With a history dating back to the Viking era nearly 1,000 years ago, Oslo was originally established as a small coastal fishing and trading village.
Now, it’s Norway’s capital and most populous city. In recent years, it has become a regional powerhouse in technology, the arts, and even cuisine.
Though it’s downright cold for much of the year, there are a variety of year-round tours and activities close at hand. Many guests choose to visit during the holiday season when the city is awash with Christmas lights, decorations, and happy revelers.
Below are 15 of the best tours of Oslo.
1. Oslo Walking and Fjord Boat Tour with Norwegian Buffet
Combo tours are perfect for value-minded travelers intent on making the most of their vacation.
On this seven-hour guided tour of Oslo, guests will explore many aspects of the capital city, including history, culture, and food.
The first part of the tour includes a number of stops at local restaurants and food stalls to sample pizza, beer, dried fish, and traditional Norwegian desserts.
Tours also include a fjord boat ride with lots of sightseeing opportunities, where your guide describes the significance of the things you’re seeing.
Things get wrapped up with a Norwegian-style buffet that includes all-you-can-eat shrimp and other local delicacies.
2. Oslo Fjords Tour
Island hopping isn’t just a tropical activity; in fact, it’s alive and well in northern climes like Oslo.
After boarding the boat, guests will set out to explore the beautiful landscapes.
3. Oslo Selected Highlights Half-Day Bus Tour
Though there are plenty of tour options for those who prefer to walk, pedal, and paddle, many visitors prefer to see Oslo’s sites from the comfort of a climate-controlled tour bus.
If you fall into the latter category, this four-hour Oslo highlights discovery tour would be a great choice.
Along with your knowledgeable local guide, you’ll see many of the city’s most momentous attractions, like the Holmenkollen ski jump, the Vigeland sculpture park, and the Kon-Tiki Museum, which details the fantastic nautical adventures of Thor Heyerdahl.
Tours last about four hours, begin mid-morning and include a short boat tour between mid-March and mid-October.
4. 3-Hour Beer Tour
Like cities all over the world, Oslo has experienced a microbrew revolution in the past decade; many of its best brews rival those in countries more well-known for beer, like Germany and Belgium.
On this two-hour tasting tour, guests and their guide will venture off the well-worn path and explore neighborhoods and small-batch breweries that don’t get much foot traffic compared to other attractions.
Participants will hang out with locals, learn how beer is made, and sample a variety of brews with many distinct colors, flavor profiles, and alcohol contents.
Tours begin at a central location and include snacks at each stop.
5. 3-hour Kayaking Trip on the Oslofjord
For fans of nature who prefer exhilarating tours to ones that require lots of sitting, this kayaking excursion on the Oslofjord would be a great way to spend three hours.
Tours go ahead rain or shine and require a fair amount of physical exertion, so they’re best left to the relatively fit.
Each group gets all the gear they’ll need and an introduction to kayaking, which ensures that everyone has a safe and memorable day.
Highlights include a number of islands, beaches, and bays, as well as some of the most unique and impressive views of the city that those on land won’t get to appreciate.
6. Riverwalk and Norwegian Food Tasting
The River Aker cuts through the heart of Oslo, dividing it into east and west portions.
After rendezvousing with their guide outside their hotel, tour guests will take a short ride on the metro to Nydalin Riverwalk, where the tour will get underway.
Though everyone expects to see historical sites, impressive bridges, and the city’s singular skyline, they’re generally pleasantly surprised to see several waterfalls and undisturbed natural areas that are home to a variety of local wildlife species.
Tours last about five hours and end with a guided food tasting at a cozy restaurant in the city’s swank Grünerløkka neighborhood.
7. E-Scooter City Tour
E-scooters are fun, safe, and non-polluting means of tour transportation that have really caught on in recent years.
Despite its urban hustle and bustle, Oslo is a scooter-friendly city, and previous tour guests tend to agree that there’s really no better way to explore it.
Oslo is particularly well-known for its fascinating history, unique culture, and abundant green spaces. This tour allows guests to experience all three up close and personally.
Tour highlights include the Norwegian Opera and Ballet, the Bjørvika District, Akershus Fortress, and the Royal Palace, to name just a few.
Tours last 2 ½ hours and are available twice daily.
8. 3-Hour Jazz and Buffet Cruise
Oslo Fjord is characterized by vast expanses of open water, islands bursting with green foliage in the spring and summer, and historic sites like centuries-old fortresses that once protected the vital route from invaders.
Once onboard, guests will have the option of taking in the scenery from inside the cabin or out on the deck, depending on the weather.
Sights also include secluded inlets and colorful summer homes. When it’s time to dine, guests will enjoy live jazz and a Norwegian-style buffet with lots of local specialties and fresh shrimp.
Tours begin in the evening and last about three hours.
9. Hop-On Hop-Off Mini Cruise
Oslo’s rich history and idyllic landscapes are often best experienced from a cruise boat on the Oslofjord.
On this narrated sightseeing tour, guests will take in spectacular mountains, abundant islands, impressive fjord views, and a number of the city’s most important sites, including the newly built Opera House, the Maritime Museum, and the ever-popular Kon-Tiki Museum.
At each stop, guests can choose to depart and explore, or just relax on the boat until something perks their interest.
Entrance tickets to each attraction aren’t included, so guests only pay for the things that interest them and not those they choose to skip.
10 Myths and Legends Walking Tour
Oslo is more than 1,000 years old, and, according to those in the know, its past is chock-full of intriguing and hair-raising tales.
On this two-hour myths and legends walking tour, guests will set out on foot to explore some of Oslo’s premier attractions, like the Royal Palace, City Hall, National Theater, and Akershus Fortress.
Along the way, they’ll benefit from their guide’s insights into events that shaped the city and country’s history, and they’ll visit sites with macabre pasts and venture from the well-worn tourist paths.
Tours last about 2 ½ hours, begin mid-morning and set out from a central location.
11. Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour
Unlike their traditional tour counterparts that generally feature rigid itineraries, hop-on hop-off bus tours are great options. They’re usually inexpensive and allow participants to explore the things that interest them and ignore those that don’t.
Featuring access to premium Oslo attractions like the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History, Frogner Park, the Viking Ship Museum, and the Oslo Opera House, there’s a little something on this tour for visitors of all ages and interests.
Tours are given on an open-air multi-level bus, include audio guides in multiple languages, and tickets are good for one full day from the time of purchase.
12. Christmas Spirit Private Walking Tour
What could possibly be more Christmas-y than spending the holidays in a vibrant Scandinavian capital just a stone’s throw from the North Pole?
On this Christmas-centered tour of Oslo, guests will discover Norwegian traditions, explore some dynamic Christmas markets, and enjoy views of decorated neighborhoods and the Royal Palace.
Tours include the services of a local guide and mulled wine and other hot drinks along the way to instill Christmas spirit and warm cold bodies.
The weather can be frigid, blustery, and icy, so it’s wise to dress in layers and wear warm shoes or boots with good tread.
13. 2 ½-Hour Private Walking Tour of Bohemian Oslo
Though many northern European cities have the reputation of being rather reserved and straight-laced, Oslo is remarkably Bohemian.
This 2 ½-hour walking tour offers guests a ground-view experience as they follow their guide to explore everything from green urban parks and street art to historic attractions and cafés popular with the alternative crowd.
The tour focuses on parts of the city that tend to go unnoticed by more traditional tourists; therein lies much of its charm for those who prefer cultural immersion and unique experiences to the same-old-same-old.
An ever-popular highlight is learning about former resident Edvard Munch – famous for his painting, The Scream.
14. Taste of Oslo Food Tour
Featuring diverse geography and both traditional and contemporary influences, Norway’s cuisine and food scenes are easy to experience on relatively inexpensive tours when in Oslo.
On this four-hour walking excursion, your guide will introduce you to the unique ingredients, dishes, flavors, and aromas that make the county’s cuisines so delectable.
Beginning at the harbor, guests and their guide will set out to visit a number of eateries with distinct foods, decors, and clientele.
Tours include food samplings of things like homemade chocolate, cheese, cured fish, and even microbrews from some of the city’s most popular small-batch breweries.