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Best things to do in Eastern Norway

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Where in the world: Europe  /  Norway  /  Eastern Norway

Top 15 things to do in Eastern Norway

1. Akershus Castle and Fortress (Akershus Slott og Festning), Oslo

Originally constructed to defend the medieval town, Akershus Castle and Fortress (Akershus Slott og Festning) has since undergone several renovations and today stands as one of the city's symbols. Built in 1290, the castle boasts sturdy stone walls and fortifications that withstood 500 years of sieges and attacks. Visit this landmark and explore its grounds, which once served as the nexus of the national government and the seat of power for Norway's royal rulers. Outside, wander the cobbled pathways and courtyards surrounded by brick buildings and an imposing clock tower. Inside discover the different chambers and sections that now house military museums, historical displays, and a mausoleum with the tombs of Norwegian royalty. Keep in mind that, depending on the time of year, you may need to join a guided tour in order to access the castle.
Suggested duration: 3 hours
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2. Vigeland Museum, Oslo

At Vigeland Museum, walk through the largest park of oversized expressionist sculptures of people made by a single artist. Constructed of granite, bronze, and wrought iron, 200 nude statues portray men, women, children, and families. The park and the museum are the legacy of an early 20th-century Norwegian artist, Gustav Vigeland, who made a deal with the municipality to donate all of his work to the city in return for a workshop. The sculpture garden features five sections stretching from the main gate to the monolithic plateau. Look for the famed "angry baby" sculpture on the bridge near the children's playground. Vigeland's other works, including drawings, sketches, woodcuttings, and photographs can be seen in the neoclassical building of the museum along with his letters, writings, and a personal library.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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3. Kon-Tiki Museum, Oslo

Dedicated to one of Norway's most well-known pioneering spirits, Kon-Tiki Museum displays the vessels, artifacts, and personal effects of Thor Heyerdahl. Heyerdahl famously set sail in 1947 on a raft from South America and traveled to Polynesia in order to reinforce his theory about pre-Columbian island colonization. Visit the museum to see the Kon-Tiki craft used on this excursion, as well as other reed boats Heyerdahl employed on later expeditions. Wander the different exhibits focused on Heyerdahl's life, his vessels, and the life and culture of the islands he visited. Don't miss the collection of more than 8,000 books--a tribute to Heyerdahl's prolific career as a scientist, researcher, and writer.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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4. Vigeland Park, Oslo

Walk around Vigeland Park admiring the life work of Gustav Vigeland, Norwegian designer of this park that attracts more than a million annual visitors. Start at the fountain and work your way around more than 200 sculptures chiseled in granite and cast in bronze and iron. Among the statues representing all the stages of the human life cycle, look for the famous sculpture of an angry boy and the granite monolith with 121 figures symbolizing different emotions.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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5. Fram Museum, Oslo

Learn more about the polar explorations undertaken by the Norwegian explorers Fridtjof Nansen, Otto Sverdrup, and Roald Amundsen at Fram Museum. Climb aboard the Fram, the original ship used by Nansen on his voyage, and walk in the cabins of the crew members and the main deck to get a feel for what life as an explorer was like during this period. Also, view the ship used in Amundsen's journey through the Northwest Passage, the Gjoa. You'll have the chance to see the scientific equipment and actual artifacts that were used for the explorers' research. Look up at the museum's ceiling during one of their light shows for projections of the ethereal Northern Lights.
Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
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6. Holmenkollen Ski Museum, Oslo

Discover why skiing is so important to Norway's culture and visit a modern ski jump at Holmenkollen Ski Museum. Easily reached by metro, the ski jump was opened in 2010, and stands 64 m (209 ft) high. Hop on one of the enclosed elevators that bring you up to the all-glass starting box, where you can take in a 360-degree view of Oslo. Adrenaline junkies can ride down on Fly Holmenkollen, the zipline that runs 361 m (1,184 ft) and follows the same route as the ski jumpers. Also try the Kollen Ski Simulator, which uses advanced technology to show you what it feels like to ski down one of the toughest slopes. Stop by the museum on your way out to witness over 4,000 years of ski history and learn about how skis were once a necessity in this region. The price of the museum is included in your ticket up to the jump.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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7. Norsk Folkemuseum, Oslo

Learn about daily life in Norway through the artifacts and 150 houses relocated from different regions at Norsk Folkemuseum. Founded in 1894, this is the country's oldest and largest folk museum. Walk among the houses that have been set up as a village, and view displays depicting culture and lifestyle from 1500 to the present day. Be sure to see the Viking-style Gol Stave Church that dates back to 1200, one of the five medieval buildings in the museum. Inside, check out the permanent exhibitions on folk art, folk costumes, Sami culture, toys, and contemporary history. Grab a map on your way in, and if you are short on time, let the items labeled "must sees" guide you. To buy some traditional Norwegian crafts, stop in the gift shop on your way out. Be sure to wear proper footwear, as some walking is involved.
Suggested duration: 3 hours
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8. Oslofjord, Oslo

Replete with numerous small islands and winding waterways, Oslofjord and its surrounding environs play home to a large portion of Norway's population. Though more a bay than a stereotypical fjord, the site's geographical impact on the surrounding area throughout history has been significant. Tour the sounds and harbors of the fjord to discover the different cultures and traditions that have developed on different islands, many unique to that particular zone. Use a tour boat, kayak, or canoe to explore the coastal landscape and its accompanying historical sights, including ruined monasteries, old waterfront homes, and vintage lighthouses. After touring, kick back with a drink or a bite to eat at one of the many cafes and restaurants along the sea nearby.
Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
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9. Room Escape Games, Oslo

Suggested duration: 2 hours
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10. Munchmuseet, Oslo

Delve into the life and times of one of Norway's most famous artists at Munchmuseet, which houses the world's largest collection of Edvard Munch's works--a total of 28,000 pieces. Get a glimpse of the artist's personal life and inner spirit by visiting the belongings, tools, and sketches that formed the basis for some of his works. Join a guided tour of the museum (offered in English), to learn more about specific pieces of art, Munch's psyche, and the context of the Expressionist movement as a whole. Be sure to check the museum's website for information regarding special exhibits and temporary displays.
Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
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11. Rådhuset, Oslo

The site of the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony each year, Rådhuset also serves as the nexus for the municipal government and one of the city's most recognizable buildings. Built over a period of nearly 20 years beginning in 1931, the building survived German occupation during World War II. The central facility features modern brick architecture, including two towers rising to a height of 66 m (217 ft). Be sure to listen for the carillon that rings out from one tower on the hour. Explore the interior to see the extensive frescoes and oil paintings that cover the walls, depicting famous events, legends, and themes from Norwegian history. The banquet hall also features paintings of royalty and more oil frescoes.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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12. Det Kongelige Slott, Oslo

Tour the home of the past and present Norwegian royalty at Det Kongelige Slott. Built in 1849 for King Charles III, the neo-classical palace boasts 173 rooms and is the official residence of present Norwegian monarch. Walk through state rooms such as the Council Chamber, Great Hall, and Mirror Hall. Wander the Palace Park grounds that surround the palace, complete with ponds and statues. Watch the traditional changing of the guard that occurs daily. Visit the website to buy your tickets in advance; check the website for hours.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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13. Nobel Peace Center, Oslo

Cataloguing the work of past prize winners, Nobel Peace Center presents topics related to peaceful conflict resolution and the life and times of Alfred Nobel. Learn about the efforts of the individuals and organizations who have received the famed Nobel Peace Prize since its founding in 1901. As you wander the interior garden area, stroll through a forest of fiber optic lights to see photographs of every laureate in history in one place. Don't miss the exhibits related to the prize's origins with the humanitarian Alfred Nobel himself. Be sure to check the center's website for information about the frequently hosted discussions, seminars, lectures, and presentations.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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14. Bygdøy, Oslo

Jutting out into the bay, maintains a distinctly rural character while including a number of the city's museums and recreational spaces. Board a boat or bus to make your way from the central part of the city to the residential area, and go for a stroll along one of the beaches. Or rent a bicycle to take advantage of the network of surrounding pathways and trails through the parks. The museum district offers a taste of the region's history and information on some of Norway's most famous figures. You can also get a look at the residence that still serves as the summer home for the country's royal family.
Suggested duration: 3 hours
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15. Frogner Park, Oslo

Frogner Park (Norwegian: Frognerparken) is a public park located in the West End borough of Frogner in Oslo, Norway. The park is historically part of Frogner Manor, and the manor house is located in the south of the park, and houses Oslo Museum. Both the park, the entire borough of Frogner as well as Frognerseteren derive their names from Frogner Manor.

Frogner Park contains, in its present centre, the Vigeland installation (Norwegian: Vigelandsanlegget; originally called the Tørtberg installation), a permanent sculpture installation created by Gustav Vigeland between 1924 and 1943. It consists of sculptures as well as larger structures such as bridges and fountains. The installation is not a separate park, but the name of the sculptures within the larger Frogner Park. Informally the Vigeland installation is sometimes called "Vigeland Park" or "Vigeland Sculpture Park"; the director of Oslo Museum Lars Roede said "Vigeland Park" "doesn't really exist" and is "the name of the tourists," as opposed to "Oslo natives' more down-to-earth name, Frogner Park."
The park of Frogner Manor was historically smaller and centered on the manor house, and was landscaped as a baroque park in the 18th century by its owner, the later general Hans Jacob Scheel. It was landscaped as a romantic park in the 19th century by then-owner, industrialist Benjamin Wegner. Large parts of the estate were sold to give room for city expansion in the 19th century, and the remaining estate was bought by Christiania municipality in 1896 and made into a public park. It was the site of the 1914 Jubilee Exhibition, and Vigeland's sculpture arrangement was constructed from the 1920s. In addition to the sculpture park, the manor house and a nearby pavilion, the park also contains Frognerbadet (the Frogner Baths) and Frogner Stadium. The Frogner Pond is found in the centre of the park.

Frogner Park is the largest park in the city and covers 45 hectares; the sculpture installation is the world's largest sculpture park made by a single artist. Frogner Park is the most popular tourist attraction in Norway, with between 1 and 2 million visitors each year, and is open to the public at all times. Frogner Park and the Vigeland installation (Norwegian: Frognerparken og Vigelandsanlegget) was protected under the Heritage Act on 13 February 2009 as the first park in Norway.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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