Norway’s sophisticated capital of Oslo conjures images of stunning architecture, a vibrant culinary scene and Viking museums, but it’s often thought of as being an expensive city to visit.

However, if you’re heading to Norway on an Arctic expedition with Aurora Expeditions, it would be an incredible shame to miss out on what Oslo has to offer. That’s why we’ve put together some of the top free activities in Oslo for the budget conscious traveller.

1. Marvel at the futuristic Oslo Opera House

Home to the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet, the Oslo Opera House is truly an architectural spectacle to behold. Sitting on the bank of the Oslofjord, the building appears to rise out of the water like a small iceberg, its angular lines enabling visitors to walk up to the roof for a great view of the fjord and the rest of the city.

2. Peruse the collection at the Nasjonalgalleriet

Norway’s largest public collection of sculptures and paintings offers free entry on Thursdays, and houses a range of incredible artworks, including ‘The Scream’ by Edvard Munch.

3. Discover Norway’s past at the Askerhus Fortress

Construction of the medieval Askerhus Castle and Fortress first began all the way back in 1299. A great place to catch a glimpse of Norway’s past, you can roam the grounds of the fortress on a guided tour during summer.

4. Mingle with the locals at the market

If you want to rub shoulders with Oslo locals away from the tourist sites, head to one of the city’s various markets. Vestkanttorvet is Oslo’s largest and oldest secondhand and antiques market, taking place on Saturdays from March to December. Another popular spot is the Birkelund flea market in Grünerløkka – held on Sundays, it’s the perfect place to find a bargain souvenir of Oslo.

5. Go for a swim at Huk

Aurora’s tours line up with the Norwegian summer, so if you’re staying a day or two in Oslo, why not head to the beach? Simply catch the 30A bus to the end of the line at Bygdøy peninsula and dive into the water at Huk.

6. See the changing of the guards at Palace Park

While you will have to pay for a guided tour of the Royal Palace, home to King Harald and Queen Sonja, the Palace Park that surrounds it is free for all to enjoy. You can even catch the daily changing of the guards at 1:30pm.

7. Marvel at the beauty of Oslo City Hall

The Oslo City Hall is arguably one of the capital’s most iconic buildings, featuring a large number of motifs that illustrate Norwegian history and culture. From July to the end of August, you can explore the hall on a free guided tour.

8. Take a peek at Vigelandsparken Sculpture Park

This beloved park is one of the country’s most popular attractions featuring a truly unique collection of sculptures. Over 200 of Gustav Vigeland’s bronze, granite and cast iron works depicting the human form are spread throughout the park, including Sinnataggen (The Little Angry Boy), Monolitten (The Monolith) and Livshjulet (The Wheel of Life).

You can discover more of this incredible country on our extension tour, Norway in a Nutshell departing from Oslo.