The Norwegian capital is a veritable hotbed of activity, and like many popular modern metropolitan hubs, has something to suit every taste.
From high art and contemporary architecture to flavours from around the world, Oslo is known for its diversity.
The combination of traditional Scandinavian culture mixed with a progressive, contemporary atmosphere makes for a fascinating visit.
Oslo is also known for its surroundings; every bit as diverse and beautiful as the city itself.
Excellent transport options mean you can get to the coast, fjords, small towns and much more in merely a few hours and be back the same day.
Whether you want to go hiking in search of incredible views or get a feel for modern rural life in Norway, these day trips are a guaranteed way to give you a break from the hustle and bustle of city life.
1. Bygdoy Peninsula
Only four miles from Oslo lies one of its most treasured and beautiful local attractions: the Bygdoy Peninsula.
Here you’ll find a high concentration of some of the area’s most intriguing points of interest, not to mention gorgeous parks, beaches and forests.
You can embark on a museum spree and marvel at artefacts depicting the country’s fascinating history, or pay a visit to the Royal Manor; a fully functional 200-acre organic farm.
The numerous cultural attractions in the Bygdoy Peninsula make for an intriguing visit, but if you simply want to unwind and get back to nature, you’ll find this the perfect place to do it, with various peaceful trails you can follow to explore by foot.
2. Norwegian Folk Museum
This open-air museum is a testament to all things Scandinavian, and here you’ll find an intriguing collection of exhibits featuring everything from antiquities to entire buildings built in traditional Norwegian fashion.
The Norwegian Folk Museum is made up of various structures from all over Norway that form a little old village.
The exhibits are spread out among the different buildings and you’ll have the chance to learn about things like reindeer herding, hunting, fishing and even visit a church dating back to 1200. The museum can be found at Bygdoy, whose Old Town is only a few minutes walk away, and is a charming way to wrap up your day trip.
3. Viking Ships Museum
A trip to the Viking Ships Museum is almost obligatory if you’re in Norway, and with the amount on exhibition at the museum, a day trip here is without question worthwhile.
In this museum, you’ll find three 9th Century ships that have been incredibly well-preserved; including the Osenberg Ship, which is in fact the largest surviving pre-Christian artefact in the whole of Scandinavia.
Sharing a room with these huge vessels is truly an experience, and their rich history sheds light on the intriguing and tumultuous lives of the Vikings.
Tickets available online: Viking Ship Museum and Historical Museum Entry Ticket
4. Fram Museum
An absolute must-see for anyone interested in both historical and modern maritime exploits, the Fram Museum is named after the first Norwegian ship that was built for polar research, which is now the prized exhibit.
Here you’ll also find the vessel known as Gjøa; the first to navigate the Northwest Passage.
If the Fram Museum doesn’t have enough to keep you intrigued, then head over to the adjoining building where you’ll find the Kon-Tiki Museum, with even more crafts and displays dedicated to the nationally treasured explorer, Thor Heyerdahl.
This small neighbourhood is a great place to escape to for a day, to wander around the various points of interest in an atmosphere far removed from the bustling center of Oslo.
Ekeberg is home to a huge array of al fresco art installations and sculptures, all dotted around the picturesque Ekeberg Park.
You can while away many hours searching for these among the tree-lined paths and open spaces.
Also found here are the famous Petroglyphs at Ekeberg; a collection of 5000-year-old rock carvings depicting local wildlife and even an early human.
A beautiful range of wooded hills to the northwest of Oslo hides Norway’s most popular ski areas, and is home to the enormous Holmenkollen Ski Jump.
The huge structure offers visitors the chance to learn about some of the nation’s most interesting ski-related history, as well as inviting them to enjoy the views from the top, which are truly breathtaking.
The Oslo Fjord is visible from the apex, and the panoramic vista of nearby Oslo is hard to beat.
If you’re feeling curious about the action on the slope, you can even try out a ski jump simulator to see what it’s like leaping over the world-famous incline.
Included in this tour: Oslo Panoramic and Sculpture Park
7. TusenFryd Family Park
Found in Vinterbro, not far from Oslo, is the TusenFryd Family Park; a pleasant day trip for the whole family, or simply for visitors looking to have some fun and try something new.
With a plethora of attractions, rides, and games, it’s a great place to have an adventure, particularly as there is something for every age group.
From huge rollercoasters to 5D haunted houses, it’s a great way to get out of the city and enjoy yourself.
The nearby BadeFryd water park is also an excellent place to cool off in the warmer summer months.
A popular location for people looking to snap some panoramic shots of the city, the area of Grefsenkollen sits at over 1000-feet above sea level and offers some incredibly beautiful sweeping views of Oslo below.
Another bonus sitting at the top of the hill is the much-loved Oslo landmark: Grefsenkollen Restaurant, open since 1926 and offering an insight into life in days gone by, as well as serving up some excellent food.
9. Henie-Onstad Art Center
Founded over 50 years ago, the Henie-Onstad Art Center can be found in Høvikodden and houses the country’s largest collection of international art.
A perfect day trip for art lovers and curious visitors alike, the center was built on a headland protruding into the Oslofjord, meaning that it offers beautiful views to visitors wandering around looking at the outdoor exhibits.
With works by everyone from Matisse to Picasso, there is something for everyone at Henie-Onstad.
Look out for cultural events and concerts that are regularly held here.
The beautifully rural town of Lillehammer is the epitome of small-town pleasantness that attracts more and more locals and visitors seeking an escape from the busy capital.
A two-hour scenic drive will find you in a completely different world to metropolitan Oslo; surrounded by rolling green hills, verdant forests and beautiful lakes.
The charming wooden houses lining the streets are often rentable if you wish to stay a night, or you can simply bring a picnic, spend the day, and return to town in the evening.
Though it involves catching a flight, a day trip to Bergen is more than achievable from Oslo and is well worth the effort.
This gorgeous waterside town is filled with brightly-coloured wooden houses and is a quaint insight into what rural life was like in fjord towns up and down Norway’s fjord region.
Wander around on foot or embark on a short cruise to some nearby fjords in search of jaw-dropping views.
You can also enjoy some of the freshest and most delicious seafood in Norway at Bergen; famed for its fishing history.
A trip to Trondheim also involves an hour’s flight, but the historical city is a bucket-list destination in Norway and it’s easy to see why.
Dating back to the 11th Century, the city is filled to the brim with incredibly preserved, breathtaking architecture, with sites like the Gothic Nidaros Cathedral and the Archbishop’s Palace Museum.
Perfect for history lovers, the picturesque city also houses fascinating archaeological findings from the area and showcases classical music performances.
13. Lake Mjøsa
Jump on the train from Oslo International Airport and within the hour you’ll find yourself at Norway’s largest lake: the breath-taking Lake Mjøsa.
The perfect way to spend a day if you want to combine exploring small lakeside towns with a healthy dose of Scandinavian nature, it’s so close to Oslo that a visit to the lake can last all day long before you must head back to town.
Popular spots on the lake that you can reach by paddle steamship are Hamar, Gjøvik and Lillehammer.
Home to Faerder National Park, Vestfold is a region on the coast that is rich in Viking history, as well as boasting some incredible fjord landscapes.
Here, you can visit various archaeological sites to learn about the area’s history and significance as a shipbuilding hub and other marine activities.
One of the most popular of these is the Viking Trail, a center for learning about Viking activity in the area and peppered with sites of interest.
Also worth a visit is the “Worlds End,” where you’ll be rewarded with absolutely stunning views of the national park.
15. Drøbak Christmas Town
Only an hour from Oslo, you’ll find the small fishing village of Drøbak, used as a port for the capital during the winter months when the other fjords freeze over.
It’s also known for being a charming little settlement reminiscent of Christmas villages, complete with a Santa Post Office, coloured wooden houses and Christmas memorabilia around every corner.
It’s a perfect day trip for families and travelers looking for some Christmas cheer all year round.