9 of the best fjord tours from Oslo

Sitting at the top of the Oslofjord, Norway’s capital city has no shortage of waterways, coasts and islets to explore by boat, sailing ship or even kayak, with terrific views back over the city.

Oslo's best boat trips explore the city and the Oslofjord
Oslo harbour (CC)

Some islands in the fjord are served by public ferry, but others can only be seen on a boat trip or tour. And there are plenty of boat trips to choose from that take in the best of the city’s waterscapes, from museum tours, jazz cruises to evening buffet trips.

If you want to see more of the Oslofjord and the city’s sights, however, you’re better off taking a boat tour with an expert guide on board. Here are some of our favourite Oslo boat trips!

Classic boat tour of Oslo’s museums and sights

Oslo's waterfront is best seen on a boat tour
Oslo Opera House / TimOve (CC)

This two-hour sightseeing tour takes in the main attractions of Oslo and its islands gives you the chance to explore the city’s tall coastline and picturesque houses.

We love that this trip is on a classic wooden sailing ship that glides past the modern Munch Museum, the Opera House and the Bygdøy peninsula, as well as several of the islands.

Museum admission fees are not included in the price, but there’s an expert guide on-board who can advise you about what to see and do.

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Cool jazz sailing boat trip

Summer houses in Oslofjord
Summer houses near Oslo / BreakDownPictures (CC)

For the ultimate chill-out tour, hop on a traditional wooden sailing ship for a three-hour cruise around the Oslofjord.

Take a seat on the long wooden benches on deck for an al fresco buffet meal of tasty local shrimps served with bread and mayonnaise, accompanied by funky live jazz along the way.

This is probably our favourite fun boat trip and is a great way to see Oslo from the water and admire the nearby islands with their picturesque summer homes.

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Experience the Oslofjord on an electric boat

This boat tour takes in the sights of the inner Oslofjord on a silent, eco-friendly, electric boat.

You’ll sail past the Akershus Fortress and the impressive Oslo Opera House before visiting the pretty Hovedøya Island. 

En route you can admire the lovely waterside cabins and holiday homes through large panoramic windows.

We like that this boat is quiet, has a lower environmental  impact and is fully accessible for wheelchair users. 

Is the Oslo Pass worth buying?

Read this guide to see how much you could save during your trip!

Sing as you sail on a sunset cruise

This sing-along sunset sailing trip has a band and singer on-board and you’re encouraged to join in with fellow travellers as you sail past the sights of Oslo.

A picnic basket of tapas and a drink is included. 

This is a sociable cruise, and makes a fun way for solo travellers to meet others.

Island hopping on local ferries

Hovedøya island can be seen on boat trip from Oslo
Hovedøya island / Pudelek (CC)

There are some beautiful unspoilt islands a short ferry ride away from the capital, and this guided tour takes you to some of the loveliest in an action-packed four-hour excursion using local ferries.

Your first stop is Hovedøya where you can see a ruined Cistercian monastery dating back to 1147 and walk through idyllic woodland (remember to wear sensible shoes).

The next island stop is Lindøya, dotted with colourful summer houses, where can enjoy a picnic or a bracing swim at one of its lovely beaches.

The next ferry leg passes the tranquil wooded island of Gressholmen, much of which is a nature reserve, before returning to Oslo.

We like the fact that this tour uses local ferries, but has an experienced guide to show you the best places to go, and to help you navigate the – sometimes confusing – public ferry system!

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Boat, buffet and beer

Dyna lighthouse in the Oslofjord can be seen on boat trip from Oslo
Dyna Lighthouse / RalphG40 (CC)

A good way to combine eating, drinking and sailing is on this three-hour tour which offers delicious Norwegian shrimp snacks and a variety of hot and cold drinks.

There’s time to digest everything you’ve eaten on a three-hour boat trip around the Oslofjord – and you can immerse yourself in the city’s gorgeous scenery on the way home.

We think this tour is particularly good value, as it doesn’t cost much more than a regular boat trip, but includes food too.

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Explore the Oslofjord by kayak

See the Oslofjord by kayak
Pic: Vascodagamaoslo (CC)

Suitable for experts and complete novices, this three-hour guided kayak tour, led by an experienced guide, paddles out from the city into the Oslofjord.

Heading off from the sheltered Sjølyst Marina, it’s a relatively gentle trip to some gorgeous nearby islands and beaches and round the bright white Dyna Lighthouse.

You can either have your own single kayak, or share the paddling with a friend in a double.

It’s a lovely way to see the Oslofjord in a tranquil way and at your own pace.

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Winter wonderland boat tour

You can visit the Bygdøy peninsula, Oslo by public ferry
Bathhouse, Bygdøy peninsula / Bjoertvedt (CC)

Although many of Oslo’s boat trips are summer-only, this two-hour winter cruise allows you to see the Oslofjord at its wintery best.

Wrap up warm as the boat leaves Oslo with stunning views back towards the ultra-modern Opera House. The trip heads into the Oslofjord, past the quaint Dyna Lighthouse and many picturesque islands.

On the way back you also have the option to stop off at the Bygdøy peninsula, home to the famous Fram Museum and Maritime Museum, before a final hop back to your starting point.

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Enjoy brunch on a boat

Sit back and enjoy a glass of fizz with brunch as you glide silently past the sights of the Oslofjord on a hybrid-electric boat.

The food is a highlight of the trip, with dishes made from local seasonal seasonal ingredients. In spring, for example, you can expect such treats as a Japanese egg custard with smoked trout or a local shrimp salad.

Are these tours really worth it?

Of course, you can do a DIY boat trip on the Oslofjord by taking some of the public ferries and exploring on your own.

However, you probably won’t save a huge amount of money doing it this way.

Tickets to the Bygdøy peninsula, bought on board the boat, cost 75 NOK each way and the cheapest boat trip – this 50-minute highlights trip on a wooden sailing boat that takes in the Akershus Fortress, the Oslo Opera House and the Munch Museum – costs just 230 NOK.

And the zoning and ticket system on the public ferries can be quite confusing, so you’ll need to suss out which zone the islands you want to visit are in and make sure you get the correct ticket.

Also, bearing in mind how pricey it is to eat out in Oslo, some of the boat trips that include food can be good value too.

Solo travellers may like the sociability of a boat trip, though others may prefer the flexibility and freedom of going independently.

Is Oslo really the best place to take a fjord tour? 

The Oslofjord is not Norway’s most dramatic fjord, but is pretty and a peaceful antidote to the bustle of the city.

And if you’re in Oslo you’ll certainly want to go out and explore some of the islands and coastline, especially in summer.

However, it can’t really compare to the Bergen, when it comes to fjord tours. From Bergen, you can take a boat trip out to see some of Norway’s most picturesque fjords, including the Sognefjord, the Hardangerfjord and the Geirangerfjord. 

For more on fjord cruises from Bergen, see our guide to the five best boat trips from Bergen

And for other Scandinavian cities that are good for boat trips, see our guides to the best boat trips from Stockholm, the best canal tours from Gothenburg and the best boat trips from Copenhagen.

Oslo boat tour FAQs

Are any fjord tours included with the Oslo Pass? 

There are no fjord tours currently included in the Oslo Pass, though it does give discounts of around 15% on a few harbour sightseeing tours and boat trips.

It also gives free travel on the ferry to the Bygdøy peninsula. For more on the Oslo Pass, and whether it can save you money, see our guide.

Where do Oslo’s boat tours depart from?

Most boat trips depart from Rådhusbrygge 3 (City Hall Pier No. 3) just in front of the Rådhus. This is also where public ferries depart for Dronningen and Bygdøynes Docks across the bay. Check with the boat trip provider, however, as some departure (and return) points vary.

Do Oslo’s boat tours run all year?

Most private boat tours run from late May or June to the end of August, when the weather is better and the Oslofjord is ice-free.

However, there are also atmospheric cruises that you can take throughout the winter, provided there’s no ice, while public ferries run across the bay from March to October.

Can I explore the Oslofjord by public ferry?

If you’re just heading out to the Bygdøy peninsular to visit the museums there, you can take the Bygdøyfergene from Rådhusbrygge 3. It leaves every 20 to 30 minutes from March to October.

It’s a short but picturesque hop across the inner Oslofjord to Dronningen Dock, where you can visit the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History and the Viking Ship Museum.

The ferry then returns via Bygdøynes dock, a short walk from the Fram Museum and Norwegian Maritime Museum. Tickets can be bought on board the ferry, but they’re slightly cheaper if bought online in advance.

Public transport tickets are not valid on the ferry, so you might want to get the Oslo Pass for your trip. There’s more on exploring the Oslofjord in this guide.

See also:

Getting around Oslo
The Oslo Pass: is it worth buying?
50 free things to do in Oslo

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