The fact that it’s cold in Oslo in the winter comes hardly as a surprise to anyone. But exactly how cold, when and for how long it remains cold is always a surprise. There is plenty to do during the winter in Oslo – on those days that it’s tolerable, and also when the temperatures drop below your comfort zone. Here are our top pics outdoor activities.
Winter fun in Oslo – Outdoor activities
1. Sauna and swimming in the fjord
This is one of the most unique experiences in Oslo: a floating sauna. Opened in late 2018, the sauna ‘Skarven’ can be booked for a private sauna experience, or you can stop by during their drop-in hours, which are in the mornings from 7 to 9 (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday) and evenings from 4 pm to 7 pm (Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday). The views from the sauna are breathtaking. If you’re feeling like going for the whole Nordic experience, make sure you also take a quick swim – the water is cold, but the sauna will warm you up in no time. For updated hours and news, check out Sørengas Badstue- & Helårsbadeanstalt on Facebook.
2. Korketrekkeren sled / toboggan run
Feel like feeding your inner speed monster? How about riding down a 2 km-long (1.2 miles) of bobsleigh track among the woods in Holmenkollen? Korketrekkeren was opened in 1951 and the go-to place for fun loving people of all ages. How to get there: Take the tube line Frognerseteren all the way to the final stop (Frognerseteren) and follow the track down.
There is a sled rental (using the track is free of charge) close to the start of the track. The good news is that after you’re done with your ride, you don’t have to climb up the hill: the track ends by Midtstuen tube station, where you can take the tube back up to Frognerseteren. Just make sure you have a valid ticket for the tube.
Regardless of the temperature, we recommend that you dress to stay warm as you’ll easily spend quite some time outside. Helmets are also highly recommended. As any outdoor activity, poor weather conditions (in this case, warm temperatures and little snow) can limit opening hours so we recommend you check before your arrival. The best way to check the track status for the day is the Instagram account for the Sled association.
3. Ice skating
Test your balance on ice skates at Spikersuppa or Frogner Stadium ice rinks. The Spikersuppa skating rink is located in the city center, in Karl Johans Gate. They offer skate and helmet rental, but using the rink itself is free of charge. The Spikersuppa skating rink is small, but very cosy and definitely ideally located if you’re into enjoying some ‘after skating’ in one of the numerous bars, restaurants or cafés downtown.
In case you prefer a more spacious rink, you might want to consider the Frogner Stadium skating rink, which is the size of a large hockey rink. There is a nominal entry fee as well as skate and helmet rental. The rink is located some 5 minutes walk from Majorstuen tube station, but can also be reached by tram (number 12, stop Frogner Stadium) from the city center.
The skating rinks are open throughout the winter until late February. We recommend you check the opening hours on the day you plan to skate, as rain and longer periods of warmer winter temperatures can have an impact on service.
4. Cross-country skiing, Alpine skiing and snowboarding in Oslo
If you happen to take the tube in Oslo during the winter, the chances are that you’ll see people dressed up in their cross-country gear, carrying a pair of (very expensive) skis. Oslo is unique in the sense that there are numerous skiing tracks you can reach by the tube. Oslo Vinterpark (winter park) offers alpine hills, a halfpipe and several cross-country tracks, as well as a wide range of skiing equipment for rent. You can rent skis, ski boots, poles, snowboards and helmets, however clothing is something you should bring (layers, layers, layers!).
Oslo winter park can be reached by the tube going to Frognerseteren: get off at Voksenkollen stop and follow the signs. There is often a shuttle between the stop and the Winter Park.
If you already have a pair of cross country skis, another popular area (without ski rental) is Sognsvann, and there is a tube line that goes all the way up there. If you’re a beginner, it’s good to know that in case there are more than one set of tracks, you should keep to the right. Walking on any ski tracks is a definite no-no.
Learn more about skiing in Oslo Winterpark.
5. Sightseeing cruise on the Oslo fjord
View the Oslo city and surroundings from a different perspective by taking a fjord cruise on the futuristic ferry Vision of the Fjords. The award-winning boat is an attraction itself, as it was awarded ‘Ship of the Year’ in 2016.
The cruise takes 1-2 hours and departs from Langkaia, which is just by the Opera house, so you can combine the cruise with a visit to the iconic building. There is a café on the ferry. You can also enjoy the views and the fresh fjord air from the deck. Learn more about cruises in Oslo fjord.
Hot tip: If you feel like planning a day filled with winter activities, why not start with ice skating, followed by a cruise along the fjord and then, warming up in the floating sauna?