Did you know that a Fjord is typically a long deep narrow inlet of sea forged by glaciers over millions of years? Now whilst the spectacular Oslo Fjord is not a Fjord in a geological sense it is no less instagramable than it’s friends in Stavanger and Flam!
Oslo sits at the crest of a 100km long inlet of water, known as the Oslofjorden or Oslo Fjord. One of the busiest waterways in Europe, this narrow wedge connects Oslo to the North Sea. Dotted with many tiny islands, lighthouses, summer houses and stunning scenery the Oslo Fjord is definitely a must see if you are visiting Norways capital.
We visited Oslo in early February and decided at the last minute to book a scenic cruise of the innermost part of the Oslo Fjord with Norway Yacht Charter Båtservice Sightseeing Tours. We booked at the Oslo Visitors Centre, located inside the Østbanehallen (this is attached to Oslo Sentral Station), there are several options to chose from but we opted for the 1pm two hour guided tour. This service operates twice daily during winter months (10.30am, 1pm) on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. All services depart from Pier 3 which is around a 20-25 minute walk from Oslo Sentral.
We made our way down to the pier and eagerly awaited the arrival of our boat. It’s worth noting that if you pay for the tour at the visitors centre you have to go to the Båtservice ticket office on the pier to get your actual tickets.
As the boat arrived I was so excited to see that it was a beautiful wooden ship. What better way to see the Fjord! We stepped abroad our ship “Helena” and found a comfy seat.
Now I know what you’re thinking, a boat tour in Oslo……in winter! Fear not, there are plenty of blankets and sheepskins provided. The sides of the ship are covered with transparent plastic sheeting, although there are areas that are completely open to the elements so I recommend that you wear your winter woolies. The boat does have areas you can shelter if you get too cold.
We sailed off into the Fjord under the shadow of the grand Akershus Festning and with the winter sun low in the sky. First up was the bay that is home to the Oslo Opera House, We cruised past one of the mighty ferries that makes the Norway to Denmark journey. Our skipper treated us to some history about the Opera House and the surrounding buildings. There is alot of building work taking place around this area due to the construction of the new Munch Museum.
We then headed out towards the many tiny idyllic islands that are dotted across the Fjord. Norwegians are very fond of summer houses and the Fjord is lined with little (some not so little) wooden chalets in all colours of the rainbow. The boat weaved in and out of the maze of islands.
It was at this point we decided a warm drink was in order. Thankfully the boat has a bar that serves hot drink including Gløgg (Norway’s answer to Mulled Wine), light bites and snacks. Prices are reasonable for Norway! One Gløgg and a coffee was 100NOK.
We then headed over towards Bydgøy to drop people off at the Fram Museum, this fantastic museum explores the history of Norway’s polar expeditions. Norway Yacht Charter Båtservice offers a specific museum ferry that is a hop on hop off service. This stops at five different locations including the Opera House, Dronningen and Fram and allows visitors to explore museums such as The Viking Ship Museum and the Folk Museum. We dropped off a few people and then headed back into the sound.
As the tour came to an end we were thankful we decided at the last minute to book the trip. I didn’t know that to expect but the Oslo Fjord Båtservice Sightseeing Tours certainly exceeded any expectations I might have had. Whilst you don’t get towering peaks of the traditional Fjords you do get tranquil open water, stunning islands and summer houses and a glorious insight into life by the Fjords.
We headed back to the pier. I think two hours was just long enough because by that stage we were beginning to feel the cold.
Would we recommend the Oslo Fjord Båtservice Sightseeing Tours? The answer is without hesitation. The boats are charming, our guide was very knowledgeable about the local area, there is so much to see by the waterways of Oslo and it’s a great way to get around! Don’t we put off in the winter months, they provide blankets and sheepskins and there are hot drinks available. I really want to go back during the summer months as well as I think it would be an entirely different experience again.
Good to know –
Tour prices (correct as of April 2018):
315 NOK per adult (approx £28)
150 NOK per child (approx £14)
Tickets can be purchased online, at the pier and the Oslo Visitors Centre.
If you purchase an Oslo Pass, this entitles you to entry into over 30 Museums, free public transport and discounted prices on various tours. You will receive 15% discount on the Båtservice Sightseeing Tours.
Summer high season: (23 June – 26 August) daily departure times – 10:30, 11:30, 13:00, 14:00, 15:30 and 16:30
Spring/Autumn: (16 March – 14 October) daily departure times – 10:30, 13:00 and 15:30
Winter season: (Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays) departure times 10:30 and 13:00 including a brief stop on Bygdøy at 12:20 and 14:50
Pier 3 – Rådhusbrygge 3 0160 Oslo (right opposite City Hall)
I hope you found this blog helpful in planning your visit to Oslo!
Thanks for reading.
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Disclaimer – this is not a paid review. Our thoughts and opinions are our own.
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