Not packed in a bus. Not herded with a group. Self guided walk is the SAFEST way to sightsee while observing SOCIAL DISTANCING!

City Center Walking Tour (Self Guided), Oslo

Sentrum, meaning city-center, is located on the southeast side of the city near the inner Oslofjord. The district is dominated by high buildings and valuable tourist attractions. Take this tour to visit Ibsen Museum, as well as Stortinget, National Theater, University of Oslo, National Gallery, Oslo Cathedral and many others.
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City Center Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: City Center Walking Tour
Guide Location: Norway » Oslo (See other walking tours in Oslo)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 13
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.9 Km or 2.4 Miles
Author: karen
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Oslo Cathedral
  • Basarhallene
  • Stortorvet
  • GlasMagasinet
  • Heimen Husflid
  • Etnografisk Museum
  • University of Oslo
  • Stortinget
  • Theatercaféen
  • Chat Noir
  • National Theater (Nationaltheatret)
  • Norwegian Nobel Committee Building
  • Royal Palace
Oslo Cathedral

1) Oslo Cathedral (must see)

Oslo Cathedral, previously known as Our Saviour’s Church, is the current cathedral for the city, and the third in the history of Oslo. The first was built in the 12th century when the city was located slightly to the east of where it now stands. Following a great fire in 1624, the city was rebuilt around Akershus Slott. The second cathedral lasted only fifty years before another fire destroyed it. The current building, located off the Stortorvet main square, was consecrated in 1697. Rebuilt in 1850 by Chateauneuf and von Hanno, this elegant, if unassuming, neo-Gothic church was most recently restored between 2006 and 2010, and reopened with a grand Mass.

The cathedral is used by the Norwegian royal family and government for public events. It was the venue for Norway’s last royal wedding in 2001, when Haakon, Crown Prince of Norway, married Mette Tjessem Hoiby. The interior is notable for fine stained glass windows designed by Emanuel Vigeland, a silver sculpture by Arrigo Minerbi, and elaborate ceiling decoration by Norwegian painter Hugo Mohr. Home to the Bishop of Oslo, the church holds Mass each Sunday and is free to visit throughout the week. Guided group tours can also be arranged on weekdays.

Why You Should Visit:
Simple and elegant, and open for everyone. The pulpit and King's seating area are beautifully carved, and the ceiling and Last Supper bronze are very worth seeing.
Not merely a religious building but a center of culture for the whole city; in fact, you can often attend many different concerts and events during the year.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Fri: 10am-4pm; Sat: 4pm-6am
Services (Mass) are celebrated Sun: 11am; Wed: 12pm; Fri: 4:30pm
Sight description based on wikipedia

2) Basarhallene

Basarhallene is a famous traditional Norwegian shop with hand-crafted products built 150 years ago. Today the renewed shop sells traditional Nordic sweaters, glass, ceramics, jewelry and art, all high quality with prices reflecting the value of the goods. In summertime there are outdoor exhibits of art and local crafts.

3) Stortorvet

Stortovet, or ‘Grand Plaza’, is a central square, west of Oslo Cathedral. Inaugurated in 1736, it has consistently played a central part in the city’s daily life. The square hosted a large market until 1889, and still hosts seasonal markets to this day. Some seventy years later, Stortovet became a major center once again, with the introduction of the Oslo tramway. The square became a central terminus for a number of tram services in the 1960s, and is still well served by trams and buses.

Stortovet also hosted a public demonstration against the union between Sweden and Norway in 1829, when the city was still known as Christiania. Ceded to Sweden by Denmark in the early 19th century and given increasing autonomy, Norway faced a battle to become a fully independent nation, free of influence from their larger neighbors. The tentative union survived until 1905, when Norway became fully independent.

The grand square features a number of well preserved 18th and 19th century buildings, including Glasmagasinet and Stortorvets Gjaestgiveri. The latter, a dual entrance yellow townhouse dating from the construction of the square, is listed as a Norwegian Cultural Heritage Site, meaning it is protected by the government from demolition or development.

4) GlasMagasinet

GlasMagasinet is located in the historical area, between Stortorvet and Karl Johans Gate, and is Oslo’s oldest department store. It carries on the tradition of selling old Norwegian crystal and other handmade crafts, but also sells some modern goods, in an elegant and stylish atmosphere.
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri: 10:00 am - 7:00 pm; Sat: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Heimen Husflid

5) Heimen Husflid

Heimen Husflid is where you will find rosemaling, the traditional Norwegian method of painting on wood. This shop has eighty years of experience in this area and also sells traditional wooden baskets and costumes, known as Bunad.
Opening hours: Monday-Friday: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm; Saturday: 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Etnografisk Museum

6) Etnografisk Museum

The Ethnographic Museum was opened in the 1850s and became a part of the Historical Museum at the beginning of 20th century. The museum’s exhibitions focus on non-European cultures and also houses a library containing one of the richest collections of ethnological literature in the world.

Operation Hours: Tuesday - Sunday: 10 am - 5 pm;
University of Oslo

7) University of Oslo

The University of Oslo was founded in 1811. It is the oldest and largest university in Norway, and considered to be one of the world’s hundred best educational institutes. Its central campus is located in the heart of Oslo’s city center, close to the Royal Palace and Stortinget. Whilst many of the modern faculties are now based at a campus outside the center, the neoclassical, Prussian influenced buildings remain. These buildings now comprise the university’s prestigious Faculty of Law.

The university was modeled on those already established in the nearby cities of Copenhagen and Berlin. Originally named after King Frederick, ruler of a unified Norway and Denmark, it only changed its name in 1939. It is informally known simply as ‘universitet’, or ‘the university’. This is understandable, given that it was the only university anywhere in Norway until as recently as 1946.

The university’s main hall was used to host the internationally acclaimed Nobel Peace Prize from 1947 to 1989. It is the only university to have hosted a Nobel Prize ceremony. The institute can also claim five previous Nobel Prize winners amongst its alumni. The campus also hosts cultural and natural history museums, created from the university’s extensive archives and research facilities.
Sight description based on wikipedia

8) Stortinget

The Stortinget is Norway’s Parliament building. It is located in the very centre of Oslo, on Karl Johanns Gate. Designed by the Swedish architect, Emil Victor Langlet, it has housed Norway’s Parliament, or Storting, since March 1866. The parliament had led a nomadic existence for fifty years between its creation and the opening of the Stortinget. Beginning in a private home, the fledgling government met at schools and university halls before land was purchased in 1857.

Following an open design competition, a red brick, classically Scandinavian design by Schirmer and von Hanno was announced as the winner, only for parliament to overturn the decision, claiming it looked too similar to a church. Langlet’s more classical design, with a circular central chamber and arcade style archways, was selected and built between 1860 and 1866. The building, considered too large initially for its purpose, was not significantly altered until after World War 2.

During Nazi occupation of Norway, the country’s Parliament fled abroad, and the Stortinget was used as an army barracks. Following liberation, the edifice was fully renovated, and a modern four-storey building added at the back. The interior is characterized by opulent red and gold designs, influenced by French and Italian architecture.

9) Theatercaféen

Theatercafeen is a famous and prestigious place for meeting. This place is a real symbol for a meeting planning; therefore all those implicated in the world of culture and finance fix their ceremonies here. The location is just one of those few of this style left in northern Europe. Built in the early 20th century the construction was designed in an Art Nouveau Viennese-style.
Chat Noir

10) Chat Noir

Chat Noir (French for "Black Cat") is a cabaret and revue theatre in Oslo, Norway. It was established in 1912 by Bokken Lasson. The current director is Tom Sterri. Chat Noir was established as a cabaret in 1912 by singer Bokken Lasson and her later husband, writer Vilhelm Dybwad, modelled after the Paris cabaret Le Chat Noir from the 19th century. During a visit to Paris in the early 1890s Bokken Lasson had found the inspiration of her life. She experienced the literary cabarets of the time, and performers such as Yvette Guilbert. The next years she toured European cities, wearing a self-composed costume, singing gypsy songs and playing lute, performing on the street, at restaurants, cabarets and occasionally in musical comedies. Chat Noir opened in the Tivoli building and Bokken Lasson managed the cabaret from 1912 to 1917. Chat Noir became a cultural meeting place, with the artists Christian and Oda Krohg (Bokken's sister) as leading figures. Their son Per Krohg painted the first decorations. To begin with Chat Noir was a literary cabaret. Herman Wildenvey and Arnulf Øverland contributed with poetry, Vilhelm Dybwad composed melodies, and Bokken Lasson was singing. In 1913 the first revue, called 1913, was played at Chat Noir. In 1916 Lalla Christensen was introduced, singing children's songs. Lalla – later married Carlsen – was engaged at Chat Noir until 1947, and came to be one of the most popular revue artists in Norway.
Sight description based on wikipedia
National Theater (Nationaltheatret)

11) National Theater (Nationaltheatret)

Oslo’s Nationaltheatret is located on Johanne Dybwads Plass, close to Karl Johans Gate, the city’s central shopping street. It is served by metro, tram and rail services at its eponymous station. Noticeable for its imposing columned facade, the theater has been a fixture of Oslo life since 1829, when it opened as the Christiania theater. It has existed in its current form since 1899, when the building was opened with a three day festival.

The center piece of the grand opening was the performance of the Ibsen play Enemy of the People. Henrik Ibsen, arguably Norway’s greatest playwright, saw the vast majority of his works performed here, including his internationally acclaimed play A Doll’s House. This was during the theater's golden age, when a combination of government funding and the work of artistic director, Vilhelm Krag, established the theater as the biggest and best in Norway. The theater now contains three separate performance areas – the main stage, the amphitheater and the painting parlor. There is also a sister theater in the Torshov district of Oslo.

Operation hours: Monday - Friday: 9.30 am - 6 pm; Saturday 11 am - 5 pm.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Norwegian Nobel Committee Building

12) Norwegian Nobel Committee Building

The Norwegian Nobel Institute is am elegant stone clad building in the centre of Oslo. It is situated next to the Royal Palace, and opposite the U.S. Embassy. It was established in 1904, a year before Norway achieved full independence, and is the administrative centre for the Norwegian Nobel Committee. The committee is a five-person panel, comprised only of Norwegian citizens, that award the Nobel Peace Prize each year.

Whilst it is widely acknowledged that the prize is named after Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel, a lesser known fact is that it was Nobel who posthumously created the award. His will donated money to the Norwegian government to create a committee, and award an annual prize for the promotion or advancement of world peace. Notable recent winners of the prize include Mikhail Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela and Barack Obama. Other Nobel awards are given out by the Swedish government, again under instruction from Nobel’s will.

The institute also houses a library, comprising a staggering 180 thousand volumes, all related to peace and international relations. The building also contains an extensive research facility which is visited by scholars from across the globe. Seminars and lectures on international development and relations are also held here, including the renowned Nobel Symposia – invitational debates attended by some of the world’s most distinguished scholars and public speakers.
Royal Palace

13) Royal Palace (must see)

The Royal Palace or Slottet in Oslo was built in the first half of the 19th century as the Norwegian residence of the French-born King Charles III of Norway, who reigned as king of Norway and Sweden. The palace is the official residence of the current Norwegian monarch while the Crown Prince resides at Skaugum in Asker west of Oslo.

Construction began on the palace in 1825; it took almost twenty-five years to complete. The building process, overseen by local architect Hans Linstow, was fraught with political difficulties. The government refused further funding for the expensive project at one point, due to the king’s efforts to tie Sweden and Norway closer together. Despite proceeding with a simpler, three storey neo-Classical design, the palace was still unfinished when Charles III died in 1844. His son and heir, Oscar I, became the first resident five years later.

Since public tours began in 2002, the general public has been able to view and appreciate the renovation and splendor that the palace now boasts. The daily changing of the guards has become a popular tourist attraction in recent years. Additionally, in 2017, the former palace stables were renovated and converted into a multipurpose art venue which was named Dronning Sonja KunstStall. The building will be used as an art gallery, museum and concert hall and is also open to the public.

Guided tours run all afternoon through the summer months, though they are mostly in Norwegian. English language tours take place at 12pm, 2pm, 2:20pm and 4pm each day. Tickets for the guided tours are available online from 1 March each year.

Why You Should Visit:
Not a palace in the tradition of older European monarchies but still elegant and beautifully decorated with many of the objects you'd expect to see in a royal residence.

Changing of the royal guards is at 1:30 pm daily. You can always politely approach one of the guard soldiers and take a nice photo or have a chat with them :)
The garden are peaceful and freely accessible – you can have a picnic over there and quietly sit down in the midst of nature.

Opening Hours (during Summer):
Mon-Thu: 11am-5pm; Fri: 12-5pm; Sat-Sun: 10am-5pm
Note that the 2018 season lasted from 23 June until 18 August.
Sight description based on wikipedia

Walking Tours in Oslo, Norway

Create Your Own Walk in Oslo

Create Your Own Walk in Oslo

Creating your own self-guided walk in Oslo is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Museum District (Bygdoy) Walking Tour

Museum District (Bygdoy) Walking Tour

Also called Oslo's Museum Center, Bygdøy is where some of the most visited museums are located, displaying precious items from Norway’s past. You can also visit Bygdøy’s beautiful parks, forests or the wonderful beach located on the west side.

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.9 Km or 3.7 Miles
Pipervika Bay Walking Tour

Pipervika Bay Walking Tour

Norway's capital, Oslo, is a magnificent city where you will find an eclectic mix of architectural styles. Be sure to explore its lovely streets and wonderful museums that are considered to be some of the best in the world, as well as original restaurants and cafes located in the Pipervika Bay.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.0 Km or 1.9 Miles
Grunerlokka and St. Hanshaugen Walking Tour

Grunerlokka and St. Hanshaugen Walking Tour

Grünerløkka and St. Hanshaugen used to be small villages not far from the main settlement, then called Christiania. Today these neighborhoods are perfect for exploring historical and cultural heritage of Norway capital. This tour will guide you through the St. Hanshaugen Park, Zoologisk Museum, Botanisk Hage og Museum and many others.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.7 Km or 2.3 Miles
Old Oslo Walking Tour

Old Oslo Walking Tour

Gamle Oslo translated as "Old Oslo" is one of the oldest boroughs in town, as well as one of the biggest. This tour will show you the main attractions of Gamle Oslo district, including Munch Museum, Asylet, Vålerenga Kirke and others.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.6 Km or 3.5 Miles
Hanshaugen Historical Churches Tour

Hanshaugen Historical Churches Tour

Learn more about the religious life of Oslo by taking this walking tour of the city’s most important sacred sights. An interesting variety of design, including Protestant and Catholic churches, can be found in Oslo Hanshaugen borough.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.4 Km or 0.9 Miles
Kvadraturen Walking Tour

Kvadraturen Walking Tour

Kvadraturen is the oldest quarter of Oslo. It is located in the very heart of the Sentrum borough and offers plenty of tourist spots to visit. Take this tour to explore the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Gamle Raadhus, Film Museum and many others.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.1 Km or 1.3 Miles

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip

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