Oslo Cruise Port Guide | 10 Best Things To Do In Oslo, Norway

Oslo Harbour

Welcome to Oslo cruise port!

Oslo, the capital of Norway and its biggest city is the oldest capital in Scandinavia and has been considered one of Europe’s most expensive cities. This compact city is well known for its many museums, art galleries, wide green spaces, and ultra-modern, eclectic architecture. When visiting Oslo port, it’s advisable to be on the outer decks of the ship an hour before arrival, so you can enjoy the beautiful landscape while cruising through the Oslo Fjord. In this article, read about:

  • Oslo cruise port (Oslo cruise terminal, getting around, helpful info)
  • 10 best things to do in Oslo port and best Oslo shore excursions

Visit also our cruise port guides to Helsinki, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Olden, Bergen, Tromso, Alesund, Stavanger

Oslo Cruise Port

Oslo cruise terminal has two cruise ship piers both located at the city center, within a 15-minute walk from Karl Johan Gate, the main street. Cruise ships dock at Akershus Pier, where you’ll find a Tourist information center, free Wi-Fi, shops, tax refund services, restaurants, and cafes.

At the Tourist information center, you can take free city maps, change your money, and get information about the local transport, Hop on Hop off the bus, Oslo fjord boat cruises, and other tourist attractions. The taxi rank is right outside the pier, however, keep in mind that taxis in Oslo can be very expensive.

The cruise port is very scenic and already from the port, you can admire the imposing, 13th-century Akershus Fortress, housing two military museums and event spaces. You can also spot City Hall, the Nobel Peace Center, and the Opera House from the port.

Oslo cruise port, the view from the cruise ship.
Oslo harbour. Photo courtesy of Karen Tregonning.

Getting Around & Local Transportation

  • Public transportation in Oslo is very reliable and is operated by the Ruter company. Ruter’s tickets are valid for buses, trams, subways, ferries (not the Bygdøy ferry), and local trains. Check the timetables on the Ruter’s website or at the Tourist information center once you arrive.
  • Tram line #12 is located 500 m from the Oslo cruise terminal, and you can use it to get to Vigeland Park.
  • Bus #30 is also located within a 5-minute walk from the pier (at the Rådhuset bus stop, right by the City Hall), and you can use it to get to the Bygdøy peninsula, where the city’s main attractions are located: Viking Ship Museum, Kon-tiki Museum, the Fram Museum.
  • You can use the same tickets for all types of public transport (bus, train, tram, metro, ferry – except for the Bygdøy ferry), and they need to be pre-purchased at the Tourist information center on the pier, or any kiosk, Ruter’s sales point or ticket machine. Tickets bought on the tram/bus are more expensive than the ones purchased at the kiosk.
  • The local currency in Norway is the Norwegian krone (currency code: NOK; symbol KR). 1 USD equals 10.55 KR. Credit cards and the local currency are widely accepted. See the currency converter
  • Taxis are available at designated stations and they are mostly metered. However, taxi rates in Oslo are one of the highest in Norway. Credit cards can be used to pay for taxis, just make sure to inform the driver at the start of the trip if this will be your method of payment. Alternatively, to avoid paying for taxis, you can use public transport, book a shore excursion, or explore the city on your own.
  • Oslo Hop on hop off sightseeing buses are available within a 5-10 minute walking distance from the Oslo cruise terminal. Wherever your ship docks (there are a few other piers close by without any facilities), it is easy to reach Hop on hop off bus stop. The bus stop is Akershus Fortress and Castle/Cruise Ship Terminal. The loop takes 70 minutes and it includes stops at major city attractions: the Vigeland Sculpture Park, the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History, the Fram Polar Ship Museum, the Kon-Tiki Museum, the Viking Ship Museum, the National Opera House, the Historical Museum, the Norwegian Parliament, the Nobel Peace Center, Karl Johans Gate, and others. Check out Oslo Hop on Hop off bus tours on Viator and Get Your Guide
  • The ferry to the Bygdøy Peninsula operates between March and October. It departs every 30 minutes from City Hall Pier 3, located a 10-minute walk from the cruise terminal. It’s highly recommended to purchase the tickets at the ticket office at the ferry terminal because onboard the ferry you’ll pay more.  The ferry has 2 stops: 1st stop Dronningen – Norwegian Museum of Cultural History and Oscarshall;
    2nd stop Bygdøynes – Kon-Tiki, Fram and Norwegian Maritime Museum. Ruter’s regular public transportation tickets do not apply on the ferry to the Bygdøy Peninsula. The ferry is free with the Oslo Pass.
  • Get the Oslo Pass and access more than 30 museums and attractions, free public transport (zones 1 and 2), discounts and special offers at shops and restaurants, and much more. Book Oslo Pass online
  • Oslo Airport is located 48 km/30 miles (a 40-minute drive) northeast of Oslo cruise port.
  • Book a private transfer to/from the port of Oslo
  • Explore Oslo tours and activities
  • Find accommodation in Oslo

10 Best Things to Do in Oslo Cruise Port

Exploring Oslo on your own is very easy but if it’s your first time here, it’s recommended to take a guided tour to learn about the rich history of the country and the city highlights. Some of the main highlights are located right in the city center but if you are not into walking, Hop on Hop off buses are available right outside the port area.

Within walking distance from the pier, you will be able to get to the impressive Akershus Fortress, Oslo Town Hall, Karl Johans main street, the Opera House, and the Nobel Peace Center.

Karl Johans street - Oslo
Karl Johans Street

1. Vigeland Sculpture Park

The largest sculpture park in the world made by a single artist contains over 200 bronze and granite human figures. Do not miss visiting “the Monolith” with 121 carved human figures all in one stone including “the Fountain” where you will be able to admire over 20 sculptures that represent the different stages in life. The park is open 24 hours and the entrance is free.

Check out Vigeland Park tours and activities

Vigeland Sculpture Park in Oslo
Vigeland Sculpture Park. Photo courtesy of David Garcia.
The Monolith - Vigeland sculpture park.
The Monolith. Photo courtesy of David Garcia.

2. The Viking Ship Museum

This Museum is located on the Bygdoy peninsula. Here you will be able to admire three of the best-preserved 9th-century wooden Viking ships up close, as well as some jewelry, tools, and artifacts found. This impressive museum will take you back to the Viking Era. I suggest you secure your tickets online ahead of time, although they are also available at the museum entrance.

Check out Viking Ship Museum tours and activities

Viking Ship Museum in Oslo
Viking Ship Museum. Photo courtesy of Karen Tregonning.

3. Norsk Folkemuseum

This amazing open-air Museum is also located on the Bygdoy Peninsula. Here you will be able to learn about Norway’s rich culture and history from the Middle Ages to the present. This museum contains 160 buildings and exhibitions that show you the different regions of the country throughout the years, including the stunning Gol Stave Church built in 1200.

The Museum is a must-stop when traveling with children. I suggest you secure your tickets online ahead of time, however, you can also buy them at the museum entrance.

Explore Norsk Folkemuseum tours and activities

Gol Stave Church - Norsk Folkemuseum - Oslo
Gol Stave Church. Source: no.wikipedia.org

4. Nobel Peace Center

Located right in the city center, a 10-minute walking distance from the cruise dock, the Nobel Peace Center allows you to learn all the history behind the renowned Peace Prize, Alfred Nobel and the nomination process. You can get your tickets right at the entrance. Your ticket includes an audio guide in 9 different languages, and on Saturdays, your ticket includes a 20-minute guided tour. There is a museum shop and a café house.

Check out Nobel Peace Center tours and activities

Nobel Peace Center - Oslo
Nobel Peace Center

5. The Royal Palace

The official residence of the Norwegian Monarchy is located in the heart of Oslo, at the end of Karl Johans Street. You will be surprised how close you can get to this amazing palace! Do not miss the changing of guards happening every day at 1:30 PM. Visitors can visit some of the most beautiful rooms in the palace, just make sure to pre-book your tickets.

Explore Royal Palace tours and activities

Oslo Royal Palace
Royal Palace. Source: Viator.com

6. Akershus Fortress and Castle

Discover the history of Norway while visiting this amazing site located right in the heart of the city, next to the harbor area. This medieval castle was built originally to protect the city and throughout history and it served as a military base and a prison. Nowadays, it is used as the main office of the prime minister of Norway.

This castle houses a church, a prison museum and the Norwegian Armed Force Museum. Some of the Norwegian Royal Family members are buried in the castle’s mausoleum. During the summer months, the castle is open daily, while in the fall and winter, the castle is open only on weekends. Tickets are available directly at the entrance of the castle, and you can find all additional information at the Tourist Information Center on the pier.

Check out Akershus Castle and Fortress tours

Akershus Castle is located right next to the Oslo harbor
Akershus Castle is located right next to Oslo port. Photo courtesy of Karen Tregonning.

7. The Fram Museum

Also known as the Polar Exploration Museum, the Fram Museum is located on the Bygdoy peninsula and houses the first wooden ship built for research. Discover the story and details behind the ship’s construction that was used for important expeditions over the north and south poles. This exhibit allows visitors to hop on board and look around the cabins, workshops and engine rooms open to the public.

Explore Fram Museum tours and activities

Fram Museum, Oslo
Fram Museum. Source: Viator.com

8. Holmenkollen Ski Jump and Museum

This impressive architectural masterpiece is one of the most visited sports facilities in the world and has hosted the Ski Festival since 1892. Visit the Museum exhibition of different artifacts used for this sport including skis from the 8th, 10th and 12th centuries, and the oldest ski dating back to AD 600.

You can also climb the tower observation deck where you can get amazing views of the city. This Sky Jump and Museum is located 20 minutes away from the city center and it’s mostly included in the majority of shore excursions.

Explore Holmenkollen Ski Jump tours and activities

Holmenkollen Ski Jump and Museum. - Oslo
Holmenkollen Ski Jump and Museum. Photo courtesy of Karen Tregonning.

9. Oslo Opera House

The largest cultural building in Norway since the 14th century and home to the National Opera and Ballet of Norway is located only a 5-minute walking distance from Oslo Central Station. During sunny days, you can often see many locals enjoying and relaxing right by the waterfront or strolling on the building’s roof. The Opera House offers different programs for visitors such as behind-the-scenes tours.

Explore the Opera House tours and activities

Oslo Opera House
Opera House. Source: Viator.com

10. The Munch Museum

If you are an art lover, do not miss the opportunity to visit this museum, dedicated to one of Norway´s greatest painters Edvard Munch. Admire his wide variety of paintings and sculptures including his private library.

Explore Munch Museum tours and activities

Other Must-Do Experiences: Oslo Boat Tours, Kayaking, Ice Bar

If you would like to experience Norway from a different perspective, you can get some guided boat tours or kayaking adventures through the Oslo Fjord right at the Harbor. If your budget is a little wider you can also enjoy a typical Norwegian lunch on a sightseeing boat.

Oslo fjord boat trip
Oslo fjord boat trip is one of the major attractions in cruise port Oslo!

Do not miss the opportunity to visit the Ice bar. Enjoy a signature drink on an ice glass and admire sculptures made of snow and ice. No worries, you will be fully geared before entering the bar. This below-zero experience will be unforgettable! The capacity inside the ice bar is minimal so when there is a ship in port, the Ice bar is reserved for cruise ship groups and last-minute availability is not guaranteed; make sure to book with your onboard shore excursions team or through a reliable independent operator.

Wrapping Up

This beautiful city has a wide variety of attractions for you to enjoy, so make sure to plan your day to maximize your time ashore! Always keep in mind your all-aboard time. If you decide to explore on your own, make sure to book the Oslo Pass online – you will get a very good deal on packages that cover entrance fees to different attractions.

Visit also our cruise port guides to Amsterdam, Zeebrugge, Liverpool, Reykjavik, Dover, Dublin, Cork/Cobh, Glasgow (Greenock), Le Havre, Cherbourg

You may also like our cruise port guides to the Mediterranean, Caribbean, Western Europe, Baltic & Scandinavia, USA & Canada, Australia & New Zealand

This article may contain affiliate / compensated links. For full information, please see my disclaimer here.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Ultimate Guide to Mediterranean Cruise Ports
Select a payment method
A Comprehensive Guide to 45 Mediterranean Cruise Ports
Plan your cruise itinerary in less than an hour and maximize your port experience!
A Comprehensive Guide to 45 Mediterranean Cruise Ports
Plan your cruise itinerary in less than an hour and maximize your port experience!
Scroll to Top