Oslo in Norway is one of the world’s largest capitals in terms of area, but only 20 percent of this land mass has been developed – the remainder consists of parks, protected forests, hills, and hundreds of lakes. Parks and open spaces are an integral part of Oslo’s cityscape, and are easily accessible from almost anywhere in the city. The center is a joy to explore on foot thanks to the numerous pathways and trails connecting its public spaces, as well as its many pedestrian-friendly areas, including the city’s main street, Karl Johans gate.
Akershus Festning is an old medieval fortress which has guarded Oslo from attacks by foreign navies – usually the Swedes – for centuries. It also houses a renaissance castle where several kings and queens have lived and multiple ghosts now haunt the rooms, if rumours are to be believed. Access to the fortress grounds is free and gets you some of the best views of the Oslo Fjord – perfect for a stroll on a chilled summer evening.
Dedicated to the life and work of Norway’s greatest painter, Edvard Munch(1863-1944), the Munch Museum contains a vast collection of paintings, graphic art, drawings, watercolors, and sculptures from the great artist’s life. Containing almost 28,000 works of art in addition to personal effects and tools – even his private library – the museum also puts on special exhibits devoted to particular aspects of Munch’s work through film screenings, concerts, guided tours, and lectures.
Travelers definitely will want comfortable walking shoes when they tour the Norsk Folkemuseum. Located in Bygdøy, the museum has two parts: museum buildings that house the country’s largest cultural heritage collections and a large open air museum made up of more than 150 relocated houses and other buildings, including a 13th century church, found throughout Norway. Artifacts in some collections date back to the 1500s. The museum also offers traditional music and folk dancing performances.
Vigeland Sculpture Park
The iconic Vigeland Sculpture Park, which sits inside Oslo’s famous Frogner Park, is one of Norway’s most famous tourist attractions. Open year-round, this unique sculpture park is Gustav Vigeland’s lifework and contains 650 of his dynamic sculptures in bronze, granite, and wrought iron. The majority of the sculptures are in five themed groups along a 853-meter-long axis. The oldest is the fountain group, depicting the cycle of human life, beyond which can be seen the 16-meter-high Monolith, comprising 121 intertwined human bodies.