Akershus Fortress (Akershus festning)#13 in Best Things To Do in Oslo
Overlooking Oslo Fjord in downtown Oslo, Akershus Fortress – which is composed of a medieval fortress and a Renaissance castle – has been a fixture in the city for more than 700 years. For most of that time, its primary purpose was to defend the city from foreign invaders – something it did well, as no foreign military ever managed to capture it by force. The fortress also served as a prison, a church and a royal residence for a time. Now, it's home to a visitor center, government offices and two museums: the Norwegian Armed Forces Museum and the Norway Resistance Museum.
Previous travelers praised the property's breathtaking water vistas and impressive architecture. Others raved about the castle's interior, which reopened in January 2019 after undergoing renovations. Keep in mind, entry to the castle costs 100 kroner (less than $12) per adult and 40 kroner (about $4.50) for each child between 6 and 18. Visitors with an Oslo Pass and kids 5 and younger get in for free. Ticket prices cover use of an English audio guide.
Akershus Fortress' grounds are free to explore from 6 or 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, but like the castle, the on-site museums – including their restrooms, gift shops and cafes – cost extra to access. The Oslo Opera House, Olso City Hall, the Nobel Peace Center and The National Museum – Architecture (one of four buildings affiliated with the National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design) all sit within walking distance. The closest public transportation stop is tram No. 12's Kontraskjaeret station, which is just north of the fortress. Additional information about Akershus Fortress is available on the fortress' official website.
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#1 Oslo Fjord
Occupying 766 square miles, Oslo Fjord attracts Oslo residents and tourists in droves, especially during the warmer months. Water vistas are available from many parts of the city, including popular attractions like the Oslo Opera House and Akershus Fortress. You can also opt to hit the water in a canoe or kayak, but to get the full experience, consider signing up for an Oslo Fjord cruise. Sightseeing and fishing excursions are available on everything from inflatable boats (known as RIBs) to sailboats and yachts to ferries throughout the year.
Traveler-approved cruise operators include RIB Oslo and Norway Yacht Charter, but the cheapest and most popular way to explore the fjord is via a tour with Båtservice Sightseeing. Affiliated with Norway Yacht Charter, this ferry company offers several fjord tour options, such as a two-hour daytime sightseeing excursion and three-hour crab-, jazz- and blues-themed cruises. Previous visitors suggest booking the evening boat tour, which includes three hours of sailing and a highly regarded all-you-can-eat shrimp buffet. But remember to bring extra money for drinks and a jacket if you plan on sitting outside.
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