Akerselva is the name of the river that flows through the centre of Oslo. With hiking trails, waterfalls, parks and industrial heritage, a walk along the river is one of the best ways to explore Oslo.
The Akerselva River is about 8 km long, and runs from Lake Maridalsvannet in the northern suburbs, through the city centre, and flows into the Oslofjord at the Opera. A walk along the river is perfect to get to know Oslo in all its diversity. Many interesting attractions and neighbourhoods are located along the river.
You can choose to walk the entire river walk (8 km), or you can start somewhere half-way. We recommend starting somewhere upstream, and walking downhill towards the fjord. The entire walk will take around 2 to 3 hours, and is possible for all levels.
To start at the beginning of the river, take bus 54, tram 11 or 12 from Oslo Central Station to Kjelsås stasjon. From here, it’s easy to find the river. If you follow it upstream for 5 minutes, you get to the source of the river: Lake Maridalsvannet. Here, at the place where the lake narrows and becomes the river, you have magnificent views over the lake, the hills and the forests of Maridalen.
Walking downstream, you’ll pass the Technology Museum and nearby Frysjadammen, a perfect place for a swim. Up here, the river is surrounded by trees and nature. After some 2 kilometres, the scenery gets more urban: You are in Nydalen now, a booming district with lots of new buildings. There is a metrostop nearby, so if you don’t want to walk the whole tour, you can also start here.
After Nydalen, the river flows through Bjølsen, a quiet neighbourhood with early 20th century houses, and through Sagene. Sagene is one of the hippest areas of Oslo these days. It has a good mix of architecture from different periods, and lots of cafés and pubs. If you’re looking for a place to take a break and have a cup of coffee, take a detour to Sagene square.
Further downstream is where it really starts getting interesting. First, you will see the city’s most spectacular waterfalls at Beierbrua bridge, then, the river passes next to the Mathallen Food Hall in the newly developed area called “Vulkan” (“Volcano”), and further down, it passes Club Blå and the Grünerløkka neighbourhood. After this, it’s not far until the stop of our walk, at the metro stop at Grønland.
For a map of the walk, press here.
Text by Robin Van de Walle
Pictures by Robin Van de Walle and Anke Mollema