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Be brave, don’t let the cold weather stop you, and book that trip to Oslo, the capital of Norway! It’s one of the best places to visit in winter. The city might be sometimes considered dull – but Oslo in winter actually can be quite lovely! While the city holds a great reputation for the summer season, there are many great things to do during Oslo’s winter as well. This is a guide to the numerous intimate, charming, and enjoyable things to do during winter.

The winter months run from December to the end of February, this is also when you can expect the largest amount of snow to fall.  The Christmas decorations light up the city and give it a magical feeling. Oslo offers lots of fun snow activities in the city itself. If you want to take a break from the cold weather and warm up, check out one of the museums. 

Did you know that Oslo is the only other city, outside of Sweden, that hosts the Nobel Prize award? The Nobel Peace Prize award is held in the city in December and you can attend – if you are lucky enough to get a ticket. 

Oslo is the right place for you if you are looking to have a wonderful winter wonderland experience. So, enough praising, let´s dive into the top winter activities in Oslo.

Oslo Opera House

The opera house is the home of the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet and is the national opera theatre in Norway. The beautiful piece of architecture is located in the Bjørvika neighborhood of Oslo, which is at the head of the Oslofjord.

During the month of December, they host several holiday-themed performances. One of them is the famous Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Ballet. You can find more information about the performances available and the prices on their website. Shows tend to sell out well in advance, so try to purchase your tickets as soon as you can. Before you leave, don’t forget to take a stroll on the roof of the opera house to get a great view of the city and the harbor. 

Visit the Royal Palace 

The Royal Palace, a pale yellow brick structure surrounded by one of the city’s largest parks, is situated at the top of Karl Johan Gate. It was built in the mid-19th century and is currently used as the official residence of the Norwegian monarch, King Harald V, and his wife, Queen Sonja. 

The royal palace of Oslo on a sunny winter day

Unlike many other palaces, this one is unique in the sense that it is not surrounded by fences, so you can walk right up to the building. During the winter months, the snow gives the palace and park a real winter wonderful feel to it.  

Insider tip: Visit the palace at noon so you can watch the daily changing of the guards at 13:30. 

Visit the Holmenkollen Ski Museum and Ski Jump Tower

Did you know that the Holmenkollen ski jump tower has been hosting ski jump competitions since 1892? It was used for the ski jumping portion for the 1952 Winter Olympic Games.

With a height of 121 meters, the tower is sure to leave an impression on you. You can even make your way to the top of the tower. The views from there are breathtaking. 

Located just outside the city center, go on a pleasant 3-hour Holmenkollen ski jump hiking tour. The walk combines spectacular views of the Oslo fjord with the ski jump tower itself. At the same location, you can visit the Holmenkollen ski museum, which opened in 1923. It is the oldest museum specializing in skiing in the world.

Aker Brygge Neighborhood 

Situated along the inner harbor by the waterfront, Aker Brygge is a hip and vibrant area. What was previously a shipyard has now become a popular meeting place.  During the winter months, you might not find a lot of people outside because they are all keeping warm inside. The area offers a wide selection of good restaurants, bars, and shops. 

For art lovers, be sure to check out the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art. The museum opened to the public in 1993 and its collection mainly focused on American appropriation artists from the 1980s. However, the collection now focuses on the international contemporary art scene. 

Christmas Market 

You can’t visit Oslo in December and not go to a Christmas market. There are several markets located around the city but the main market is Jul I Vinterland. It is located next to Karl Johan Gate. There are various wooden stalls selling different items from food to drinks to beautiful handmade crafts. 

For those looking for something a little more adventurous, take a ride in the large Ferris wheel at the market. Or, you can head over to the ice skating rink.  Go on this Christmas spirit tour if you want to learn more about Norwegian Christmas traditions and experience the ultimate Christmas market.

Go Snowboarding or Skiing in Oslo Winterpark

Oslo Winterpark is the ideal destination for all snowboarding and ski lovers looking to have some fun. The park offers 18 different slopes and operates 11 lifts. The longest slope is 1.5 km in length and is suitable for beginners to advanced skiers and snowboarders. 

As it gets dark early, typically between 16:00-17:00, during winter in Oslo, you might assume that the winter park closes its slopes early. However, the opposite is true. You can ride the slopes until 22:00 at night. Be sure you don’t leave without having caught one of the famous Oslofjord sunsets from the slopes. 

A visit to the winter park is a must in Oslo’s winter months. The park is easily reachable by car or public transport. You can find all the practical information you need to plan your trip on their website

Closing Thoughts on Things to Do in Oslo During Winter

Whether you enjoy being outside in the chilly air or prefer indoor activities to keep you busy, Oslo has something for everyone during winter. The city has hip cafes, great restaurants, museums, and even a ski resort to keep you entertained. 

For all the Christmas lovers, be sure to add Oslo to your list for places to visit in December. The city center is truly transformed into a magical winter wonderful with all its festive Christmas lights and markets. 

Ready to book your ticket to Oslo but want to add other Norwegian destinations to your trip? Check out this 7-day itinerary in Norway highlighting the must-sees and dos for your trip. 

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