Oslo is a great place for cycling. The city is not too big, and city life and country life effortlessly alternate. From the city centre, you soon find yourself in unspoilt nature. As a bicycle-friendly city, Oslo is on the way up. Residents and tourists are more and more interested in cycling and because of that more bike lanes are installed.

Route: The highlights of Oslo

  • Distance: 15 kilometers
  • Percentage paved / unpaved 70% / 30%
  • Highest point of the stage in metres 47 m
  • Total ascent /descent in metres 80m / 80m
  • Starts/ends at: Nationaltheatret station (both subway station and train station), situated in the city centre.
  • Download here the GPS track
  • The map of this route can be found in the guide Gudbrandsdalsleden.
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Best season: mid-May to late September
  • Recommended bike: all kind of bikes, except race bikes
  • Crowdedness: some car traffic in the first 2 kilometres, but the rest of the route follows low-traffic roads, bike lanes, or footpaths.

Highlights:

The Royal Palace (Det kongelige slott)

The royal palace in Oslo was built in the first half of the 19th century as the Norwegian residence of the Swedish-Norwegian king Charles III John. At the moment, it is the official residence of the present Norwegian king. During summer, when the royal family is usually on holiday, part of the palace is open to the public. Slottsparken, the large gardens south and east of the palace, have no gate and are open to the public all year. Each day, at 2.30 pm, the changing of the guards takes place. Website: Royal Palace.

The Vigeland Park (Vigelandsparken)

Frogner Park contains the Vigeland Park. A monumental public sculpture park with Gustav Vigeland’s (1869-1943) life’s work. Vigeland was a talented and a monomaniacally working sculptor, with ambitious plans for beautifying the city of Oslo. Realizing this did not go very well at first, but apart from being a good sculptor, Vigeland was also a very talented networker. When his workshop was pulled down because of urban renewal, he was able to come to terms with the city council. In exchange for a great and modern workshop at Frogner Park (now a museum) he would leave all his work to the city in the form of a sculpture park. Vigeland did not get paid, but he did receive the resources and the location to be able to realize his dreams. He was not able to behold these in full glory, since the majority of the work was only placed seven years after his death.
The statues represent the cycle of life and death. Life-sized works of babies, children, adults, seniors, and dead people are put up in circular patterns. One of the highlights is a monolith existing of 121 figures. With the 17 m high monumental sculpture (made from one piece of granite) Vigeland expressed his view on human emotions: sadness, despair, joy, hope. The monolith is surrounded by 36 sculpture groups. Also, not to miss is ‘The wheel of life’ in which men, women, and children are interlocking. ‘Sinnataggen’ (little hothead), a boy stamping the ground irritably, is the most popular sculpture in the park. Website: Vigeland park.

Bygdøy

Bygdøy (3.6 km2) became a peninsula in the 17th century due to rising sea levels. Nowadays, large parts of Bygdøy are nature reserves. The most beautiful part is the western part with the Royal Forest, Kongeskogen, the summer residence of the Norwegian king. A large part of the forest, with its car-free roads, is open to the public. It has nice bike paths with beautiful views on Oslofjorden. Bygdøy houses a number of museums. Website: Visit Oslo, Bygdøy.

  • The Viking Ship Museum (Vikingskipshuset) with the world’s best preserved Viking ships and treasures from Viking graves around Oslofjorden (The Viking Ship Museum is now closed and will reopen in 2025/2026 as the Museum of the Viking Age.) Website: Visit Oslo, Vikingskipshuset.
  • Norsk Folkemuseum, the large open-air museum with 160 historic buildings from the 16th century onwards and from different parts of Norway. Website: Visit Oslo, Norsk Folkemueseum.
  • Kon-Tiki Museet about Thor Heyerdahls voyages of discovery with his balsa wood raft Kon-Tiki, the papyrus boat Ra, and the reed boat Tigris. Website: Visit Oslo, Kon-Tiki.
  • Fram Museet about the famous polar vessel Fram on which among others Roald Amundsen sailed to the South Pole. Website: Visit Oslo, Fram.
Tjuvholmen with Astrup Fearnley Museet (art museum)Tjuvholmen/Aker brygge

A fashionable residential area, refurbished former industrial buildings, and shipyards. One of Oslo’s liveliest places in summer. Galleries, restaurants, marina’s, and shops. A must-see for art and architecture lovers! Website: Visit Oslo, Tjuvholmen.

Other sights in Oslo

The National Museum (Nasjonalmuseet)

This new museum, next to city hall, is a combination of the museums Arkitekturmuseet, Kunstindustrimuseet, Museet for samtidskunst, and Nasjonalgallerie. The museum is the largest of its kind in Scandinavia. In the spectacular new building visitors can admire old and new art, architecture, design, and trades, all under one roof. Website: National Museum.

The Akershus Fortress and museum (Akershus festning og Museet)

Akershus festning is the most important remnant of medieval Oslo. Because of its strategic location, it was able to protect Oslo against hostile invasions. Website: Visit Oslo, Akershus Fortress.

Bjørvika

In the centre of Oslo, a totally new quarter rose from the fjord, called Bjørvika. The name comes from the word bæjarvik, which means town cove. Not so long ago, Bjørvika was a container port that was characterized by a lot of traffic. Nowadays, the highway runs underground, and the quarter is full of architectural highlights that make up Oslo’s new skyline. There are a number of sights there. Website: Visit Oslo, Bjørvika.

The Opera House (Operahuset)

The home base of the Norwegian National Opera reminds you of a glacier rising from Oslofjorden. From the sloping roof finished in marble and white granite, you get a magnificent view over Oslo. Website: Visit Oslo, Opera House.

The Munch Museum (Munchmuseet)

Next to the Opera House, a high glass tower is located. Here you find the work of Edvard Munch (1863-1944), the most well-known painter of Norway. His painting The Scream is exhibited here. Munch is one of the pioneers of expressionism. Website: Munch Museum.

The Deichman Library (Deichman Hovedbiblioteket)

This library is one of the most remarkable libraries in the world. The form of the top floor points to an open book. Thanks to its innovative design and architectural features, the Deichman Library has received the Public Library of the Year award for 2021. Website: Visit Oslo, Deichman Library.

The Ekeberg park (Ekebergparken)

Nature, the views on Oslo and Oslofjorden, the large internationally renowned art collection, and the traces of its long history, make the Ekebergparken an interesting park to cycle through. It is a large park with forests and wide paths. At the moment, the art collection consists of 45 classic sculptures from the 19th and early 20th century, plus sculptures and installations of contemporary artists. You encounter works there from artists such as Salvador Dalí, Auguste Rodin, Fernando Botero, Knut Steen, and Viktor Vigeland. Website: Ekeberg park.


This route is also described in the biycle guide Gudbrandsdalsleden (release: February 2024) and is provided by Øyvind Wold from Oslo. He made this route especially for Via Gaia.
Øyvind is journalist, cycle route maker from Oslo and one of the most experienced local cyclists in Norway.
He has written various books, among which: På sykkel i Oslo (Cycling in Oslo) and also works as a freelance writer and photographer for various cycling and nature magazines in Norway.

See also the Visit Norway website for more route suggestions in Oslo by Øyvind.