Walking Tour: Historic Oslo
Start: Aker Brygge.
Finish: Royal Palace.
Time: 2 1/2 hours.
Best Times: Any day when it's not raining.
Worst Times: Rush hours (weekdays 7-9am and 5-7pm).
Start at the harbor to the west of the Rådhuset at:
1. Aker Brygge
This steel-and-glass complex is a rebuilt district of shops and restaurants that was developed from Oslo's old shipbuilding grounds. It has a fine view of Akershus Castle.
Head east along Rådhusplassen, looking to your left at the:
The Oslo City Hall, built in 1950, is decorated with artwork by Norwegian artists.
Climb the steps at the east end of the square and a small hill to see the:
3. Statue of Franklin D. Roosevelt
Eleanor Roosevelt flew to Oslo to dedicate this statue.
This area is the heart of the 17th-century Renaissance city. Take Rådhusgata east to the traffic hub of:
4. Christiania Torv
The yellow house on your left, the Young Artists Association, was once the home of the dreaded executioner. His fee depended on the type of execution performed.
Take a Break -- To the right of the Young Artists Association is Kafé Celsius, Rådhusgatan 19 (tel. 22-42-45-39), Oslo's oldest residential house. Today it's a charming arts-oriented cafe that serves tasty food. Sandwich prices start at NOK90 ($14/£7.40). You can also order pasta salads and such dishes as ratatouille or tortellini. On cold days, there's a fire in the fireplace. It's open Monday to Saturday 11am to midnight, Sunday 11:30am to 7:30pm.
Continue along Rådhusgata, turning right onto Nedre Slottsgate. Walk to the end of the street. At Myntgata, turn right and pass through a gate. You are now on the greater grounds of Akershus Castle. The first building on the right is the:
5. Norwegian Resistance Museum
The museum has displays on events related to the Nazi occupation of Norway from 1940 to 1945.
Also at the site is:
6. Akershus Castle & Fortress
The structure dates from 1300 but was rebuilt in the 17th century. Take a guided tour and walk the ramparts.
In front of the Norwegian Resistance Museum, pause on the grounds to look at the:
7. Execution Site
Here the Nazis shot prisoners, often Norwegian freedom fighters. There's a memorial to the resistance movement, and you'll have a good view of the harbor in the distance.
Cross the drawbridge to the east, right before Kongensgate, and continue through the castle grounds to the:
8. National Monument to the German Occupation
This commemorates Norway's suffering at the hands of the Nazis.
After seeing the monument, turn left (north) into:
9. Grev Wedels Plass
This is the site of Den Gamle Logen (Freemason's Lodge). In 1850, Ibsen wrote poems here. At no. 9 and Dronningensgatan 4 is the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, with changing exhibits of Norwegian and foreign art from the postwar period.
Head north along Kirkegata until you reach:
This former site of the old Bank of Norway is now the Museum of Contemporary Art (Bankplassen 4), with the state collection of international and Norwegian modern art acquired since World War II. This square was once Oslo's social center. Ibsen staged his first play here in 1851 (at a theater that burned down in 1877).
From Bankplassen, turn right onto Revierstredet and left onto Dronningensgatan. At one time the waterfront came up to this point. Go right at the Central Post Office onto Tollbugata. At the intersection with Fred Olsens Gate, turn left and walk to the:
11. Oslo Sentralstasjon
Trains arrive at Oslo's rail hub from the Continent here and depart for all points linked by train in Norway.
Turn left onto the main pedestrian-only street:
12. Karl Johans Gate
The street stretches from the Central Station in the east to the Royal Palace in the west end.
On your right you'll pass the:
Boutiques and shops, hawking everything from food to clothing to crafts, fill this huge complex.
Turn right at Kirkegata, heading for the:
14. Oslo Domkirke
This 17th-century cathedral resides at Stortorvet, Oslo's old marketplace. Like the City Hall, the cathedral is decorated with outstanding works by Norwegian artists.
Take a Break -- Old Oslo atmosphere lives on at the Stortorvets Gjaestgiveri, Grensen 1 (tel. 23-35-63-60), on a busy commercial street. This drinking and dining emporium, dating from the 1600s, is often filled with spirited beer drinkers. A beer costs NOK50 ($10/£5). It's open Monday to Saturday from 11am to 11pm, Sunday (Sept-Apr only) 3 to 9pm.
From Stortorvet, walk west on Grensen until you reach Lille Grensen. Cut left onto this street, returning to Karl Johans Gate. On your left at Karl Johans Gate 22 will be the:
15. Norwegian Parliament (Stortinget)
Constructed from 1861 to 1866, it's richly decorated with works by contemporary Norwegian artists.
Continue west along Karl Johans Gate, passing many of the monuments covered on "Walking Tour 2: In the Footsteps of Ibsen & Munch" . Eventually you'll reach Drammensveien 1, the:
16. Royal Palace (Slottet)
This is the residence of the king of Norway and his family. The public is permitted access only to the park.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.