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Tourism in Oslo

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Tourism in Oslo is big business, but what? And what are the most important things that we should know about tourism here? Read on to find out!

Tourism in Oslo

Positioned along the Oslofjord’s northern shores, Oslo epitomises the seamless blend of urban sophistication and natural beauty that characterises Norway. As the nation’s capital, it boasts a rich tapestry of historical landmarks, modern architecture, and verdant parks. This article provides a succinct and thorough exploration of Oslo’s touristic offerings, catering to both newcomers and seasoned travellers.

Geography of Oslo

Oslo is the capital and largest city of Norway. It is located in the southeastern part of Norway, at the northern end of the Oslofjord.

The city is situated on a hilly terrain and is surrounded by forests and lakes, providing ample opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, skiing, and fishing. The city centre is located at the northern end of the fjord, and the river Akerselva flows through the city and into the fjord.

Oslo has a temperate maritime climate, with mild winters and cool summers. The average temperature in January, the coldest month, is around −4 °C (25 °F), while in July, the warmest month, the average temperature is around 19 °C (66 °F).

The city is divided into 15 boroughs, each with a distinct character and history. The most central boroughs are Frogner, St. Hanshaugen, and Gamle Oslo. Frogner is known for its exclusive residential areas, museums, and parks, while St. Hanshaugen is a trendy neighbourhood with cafes, bars and restaurants. Gamle Oslo, which means “Old Oslo”, is the historic centre of the city, with landmarks such as the mediaeval Akershus Fortress and the Oslo Cathedral.

Overall, Oslo is a vibrant and dynamic city with a rich history and stunning natural surroundings, making it a popular destination for tourists and locals alike.

Tourism Industry in Oslo

Tourism is an important industry in Oslo. The city is a popular destination for tourists and visitors from all over the world, attracted by its rich history, stunning natural scenery, and vibrant cultural scene.

Oslo offers a wide range of attractions and activities for visitors, including museums, galleries, parks, beaches, and outdoor recreational areas. Some of the most popular attractions in Oslo include the Viking Ship Museum, the National Gallery, the Munch Museum, and the Holmenkollen Ski Museum.

The city also hosts a number of festivals and events throughout the year, such as the Oslo Jazz Festival, the Oslo Architecture Triennale, and the Oslo World Music Festival. In addition, Oslo is known for its vibrant food scene, with a variety of restaurants and eateries offering a range of local and international cuisine.

To support the tourism industry, the city of Oslo has implemented a range of initiatives and policies aimed at improving the visitor experience, such as improving public transportation, providing multilingual information services, and investing in new attractions and infrastructure.

Overall, the tourism industry is a significant contributor to the economy of Oslo, generating jobs and revenue for local businesses and communities.

Statistics About Tourism in Oslo

Now that we know a little bit more about tourism in Oslo, lets take a look at some of the key statistics about the tourism industry here:

1 – In 2019, Oslo welcomed over 1.3 million international visitors, a record high for the city.

2 – The tourism industry generated over 20 billion Norwegian kroner (about 2.3 billion USD) in revenue in 2018, contributing significantly to the local economy.

3 – The top five countries of origin for international visitors to Oslo in 2019 were Germany, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the United States.

4 – The most popular attractions in Oslo in 2019 were the Viking Ship Museum, the Munch Museum, the Fram Museum, and the Holmenkollen Ski Museum.

5 – In 2019, the number of overnight stays in Oslo hotels reached 5.5 million, an increase of 3.3% compared to the previous year.

6 – The average length of stay for international visitors in Oslo in 2019 was 2.7 nights.

7 – The tourism industry employed over 22,000 people in Oslo in 2018, accounting for around 6% of total employment in the city.

8 – The cruise industry is also an important part of the tourism sector in Oslo, with over 300,000 cruise passengers visiting the city in 2019.

9 – The number of visitors to Oslo’s parks and outdoor recreational areas increased by 10% in 2020, as more people sought out outdoor activities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

10 – Sustainable tourism is a growing focus in Oslo, with initiatives such as electric buses, bike rentals, and eco-friendly hotels aimed at reducing the city’s environmental footprint while still attracting visitors.

1 – The Vigeland Sculpture Park – A large park featuring over 200 bronze, granite, and cast-iron sculptures by the famous Norwegian sculptor Gustav Vigeland.

2 – The Oslo Opera House – A striking modernist building with a sloping roof that offers stunning views of the city and the Oslofjord.

3 – The Holmenkollen Ski Museum and Tower – A museum dedicated to the history of skiing, featuring exhibits on ski jumping, cross-country skiing, and Alpine skiing, as well as a tower with panoramic views of the city and surrounding areas.

4 – The Fram Museum – A maritime museum that tells the story of polar exploration in Norway, featuring the polar exploration ship, Fram, which was used by Roald Amundsen and other explorers in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

5 – The Oslo City Hall – A historic building that houses the city council and features large murals by the Norwegian artist Henrik Sørensen.

One of the major reasons that tourism in Oslo is so popular is due to its range of tourist attractions. Here are some of the most popular:

Cultural Tourism – Oslo is a city rich in culture, with numerous museums, galleries, theatres, and music venues. Visitors interested in Norwegian art, history, literature, music, or theatre can find plenty to explore.

Outdoor Tourism – Oslo is surrounded by forests, lakes, and mountains, making it a popular destination for outdoor activities such as hiking, skiing, fishing, and biking.

Sustainable Tourism – Oslo is known for its commitment to sustainability, with many eco-friendly attractions, eco-guided tours, and hotels that promote sustainable practices.

Cruise Tourism – Oslo is a popular stop for cruise ships visiting the Norwegian fjords, bringing thousands of visitors each year.

Food Tourism – Oslo has a vibrant food scene with a range of restaurants and cafes offering traditional Norwegian cuisine and international fare. Visitors can also explore local markets and culinary events.

Winter Tourism – Oslo’s winters are cold and snowy, making it a popular destination for winter sports such as skiing, snowboarding, and ice-skating.

Urban Tourism – Oslo is a modern and vibrant city with many trendy neighbourhoods, bustling shopping streets, and a lively cultural and nightlife scene.

Wellness Tourism – Oslo has many spas, fitness centres, and yoga studios, making it a popular destination for visitors seeking wellness and relaxation.

Economic Impacts of Tourism in Oslo

Tourism has a significant economic impact on Oslo, generating revenue and creating jobs across a range of sectors. Here are some of the main economic impacts of tourism in Oslo:

  • Revenue Generation – In 2019, the tourism industry in Oslo generated over 20 billion Norwegian kroner (about 2.3 billion USD) in revenue, contributing significantly to the local economy.
  • Job Creation – The tourism industry employed over 22,000 people in Oslo in 2018, accounting for around 6% of total employment in the city.
  • Business Opportunities – The tourism industry in Oslo creates opportunities for small and medium-sized businesses, such as restaurants, cafes, souvenir shops, and tour operators.
  • Infrastructure Investment – To cater to tourists, Oslo authorities invest in new attractions, transportation, and infrastructure that benefit both tourists and residents. This results in improved public services and amenities for everyone living or visiting the city.
  • Tax Revenue – Visitors to Oslo pay taxes including VAT, accommodation tax, and airport taxes, which contribute to the city’s public revenues.
  • International Investment – Tourism in Oslo attracts foreign investment, as more companies and investors seek to participate in the tourism and hospitality industry.
  • Promotions – Promoting the city’s tourism industry also boosts Oslo’s image and signals the city’s openness to overseas investment, collaboration, and friendly, international relations. So, tourism accounts for a big part of the city’s overall branding and international perception.

Overall, the tourism industry in Oslo plays a significant role in the city’s economy, generating income, creating employment, and contributing to the city’s growth and development.

Social Impacts of Tourism in Oslo

Tourism can have both positive and negative social impacts on the local community in Oslo. Here are some potential social impacts of tourism in Oslo:

Positive Impacts:

1 – Cultural exchange – Tourism in Oslo can foster cross-cultural exchange, providing opportunities for locals and visitors to share customs, beliefs, and ideas.

2 – Improved community infrastructure – Money generated from tourism can be used to upgrade public facilities and services, benefitting both tourists and local residents.

3 – Job opportunities – The tourism industry can create jobs and employment opportunities for the local community, including positions in hotels, restaurants, shops, and transportation.

4 – Preserving cultural heritage – Tourism can help preserve and promote local heritage, culture, and traditions, encouraging locals to take pride in their community’s history and customs.

5 – Increased tolerance and mutual understanding – Exposure to different cultures through tourism can promote mutual understanding and tolerance, fostering greater respect for diversity and social harmony.

Negative Impacts:

1 – Overcrowding – Heavy tourism can lead to overcrowding, making it difficult for locals to access public spaces and services.

2 – Rising costs – Tourists can drive up the cost of living and accommodation, making it more challenging for locals to afford to live in their city.

3 – Disruption to the community – Tourist behaviours such as noise, littering, and rowdiness can negatively impact the quality of life for locals.

4 – Cultural change – The influx of tourists can bring changes to local communities, causing them to lose their distinct culture and way of life.

5 – Pressure on public resources – High numbers of tourists can put pressure on public resources such as transportation, water, and waste management, leading to potential overcrowding and degradation of resources.

It is essential to properly manage the impact of tourism to ensure that its social impacts are positive and sustainable for the local community in Oslo.

Environmental Impacts of Tourism in Oslo

Tourism in Oslo can have both positive and negative environmental impacts, depending on how it is managed. Here are some potential environmental impacts of tourism in Oslo:

Positive Impacts:

1 – Promotion of sustainable practices – Tourism can promote sustainable practices, such as eco-tourism, green hotels, conservation of natural resources, and carbon offset initiatives in Oslo.

2 – Protection of natural areas – Tourist interest can lead to the protection and preservation of natural areas, such as parks, forests, and lakes, in Oslo.

3 – Investment in green infrastructure – Tourism incentives can drive investment in environmentally friendly infrastructure, such as bike lanes, public transport, renewable energy facilities, and waste management systems.

4 – Awareness and education – Tourism can raise awareness among visitors and locals about environmental issues and sustainable living principles and promote education about ecology and climate change.

Negative Impacts:

1 – Environmental degradation – Over-tourism can cause environmental degradation, leading to pollution, soil erosion, and damage or loss of wildlife habitats, in popular tourist destinations.

2 – Carbon footprint – Tourism activities, such as transportation and energy use in hotels and recreational activities, can contribute to greenhouse gas emissions and climate change impacts.

3 – Water and waste management – Large numbers of visitors can result in water shortages, inefficient wastewater treatment systems, and waste disposal issues in popular tourist sites in Oslo.

4 – Damage to biodiversity – Tourism can impact the local biodiversity negatively, leading to overconsumption of resources, and disturbance of ecosystems by excessive human activities.

5 – Pressure on resources – Heavy tourist activity can increase the strain on resources such as land, water, and energy, leading to overexploitation and unsustainable use.

10 Interesting Facts About Tourism in Oslo

Now that we know a bit more about tourism in Oslo, lets take a look at some of the most interesting facts:

1 – In 2019, Oslo was ranked as the third best city in the world for quality of life by the consultancy firm Mercer, based on factors such as safety, healthcare, culture, and environment.

2 – The Oslo Pass is a smart card that offers free entry to more than 30 museums, access to public transport, and a range of discounts on other activities, making it a popular choice among tourists.

3 – Oslo’s streets, parks, and public spaces offer a large number of contemporary art installations and sculptures by artists such as Gustav Vigeland, Pablo Picasso, and Damien Hirst.

4 – Oslo’s natural scenery has inspired many renowned authors and artists, including playwright Henrik Ibsen, painter Edvard Munch, and writer Knut Hamsun.

5 – The Nobel Peace Prize ceremony takes place annually in Oslo City Hall and is a major attraction for visitors interested in this prestigious international award.

6 – The Kon-Tiki Museum in Oslo houses the original Kon-Tiki raft, which Thor Heyerdahl sailed across the Pacific.

7 – The Oslo Opera House is built in such a way that visitors can walk on the roof, while enjoying panoramic views of the Oslofjord, making it one of the most iconic attractions in the city.

8 – Oslo has a large number of public parks and outdoor recreational areas, including Nordmarka, the Oslomarka forest, and the Ekebergparken sculpture park. which attracts many local and international

9 – Oslo is a popular destination for winter sports, with over 2,000 km of cross-country ski trails and a range of ski resorts, including the world-famous Holmenkollen Ski Jump.

10 – Oslo’s culinary scene is diverse and offers traditional Scandinavian cuisine, as well as international food. The city has four Michelin-starred restaurants and a range of street food marketplaces.

FAQs About Tourism in Oslo

Now that we know a bit more about tourism in Oslo, lets answer some of the most common questions on this topic:

1 – What is the best time of year to visit Oslo?

The best time to visit Oslo is during the summer months (June to August) when the weather is warmest and there are many outdoor events and activities. However, winter in Oslo can also be a magical experience, especially during the holiday season when the city is lit up with festive lights.

2 – How can I get around Oslo?

Oslo has a well-developed public transportation system including buses, trams, and subways. A single ticket can be used across all modes of transportation and can be purchased at kiosks or via mobile app.

3 – What are some must-see attractions in Oslo?

Some must-see attractions in Oslo include the Viking Ship Museum, the Munch Museum, the Oslo Opera House, and the Akershus Fortress.

4 – Are there any outdoor activities in Oslo?

Oslo has many outdoor activities to offer, including hiking in the surrounding mountains, cycling along the fjords, kayaking in the Oslo Fjord, and skiing in winter months.

5 – What is the currency used in Oslo?

The official currency of Oslo is the Norwegian krone (NOK).

6 – What is the cost of living in Oslo?

Oslo is known for being an expensive city, with high accommodation and food prices. However, there are also cheaper options available, such as markets and street food.

7 – Is it safe to visit Oslo?

Oslo is generally a safe city to visit, with low crime rates. However, as with any big city, it’s always important to be aware of your surroundings and take precautions like not leaving valuables unattended.

8 – What is the best way to experience Norwegian cuisine in Oslo?

The best way to experience Norwegian cuisine in Oslo is to visit local restaurants and try traditional dishes like rakfisk (fermented fish), lutefisk (dried cod soaked in lye), and reindeer meat.

9 – What are some popular shopping destinations in Oslo?

Some popular shopping destinations in Oslo include Karl Johans Gate (the main shopping street), Grünerløkka (a trendy neighbourhood with many independent shops), and the Aker Brygge waterfront district.

10 – What is the nightlife like in Oslo?

Oslo has a vibrant nightlife scene, with many bars, clubs, and live music venues. The Grünerløkka and Vulkan neighbourhoods are particularly popular for nightlife, with many options for different tastes and budgets.

To Conclude- Tourism in Oslo

Oslo, as Norway’s capital, epitomises the harmonious blend of historical legacy and modern Nordic innovation. In the face of burgeoning tourism, it’s crucial to maintain an equilibrium between progressive urbanisation and heritage conservation. Both visitors and industry stakeholders play a pivotal role in ensuring Oslo’s distinct identity thrives amidst contemporary challenges.

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