Seven fairytale places to explore near Oslo, Norway

Seven fairytale places to explore in the Oslo region

Sprinkle some magic on your vacation

The region of the Norwegian capital is steeped in tradition and history, and you don’t have to look far to find places that are filled to the brim with fascinating tales and storybook charm.

Here are some enchanting (and highly instagrammable!) places in the Oslo region that are sure to put a spell on you.

1. Fredrikstad's Old Town

The Old Town of Fredrikstad was founded by King Frederik II in 1567, and is one of the best preserved fortified towns in Northern Europe. Cobblestone streets and houses built centuries ago send your imagination on a journey to ages past, and guides and museums tell you tales about times of both occupation and prosperity.

 

Gamlebyen
Gamlebyen
Photo: Walter Schøffthaler

 

Fredrikstad’s Old Town is still very much alive, and you can visit galleries, specialty shops, cafés and taverns here, all year round.

Learn more

2. Bærums Verk

The village of Bærums Verk was founded 400 years ago to boost the Dano-Norwegian iron production. Recent restorations have turned old buildings and production facilities into a unique shopping commons that combines tales of old crafts with beautiful surroundings.

In the quaint 18th century houses along the main street, you'll still find the workshops of blacksmiths, glass blowers and woodworkers.

Learn more

3. Akershus Castle and Fortress

Right in the centre of Oslo lies the building that inspired the Arendelle Castle in one of the great fairytales of our own times: Frozen. You won’t meet Elsa here, but Akershus Fortress is purportedly home to a few ghosts.

 

Akershus Castle, Oslo
Akershus Castle, Oslo
Photo: VisitOSLO/Didrick Stenersen

 

At the picturesque fortress grounds, you can walk through alleys and arches, past bulwarks, canons and ponds while taking inn 700 years of fortess history.

Learn more

4. Royal Modum Blaavarveværk

The Royal Modum Blaafarveværk was established in 1773 to extract cobalt from the mines in the area, which was used in blue dye for porcelain and glass industries all over the world.

Today it serves as an eight kilometres long museum with galleries, shops and restaurants located in endearing buildings, and a trail that takes you past the scenic waterfall that once powered the cobalt works.

Learn more

5. Lillehammer and Maihaugen

The Olympic city of Lillehammer entices visitors with its friendly atmosphere, charming houses and lakeside location. It is also known for the renowned open-air museum at Maihaugen, a collection of 200 historic houses complete with traditional sod roof cottages and a 13th century stave church.

 

Maihaugen open air museum
Maihaugen open air museum
Photo: Ian Brody

 

(Insider tip: For a literal fairytale experience, swing by Hunderfossen Family Park, where an enormous troll watches over a cave filled with filmmaker Ivo Caprino’s puppet interpretations of old Norwegian folk tales.)

Learn more

6. Kongsvinger Fortress and Old Town

Above the city of Kongsvinger you'll find Kongsvinger Fortress, which has kept the Swedes out of Norway since its completion in 1682. In these peaceful times, it is open all year.

 

Lunch time in Kongsvinger's Old Town
Lunch time in Kongsvinger's Old Town
Photo: Visit Oslo Region/Didrick Stenersen

 

Right below the fortress is Kongsvinger's Old Town, a living museum area with venerable wooden houses from the 18th and 19th century, now home to unique shops and restaurants.

Learn more

7. Drøbak and Oscarsborg Fortress

Located by the Oslo fjord, the old fisherman’s village of Drøbak welcomes you with small wooden houses, winding streets and whiffs of sea air that encapsulates the essence of summer. Artisan bakeries offer spellbinding treats when it's time to take a break. 

Exploring Oscarsborg
Exploring Oscarsborg
Photo: Visit Oslo Region/Didrick Stenersen


Only a short ferry tide away lies the stately Oscarsborg Fortresswith stunning grounds and a history that goes back to the 1800s.

Learn more

Getting here


Getting to the Oslo region is easy.


Oslo Airport, with over 200 international flights a day, is the main gateway to the region. It is situated just north of Oslo, and is easily accessible from Oslo city centre by Flytoget Airport Express Train. 

 

Once you have arrived ...

Train is a comfortable way to travel, and the Norwegian State Railways connects Oslo several of the places mentioned in this article.

The railway company offers a journey planner in English, which makes it easy to look at your options and book your tickets in advance.