Top Things To Do in Oslo In The Summer

If someone would ask me when is the best time to visit Oslo, I would recommend summer. Oslo in the summer is a city full of blooming flowers, sunshine, happy people, outdoor drinks, boats on the fjord and swimmers in the sea and the lakes. Not even mentioning the very long days (since there is a midnight sun in the north of the country), fun summer festival and cultural events. Here are some of the best things to do in Oslo in the summer.

Summer in Norwegian capital is probably my favourite time! Days are long, there is a lot to do and the weather can get really good (we even had 30°C days! But more about the weather below).

After living in Oslo for 6 years (wow, time goes fast) and spending several summers in Oslo, I wanted to share with you all the fun things to do in Oslo in the summer. I’ve already shared a similar list for things to do in Oslo in winter.

Looking for the best hotels in Oslo? In my post on where to stay in Oslo, you will find recommendations for accommodation in Oslo and description of Oslo districts, so you can decide for the best place to stay.

Oslo in the summer

The weather in Oslo in the summer

Weather in Oslo in the summer is not bad, and can be quite nice. It’s not Spain though!

Usually, in Oslo during summer you can expect comfortable temperatures of around 15-20 °C (59 to 68°F) during the day and colder at night. In the evening, it’s good to have a jumper with you.

June is the driest month, with an average of 70mm of rainfall, while July and August are slightly wetter with an average of 90mm of rainfall per month. 

The best part of the summer months are the long daylight hours, with the sun rising as early as 3:30am and setting as late as 10pm. Sometimes it feels like there is no real darkness at night and stars are barely visible. It’s useful to have sun-blocking curtains in your accommodation if you’re a sensitive sleeper. 

Is it cold in Oslo in the summer?

Or is it hot?
Well, both. Or neither. Depending on the year! During recent years the weather has been changing. There have been days with 25 °C to 30 °C and there also have been rainy and cloudy ones.
One year, on a particularly hot summer, the shops in the city even run out of fans. Not many Norwegian houses have AC, as usually it’s not needed, so everyone was buying fans to cool down.

Best things to do in Oslo in the summer

1. Go for a hike

Hiking in the summer in Oslo is one of the best activities. The days are long, so you can hike late into the day and watch sunsets on top of the hills.

Oslo is surrounded by beautiful mountains and forests, which makes it great for hiking. The most popular hiking trails are in the Nordmarka forest, which is easily accessible from the city center by public transport. Some of the popular hikes in the area include Grefsenkollen, Vettakollen, and Kolsåstoppen.

I have written a comprehensive list for hiking in Oslo and around, so check it out.

2. Visit Oslo fjord islands

Jumping on a local ferry to travel to many of the islands in Oslo in the summer is a popular local activity. Ferries can get busy at peak times, but for the price of public transport ticket, you can have a taste of the boat cruise and land on a nice rocky beach on an island. In a sunny day it feels pretty nice.

You can buy ticket through Ruter (the best is the app).

3. Take the Oslo cruise

If you’d like to spend more time on the sea, admiring the landscape, taking a fjord cruise in Oslo is the way to go. The best time to do it is in the summer, since the weather is better and the days are longer.

4. Chill out at the Oslo beaches

Oslo might not have amazing tropical beaches, but there are still some pleasant ones, where you can relax with the view of the sea. The most popular, sandy beaches might be full of locals during the sunny weather. Some of the best ones are Huk, Paradisbukta, Bygdoy sjøbad, and Hvervenbukta.

However, the less popular rocky beaches are still pretty and you can have them all for yourself.

5. Swim in the Oslo fjord

Swimming in the Oslo fjord in the summer is very popular. Locals jump into the water from high platforms, and enjoy the refreshing dip before or after work.
The most popular swimming spots in the city include Huk Beach and Sørenga.

6. Swim in the Oslo lakes

What’s better than summer swimming in the Oslo fjord? Swimming in the lakes! My favourite activity is to hike somewhere far into the forest and then jump into the lake to cool down (the water is pretty cold!)
Oslo has numerous fresh water lakes, and you can always find one that would be secluded. There are also some more popular ones such as Sognsvann, or Nøklevann.

7. Have fun at the summer festivals

Summer is the festival time in Oslo! Every week there is something happening. From music festival, to cultural or food ones, there’s something for everyone.

The Oslo Jazz Festival is a popular event that takes place every August. The festival features performances by world-renowned jazz musicians, as well as up-and-coming talents. In addition to live music, there are also workshops, lectures, and exhibitions.

Another fun festival to attend is Øya Festival. This four-day music festival takes place in Tøyen Park, in the heart of Oslo. The festival features performances by a variety of musical acts, as well as art exhibitions, food stands, and other activities.

There is also a festival in Grefsenkollen, which is a hill overlooking the city. The festival is called “OverOslo” and it’s filled with good music where you can enjoy it together with a nice view.

Oslo hiking trail - Grefsenkollen, Oslo Norway

8. Make a barbecue

No other smell reminds me more of the summertime in Oslo than the smell of the barbecued sausages. Norwegians love sausages from the barbecue and take small grills with them everywhere. There are places to safely barbecue in parks, beaches, and forests.

Just remember that it’s forbidden to barbecues not in designated areas during the fire ban (15th April – 15th September).

9. Have an “Utepils” (outside beer)

What is “utepils”? It literally means outdoor beer, or outdoor lager. It’s a sign of warmer weather as it’s a first opportunity to have a beer outside. During summer there are multiple beer gardens and outdoor restaurants where locals are enjoying the sun. This is very Norwegian thing to do – always be outside!

Norwegian gifts and souvenirs - local craft Norwegian beer from Svalbard

10. Go on a bicycle tour

Oslo is a very bike-friendly city, with many bike paths and rental options available. Renting a bike is a great way to explore the city’s many sights and attractions. It’s also not bad way to get some sneaky exercise in!

Bike paths in Oslo are sualy well set up and safe (you just need to watch out for other cyclists, especially on a crazy tour-de-finanse route between Aker Brygge and Lysaker )

Some popular cycling routes in the city include the Akerselva River trail, the Ekeberg Sculpture Park route, and the Bygdøy Peninsula route.

11. Go kayaking

With the sea, the river and the multiple lakes, Oslo is a paradise for kayaking. 

I especially like kayaking on the sea and exploring the small islands on the Oslofjord, especially with going overnight camping on some of them.

However for that you need to have precious experience in sea kayaking. If you don’t, don’t worry, you can take a kayaking tour, or try kayaking on the Akerselva river with a tour or on the lakes.

12. Try stand-up-paddling

Another fun summer activity in Oslo is SUP paddling. There are many places along the fjord and on the lakes where you can rent SUP boards for a few hours or a full day. There are also organised tours, if you’d rather go with a group. 

Honestly, I’ve tried stand up paddling a few years ago in Oslo and totally fell in love with it!

13. Go camping in the forest

Summer is the best season for camping in the forests around Oslo. In fact, it’s so popular that during some weekends you can meet whole families camping in the forests and by the lakes.

If you want a bit more solitude, you just need to walk a bit further into the wilderness and you will be entirely alone.

Camping in Norway is free when you follow the rules, so make sure you do so.

Camping near Oslo, Norway
Camping near Oslo, Norway

14. Have soft-is (ice cream)

Another popular Norwegian summer snack is ice cream. But not just any ice cream. Soft-is is soft type of milk ice cream, with various sweet toppings, typically sold on petrol stations and in small shops. 

15. Visit the Oslo museums

Oslo has a good number of interesting museums, that are good to be visited at any time of year. It’s my go to activity during Oslo in winter, as a warm-up break between the walking outside, but in the summer it’s nice to take a break inside too! And some of the museums are outside, which is better in a good weather.

Viking Ship Museum

The Viking Ship Museum is a must-see attraction for anyone interested in Norse history and culture. The museum houses three Viking ships that were excavated from burial mounds in the Oslo Fjord. These ships, which date back to the 9th century, are incredibly well-preserved and offer a glimpse into the Viking era.

Munch Museum

The Munch Museum is dedicated to the life and work of Norwegian artist Edvard Munch, famous for his painting “The Scream.” The museum houses a vast collection of Munch’s paintings, drawings, and prints, as well as a library and archive. The museum also hosts temporary exhibitions throughout the year, making it a dynamic and ever-changing cultural experience.

Oslo Open Air Museum

When the weather is good, walking around the Oslo Open Air museum – Folkemuseum is a nice thing to do, since most of it is, well, outdoors.
The museum consist of 160 buildings from rural and urban Norway. They date from the Middle Ages to the 20th Century.

The Royal Palace

The Royal Palace is a stunning neoclassical building that serves as the official residence of the Norwegian monarch. While the palace is not always open to the public, visitors can watch the changing of the guard ceremony, which takes place daily at 1:30pm in the summer months.

In the summer months, you can join guided tours of Royal Palace for the public.

It’s also nice to just walk around the building that gives a nice view onto the Karl Johans Gate. The park surrounding the Royal Palace is a relaxing place for a walk and a popular with locals.

Check out my Oslo on a budget guide for more free activities in the summer.

16. Visit Oslo parks

Oslo is a very green city and apart from forests, it also has many beautiful parks and botanical gardens.

Take a walk in Vigelandsparken with many famous statues by Vigeland. Compare them to many modern art statues is Ekeberg park, where you can also see a beautiful view of the city from above.

To see many interesting plants, take a walk in Oslo Botanical Gardens.

17. Go fishing

Nothing tastes as good as freshly caught fish and if you do it yourself, even better! Sea fishing is free in Norway (they are still rules depending on where to fish and what you can catch). For lake fishing you need to buy a permit.

18. Take one of the day trips from Oslo

When you run out of things to do in Oslo in the summer, take a trip outside of the city. There are many fun Oslo day trips, that you can check here.

19. Eat fresh seafood

Summertime it’s when everyone sits outside and eats fresh seafood. Shrimps with mayo and dill, served on a crispy bread, mussels with wine sauce and french fries, a king crab or oysters, you will find it all in Oslo in the summer.

What to wear in Oslo in the summer

What to wear in Oslo in the summer can highly depend on the activity you have planned and, of course, the weather.
It’s best if you bring a mix of clothing options, including light layers, comfortable shoes, and a waterproof jacket for rainier days.

For outdoor activities like hiking or cycling, I recommend you to wear comfortable clothes and sturdy shoes. For swimming, be sure to pack a swimsuit and a towel.

In terms of style, Norwegians tend to dress casually and comfortably. Jeans, t-shirts, and sneakers are common, but it’s always a good idea to bring a few dressier options for nights out or cultural events, if you like that.

Would you like to visit Oslo in the summer? Would you add something to this list? Let me know in the comments!

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