Things To Do in Oslo in Winter

Things To Do in Oslo in Winter

Winter in Oslo is cool in both senses of the word. The temperatures are low yet the Norwegian capital remains bang on-trend – the perfect travel destination for a long weekend. From wet and wild pursuits like tobogganing and ice skating to salubrious saunas and museums, we’ve got a list of the best things to do in Oslo in winter. And with less tourists, you’ll pretty much have the city to yourself. Just don’t forget to bring your biggest and cosiest coat – you’ll need them.


  1. Warm Up With a Sauna Session
  2. Take On a Toboggan Run
  3. Seek Shelter in a Museum
  4. Go Explore in Golden Hour
  5. Lace Up Your Skates
  6. Visit Vigeland Sculpture Park


Warm Up With a Sauna Session

With average lows of minus three degrees, Oslo winters can be both fresh and freezing. So, what better way to warm up than a sauna session? Inspired by their Nordic neighbours in Finland, Norwegians have fully embraced the benefits of a steamy sauna sojourn. And Oslo has two great harbourside saunas to relax in, right in the heart of the city. With a fleet of floating sauna rafts, which can each hold up to ten people, KOK Oslo combines the warmth of a wood-fired sauna with a leisurely sightseeing tour of Oslo’s Fjord. SALT, on the other hand, is more rave than relax. A place  where you can sweat to the soundtracks of live DJs and sample local beers, it is truly a one-of-a-kind venue. At both spots you can take a post-sauna plunge in Oslo Fjord; a swim that’s sure to take your breath away (quite literally). A 20-minute drive from central Oslo, you can also unwind at The Well,  Scandinavia’s largest spa and bathhouse. Here you can indulge in bathing traditions from around the world, like soaking in a Japanese onsen or relaxing in a Turkish hammam.


Take On a Toboggan Run

If it snows when you visit Oslo in winter, you won’t want to miss Korketrekkeren; Oslo’s most popular toboggan run. Starting at Frognerseteren, it takes ten minutes to ride its 6,500 feet long run down to Midtstuen metro station. That’s ten exhilarating minutes of zipping between snow-topped trees on a sled at speed as the surrounding winter wonderland whizzes by. Its finishing point at Midtstuen metro station also means that, if you loved every second of your adrenaline-fuelled tobogganing trip, you can simply take the short metro trip back to Frognerseteren for another go. Hire a sled from Akeforeningen (close to the start of the run), where the team can also provide a few top tips to help you pilot your toboggan like a Nordic natural.


Seek Shelter in a Museum

Seasoned winter travellers know that a museum or gallery is a great place to seek shelter when the weather takes a turn for the worse. And like any good capital city, Oslo has plenty of options. Some of the best include the National Museum (the largest art museum in any Nordic country) and MUNCH (13 floors of artwork by Norwegian master Edvard Munch, including The Scream). But our favourite is the Kon-Tiki Museum, which celebrates the great sea voyages of Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl. The definition of an intrepid traveller, Heyerdahl led a life of adventure and activism. In 1947, he crossed the Pacific Ocean on a balsawood raft named Kon-Tiki, which is now on display in the museum.


Go Explore in Golden Hour

Oslo in winter means late sunrises and early sunsets. But it also means longer golden hours. So, while the city might only see the sun for a short time, the warm glow of its low light that paints the scenery in soft honey hues, makes it more than worth the wait. It’s also a photographer’s dream, with no harsh contrast to contend with. For gold medal-standard vistas, we recommend the marble-covered roof of the Opera House. Designed as a public space, you’re free to stroll, sit and soak up the sights from this panoramic vantage point. And when the light turns gold, there’s no better place to take in the views of the city, the fjord and the city’s backdrop of fairytale mountains.


Lace Up Your Skates

If there’s just one thing to do in Oslo in winter, it’s ice skating. Whether you’re a novice or a pro wanting to practice your triple axel, we think everyone can agree that there is something pretty special about gliding across ice[NP1] . Located between the National Theatre and Parliament, the Spikersuppa rink is perfect for all abilities; shared by fun-loving families, courting couples and overly optimistic wannabe Olympians. And if the lakes freeze over, you can always skate au naturel in the Oslomarka forest but take lead from the Oslopolitans and only skate where it’s safe.


Visit Vigeland Sculpture Park

Home to more than 200 sculptures by Norwegian artist Gustav Vigeland, the Vigeland Sculpture Park is probably the most popular landmark in Oslo. Thanks to the season’s icy temperatures, you’ll be able to explore the park in relative solitude. So, make sure to get your camera out to snap away at its granite, bronze and wrought iron sculptures that look even moodier when frosted with ice and cloaked in fog. Look out for The Bridge, where 58 bronze sculptures strike curious poses on the pillars of a bridge. And don’t miss The Monolith; a 55-foot carved column depicting 121 human figures in a towering tangle. Like any open-air activity at this time of year, wearing lots of layers is a must, but brave the chill and you’ll be rewarded with a captivating and less crowded tour of one of Norway’s top attractions.