Walking Tour of Oslo, Norway
Oslo, Norway, is a rather small capital city, by European standards. It is most accessible by boat via the Oslofjorden, a rather dramatic entry through a narrow channel surrounded by woods. The city center is fairly compact, pleasant to walk, and contains several attractions, as well as numerous museums.
A bit further a field, on the Bygdoy Peninsula, a short ferry ride from the city center, are more museums, a few of which deserve mention. Here the visitor will find the Viking Ship Museum, the Kon-Tiki Museum, and the Norwegian Folk Museum.
Another sight, just out of the city center, is Vigeland Sculpture Park, a tribute to Gustav Vigeland, Norway’s greatest sculptor.
My walking tour of the historic city center begins at Akershus Castle, a fortress and palace built in 1300 AD. Also on the grounds is the Norwegian Resistance Museum, dedicated to those who attempted to thwart Nazi Germany during World War II. A Memorial outside the museum commemorates those who were caught and executed here.
Leave the complex by walking across the drawbridge to the National Monument to the German Occupation. From here, walk north (left) on Kirkegata to reach the Oslo Domkirche, on Market Square. Most of the artwork inside was done by Norwegian artists.
Now, walk east on Oslo’s main pedestrian-only thoroughfare, Karl Johan’s Gate. Ahead of you, on the left, is the Stortinget (Parliament), built during the mid-nineteenth century.
Next, turn left when you reach Roald Amundsens Gate and then turn right on Stortinsgata to see the National Theater. Check out the Statue of Henrik Ibsen, appropriately positioned at the scene where so many of his plays were performed. Retrace your steps back to Karl Johan’s Gate and turn left. Straight ahead is the entrance to the Royal Palace (Slottet), current residence of the King of Norway and his family. Stroll around the park (you cannot visit the palace) before proceeding on your walk. There is a Changing of the Guard ceremony daily at 1:30 PM.
Exit the palace the way you entered, and turn right on Fredericks Gate, then bear left at the traffic circle and turn left onto Stortingsgata. Now turn right on Roald Amundsens Gate, and then bear left at Fritjof Nansens Plass, which leads to Radhusplassen and Oslo’s controversial City Hall. From exterior to interior, there are numerous artworks of various types and styles displayed. The square itself contains an Astronomical Clock and a beautiful swan fountain. Now, take a brief detour by walking west, around the edge of the harbor, to Aker Brygge, a modern shopping/restaurant complex, which affords excellent views of the Akershus Castle, to the east. Then return to City Hall and then continue eastward along the waterfront, on Akershusstranda to return to the castle where your walk began.