Winter family fun in Oslo


Want to get the kids away from the screens and out in the fresh air?

Here are a few tips for some family-fun in the snow in the Norwegian capital.

Nature is all around you here: the Oslo fjord and its islands, forests, lakes and parks – and the locals enthusiastically enjoy it all. Perhaps you will too? After these lively winter activities, you’ll return home in great shape and with heaps of good family memories.

  • Every winter weekend (and there are many, many of those), families take to the woods to ski. Cross-country skiing is the national sport for young and old and everyone in between. Have babies that can’t walk yet? No worries, just wrap them in a snug sheep skin, put them in a pulk (a pull-sled) and pull them along. Strap on the skis at Frognerseteren – a mere 15 minutes by metro from the city centre. (And you can have hot chocolate and waffles by the roaring fireplace after).
  • If downhill is more your thing, Tryvann Vinterpark is nearby. Tryvann is everyone’s playground. With 14 slopes and 7 lifts, you can slalom, Telemark ski and snowboard. Kids of all ages jump and play in the wavy terrain park and half-pipe. Two of the lifts, 3 slopes and a few jumps are reserved for the youngest children.
  • Also near Frognerseteren is Korketrekkeren, a corkscrew hill, 2000 metres long and with a 255-metre drop. Tobogganing down takes 8 – 10 minutes at full speed. Want more? Take the metro back up and go again. Korketrekkeren is all lit up for night-time snowy fun as well.
  • The forest is magic at night time. Why not spend a night in a cabin in the wilderness? When the kids are asleep, the two of you could take a romantic moonlit glide along the tracks…
  • On Karl Johan, Oslo’s main street, you can skate at the outdoor rink. After dark, it’s illuminated and you can skate to classical music.

Oslo: A boy and a girl skating
Too snowy for skating, but we don’t care…

For easier days out in Oslo, try these cultural outdoors activities:

  • In Frogner Park, you can stroll among Gustav Vigeland’s cool snow-covered sculptures. The children will have fun climbing on them.
  • How about some winter sailing? A mini cruise in an old wooden sailboat in Oslo harbour is a great way to get your bearings. The boat takes you past medieval Akershus Fortress, Oslo Opera House and Bygdøy museum peninsula. I like standing on deck as snow falls, warming my hands on a cup of lovely, hot tea (or yummy, spicy gløgg, if it’s before Christmas). You can get on or off at any of the stops all day long.
  • Your kids might not like opera (although you’d be surprised how difficult it is to get seats for the children’s performances of The Magic Flute), but they’ll relish climbing and running on the roof of the fabulous white marble ice-floe opera house. Fantastic fjord views from the roof-top.
  • At Bygdøy, kids love exploring Amundsen’s Polar ship Fram, excellently preserved Viking ships, and the Kon-Tiki raft that crossed from South America to Polynesia.
  • Your little science-nerd will want to see our oldest ancestor, 47-million-year-old primate fossil Ida, at the Zoological museum. You may have to stop by the National Gallery as well – kids are weirdly fascinated by Edvard Munch’s painting The Scream

More Oslo? Here are 10 great free cultural attractions in Norway’s capital. That’s right – free.

Oslo: A little girl laughing and enjoying skiing

This is a slightly altered version of an article I wrote for Nile Guide

For more travel photos, have a look at Budget Travelers Sandbox. 10 Reasons to Take Your Family to Oslo This Winter

Want to get the kids away from the screens and out into the fresh air? Take the whole family to Oslo this winter for some family-fun in the snow. Oslo may be one of Europe’s smallest capitals in terms of people, but it’s one of the largest in size. It’s easy to combine big city cultural experiences with great outdoors activities. Two thirds of the area is nature: fjord islands, farmland, forests, lakes and parks, and locals use every opportunity to get out and enjoy it all. After a week of active fun in the snow, you’ll return home in great shape and with heaps of good family memories.

  • Every winter weekend (and there are many, many of those), families take to the woods for some cross-country skiing. Have babies that can’t even walk? No worries, just tuck ‘em in a snug sheep skin, put ‘em in a pull-sled and pull them along. Nordmarka forest is just 20 minutes by metro from the city center. The trails start near Frognerseteren, where you can have hot chocolate and waffles by the roaring fireplace.
  • Spend a night in a cabin in the wilderness at Kikutstua. After the kids have gone to sleep, the two of you could take a romantic glide along lighted trails – or by moonlight.
  • Tryvann Vinterpark is everyone’s playground, with 14 slopes and 7 lifts, offering “regular” downhill skiing, Telemark skiing and snowboarding. Kids of all ages jump and play in the wavy terrain park and half-pipe. Two lifts, three slopes and a few jumps are reserved for young children.
  • On Karl Johan, Oslo’s main street, you can skate at Narvisen outdoor rink. After dark, it’s illuminated and parents might want to ice-dance to classical music.
  • Toboggan down Korketrekkeren, a 2000-meter-long corkscrew hill. The drop is 255 meters and the ride takes 8 – 10 minutes at full speed. Want more? Take the metro back up and go again. Korketrekkeren is lighted for night-time snowy fun as well.
  • For an easier day outdoors, head to Frognerparken to watch Vigeland’s cool snow-covered sculptures. Locals jog, amble along or walk their dogs while kids climb on the statues.
  • How about some winter sailing? A minicruise in an old wooden sailboat takes you past medieval Akershus Fortress, Oslo Opera House and Bygdøy.
  • Your kids might not like opera (although you’d be surprised how hard it is to get seats for the kids’ Magic Flute), but they’ll relish climbing and running on the roof of the fabulous white marble ice-floe opera house. Fantastic fjord views from the roof-top.
  • At Bygdøy, kids love exploring Amundsen’s Polar ship Fram, the Kon-Tiki raft that crossed from South America to Polynesia, and Viking Ships.
  • Your little science-nerd will want to see our oldest ancestor, 47-million-year-old primate fossil Ida, at the Zoological museum. You may have to stop by the National Gallery as well – kids are weirdly fascinated by Edvard Munch’s painting The Scream

This article first appeared on the Nile Guide – http://www.nileguide.com/blog/2010/03/01/oslo-norway-10-reasons-to-take-a-family-winter-getaway/

60 Responses to “Winter family fun in Oslo”

  1. ItalianNotes 20 February 2012 1207 #

    Great advice – Any chance of borrowing a child to share the fun?
    ItalianNotes recently posted..Bracioline ripiene

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 26 February 2012 2220 #

      Works for the kids-at-heart, too :)

  2. David Bennett 20 February 2012 1251 #

    Skiing by moonlight – very etherial – how romantic.

    And after reading this I have an image of children climbing Gustav Vigeland’s monolith, all snow encrusted – with the children adding a kind of extra layer to the sculpted bodies.

    The little photo with the tip about the Historical Museum at http://www.sophiesworld.net/free-oslo-cultural-attractions/ reminds me of Noggin The Nog that we had on TV years ago here in England :-)
    David Bennett recently posted..Romancing The Ecards: Valentine’s Day Origins And Lore

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 26 February 2012 2224 #

      Romantic, indeed.

      Now, I think the Monolith would be a bit difficult to climb. My youngest used to prefer the sculpture of the children using their mother as a horse, pulling her braids and all…

  3. Andrea 20 February 2012 1509 #

    Ahhh – you’re making me so excited for Norway! John and I don’t know how to downhill ski but we’re both keen to give cross-country a try. Pulling a baby in the pull-sled? Adorable! =)
    Andrea recently posted..Photography: 7 Super Shots

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 26 February 2012 2226 #

      I think you two will enjoy cross-country skiing :)

  4. Alexa Meisler 20 February 2012 1924 #

    Wow there are so many ways to enjoy outdoors as well as learning Oslo’s culture. I love doing snow activities especially skiing. This is definitely somewhere where I wanna take my family sometime. Thank you for sharing!
    Alexa Meisler recently posted..Estiatorio Milos & Knave: A 5 Star Evening in New York

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 26 February 2012 2227 #

      You’re welcome :)

  5. Vera Marie Badertscher 20 February 2012 1954 #

    Really good ideas for those who enjoy the cold. However, I’m a dedicated desert rat and I’ll stick to the wildflowers that are out in profusion in southern Arizona right now.
    Vera Marie Badertscher recently posted..Arizona Desert in Bloom

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 26 February 2012 2228 #

      You know, I really like the desert as well. Many similarities really – harsh climates, extreme temperatures… just opposite extremes.

  6. Julie 21 February 2012 0108 #

    Oslo must be really a nice place! I wish I could ever had the chance to get there, but it’s to far…

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 26 February 2012 2305 #

      The world is getting smaller, though…

  7. Christy @ Technosyncratic 21 February 2012 0405 #

    A ten minute toboggan ride at full speed?? That sounds… terrifying. :P
    Christy @ Technosyncratic recently posted..Peak Spa: A Taste of Luxury in Chiang Mai

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 26 February 2012 2302 #

      Can always hit the brakes :)

  8. Cherina 21 February 2012 0651 #

    It is so warm here in Australia at the moment that this sounds SO fantastic!! Love that last photo.
    Cherina recently posted..Long-Haul Travel: A Frequent Flyer’s Survival Guide. PART I

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 26 February 2012 2304 #

      Thanks, Cherina. I like that photo, too.

  9. Angela 21 February 2012 1028 #

    Lovely post, nothing better than getting out in the fresh (or freezing) air! :)
    Angela recently posted..A trip, a photo – Would you RANT a motorbike?

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 26 February 2012 2300 #

      True :)

      We have this saying up here, it loosely translates to: “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes.” (Sounds much better in Norwegian, rhymes and everything…)

  10. Turkey's For Life 21 February 2012 1108 #

    I’m sold. No shortage of things to do in your neck of the woods in winter is there? I love the idea of skating to the sound of classical music. It sounds really romantic – if you know how to skate that is. ;)
    Julia
    Turkey’s For Life recently posted..Scenic Fethiye: Along Fethiye Marina in Winter

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 26 February 2012 2258 #

      Yeah, skating was never my strong suit, really. Too clumsy.

  11. Nicole Schuman 22 February 2012 0045 #

    Kids really love snow! Maybe that’s why to get there attention away from computers or tv is to bring them outside and have a snowball fight with them. Thanks for sharing! :)

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 26 February 2012 2257 #

      I think you’re right. The key is to go out and play with them.

  12. Cam 22 February 2012 0546 #

    We just did a post about our travel wish list and included spending the winter in Norway – would love to experience it one year!
    Cam recently posted..The Extraordinary Landscapes of Joshua Tree National Park, California

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 26 February 2012 2255 #

      I think you’d find many similarities with your neck of the woods :)

  13. InsideJourneys 23 February 2012 0632 #

    As I was reading, I was remembering my attempts at ice skating. I spent more time on the ice than upright – but it was hysterical fun.
    InsideJourneys recently posted..How Greenwood Great House Is Connected to Pinkie

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 26 February 2012 2254 #

      I’m like Bambi on the ice, too :)

  14. Mary @ The World Is A Book 23 February 2012 0900 #

    What great winter activities full of outdoor fun and culture! I love the idea of sailing in a wooden sailboat around the harbour. Awesome expressions of joy in the pictures.
    Mary @ The World Is A Book recently posted..Rome’s Wedding Cake: Il Vittoriano

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 26 February 2012 2233 #

      Thanks, Mary. The sailboat is a really ice introduction to Oslo, I think.

  15. jade 23 February 2012 1204 #

    snow fights are the best! It’s hard to imagine snow right now with LA having warmer than average temps- but I would love to play around in it for awhile!
    jade recently posted..Animal Obsession inside Dali’s House in Cadaques, Spain

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 26 February 2012 2232 #

      Snow fights are fun.’specially when I’m winning…

  16. Nancie 23 February 2012 1548 #

    Nothing like snow (or the beach) to make kids happy!
    Nancie recently posted..Travel Photo Thursday — February 23, 2012 — An “Arched” View at the Plaza de Espana, Seville, Spain

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 26 February 2012 2231 #

      Yeah, they’re easy, really.

  17. These all sound like great ideas! I especially liked the cabin in the woods and winter sailing. It would be hard to not have a good time with all these options.
    Debbie Beardsley @ European Travelista recently posted..Mont St Michel – Touristy but Necessary

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 26 February 2012 2233 #

      Thanks, Deb :)

  18. Sabrina 23 February 2012 1850 #

    You make me really consider that last minute ski getaway I’ve been thinking about :) Never tried cross-country and I had no idea it was so popular in Norway.
    Sabrina recently posted..Sunset Above The Clouds

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 26 February 2012 2235 #

      Difficult to ski in Texas. You’d have to go to New Mexico, if I remember correctly… Or home to Germany :)

  19. Leigh 23 February 2012 1913 #

    I like the sound of that toboggan hill. Looks like there is plenty to keep you busy in the winter.

    One year I’d like to do a hut to hut cross country ski trip in Norway – maybe in March when the days get longer. I’ve heard good things about those trips.
    Leigh recently posted..Cross Country Skiing at British Columbia’s Panorama Mountain

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 26 February 2012 2238 #

      Yes, I think you’d enjoy hut to hut hiking. Either on skis or rambling in summer.

  20. Jackie Smith 23 February 2012 1935 #

    Looks like a lot of fun. Love the photos.
    Jackie Smith recently posted..TP Thursday: Santa Cruz ~ Cruise Views

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 26 February 2012 2238 #

      Thanks, Jackie :)

  21. Cathy Sweeney 23 February 2012 2203 #

    Love all these winter fun ideas – maybe I’ll be able to experience some of them in Norway sometime. I’m still hoping I get a chance to go downhill skiing this winter. We haven’t had a lot of snow in the mountains this year. I also like the idea of a romantic night in the cabin.
    Cathy Sweeney recently posted..Sleeping on the Seine

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 26 February 2012 2240 #

      Hope you’ll make it over here sometime, Cathy. Let me know if you do.

  22. Becca@R We There Yet Mom? 24 February 2012 0530 #

    I love all that there is to do there – that is great!!

    If you’d like to link up your post to another meme, I host “Friday Daydreamin” – we’d love to have you!!

    ~Becca
    Becca@R We There Yet Mom? recently posted..Friday Daydreamin': Last Week of LOVE!

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 24 February 2012 1151 #

      Thanks, Becca – will go to the daydreamin’ now :)

  23. Nomadic Samuel 24 February 2012 0547 #

    I love winter sports and it always reminds me of home. As strange as it might seem to admit but since I hadn’t experienced a proper winter in two years I’m really enjoying this one now :)
    Nomadic Samuel recently posted..Elephant Smiling | Chiang Mai, Thailand | Travel Photo

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 26 February 2012 2241 #

      You’re Canadian, right?

  24. Lisa 24 February 2012 1822 #

    I love the photo of the kids trying to skate in the snow! :) My younger daughter would love to have snow like that to play in right now. We had snow at Christmas when we went to visit the grandparents but we haven’t had any to speak of in the Toronto area all winter. We spent one day in Oslo a couple of years ago while on a cruise and fell in love with the city – can’t wait to go back. My older daughter has been begging to go to Norway next summer so we’ll have to see.
    Lisa recently posted..The Beauty of Oia

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 26 February 2012 2242 #

      Thanks, Lisa :)

      Hardly any snow in Toronto? That must be unusual, no?

  25. Michael Figueiredo 24 February 2012 2058 #

    Great tips! Oslo looks like a great place to ski!
    Michael Figueiredo recently posted..Where in the world am I? (#22)

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 26 February 2012 2243 #

      Yep, heaps of opportunities for skiing in and around the city. And just about anywhere else in Norway, too :)

  26. Brock - Backpack With Brock 25 February 2012 1651 #

    Excellent tips for winter fun! I’m sure some of those would transfer over to Canada as well.
    Brock – Backpack With Brock recently posted..One Moment In Time – A Tribute to Whitney Houston From a Backpacker

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 26 February 2012 2249 #

      Yes, I’m sure. Canada and Norway are similar in many ways: few people, lots of space, cold snowy winters, gorgeous summers with long white nights, mountains, rivers, oceans…

  27. Anwar 25 February 2012 1911 #

    I have been to Oslo in the summer time previously and was scared to go there in the winter. I mean i know its silly to think there would be nothing to do, but its great to see an article outlining a lot of the fun winter activities.
    Anwar recently posted..Friday Photo: On the streets of Shinjuku

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 26 February 2012 2250 #

      Lots to do in winter as well, but it’s best if you enjoy the outdoors :)

  28. Louise 6 March 2012 2129 #

    What a precious picture of the little girl. She looks so happy. Just beautiful!

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 7 March 2012 1740 #

      I know! My baby :)

  29. Your Olso activities sound like a blast for those with our without children!
    Mary @ Green Global Travel recently posted..INTERVIEW: Mother Nature Network Co-Founder Chuck Leavell

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 3 May 2012 0938 #

      Yep, good fun for children of all ages :)

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