Oslo Outskirts: Top Secluded Spots for Nature Lovers

norway forest and lake


Oslo, the vibrant capital of Norway, is renowned for its stunning natural beauty. It frequently appears in travel writers’ lists of Most Beautiful Capital Cities, and is famed for its wealth, cleanliness, native architecture of various periods, abundance of greenery and efficient transport system.

But though the city itself offers plenty of green spaces, sometimes nature lovers crave a more secluded experience which still gives them the option of accessing the city’s amenities. If you make the effort to travel, you want the best of all possible worlds, with both isolation and convenience on tap at all times.

Fortunately, the Oslo outskirts are dotted with hidden gems which provide the perfect backdrop for a nature-filled getaway. You don’t have to go far to find yourself in the middle of everywhere – with the quietness of the natural world, the facilities of the city and the attractions of the surrounding area to choose from, without any one compromising another.

Let others bury themselves in Oslo’s vibrant urban environment, thinking the city is the experience – those who head for the outskirts know better. The WonderInn company is, as usual, ahead of the game, and showcases a boutique selection of properties in these areas, which offer a cozy and convenient semi-urban base for exploring the great outdoors.

Nordmarka Wilderness Area

Nordmarka is a vast wilderness area, but much of it is surprisingly part of Oslo itself, although it also extends into other boroughs of the wider Marka region. It is largely protected from development, even in the Oslo part, making it a paradise for hiking and skiing enthusiasts.

With over 200 km of hiking trails and 450 km of ski tracks, visitors can immerse themselves in the tranquility of the Norwegian forest. The few accommodations which exist within it are generally cabins and cafes, so the people you will meet are on your wavelength, appreciating the place for the same reasons you do.

The area is home to several lakes, including Bjørnsjøen and Skjennungen, which are perfect for a refreshing dip or a peaceful picnic. It is also home to deer, lynxes, moose and beavers, amongst other animals, who have become unfazed by humans as the area is popular with locals who also want a break from the city.

Østmarka Forest

Thirty minutes to the east of Oslo lies Østmarka, a sprawling forest which extends over 256 square kilometers. This differs from the other forests surrounding Oslo by being more open in aspect, a mixture of pine forest, heath and picture postcard.

This area is a haven for wildlife, with the moose, deer and beavers being joined by a wide variety of birds. More recently packs of wolf cubs have been discovered, though they are unlikely to bother humans, preferring the local livestock when given the opportunity.

Nature lovers can explore the numerous hiking and biking trails winding through the forest, taking in the fresh air and serene atmosphere. Ski trails are also marked, and although the area is very much open, with high visibility, it is recommended to take a map and not venture too far off the marked trails.

Hovedøya Island

A short ferry ride from Oslo’s city center is Hovedøya Island, a hidden gem which offers a unique blend of history and nature. One of the reasons it is hidden is its size – no more than 800 metres across at its widest, the island nevertheless packs a lot of punch into its tiny frame.

Hovedøya is home to the ruins of a 12th-century Cistercian monastery, which was burned down deliberately in 1532. It is also known for lush forests, sandy beaches and old artillery pieces, which remain from historic military installations and convey a sense of the importance of this island to the defence of the beauty it embodies.

Visitors can hike the island’s trails, go for a swim or simply relax and take in the stunning views of the Oslo Fjord. You might also befriend the now-famous fox who lives there, seemingly attracted by the cafe near the monastery and its offerings.

Nøklevann Lake

Nøklevann Lake is situated in the aforementioned Østmarka forest and is a picturesque spot for fishing and boating. Many of the stock photos of “lake in Norway” which you will see were shot there.

The lake is surrounded by dense forest and is home to a variety of fish species, including trout, perch and pike. It was once used as a supply of drinking water for Oslo, and is still a reserve water supply, so it is clean and unthreatening for the swimmer and faller-in.

Visitors can rent a rowboat or canoe and spend a peaceful day on the water, casting a line and enjoying the tranquil surroundings. If fishing is your thing, you will need a permit from the Oslomarka Fishing Administration, but under 18s do not need a permit, and Noklevann is not a “maximum size lake”, so you can keep all you catch.

Where to Stay

WonderInn Riverside has several offerings to the northeast of Oslo. Each is within a short distance of the lakes and forests, and thus of Oslo itself, thus making every option available for the discerning traveler.

Complete with stunning views of the surrounding wilderness, WonderInn properties enhance the outdoor experience by distilling the essence of its charms in the constructions themselves. They are the best place to start when seeking to match individual tastes and expectations to the offerings available.


The Oslo outskirts offer nature lovers a chance to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and immerse themselves in the beauty of the Norwegian landscape. From the vast wilderness of Nordmarka to the serene beaches of Hovedøya Island, there is no shortage of secluded spots to explore.

By staying at one of WonderInn’s properties in these areas, guests can enjoy a comfortable and memorable nature getaway, with easy access to hiking trails, lakes and forests. Pack your bags, grab your hiking boots and book your stay at a WonderInn property for an unforgettable Oslo nature experience.

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