The Changing of the Guard at Oslo Palace

Royal palace in Oslo
Fredrik Gløckner / FOAP / Getty Images

The changing of the guard in Oslo is a great thing for tourists to witness. You can catch the changing of the guard at Oslo's Royal Palace, the residence of the King of Norway. It's currently the home to King Harald V and Queen Sonja. The best part? It's completely free to enjoy.

How to Watch the Changing of the Guard

Make your way up Karl Johans Gate toward the Royal Palace and join other visitors waiting for this royal event that takes place at 1:30 p.m. daily, no matter what the weather in Oslo is like. The entire changing of the guards takes about 40 minutes.

In the summer, mounted police officers and a Norwegian military band lead the guards through the streets of Oslo, starting at the Akershus Fortress at 1:10 p.m. The procession moves to Kirkegaten and from there to Karl Johans Gate and the Royal Palace, where the changing of the guard occurs at 1:30 p.m., as always.

The royal guards you see at the changing of the guards in Oslo are called the King's Guard. These men and women perform sentry duty, guarding the royal residence around the clock. It starts when the new watchmen (called gardister) arrive, marching through the park behind the palace. They then meet with the current guard by the watchmen's house for the change.

When to Visit the Royal Palace

While you can see the changing of the guard every day, year-round, there's one time of year that's better than others to visit. On May 17 (Constitution Day in Norway), the changing of the guard becomes an elaborate, city-wide event with marching bands accompanying the Royal Family in a procession.

At 1:30 p.m., there is also a changing of the guard ceremony at the Akershus Fortress outside Oslo, which is the residence of other important members of the royal family: the Crown Prince and Crown Princess.

More Ways to Experience the Royal Palace

Even if you can't make it to the Royal Palace to see the guards in action, it's a historically significant and architecturally stunning landmark to visit. Completed in 1849, the palace was built in a stunning neo-classical style. The palace is surrounded by a park with ponds, statues, and manicured gardens, perfect for an afternoon stroll or a quick picnic. You can also attend church service in the Palace Chapel at 11 a.m. on Sundays, or sign up for daily guided tours in the summer. It's best to book your tickets online, although if you're lucky, on a slow day, you might be able to pick up an extra ticket at the door.

Other Places to See the Royal Guards in Norway

Although the palace is the main place to see the changing of the guards, you can also see it at Akershus Fortress, Bygdøy Kongsgård, Skaugum, and Huseby Camp (the Royal Guard barracks and headquarters).