Oslo, Norway’s capital and largest city, is a nature lover’s paradise filled with natural wonders on every corner. It is nestled at the top of Oslo Fjord, surrounded by rolling hills, forests, and sea, so no matter where you go, you’ll find soothing nature and stunning coastal gems, all within easy reach of the city. If you want to get away from everything, explore the countryside or visit the deep forests to enjoy peace and quiet on your own or with loved ones.
The parks in Oslo provide different experiences throughout the year. There are green spaces packed with activities and exciting rides for the little ones, feature hiking and walking trails for outdoor enthusiasts, and offer opportunities to combine nature with culture and art. If the cold weather doesn’t stop you from going outside, you’ll find Oslo parks with winter activities and many incredible attractions waiting for you.
While Oslo Central Station places you in the heart of shopping and dining, make your way to a park to start your journey. Below is a list of some of the best Oslo parks for an authentic Norwegian outdoor experience. Only bring the necessities, like a picnic basket or a pair of hiking boots and gear, depending on your planned activity. Leave the rest with Bounce luggage storage in Oslo to enjoy your adventure without burden.
Covering an area of 180 acres, the sprawling Sofienberg Park is the largest park in Oslo’s hippy Grünerløkka area. It’s a highly visited recreational area for residents and tourists, especially younger visitors. Its name comes from a country villa in the upper end of Nordre Dælenenga, once owned by Jacob Nielson, who was engaged to Sophie Berg.
It was originally a cemetery, but because people were unhappy with having a graveyard in a central location and a densely populated area, the cemetery was dismantled and turned into a park. The construction was completed in 1972 and has since been a favored place for recreation and entertainment. Today, Sofienberg Park is always bustling with activities, featuring a children’s playground, table tennis tables, and spacious lawns for picnics and strolls.
One of its most prominent features is the 1877 Sofienberg church, which stands in the middle of the park, designed by Jacob Wilhelm Nordan. Although the cemetery was dismantled in 1858, you’ll still spot a small, fenced burial ground for the Mosaic Religious Community north of the church.
The Vigeland Park
Who says you need to pay hefty entrance fees at an art museum or a gallery to witness artworks in Norway? The Vigeland Park is a free-to-enter park in Oslo, boasting over two hundred sculptures made from different materials, including cast iron, granite, and bronze. With free admission and so much to see and do, it’s no surprise that this open-air sculpture park continues to attract over a million visitors annually.
The Vigeland Park takes pride in being the world’s largest sculpture park by a single artist. The sculptor behind the works of art at the park is the Norwegian artist Gustav Vigeland, known for his realistic works that represent the cycle of human life and its emotions. Vigeland Sculpture Park is a testament to his vision to create a public space for the city residents and the people of Oslo. He was also greatly involved in the park’s design, architectural outline, and planning. Unfortunately, he passed away without seeing the park’s completion.
If you look closely, you’ll soon realize there’s more to the statues than meets the eye. For instance, carved from a stone block is the famous Monolith, which depicts 121 human figures intertwined and reaching the heavens. It’s a tribute to humankind’s complexity and is the highest point in the park. Besides the sculptures, Vigeland Sculpture Park has grassy lawns, a fountain surrounded by twenty statues, and a rose garden.
The Royal Palace Park (Slottsparken) was established during the 1840s, making it one of the oldest parks in Oslo. It is located in the City Centre surrounding the neoclassical Royal Palace, characterized by well-manicured lawns, serene ponds, and majestic trees. Although part of the royal grounds, the Palace Park is a recreational area that visitors can explore. It was developed simultaneously while the new Royal Palace was being built.
The southern part of the park lies the Queen’s Park. While it was initially built as a private rococo garden in 1751, it has been part of the Palace Park since 1840. Each year, Queen’s Park welcomes visitors from May 18th to October 1st.
As you explore the park of the Royal Palace, you’ll spot seven statues, including King Carl Johan’s equestrian statue created in 1875, the oldest of them all. But the Palace Park’s key elements are the three ponds, which play a crucial role in creating its peaceful atmosphere. On a quiet day, you’ll hear nothing but the pleasing sound of trickling waters and birds singing on the verdant trees, with branches reaching out over the tranquil water.
Your nature adventure to Norwegian’s capital isn’t complete without visiting Frogner Park. It’s the largest park in central Oslo and a much-loved recreational space for city residents and international tourists. It is home to the famed Vigeland Park, so it’s an unmissable destination for art lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.
Besides the open-air museum at Frognerparken, this Oslo park is always bustling with life, especially on weekends and summer holidays. Everyone flocks here to walk their dog, run, play, have a barbecue or a picnic, or bask in the sunlight. It also boasts the country’s biggest collection of roses.
Frogner Park seamlessly combines nature, art, and history in a vast area. It’s the perfect spot for a relaxing stroll with a bit of culture and art, with magnificent statues that will give you an interesting spectacle to look at, appreciate, and contemplate. Cyclists, runners, dog walkers, and children will also have a fun time here, no matter the season. Near the entrance is one of Norway’s biggest playgrounds that can accommodate children from toddlers to older kids. Other park features include a stadium, an impressive Manor House, an open-air swimming pool, a café, a museum, and a restaurant.
Kampen is a charming neighborhood in Oslo, Norway, which retails a traditional village-like atmosphere with painted wooden buildings. It’s a favorite traditional area among the locals and visitors, and if you’re one of them, don’t skip Kampen Park, especially if you’re looking for a perfect place for an enjoyable walk away from large crowds.
Kampen Park is a relaxing wonder of nature located on a hill, making it one of the best parks in Oslo for a view, a nice workout, or a picnic with friends and family. You can run up and down the hill to strengthen your legs or relax in the sun. It has barbecue areas, benches, tables, two table tennis tables, and a fountain for drinking.
Ekeberg Sculpture Park
Go for a drive or take a tram from Oslo City Centre, and you’ll reach Ekeberg Sculpture Park in less than ten minutes. It’s Oslo’s best-kept secret, a hidden open-air gallery with a history that dates back to as early as the Iron Age. It’s one of the city’s oldest continuously inhabited places, with wooded hillsides and dozens of art installations and sculptures.
Ekeberg Sculpture Park may not have as many art pieces as Frogner Park, but it’s still a worthy destination if you’re looking for a remarkable combination of nature and artwork outside the central city. It opened in September 2012 and has since become a beloved location for culture, enjoyment, and art. The forty sculptures and installations here include the great works by several international artists, including Hirst, Renoir, Dali, and Rodin.
After marveling at every thought-provoking masterpiece at the sculpture park, also pay attention to the diverse animal life you’ll spot here. It has over forty bird species, and as you navigate the hills, you’ll likely encounter deer, bats, and foxes.
Unsure where to begin your trip? Join a guided tour and learn from knowledgeable guides at the park. Besides increasing your understanding of the sculpture collection, you’ll also go deep into the area’s history and nature.
Skimore Oslo Park
For thrill-seekers looking for extreme adventures, regardless of the season, head to Skimore Oslo, the area’s largest ski resort with a terrain park, challenging and cruising slopes, and slopes for beginners and children. It also has ski and equipment rental, a café, and great eateries. It makes skiing safe and fun for young and old, so you’ll go home pleased and satisfied.
Skimore Oslo’s terrain park is one of the country’s best parks. It has put the capital on the map as one of Norway’s top snowboard and ski park destinations suitable for all ages and skill levels. It has hosted several major events in recent years, including the Youth Olympics, X-Games, and Snowboard World Championships, as well as more minor activities for guests.
If you want to experience flying in Oslo’s best playground, try the climbing park at Tryvann. It has more than 220 elements up in the trees, spread over a dozen different trails. Choose your level of difficulty and swing and climb up to twenty meters above the ground. There are also zip lines, guaranteeing airy experiences.
The Botanical Garden
Tøyen is Gamle Oslo’s hidden gem, home to one of the capital’s green lungs, the Oslo Botanical Garden. This extensive garden at Tøyen provides ample botanical diversity and variety, featuring about 1,800 plants and more than 5,500 types of plants from around the world. It’s divided into themed gardens, and most of the area is an Arboretum.
The Aromatic Garden is not to be missed. It’s a small hexagon garden that will delight your nose as soon as you enter. It has aromatic leaves and fragrant flowers; some are used in manufacturing, while others as additives for flowers and added aroma for soaps, toothpaste, liquors, candy, confectionery, and more.
The Old Garden is a lovely place for relaxation and quiet contemplation, whereas the Viking Garden is like a little time machine that brings visitors back to the Viking era, a significant period in Scandinavian history and cultural heritage. If you’re in the city around August, the Botanic Garden hosts the Viking Day, with numerous activities like demonstrations of carving cooking pots, wool dyeing, and Viking cooking. Once you’ve explored the garden, don’t skip the two greenhouses: the 1868 Palm House and the 1876 Victoria House, which present exotic plants worldwide.
Just a street from the Botanical Gardens is another must-visit park in Oslo called Tøyen Park (Tøyenparken). It’s situated just behind the Munch Museum, a vibrant art museum dedicated to the works and life of the iconic Norwegian artist Edvard Munch. In the middle of the park is Tøyenbadet, Norway’s most famous public swimming pool in Oslo, with two outdoor pools that open in summer, two indoor pools for year-round swimming, an indoor waterslide, and diving towers.
The park is full of lush trees, vast flower spaces, and grassy areas for picnics, as well as tracks for walking and jogging. You can use one of the routes to ride a bike or rent one from a rental place in the park. Due to its unique characteristics, Tøyenparken is also a famous venue for events like festivals.
Enjoy the great outdoors in Norway’s capital city
Oslo is a bustling capital with great access to nature. So if you’re looking for a place to forget your worries, take a break from work, or participate in exhilarating outdoor adventures, the parks in Oslo don’t disappoint. Familiarize yourself with the incredible green spaces and gardens in the city to pick the best ones for your needs.
When you land at Oslo Airport, be sure to have your itinerary planned. If you need more ideas on how and where to spend your days outdoors, check out our guides on 5 beaches near Oslo and the top 8 free things to do.