Set on the banks of Oslo Fjord, Akershus Castle and Fortress (Akershus Slott og Festning) was built in 1299 as a residence for Norway’s royal family. Over the years it has served as a fortress to protect Oslo against sieges from rival Swedish forces, as a Renaissance castle, and as a full-fledged 19th-century prison.
Highlights include Akershus Castle Church, the Royal Mausoleum, and a series of reception and banquet rooms. Inside the castle, valuable artifacts illustrate the structure’s storied history and offer a glimpse into Norway’s medieval and Renaissance past. Today Akershus Fortress is headquarters for Norway’s Ministry of Defense and home to the Norwegian Armed Forces Museum and Norway’s Resistance Museum.
Akershus Castle and Fortress is one of Oslo’s top sites and many city tours include a stop at the imposing structure. Segway and bike tours are a good way to see the castle and take in sights around Oslo Fjord, while hop-on, hop-off bus tours allow you to visit at your own pace. It’s also possible to see the castle and fortress on a sightseeing cruise or historical ghost tour.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Akershus Castle and Fortress is a must-see for history buffs.
- Maps of the grounds are available at the visitor center.
- There is no restaurant on-site, so it’s a good idea to grab a bite to eat before you arrive.
- Akershus Fortress, the castle grounds, and the Castle Church are wheelchair accessible, but paths around the grounds are mostly cobblestone and can be steep.
How to Get There
The castle and fortress are easily accessible by Tram No. 12 to Christiania Torv. Guided tours typically provide round-trip transportation, whether you choose to arrive by bus, bike, or segway.
When to Get There
The castle and fortress are open year-round, but summer is the most picturesque time to visit, when the grounds are in full bloom and the weather is typically sunny and warm.
The Military History of Akershus Fortress
Akershus Fortress is a must-see landmark for military history enthusiasts. The fortress remains undefeated since its construction in 1299, save when it peacefully surrendered to the Nazis without combat in 1940, when the city was evacuated due to a German attack on Denmark and Norway.