, less strenuous and completely free of charge:
1. Frogner Park
Top spot among free Oslo attractions goes to Frogner Park. Ambling around this sculpture park, enjoying Gustav Vigeland’s 212 life-size nudes is a very cool experience any time of year.
Winter Bonus: During the winter months, the adjacent Vigeland Museum – the sculptor’s home and studio – is free as well.
2. Oslo Opera House
I adore Oslo Opera House and my kids do, too. The performances may not be free, but hanging out with the locals on the cool, white marble roof is. If you have small children along, be aware there’s no guard rail where the opera house meets the frosty waters of the Oslo fjord. Running down that sloping roof is just so tempting.
3. The National Gallery
The The National Gallery is another favourite. This is the place to see Edvard Munch’s iconic paintings Skrik (The Scream) and Madonna, as well as heaps of other works by local and international painters, including Manet and Cezanne.
Winter Bonus: For more works from the hands of the famed painter, head to the Munch Museum. Entrance is free between 1 October and 31 March.
4. Oslo City Hall
If you’re interested in the legacy of wealthy industrialist and humanitarian Alfred Nobel, a visit to Oslo City Hall – venue of the annual Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony – is a must. The hall is beautifully decorated with large 20th century paintings. You might even recognize some of them if you’ve watched the televised event.
5. Akershus Fortress
Practically across the street, is Akershus Fortress. While you have to pay to enter the Castle, strolling around the grounds of this medieval fortress is completely free. Walking along the ridge is quite romantic, especially when snow is falling.
6. Historical Museum
Another great freebie is the Historical Museum. Housed in a large, handsome Art Nouveau building, this museum is home to a huge collection of prehistoric and Medieval artefacts, including some excellent Viking Era antiques.
7. Botanical Gardens
The nearly 200-year-old Botanical Gardens, surrounding the Natural History Museums, is free for all to enjoy, and an excellent spot for some peace and quiet among 7 500 species of plants and trees.
8. Changing of the Guards at the Royal Palace
Hang out in the park surrounding the Royal Palace where you can watch the changing of the King’s Guards at 1330 (1:30 pm) every day, come rain or shine; takes a good half hour.
9. The National Museum of Contemporary Art
Another interesting museum housed in a magnificent building is The National Museum of Contemporary Art, yet another year-round freebie.
Winter Bonus: The wonderful Stenersenmuseet (Museum of Modern Art) is free during the winter months.
10. Armed Forces Museum
If you’re not interested in military history, the Armed Forces Museum may sound a bit dull, but it’s well worth a visit. Highlights are exhibits of the Viking Era and the German occupation during World War II.
Want more? Here’s 5 more free Oslo attractions:
This article could easily be named 15 Great Cultural Free Oslo Attractions. Or 20. But we have to stop somewhere. Instead I’ll just mention a few other cultural freebies:
- Oslo City Museum
- IKT, the Inter-Cultural Museum<
- The Museum of Magic
- The Museum of Architecture
- The Museum of Decorative Arts and Design, and
- The somewhat surprisingly interesting Norwegian Customs Museum
Photo credits: Oslo Opera House: Nebbdyret, The Scream: Oddsock, Oslo City Hall: allison harger, Akershus Fortress: Lars T, Historical Museum: Mararie, Botanical gardens: kong niffe, Royal Palace: James Clear, National Museum of Contemporary Art: nafmo, Armed Forces Museum: