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Five great things that you can do for free in Oslo this winter

Don't let the cold put you off, there's plenty to see and do in Oslo in the winter months. Here are our picks.

Pictured is Holmenkollen.
These are some of the best things you can do in Norway. Pictured is Holmenkollen. Photo by Michael Ankes on Unsplash

There’s no escaping the fact that Norway is an expensive place to call home or visit as a tourist. Therefore one might think that a decent day out in Oslo might cost an arm and leg and leave your wallet trembling with fear.

However, that doesn’t have to be the case, and there is plenty to see and do without paying a princely price.

Luckily, there’s plenty to cater to everybody’s needs too. So whether you want to get active, find somewhere warm to hunker down or soak up some culture, there are plenty of ways to keep yourself entertained for almost nothing.

Ice Skating

A fun activity with others, there are plenty of skating rings in Oslo to choose from, and the vast majority are free for the public to use.

Spikersuppa is the most famous of these and is located between the National Theatre and Norway’s parliament.

The rink is open for business every day, Sunday’s included. If you don’t have your own skates, you will have to pay for rental.

Another smaller spot, that weather depending, really lets you soak up some spectacular scenes is located by the Diechman Bjørvika library.

This rink is on the smaller side but offers views of the Oslo Opera House and Oslo Fjord. However, there are some downsides, as there are no rentals available, and if it’s too warm, it’ll be a puddle rather than an ice rink.

If you want to skate for completely free, then the Voldsløkka ice rink in Sagene offers free rental.

There are also other places you can borrow equipment for winter sports completely free (more on that below).

Toboggan run at Korketrekkern 

If doing a few laps of an ice rink might be a bit too pedestrian for you, then you might want to take things up a notch.

The toboggan run at Korketrekkern is over 2km long and takes around 10 minutes to complete. Kokketrekkern is Oslo’s most popular toboggan run for good reason. Once finished, you can ride the metro back up to Frognerseteren from Midtstuen for another go.

The toboggan run is, you guessed it, free, and you can bring your own sled. If you already live in Oslo, you’ll either have your own or know someone willing to loan you one.

If you don’t have a sled, then you can rent one for 150 kroner.

Similar to ice rinks, the toboggan runs are weather dependent.

Vigelandsparken

Home to over 200 sculptures by Gustav Vigeland, designer of the Nobel Peace Prize medal and the famous Angry Boy statue, Vigelandsparken is an essential destination all year round.

The park in Frogner, west Oslo, is at its best during the winter months after fresh snowfall. If it’s icy or the snow has started to melt somewhat, then it may be worth postponing.

Vigelandsparken makes the perfect place to take in some crisp winter air while also being able to see some of Norway’s most prized sculptures.

Deichman Bjørvika            

If you are averse to the cold weather, then hunkering down in the Deichmann Bjørvika library may be an attractive proposition this winter.

The library, adjacent to the Oslo Opera House, boasts over six floors, a cinema hall, stages and workshops for people of all ages.

Each floor has a different atmosphere, and the library is a delight for fans of modern architecture.

The library regularly hosts free events too. Whether it’s a children’s cinema or practicing your Norwegian with others, there’s plenty to do.You can see the library’s list of events here

Cross country skiing 

There are more than 2,600 kilometres of prepared cross-country ski trails that run deep into Oslo’s forests. For night owls, there is also 90km of floodlit tracks.

An added bonus is that you can take public transport to some of the best locations that Oslo has to offer.

You can take the number 1 metro line to Midtstuen, Holmenkollen, Voksenkollen or Frognerseteren. The number 3 line will take you to Skullerud or Mortensrud, and the number 5 line will get you to Songsvann.

You won’t need to fork out a fortune when it comes to equipment, either. This is because you can rent equipment for free from the Norwegian Volunteer Centers or frivilligsentralen. 

Sagane Frivilligsentralen has free rental for ski equipment, ice skates and toboggans, meaning you can complete everything on this list completely cost-free.  

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DISCOVER NORWAY

Nine great things to do in Norway in Spring 2022

Spring in Norway is great, with plenty to see, do and try as the days get longer and the temperatures slowly start to creep up. Here are our picks on things to do this spring. 

Nine great things to do in Norway in Spring 2022

Ski events

For more than a hundred years, Holmenkollen in Oslo has hosted ski jumping and cross country skiing events, and March 2022 will mark 130 years since the first ski jumping event took place there.

Between March 4th and March 6th, one of Norway’s largest and most famous ski festivals with international skiing and cross-country events on the agenda will take place. You can pre-book tickets here.

Later in March, the Biathlon World Cup final will be held at Holmenkollen between March 17th and March 20th. You can look at tickets online.

The first utepils of the year

Sometimes the most enjoyable things in Norway are the small things. For many Norwegians, the first utepils, or outdoors beer, of the year is something they relish. This is a moment those who live in cities tend to appreciate more.

As temperatures start to creep up and the sun makes more regular appearances, outdoor seating outside bars and restaurants will begin to fill up with locals wrapped in sheepskin nursing their first outdoor beer of the year.

Make the most of the spring skiing

For plenty of people, spring is the perfect time of year for alpine skiing in Norway. First, there’s still plenty of snow. Furthermore, it isn’t as hard and compacted as it can be in winter.

Most resorts will be open until the back end of April, although some further north or more mountainous regions will stay open until well into May.  

The milder weather makes for a more enjoyable experience as you don’t need to wrap up so tightly, and many resorts will schedule outdoor festivals and after-ski events.

The busiest time on the slopes in Norway during spring usually is Easter.

Festivals and fairs

There’s plenty of music and culture to see in Norway between March and May. Mid-March welcomes the Narvik Winter Festival, dedicated to winter sports events, carnivals, concerts, and opera performances. At the turn of the month, there’s Stavanger Vinfest, which is a weeklong celebration for food and wine lovers along Norway’s southwest coast. April also sees Voss Jazz Festival and Inferno Metal Festival, in Oslo, for music lovers. The end of May sees Bergen International Festival, one of Scandinavia’s most prominent classical ballet and opera festivals. And finally, jazz fans can look forward to the Stavanger Jazz festival earlier in May.

Get into Easter traditions

Easter falls on April 17th this year, which means plenty of traditions to get into, whether it’s stocking up on oranges and Kvikk Lunsj, tucking into påskekrimmen, or easter crime, or arranging an Easter egg hunt for the kids.

Alternatively, you can tune into NRK’s famous Easter quiz. But, of course, Easter also means a lot of time off and public holidays, which brings us to our next point…

Plan a cabin trip 

There are a few reasons why spring is an excellent time for a cabin trip. While there’s plenty to be said about the cosines of curling up by the fire with a Nordic noir book or spending your time playing board games with loved ones, one of the main reasons why spring is an excellent time for a cabin trip is because there are so many public holidays.

Everyday between April 14th and April 18th is a either public holiday or weekend, meaning most workers will have paid time off work that doesn’t eat into their holiday.

This makes this time of year an excellent time for a cabin trip because if you get the timing right, the trip could pay for itself.

See Norway’s fjords and waterfalls 

The country’s famous for its fjords and waterfalls, which are a sight to behold at all times of the year. Spring is the best time of year to see the country’s fjords and waterfalls.

May is the best time to see Norway’s waterfalls as the snow melts away and cascades down mountains. The month of May is also the best time to plan a trip to see Norway’s fjords.

The reason for this is because, in southwest Norway, thousands of fruit trees will bloom along the fjords, given the surroundings a fresh spring look meanwhile, the mountains will still be topped with snow, making for a spectacular view.

May 17th celebrations

Norway will host typical May 17th celebrations for the first time in three years. May 17th, or constitution day, is the country’s national day of celebration.

The day marks the occasion when Norway was declared an independent state.

The day is a public holiday, and sees the population dressed in their national costumes and participating in parades and marching bands across the country.

READ ALSO: What you need to know about Norway’s national costume

People will typically gather for breakfast or brunch before friends before heading out for the day’s festivities.

Beat the crowds and enjoy some of Norway’s best trails

April and May, weather dependent, also make a great time for more active types to head to Norway’s national parks and trek across some of the country’s best trails before the summer holidays start and crowds arrive in their masses.

If you prefer life at a more relaxed pace, then spring also makes an excellent time for walks in the forest or parks.

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