The Oslo Christmas Markets bring the city to life in the dead of winter, making it a must-see attraction for families, locals and tourists alike. If you are thinking of visiting Oslo in December and wondering if the city has any Christmas markets, where they are located and when they are open, this practical guide will provide you with all the information and tips you need, brought to you by the locals!
Christmas in Norway is a truly special occasion, with a magical atmosphere. Long nights, snowy landscapes, and cold days create everything you’d imagine for a perfect Christmas setting. Even though Oslo is a big city and may lose a bit of charm and poetry, this is largely compensated by the fact that it is the most vibrant city in Norway, offering a wide choice of shops, restaurants, museums, a cosmopolitan atmosphere, and plenty of things to do.
So, if you’re gearing up for a thrilling winter escapade in Norway, prepare to immerse yourself in the enchanting ambiance of the winter season. Seek out the hidden gems, the serene spots away from the tourist throngs, and bask in the awe-inspiring beauty of the natural landscapes. And, to truly savor the essence of the season, make sure to include a visit to the Oslo Christmas Markets in your itinerary. It’s undoubtedly the ultimate destination for procuring traditional souvenirs, artisanal crafts, delectable biscuits, sweet treats, and other delightful local delicacies.
What you will find in this guide to the Oslo Christmas Markets:
Oslo Christmas Markets: A Practical Guide
You may be wondering if Oslo has Christmas Markets, and the answer is not so obvious. This seems to be a long-standing tradition in Central Europe, but less rooted in Scandinavia, where usually the Christmas markets tradition has had more modest and less blatant dimensions. However, Oslo has a few Christmas Markets scattered throughout the city centre, as well as others scattered in the surrounding region, which is a good excuse to take a car and explore the surroundings.
The Oslo Christmas Markets are concentrated in the Sentrum and Gamle Oslo neighborhoods, near the central station, alongside Karl Johans Gate, which is the city’s primary shopping street, but the Christmas events are scattered throughout the city center, extending into the major parks citizens. But the Christmas atmosphere is almost everywhere, especially in the city’s cozy cafés and restaurants.
Jul i Vinterland: The Best Oslo Christmas Market
Nestled in the heart of Oslo, the Christmas Market at Spikersuppa along Karl Johan Street – known as “Jul i Vinterland” – stands as the crowning jewel among the city’s festive celebrations. This enchanting market is more than just a traditional gathering of wooden stalls, it’s a captivating winter wonderland that transforms the main shopping street into a joyful amusement park.
As you step into Jul i Vinterland, you’ll be transported into a world of Christmas enchantment. Explore the charming stalls, each offering an array of delights, from gourmet treats to beloved traditional sweets like gingerbread and pepperkaker biscuits. Handmade gifts and decorations await your discovery, ensuring that you find the perfect memento of this magical season.
Walking through Jul i Vinterland, you’ll be greeted by a symphony of sounds and a tapestry of colors that ignite the senses. The crisp winter air is filled with the scent of roasted chestnuts and mulled wine, inviting you to warm your hands and hearts. Carolers serenade visitors with traditional Norwegian Christmas songs, adding a melodious layer to the festive atmosphere.
Embrace the cold Norwegian winter by savoring local cured meats and wrapping yourself in cozy Norwegian sweaters, keeping you warm as you wander through the market’s festive offerings. For those with a sweet tooth, be sure to try the warm, fluffy lussekatter (saffron buns) and krumkake (thin waffle cookies) that are a beloved part of Norwegian Christmas cuisine. And let’s not forget the gingerbread – it’s not just for making houses but also a canvas for edible art. Jul i Vinterland has something for everyone, especially the little ones. Children can get creative at gingerbread workshops, where they decorate their cookies with colorful icing and sprinkles, sparking their imaginations.
Jul i Vinterland is a paradise for families. Little ones can meet Santa Claus himself, sharing their Christmas wishes and receiving a small gift to cherish. The Santa residence is a picture-perfect backdrop for holiday photos, creating lasting memories. The grand Ferris wheel is a highlight of the market. Ascend into the winter sky for panoramic views of Oslo’s sparkling cityscape. It’s a romantic experience for couples and an awe-inspiring adventure for children. And for those who love to glide gracefully on ice, the ice rink offers an opportunity to twirl and glide under the open winter sky.
Jul i Vinterland is not only Oslo’s but Norway’s most visited Christmas market, drawing visitors from all around the world. In addition to the enchanting market stalls, there are amusement park rides that are sure to delight both you and your children. While the park itself is free to enter, you’ll need to purchase tickets for these thrilling rides. Mark your calendar from mid-November to early January to experience the sheer magic of Jul i Vinterland. It’s a place where cherished holiday traditions come to life, and every corner is filled with the spirit of Christmas.
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Christmas Market at Youngstorget
When the weather outside is less than inviting, seek refuge at the indoor Christmas Market at Youngstorget (Julemarked på Youngstorget). This beloved Christmas tradition has been gracing Youngstorget for over a decade, and it’s a true holiday gem. What sets this market apart is its enchanting Sami theme, where visitors can immerse themselves in Sami culture and find unique treasures like dried reindeer meat, exquisite horn products, soulful Sami music and handcrafted jewelry infused with Sami charm. The market is hosted within heated lavvu tents, ensuring a delightful shopping experience no matter the weather.
What makes this market truly special is its semi-indoor setting, allowing you to savor an authentic Norwegian atmosphere while staying cozy on a chilly winter day. Wander through the stalls, brimming with an extensive assortment of Christmas decorations and handcrafted souvenirs, perfect for capturing the essence of Oslo and Norway to take home.
With over 1,000 square feet of shopping space, not only will you discover unique gifts, but you’ll also indulge in a delectable array of local delicacies. This market is the ultimate destination to savor Christmas specialties and uncover hidden treasures, all while immersing yourself in the rich tapestry of Norwegian tradition. The indoor Christmas Market at Youngstorget runs from mid-November until the end of December, offering ample time to experience the magic of the season.
Norsk Folkemuseum Christmas Fair
As the Christmas season descends upon us, the Norsk Folkemuseum undergoes a mesmerizing transformation, turning into a captivating wonderland where visitors are transported into an unparalleled festive realm. The air is filled with the irresistible scents of freshly baked bread and aromatic spices, permeating every nook and cranny of the museum. Meanwhile, the resonating melodies of traditional Christmas music echo through the air, infusing everyone’s hearts with the warmth and anticipation of the holiday season.
The Norsk Folkemuseum‘s annual Christmas Fair stands as an extraordinary event that beckons thousands of guests from across the globe. This jubilant Christmas celebration boasts an array of over 100 enchanting Christmas stalls, each offering a chance to discover unique gifts, handcrafted Christmas ornaments, and delectable traditional Norwegian delicacies. Here, you’ll embark on a journey into Norwegian culture within a distinctive Christmas context, fully immersing yourself in the tapestry of tradition and artistry.
For the younger ones, the Christmas Fair unfolds a realm of enjoyment with delightful pony rides and opportunities to interact with charming farm animals. However, the true magic unfolds within Santa’s workshops, where young visitors can craft personalized Christmas decorations and unlock the secrets of Santa’s timeless craft. Furthermore, the Christmas Fair plays host to an authentic candle factory, where you can witness master craftsmen at work, crafting exquisite decorative candles that will soon grace the homes of countless families as cherished Christmas adornments. Candle artistry is a centuries-old tradition in Norway, and this fair presents a rare chance to witness this craft in action.
In addition to these delights, the Norsk Folkemuseum’s Christmas Fair showcases exhibitions that pay homage to and illuminate Norwegian Christmas traditions. These displays offer a captivating glimpse into the history and customs of Christmas in Norway, allowing visitors to further immerse themselves in the rich holiday atmosphere and cultural heritage of this captivating country. The Norsk Folkemuseum Christmas Fair stands out as one of Oslo’s most charming Christmas Markets, a delightful seasonal tradition. However, it’s important to note that this enchanting fair is only hosted on specific days, typically during the first two weekends in December, running from 11 am to 4 pm.
Nestled in the picturesque setting of Bygdøy, the museum itself is among the finest in Oslo. It’s an open-air treasure that beautifully traces Norway’s cultural heritage, showcasing traditional architecture and locals adorned in traditional Norwegian attire. Reaching the Norwegian Folk Museum from downtown Oslo is a breeze. A quick and convenient 20-minute bus ride from Jernbanetorget, the transportation hub situated just outside Oslo Central Station, will get you there. Additionally, it’s worth noting that entry to the museum and unlimited bus rides are included with the Oslo Pass, making it an even more attractive option for exploring this cultural gem.
The Best Christmas Markets Around Oslo
Bærums Verk Oslo Christmas Market
Nestled just 20 km away from Oslo, the idyllic village of Bærums Verk undergoes a remarkable transformation each year as it blossoms into a captivating Christmas wonderland just in time for the holiday season. This charming yet somewhat hidden gem in the Oslo region is renowned for hosting a traditional Christmas market that stands out as one of the most captivating and beloved in the entire area.
The cobblestone streets of Bærums Verk are adorned with picturesque wooden houses and centuries-old artisan workshops, where age-old crafts such as ironwork, glassblowing, and woodworking spring to life. When Christmas descends upon the village, it comes alive with enchantment, casting a spell with its twinkling lights, festive decorations, and the irresistible aroma of delectable local gastronomic delights sourced from the bustling farmers’ market.
For visitors of all ages, there is a plethora of activities to partake in. Revel in horse-drawn carriage rides, savor the joy of enthralling Christmas tales, engage in hands-on Christmas workshops, and lose yourself in the three-dimensional Norwegian artistry showcased in the village’s exquisite sculpture park. To truly complete your Christmas experience, Bærums Verk offers access to 40 charming shops where you can discover and acquire unique artisanal treasures that make for exceptional holiday gifts.
Reaching Bærums Verk is easy: simply hop on bus 150 from Oslo Central Bus Station and disembark at the Gullhaug Bærums Verk stop. Best of all, entry to the village is free, granting you the freedom to explore this magical Christmas destination at your own pace, creating cherished memories to last a lifetime.
Hadeland Glassverk Christmas Market
Nestled amidst the picturesque Norwegian hills, a mere 40 kilometers north of Oslo, lies the storied Hadeland Glassverk glass factory, a historical treasure dating back to its founding in 1762. It proudly holds the distinction of being the oldest continuously operating industrial company in Norway. This enchanting location becomes the stage for an extraordinary celebration that ushers in the Christmas season in a truly magnificent manner.
Each year, Hadeland Glassverk undergoes a breathtaking transformation, turning its lovely park and charming old wooden houses into a mesmerizing wonderland. The “Festival of Lights“, a truly remarkable event, commences as the Governor of the Region illuminates 50,000 lights, casting a spellbinding aura that encapsulates the spirit of Advent. These tranquil yet affectionate weeks leading up to Christmas are ushered in with this awe-inspiring spectacle.
However, the magic of Christmas at Hadeland Glassverk extends far beyond this captivating display. Inside the indoor market, bathed in a warm and inviting ambiance, you’ll discover a wide array of activities suitable for both young and old. Treat your taste buds to the delectable Norwegian Christmas sweets and explore an extraordinary assortment of glassware, ideal for elegant Christmas gifts. For an added dash of excitement, embark on a thrilling sleigh ride through the beautifully adorned Christmas-themed glass village or enjoy some ice skating on an indoor rink.
Blaafarveværket Museum Christmas Market
Nestled just an hour’s drive from the bustling city of Oslo, Norway, lies the hidden gem of Blaafarveværket Museum. This extraordinary institution takes on a magical transformation during the Christmas season, becoming a captivating Christmas village that promises a unique and unforgettable experience. The roots of Blaafarveværket Museum are deeply intertwined with the cobalt mines that played a pivotal role in centuries past, fueling the ceramic and glass industries. Founded in 1773, these mines were instrumental in the production of cobalt pigments, and the museum now offers a captivating journey into the history of these ancient cobalt mines.
The enchantment of the Christmas spirit permeates the air, especially during the Advent season. Within the museum’s inviting restaurants, visitors can savor an array of locally inspired culinary delights, from delectable biscuits to traditional Christmas sausages and herring, as well as liver pates and cheeses aged in the very heart of the mine. Moreover, the opportunity to discover unique Christmas gifts beckons, including artisanal creations crafted from the mine’s own cobalt blue pigments.
Throughout the Advent period, the museum’s Christmas market is a daily delight, open from 12 pm to 5 pm. On weekends, complimentary workshops await children, where they can craft their own Christmas decorations, contributing to the festive ambiance that fills the air.
Julehuset – Santa’s House in Drøbak
Nestled in the heart of Drøbak, a scenic one-hour drive from Oslo, you’ll find the enchanting Julehuset, also known as Santa’s House. This magical destination stands as a year-round beacon of Christmas spirit, making it a unique gem in the region. Situated on the charming main square of Drøbak, a mere 35 kilometers away from the bustling city of Oslo, Julehuset is a delightful family attraction.
Step inside, and you’ll be transported to a winter wonderland, complete with a vast Christmas shop offering an extensive array of festive treasures. From ornaments, candleholders, and napkins to whimsical elves, Christmas mice, tablecloths, and candles, this store is a haven for anyone seeking holiday magic. Here, you can uncover hidden gems and one-of-a-kind pieces to adorn your home or share with loved ones during the holiday season.
But Julehuset offers more than just a delightful shopping experience. The festive ambiance extends throughout the premises, making it an unforgettable visit for the entire family. Kids can explore designated areas designed just for them, accompanied by the soothing sounds of Christmas music that fill the air. Don’t forget to visit Santa’s Post Office, where you can have your mail stamped with Santa’s official seal. It’s the perfect place to ensure your letters and wishes reach the North Pole.
To reach Drøbak from Oslo, you can embark on a scenic drive, reveling in the beauty of the stunning landscapes along the way. Alternatively, you can take bus route 500, which departs from the Oslo Bus Terminal, but there are only a limited number of daily trips (usually 2 per day) available.
FAQs on Oslo Christmas Markets
Does Oslo have Christmas Markets?
Yes, Oslo has some Christmas Markets scattered throughout the city center. The main ones are located right next to the train station and the main shopping street. The Oslo Christmas Markets are designed for the enjoyment of families, especially local families, and are not primarily intended as tourist attractions. They resemble amusement parks with children’s activities, playgrounds, and stalls selling sweets, candies, and gifts.
Does Oslo Have Good Christmas Markets?
Don’t expect anything like the large, picturesque, and extravagant Christmas Markets of Central Europe. The Oslo Christmas Markets are certainly more modest and therefore less renowned. However, if you are thinking of visiting Oslo in December, they are worth a look.
The Oslo Christmas Markets are still enjoyable, offering many family attractions and opportunities to purchase souvenirs and local specialties. You will find good food and hot drinks, including mulled wine. Furthermore, the Christmas atmosphere in Norway is truly magical, and this is a time of year that deserves to be experienced. I wouldn’t plan a trip to Oslo specifically to see its Christmas markets, but rather to enjoy its beautiful attractions, museums, and trips to the wonderful surrounding regions. Additionally, Oslo is less crowded and more authentic in winter.
When do the Oslo Christmas Markets open?
Oslo Christmas Markets usually open from mid-November to early January. Those in the center are open well beyond New Year’s Eve, while the smaller ones last until the end of December. It may, therefore, be worth planning your winter holiday in Oslo so you can fully enjoy what Southern Norway has to offer: a paradise for skiers and winter sports enthusiasts, world-class museums and attractions, fabulous snowy landscapes, and villages with irresistible charm in the hinterland around the city and along the Bergensbanen railway.
What is open in Oslo on Christmas?
Christmas Day and Christmas Eve are widely celebrated in Oslo. Usually, supermarkets, public and private offices, and most shops are closed on public holidays (25–26 December and 1 January). Christmas Eve and December 31st are not public holidays, but shops usually close early, typically around 3 or 4 pm at the latest.
However, some of the most important museums, such as the MUNCH Museum, usually remain open, as do outdoor attractions like Vigeland Sculpture Park, Akershus Fortress and the Ekebergparken Sculpture Park. As for restaurants, it is advisable to ask the individual establishments, as there is no uniform rule. Public transport operates as usual, and the city is rather quiet and uncrowded. Most Christmas concerts in Oslo theaters are held 1-2 days before Christmas Eve. The Oslo Christmas Markets may be closed on 25 and 26 December.