Looking for the best Norway Christmas markets?
Norway becomes a wonderland in winter, teeming with colourful streets, entertainment in the snow, hearty holiday foods, and splendid Norwegian Christmas markets.
Plenty of fabulous fairs and bustling bazaars pop up throughout the country in the days leading to Christmas Eve. Are you planning a trip to Norway with kids during this festive season? Going to famous Norway Christmas markets should be on your list.
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Why You Should Explore the Christmas Markets in Norway
Norway is famous for its fjords, Northern Lights, folklores, and Vikings. While most tourists visit during summer, there is something uniquely magical about winter in the Land of the Midnight Sun.
The atmospheric Norway Christmas markets undoubtedly make the country one of the best destinations in Northern Europe during the holiday season. Need a little more convincing? These are reasons why you should explore the festive Norway Xmas markets.
- Indulge in delicious food. Be amazed by the tasty fare sold at the Norway Christmas markets, from gingerbread and different kinds of cookies to smoked lamb ribs and roasted chestnuts. Then, there’s the sweet-smelling, pleasantly-spicy glogg, a must-try on every gastronomic list.
- Shop for unique items. Whether you’re looking for handmade souvenirs, exquisite holiday décors, or rare Norwegian Christmas gifts, you’ll find them at a market.
- Enjoy family-friendly fun. Norway Christmas markets are for people of all ages, but more so for kids and kids at heart. There are giant Ferris wheels, reindeer-pulled sleigh rides, visits to Santa’s workshop, skating rinks, snowball fights, and brightly-lit carousels playing Christmas tunes.
- Experience local Christmas traditions. From carolers singing on stage to glittering light displays, Norway Christmas markets offer an exciting way to learn how the country celebrates the holiday.
Christmas in Norway
Norway in winter is a snowy wonderland, and come December, it’s all about celebrating ‘Jul’, the Norwegian Christmas. Cities shimmer with lights, and the festive mood is palpable.
Advent calendars are popular among kids, counting down the 24 days to Christmas. Each day reveals a small treat, building the anticipation.
Traditional dishes like ‘ribbe’ (roasted pork belly) and ‘pinnekjøtt’ (steamed lamb ribs) adorn the Christmas Eve dinner table. As 5 o’clock rings in, church bells across the nation herald the start of Jul.
‘Julenissen’, Norway’s Santa, is eagerly awaited by children. Present exchanges and carol singing make for joyful gatherings.
A must-see is the ‘julebukk’, a decorative straw goat. Rooted in ancient folklore, it’s a unique Norwegian festive symbol.
Outdoors, families often attend church or walk under the Northern Lights, soaking in the holiday spirit. In short, Christmas in Norway is a mesmerizing blend of tradition and festive fun.
Best Norway Christmas Markets 2023
It’s no secret that Norway has some of the best Scandinavian Christmas markets. But if you’re unsure where to go, here is a list of the most popular Norway Christmas markets in 2023 and their opening times.
Oslo Christmas Markets
Like the other European capitals, Oslo has some of the biggest, brightest, and busiest Christmas markets in the country.
The city also has a winter park, a festival of lights, and Christmas theatre shows.
Here are some of the best Oslo Christmas market 2023 options.
Christmas in Winterland Oslo Christmas Market 2023
Christmas in Winterland 2023 Opening Dates: Unconfirmed
Located along the Spikersuppa ice skating rink, a short distance from the National Theatre, Christmas in Winterland is Oslo’s most famous Christmas market.
Various stands, shops, and stalls selling everything from toys and trinkets to jewellery and clothes to tacos and crêpes fill the entire block – perfect if you are travelling to Oslo with kids.
There are also free plays and concerts and several carnival rides, including a giant Ferris wheel, that kids will surely love.
Norwegian Folk Museum Christmas Fair
Norwegian Folk Museum Christmas Fair 2023 Opening Dates: 2nd-3rd December & 9th-10th December
In the first two weeks of December, the Folk Museum hosts its annual Christmas Fair, featuring a market, concerts, traditional music and dance, and lots of fun and engaging activities.
The bazaar sells locally made crafts, such as ceramics, silverware, and seasonal food and drinks. Children can enjoy pony rides, meet the farm animals, make Christmas lanterns, or visit Santa’s workshop.
Youngstorget 2023 Opening Dates: Unconfirmed
If it rains or gets too cold, head to the indoor Christmas market in Youngstorget. Instead of wandering through outdoor stalls, you can explore heated lavvu tents.
This event is one of the most unusual Oslo Xmas markets and features a Sami theme. Find dried rein meat, handmade Sami jewellery, horn products, and Sami music. In addition, there are lots of traditional Christmas décors and delicious food.
Bærums Verk 2023 Opening Dates: Not Announced Yet
Bærums Verk is technically not in Oslo, but it is only 20 to 30 minutes away from the capital.
Set in a village lined with 17th -century wooden houses and red brick factory buildings along a river, the Bærums Verk market evokes old-fashioned Christmas.
Find rare arts and crafts, toys, clothing, chocolate, and Christmas food. There are also horse and sleigh rides and a Christmas workshop for children.
Tromsø Christmas Market 2023
Tromso Christmas Market 2023 Opening Dates: Not Announced Yet
With its fairy lights, live choir, snow-covered streets, and dozens of shops, the Christmas market in Tromsø is a must-visit. Buy locally-made jewellery, enamel mugs, leather bags, wool hats, chocolates, spices, handmade glass and traditional Christmas eats made from home-grown ingredients.
Take a spin on the ice-skating rink or enjoy a ride on the Ferris wheel. Craving for adventure? Combine shopping with classic Christmas activities, such as reindeer or dog sledging, Northern Lights tour, or snowshoeing.
Where to stay: A popular family destination, Tromsø hosts many child-friendly accommodations, including hotels, apartments, and home rentals. Check out the Tromsø City Apartments for privacy or Penthouse in Downtown Tromsø for someplace close to the city centre.
Røros Christmas Market
Røros Christmas Market 2023 Opening Dates: 7th December – 10th December
We won’t blame you for thinking you’ve stepped into the pages of a fairytale the moment you arrive in Røros. After all, this idyllic mining town is the inspiration for Disney’s Frozen.
Known for its stunning scenery and entertainment, Røros is a winter wonderland, complete with snow-covered wooden houses and exciting Christmas activities.
At the Røros Norway Christmas market, you’ll find unique handicrafts, traditional arts, knitted clothes, smoked salmon, and cured sausages. There are loads of tasty Christmas treats, including freshly-baked goods, candies, and mugs of glogg.
If you get chilly, there are open-fire cauldrons where you can warm up. Children can visit Santa’s workshop, meet the resident reindeer, or enjoy a horse-drawn sleigh ride around town.
For somewhere closer to the train station, the two-bedroom Vertshuset Røros makes an ideal place to stay.
Bergen Norway Christmas Market
Bergen Norway Christmas Market 2023 Opening Dates: 1st December – 22nd December
The fairytale city of Bergen has the lengthiest holiday celebration in Norway. Its chief Christmas market is located in the city centre at the festive square of Festplassen, boasting a massive Christmas tree, a giant Ferris wheel, a horse carousel, and lots of singing.
Shops selling Norwegian wool, sheepskin blankets, rare handicrafts, and delicacies line the brightly-lit streets. But it’s not only Festplassen that goes abuzz during Christmas.
The whole city comes to life with several concerts, live performances, food festivals, and the world’s largest gingerbread town, Pepperkakebyen.
Trondheim Christmas Market
Trondheim Christmas Market 2023 Opening Dates: 3rd December – 20th December
In the city centre, on the newly-renovated Torvet square, is the Trondheim Christmas market. It hosts over 100 cultural events and 90 shops that sell exotic jams, unique ceramic bowls, and fascinating handicrafts and wares with equally fascinating backstories.
The lavvu tents throughout the area serve as cafés or an indoor stage, where you can have warm glogg, freshly brewed beer, or sweet hot chocolate whilst enjoying performances by fireside troubadours and other live theatre shows for children.
Norwegian Christmas Markets Around the World
A number of cities around the world, particularly those with a significant Norwegian population, celebrate the holidays by hosting Norway Christmas markets.
- Norwegian Christmas Fair, New York City [3rd weekend of November] Hosted by the Norwegian Seaman’s Church, this annual Christmas fair features cultural shows and shops selling Norwegian crafts, jewellery, knitwear, tablecloths, décors, and many more.
- Scandinavian Christmas Fair, Raleigh, North Carolina [3rd December] A celebration of the rich traditions of Nordic countries, this fair features Sweden, Denmark and Norway Christmas markets. You can enjoy the sights and tastes of Scandinavia, including food, music, and craft items.
- Scandinavian Christmas Market, London, UK [late November to mid-December] Find a mishmash of Scandinavian shops selling goods and fares from Nordic countries on Albion Street.
- Hokuo Yatai, Kyoto, Japan [23rd November and 6th, 7th, 25th December] This festive event celebrates the holidays with various Scandinavian shops selling wooden products, textiles, vintage tableware, accessories and food typically found in Norway Christmas markets.
Christmas Markets Norway: Final Words
Norway’s Christmas markets are a dazzling spectacle of tradition, warmth, and festive cheer. With twinkling lights, unique handicrafts, and heartwarming Norwegian delicacies, they truly capture the essence of a Nordic winter wonderland.
A visit is a must to experience the magic of ‘Jul’ in its full splendor.
Christmas Markets Norway FAQs
Yes, Norway boasts enchanting Christmas markets that are a highlight of the festive season. As winter cloaks the nation, cities come alive with festive stalls, twinkling lights, and the aroma of traditional foods. From Oslo’s vibrant bazaars to Tromsø’s snow-covered marketplaces, Norway offers a variety of Yuletide celebrations. These markets showcase handcrafted souvenirs, local delicacies like ‘ribbe’ and ‘pinnekjøtt’, and unique Nordic traditions.
In Norway, Christmas is celebrated on December 25th, like many other countries. However, the main festivities and traditions, including the festive meal and gift exchange, take place on Christmas Eve, December 24th.
December in Norway offers snowy landscapes, the Northern Lights in the north, and festive vibes. Activities include dog-sledding, skiing, visiting Christmas markets, and experiencing local ‘Jul’ traditions in various towns and cities.
Oslo in December is a winter wonderland. One can ice-skate at Spikersuppa rink, visit the Royal Palace, explore Christmas markets, witness the city’s festive lights, and enjoy concerts and winter-themed events at local museums and theaters.
Oslo’s Christmas markets generally begin in late November and continue until the end of December. Specific dates might vary yearly, but the markets usually kick off around the last weekend of November.
Plan Your Trip to Norway with Kids
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Sylvie Simpson is the founder of European Cities with Kids. For the past 6 years, she has been travelling all over Europe whenever she has the chance, both solo, for work and with her daughter. Sylvie is on a mission to help people make the most of city breaks in Europe with kids and helps over 50,000 readers per month plan and make the most of their trips in Europe with kids.