Being in the city doesn’t mean you can’t explore the outdoors and get closer to nature. There are a lot of possibilities for hiking in Oslo. Here, I share with you the best Oslo hiking trails with panoramic views, easy access and the landscape you wouldn’t expect to find in this part of Norway.
Everyone knows that hiking in Norway is amazing. But how is it with hiking near Oslo? Well, there’s a lot of Oslo hiking options to choose from. However, they are not always easily findable, especially for non-Norwegian speaking foreigners.
After living and exploring Oslo for several years, I combined this list of the best trails for hiking around Oslo (and in Oslo!), that are worth venturing out. The list is still growing, and I am adding more and more trails for hiking in Oslo as it goes.
After you find your best Oslo hotel and get friendly with the city, hit the trails and explore some of the best views in and around Oslo!
TOP OSLO HIKING TRAILS
All the hiking trails in Norway are managed by the Norway Trekking Association (DNT). Through them, you can also rent many of the DNT cabins, that are dotted around Norwegian landscape and make for a perfect hiking base or a stop. Also, while hiking in Oslo, you can visit several of these cabins. If you don’t want to stay overnight, you can just take a short stop, have some coffee and a waffle.
A great local site, for planning the trips is UT.no. You can find there many hiking trails, descriptions and maps. Unfortunately, it’s only in Norwegian and can be sometimes hard to navigate.
Therefore, below, I chose for you some of the best Oslo hiking trails, that you can use. Most of them are easily accessible by public transport, which is the best part of Norway’s capital – Norwegian nature is within everyone’s reach.
Oslo hiking in winter is less popular than in the summer. In Oslo in winter, many people ski instead of going for a walk in the hills. This doesn’t mean that you can try hiking in winter. I did it many times and I love it. Just make sure you have proper Norway clothing for winter.
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HIKING IN OSLO – TRAILS WITHIN THE CITY
There is a lot of nature around Oslo and many places perfect for hiking. When you want to try some Oslo outdoor activities, you can go hiking in Nordmarka, which is a large forest area covering Oslo and the north. Other areas include Bærumsmarka, Lillomarka, and Østmarka.
This is probably one of the most popular short hikes in Oslo amongst locals and some expats. The panoramic view from the top of the hike spreads to the Oslo fjord and the islands below. You can also see the Holmenkollen ski jump quite close.
The Vettakollen is usually busy with Norwegians making fires, cooking sausages, hanging out on the hammocks or resting after the run to the top. Normally, I try to avoid crowded places in nature, but Vettakollen has a very nice, friendly vibe, and I like coming back there.
The trail to the Vettakollen viewpoint is very short, only 2,5km return and the whole trip shouldn’t take longer than one hour.
The beginning of the trail starts in the neighbourhood near the tram station Vettakollen. You can get there by metro, taking T-bane number 1 from National theatre or Majorstuen going in a direction to Frognerseteren. Get off on the Vettakollen stop. From there, the path leads on the rocky and sometimes muddy ground through the forest, until it reaches the pile of rocks on the top.
If you want, you can continue the hike further into the forest.
Read more: How to travel in Norway on a budget
Grefsenkollen Oslo hike
Another popular viewpoint, especially for the sunset in Oslo, is Grefsenkollen. Apart from walking, you can get there by bus on Sundays or by car. However, the best way to get to the viewpoint is to do a short hike through the forest.
On the top, you will find one of the best Oslo restaurants, and a bar, serving coffee and cakes. Just make sure you check the opening times of the restaurant, as sometimes they close early, especially in winter. During the summer, there’s plenty of outdoor seating and many people bring their own food and drinks to enjoy the sunset.
The hike to Grefsekollen is not long and usually takes around one hour return. The length of the walk can vary depending on the place where you start the hike from. It can be between 3 km – 5 km or longer. I walked there from Storo station and I needed to pass through a few neighbourhoods before getting to the beginning of the forest trail. If you follow the Akebakkeskogen street to the end, it then turns into the gravel trail that will lead you to the top.
From Grefsenkollen you can continue walking into the forest and also visit a nearby lake and Trollvannstua cafe.
Probably the most famous lake in the Oslo city, and also the easiest and closest one to get to from the city center, is Sognsvann lake. The lake offers nice and gentle walking trails around, or longer hikes, that lead deeper into the forest.
To get to Sognsvann, you need to take T-bane 5 from National theatre/Majorstuen going to Sognsvann and get off on the last stop. From there, you just continue straight until you see the lake. Be prepared for it to be crowded with people, both summer and winter (skiers).
Hikes in Bygdøy
Bygdøy peninsula in Oslo offers tons of nice walks around in nature. Many people just go to Bygdøy museums or take the bus straight to the beach.
Instead, you can start your walk in Skøyen and follow the paths around the peninsula. My favourite route goes through the forest, offering beautiful views towards Fornebu and finishing on the Bygdøy beaches.
If you fancy a bit of a workout, you can try a very steep hike on the ski slope in Oslo. The hike starts from the bottom of the ski slope and follows the path to the top. The length of the trail is only around 5 km return, but due to the very steep ascent, count around 45 minute up.
You can get there by T-bane number 1 or bus 48.
City hike along the Akerselva river
If you don’t want to leave the city and you are looking for some flat walks in nature, you can try the hike along the Akerselva river. You can start at any point along the length of the river and go into any direction.
For a longer hike, begin walking near the Norwegian Museum of Science and Technology (Norsk Teknisk Museum), next to the train stop called Kjelsås. From there you can walk towards the Maridalsvannet lake, and then turn around and walk towards the city. Direct access to the lake is blocked since it’s a drinking water supply for the city, but you can still have a view to it from above.
In the summer, the area along the river is very popular with swimmers and people having picnics on the grass. There is a lot of greenery around and you can feel like you are outside of the city, still being close to public transport, in case you get tired and want to come back.
Kobberhaughytta and Finnerud Sportstua
For a nice winter walk, you can visit Kobberhaughytta – a lodge and a cafe located north of Oslo in the heart of Nordmarka forest. It makes a very nice walk in the nice weather, and is one of the reasons why I love Oslo in winter!
You can start the hike from the metro station Frognerseteren. To get there take T-bane number 1 from Oslo centre. Once you are in the forest, you will see many trails in the area and you can choose the length suiting you best. If you do this hike in winter, remember to follow blue trails only. Red ones are meant for cross country skiers.
Islands in the Oslo Fjord
Oslo islands offer nice walking opportunities, especially in the summer season. Most of them are quite small, so the walks are short, but they provide for nice connection with nature and the views.
Islands worth checking out are Langøyene, where it’s possible to camp for free, Hovedøya with the ruins of the old church, and Gressholmen (the smallest of the tree).
To get to the islands you can take a ferry boat from Aker Brygge. The ticket price is the same as for any other public transport in Oslo Zone 1, so if you have a day ticket, you can take a ride on a boat included in the price.
THE BEST TRAILS FOR HIKING NEAR OSLO, NORWAY
There are also a lot of options for hiking around Oslo. And you don’t need to go far. Within an hour drive, there are very nice Oslo trekking trails, perfect for organizing hiking day trips from Oslo.
The hike to Kolsåstoppen offers panoramic views towards the Oslo fjord and the nearby settlements of Baerum. The hike is a bit longer than the other viewpoint ones, that I mentioned above, but it’s worth the effort.
To do the whole loop, you need around 2-2,5 hours and you will be walking for around 7 kilometers in the varied terrain with a few steeper parts.
There are two main routes that allow you to get to the top of Kolsåstoppen, so you can choose the one suiting your needs best. For the more open views choose the southern route. The popular starting points if you are using public transport are either from Kolsås stop on the T-bane line 3 or from the Stein Gard farm, accessible with bus 150.
Typically, it’s recommended to do this hike in summer rather than winter, as it gets quite icy and snowy on the steeper parts. However, I’ve gone up to Kolsåstoppen both in winter and in the summer. If you have good winter gear and experience in hiking on the snow and ice, it is also doable (and pretty, as you can admire Oslo in winter).
King’s View (Kongens Utsikt)
This is a very picturesque hike located around an hour drive from Oslo.
The Kongens Utsikt means the King’s View. The name originates from the fact that the Norwegian King Karl Johan has visited this place in 1832. And the view is worth it, even for a king!
The top is 484 meters above sea level. From there, you can admire the panorama of Steinsfjorden, Tyrifjorden and area around Ringerike. The hike is well marked and relatively easy. The length of the trail is around 3km, which can take around one hour return.
The best way to get to the start of the trail is with the car. You can park it in the Kleivstua car park. If you want to go by public transport, there are occasional buses going from Oslo/Sandvika (use Ruter app or Google maps for planning), but they are not very frequent.
This is one of my favourite hikes in the Oslo area, which can be connected with the one mentioned above (King’s View). Mørkgonga is a crack in a lava plate, that now creates a deep gorge.
The trail to the top is not long, around 2,5km each way, but it gets very steep towards the end. To get to the summit, you need to climb a steep hill with loose stones (or try to find a path around it, which we couldn’t locate). After that, there is still a little bit of scrambling to do, but you have a chain to help you get through the steepest part of the gorge.
From the top, you can see wonderful views down to the Honefoss and the little islands. Don’t forget to take a photo on the “crack”!
For a longer hike, you can continue to Gyrihaugen mountain.
The best option to get on the trail is to drive, as public transport doesn’t go to the parking lot. Mørkgonga is located around an hour drive from Oslo.
Oslo hiking essentials
As usual, when you go hiking, make sure you’re prepared with correct hiking gear or winter gear, enough water and food. Always know where you’re going, have a map and a GPS/compass and tell someone where you are heading, especially if you are alone and you’re going out of the city.
To get around, I recommend taking public transport. One ticket is valid for all types of transport, including metro, train, bus, tram and ferry.
Where to stay in Oslo
If you want to travel Norway on a budget, for stay try Couchsurfing, hostels or DNT cabins.
Here are some hotels in Oslo for different budgets:
$ Saga Poshtel Oslo Central – one of the cheaper hotels.
What to take for Oslo hiking
- Thermal underwear like merino wool top, yes it works great both summer and winter
- Mid-layer – fleece
- Top layer – Goretex jacket
- a hat, lighter one in the summer
- A scarf
- thin thermal glove liners, and in winter add bigger woolen mittens
- Wool socks, they work great even in the summer
- Water bottle
- Good backpack
- Good hiking shoes
When to come to Oslo for hiking
You can visit Oslo year-round. I especially love Oslo in winter. However, during winter hiking in Oslo is harder, as the trails are not cleared, and mainly used for skiers. Summer, spring and autumn are great for outdoor activities and you can find many Norwegians on the trails in and around the city.
Read more about Norway:
- Where to stay in Oslo – best Oslo hotels on every budget + Oslo districts explained
- The best things to do in Oslo in winter
- Best Norway winter clothing – what to pack for Norway in winter
- Kjeragbolten hike without the crowds
- The best outdoor gifts for hikers
- Hike to Trollpikken, Norway
- Norway on a budget – locals’ tips for cheap travel in Norway
What are your favourite hiking trails in Oslo and around?
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