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OSLO

Best things to do in Oslo in summer 2022 

Whether it's new attractions, the best nature spots, or budget-friendly travel hacks, these are some of the best things that tourists and locals can do in the Norwegian capital of Oslo this summer.

Vigeland statue park.
These are our picks for the best things to do in Oslo this summer. Pictured is Vigeland park. Photo by Nick Night on Unsplash

Oslo has something for everyone, and, arguably, summer is the best time to experience the city. 

We’ve put together a list of the best activities, attractions and things to do this year, regardless of whether you are a local, just visiting, outdoorsy or prefer the walls of a museum. 

The list includes plenty of budget-friendly hacks, meaning they won’t break the bank either. 

New national museum opens  

In June, the doors to Norway’s new national museum will open to the public for the first time. Norway’s new national museum will be the combination of four other museums, including the old National Gallery. 

The museum, which hosts some of Norway’s most iconic artworks, including Edvard Munch’s “The Scream”, will become the largest museum in the Nordics when it opens. 

The museum is located in Aker Brygge, west Oslo, just a small trot from the palace and town hall. The museum will open on June 11th. You can read more about the museum here

Island hopping 

Staying in Aker Brygge for our next pick, a popular activity among the locals in the summer is to go island hopping in the island fjord. 

Once on the islands, there are plenty of opportunities for walking, swimming and picnics. This won’t break the bank either, as you can use the public transport Ruter app to the islands. While on the ferry, you’ll have a pretty good view too. So for around 70 kroner (two 1 hour singles), you can have an afternoon spent in the sun amongst the residents of Oslo rather than being crammed onto a tour boat. 

READ MORE: How tourists in Oslo can save money and live like a local

Go on a hammock trip 

Given Norway’s abundance of nature, its only fair camping would pop up. But there’s no need for all the faff of messing about with tents. 

Oslo’s residents agree, and hammocks are more common in the capital. There are plenty of great spots for a hammock trip in the capital. 

Most of them you can take public transport too, and even more, you can combine with other activities such as swimming, hiking and biking. 

READ MORE: Five great places to go on a hammock trip in Oslo this summer

Palace reopens

The Royal Palace will open its door to the public from June 25th. The castle will be open until mid-August. The castle is open for guided tours only. The tours will travel through iconic rooms such as the Council Chamber, where King meets the government, and the Great Dining Room. 

This summer marks the first time the palace will have been open to the public for two years, after closing due to the pandemic.

Tours this year will focus on the White Lounge, which has been freshly restored. Tickets start from 175 kroner. You can click here for more information

Take a dip

From central locations, a stone’s throw from the city centre to secluded lakes, or in the river that runs through the city’s centre, there are plenty of locations to take a dip in Oslo. 

Summers in Norway can be pretty warm, and with the long days going for a swim makes perfect sense. 

The overwhelming majority of spots are open to the public, and there are even a few small sandy beaches, such as Katten badenstrand. 

READ MORE: The six best places to swim outdoors in Oslo this summer 

Picnic and engagnsgrill in the park

There are plenty of fantastic parks in Oslo, and a lot of them are major attractions too. 

Vigeland Park is one of the Norwegian capital’s most famous attractions. 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.

However, it isn’t the only park where you can take a stroll while admiring some sculptures. 

Ekeberg Sculpture Park, close to downtown Oslo, is another park with international-renowned works, such as Venus Milo aux Tiroirs by Salvadore Dali. 

Add to that the fact that you can have a disposable grill, engangsgrill, or picnic in the park, too, and that’s an added bonus. 

READ MORE: What are the rules and culture of park life in Norway?

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TRAVEL NEWS

EXPLAINED: Which Schengen area countries have border controls in place and why?

Borders within Europe's Schengen area are meant to be open but several countries have checks in place but are they legal and will they be forced to scrap them? Claudia Delpero explains the history and what's at stake.

EXPLAINED: Which Schengen area countries have border controls in place and why?

The European Court of Justice has recently said that checks introduced by Austria at the borders with Hungary and Slovenia during the refugee crisis of 2015 may not be compatible with EU law.

Austria has broken the rules of the Schengen area, where people can travel freely, by extending temporary controls beyond 6 months without a new “serious threat”.

But Austria is not the only European country having restored internal border checks for more than six months.

Which countries have controls in place and what does the EU Court decision mean for them? 

When can EU countries re-introduce border checks?

The Schengen area, taken from the name of the Luxembourgish town where the convention abolishing EU internal border controls was signed, includes 26 states: the EU countries except for Ireland, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Croatia and Romania, plus Iceland, Norway, Lichtenstein and Switzerland, which are not EU members.

The Schengen Borders Code sets the rules on when border controls are permitted. It says that checks can be temporarily restored where there is a “serious threat to public policy or internal security”, from the organisation of a major sport event to a terrorist attack such as those seen in Paris in November 2015.

However, these checks should be a “last resort” measure, should be limited to the period “strictly necessary” to respond to the threat and not last more than 6 months.

In exceptional circumstances, if the functioning of the entire Schengen area is at risk, EU governments can recommend that one or more countries reintroduce internal border controls for a maximum of two years. The state concerned can then continue to impose checks for another six months if a new threat emerges. 

Which countries keep border checks in place?

Countries reintroducing border controls have to notify the European Commission and other member states providing a reason for their decision. 

Based on the list of notifications, these countries currently have controls in place at least at some of their borders: 

Norway – until 11 November 2022 at ferry connections with Denmark, Germany and Sweden. These measures have been in place since 2015 due to terrorist threats or the arrival of people seeking international protection and have sometimes extended to all borders.

Austria – until November 2022 11th, since 2015, at land borders with Hungary and with Slovenia due to risks related to terrorism and organised crime and “the situation at the external EU borders”. 

Germany – until November 11th 2022, since November 12th 2021, at the land border with Austria “due to the situation at the external EU borders”.

Sweden – until November 11th 2022, since 2017, can concern all borders due to terrorist and public security threats and “shortcomings” at the EU external borders. 

Denmark – until November 11th 2022, since 2016, can concern all internal borders due to terrorist and organised criminality threats or migration.

France – until October 31st 2022 since 2015, due to terrorist threats and other events, including, since 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic.

Estonia – until May 21st 2022, from April 22nd 2022, at the border with Latvia “to facilitate the entry and reception of people arriving from Ukraine”.

Norway, Austria, Germany and France also said they are operating checks on non-EU citizens. 

Can Schengen rules survive?

Despite the exceptional nature of these measures, there have been continuous disruptions to the free movement of people in the Schengen area in the past 15 years. 

Since 2006, there have been 332 notifications of border controls among Schengen countries, with increasing frequency from 2015. In addition, 17 countries unilaterally restored border controls at the start of the pandemic. 

In December 2021, the Commission proposed to reform the system to ensure that border controls remain an exception rather than becoming the norm. 

According to the proposals, countries should consider alternatives to border controls, such as police cooperation and targeted checks in border regions. 

When controls are restored, governments should take measures to limit their impacts on border areas, especially on the almost 1.7 million people who live in a Schengen state but work in another, and on the internal market, especially guaranteeing the transit of “essential” goods. 

Countries could also conclude bilateral agreements among themselves for the readmission of people crossing frontiers irregularly, the Commission suggested. 

If border controls have been in place for 6 months, any notification on their extension should include a risk assessment, and if restrictions are in place for 18 months, the Commission will have to evaluate their necessity. Temporary border controls should not exceed 2 years “unless for very specific circumstances,” the Commission added. 

At a press conference on April 27th, European Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson said the EU Court ruling about Austria is in line with these proposals.

“What the court says is that member states have to comply with the time limit that is in the current legislation. Of course we can propose another time limit in the legislation… and the court also says that it’s necessary for member states, if they would like to prolong [the border controls] to really do the risk assessment on whether it’s really necessary… and that’s exactly what’s in our proposal on the Schengen Border Code.”

Criticism from organisations representing migrants

It is now for the European Parliament and EU Council to discuss and adopt the new rules.

A group of migration organisations, including Caritas Europe, the Danish Refugee Council, Oxfam International and the Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants (PICUM) have raised concerns and called on the EU institutions to modify the Commission proposals.

In particular, they said, the “discretionary nature” of controls in border regions risk to “disproportionately target racialised communities” and “practically legitimise ethnic and racial profiling and expose people to institutional and police abuse.”

Research from the EU Fundamental Rights Agency in 2021, the groups noted, shows that people from an ‘ethnic minority, Muslim, or not heterosexual’ are disproportionately affected by police stops.

The organisations also criticize the definition of people crossing borders irregularly as a threat and a new procedure to “transfer people apprehended… in the vicinity of the border area” to the authorities of the country where it is assumed they came from without any individual assessment. 

The article is published in cooperation with Europe Street News, a news outlet about citizens’ rights in the EU and the UK.

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