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Soak up the atmosphere at one of Norway’s many Christmas markets in 2017.
Christmas is approaching at the speed of stampeding reindeer hooves across a brilliant night sky. This means that the traditional Norwegian Christmas fairs are returning for another season of unique Christmas gifts, exciting artisan foods, and cosily lit winter streets.
In Oslo there are several Christmas fairs, some of them with an international touch. At Margaretakyrkan, for instance, you can visit the Swedish market 24–25 November. Another is the American Women’s Club of Oslo’s annual Christmas market 18–19 November with jewellery, clothing, ceramics, and much more on offer – and you can even meet Santa Claus.
In the city centre, a great Christmas fair will fill Spikersuppa from 18 November to 30 December with delicacies and crafts, a Christmas workshop for children, a Ferris wheel, and various entertainments. Here’s what that looked like a few years ago.
If you look a bit further ahead, there are plenty of Christmas fairs popping up all around the country. Here are six highlights.
Since the idea was conceived around a small kitchen table in 1999, the designers’ marked in Oslo has become one the most reliable sources for quality design around Christmas. Here you’ll find gifts unavailable anywhere else – at least not before well into the next year.
At DOGA, the Norwegian Centre for Architecture and Design, you will find clothes, jewellry, illustrations, furniture and ceramics (among other things), with more than 140 Norwegian and international exhibitors spread out across three floors. This provides a welcome opportunity to engage with the designers, with regards to the intentions and ideas behind their products, as well.
A visit to the open air museum Maihaugen in Lillehammer during the first weekend of Advent is bound to tune your every sense into early cosy Christmas cheer mode.
The museum’s traditional Christmas market features decorated houses ranging from the Middle Ages to the 1950s along with Christmas workshops, gingerbread baking, puppet shows, woodcarving, Christmas card photography, and more than 100 stalls selling a variety of local wares.
If you want to experience the good old Christmas feeling, you can visit historical homes decorated for Christmas. Candles are lit and there is someone home to greet you on 10 December and 17 December.
Drop by between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, and you can tag along for the wandering theatrical experience “Silent night – a walk through Norwegian Christmas traditions”, which takes full advantage of the historical surroundings of Norway’s biggest open air museum.
2–3 and 9–10 December
One of Norway’s most popular Christmas fairs, and understandably so. At the open air museum Norsk Folkemuseum in Oslo, visitors can buy unique Christmas gifts from more than a hundred stalls as they wander through a historical retelling of Christmases both decades and centuries past.
The whole museum is decorated in line with various customs and eras, allowing you to experience anything from Christmas Eve in a fancy merchant’s home in 1769 to the home of a rural Norwegian family in 1959.
Also on show is the exhibition “A Christmas tale”, relating the story of Norwegian Christmas from heathen times up until today. The museum is promoting tales of the scary holidays and the busy holidays – but also of the cosy holidays.
If you’re looking to get into the holiday spirit, there are few places on this earth more suitable than Røros, the town that inspired Disney’s megahit “Frozen”. With its old wooden houses, multitude of crafts shops, and cosy cafes, Røros is the kind of place where it’s hard not to feel a touch of Christmas on the first day the snow settles in the streets. Even if that day comes in September.
And then the real magic starts. Children with rosy cheeks and locally produced artisan wares like knitted gloves, glassware, cured sausages, smoked salmon, and woodwork line the streets during what could conceivably be named the mother of all Christmas fairs.
This is where you go for a horse drawn sleigh ride underneath a sheepskin blanket, or to have close encounters with real reindeer. For kids, there’s the history walk around town looking for Santa Claus, whereas the grown-ups may enjoy a walk around the Bergstad combined with a beer tasting session.
Music is central to this fair, with both choirs and bands playing in the street. On Saturday night Røros church is throwing the concert “Christmas calm with the Bergfolk”, featuring Vegar Dahl, Kirsti Sæter, and other local musicians.
For those looking to combine tradition with modernity, Schøtstuene by the famous Bergen pier Bryggen may well be the perfect destination during the second weekend of Advent.
Schøtstuene were originally designed as places for people to gather and eat, and were in use until the 1840s. But for this Christmas market they will be home to a diverse offering of modern design articles. Designers and craftspeople will be selling anything from jewellery and lamps to clothes and visual art.
Should you acquire a hunger here, the Farmer’s market down by Bryggen has you covered. Local producers from the counties Hordaland and Sogn and Fjordane will be tempting your tastebuds with artisan cheeses, meats, breads, jams, and anything else you could possibly want.
For that optimal Christmas spirit, visit the Gingerbread town. It is only a short walk away, like anything else in Bergen.
At Trondheim Christmas market you’ll come in close contact with farmers and craftspeople eager to tell the stories behind their wares, whether you’re showing interest in a ceramic bowl at the wooden stalls or some exotic jam in the tent that is home to the Farmer’s market.
Five large lavvo tents will be built to serve as both café and indoor stage, featuring fireside troubadours, local food, and a theatrical performance for children.
And lastly, at the Torvscenen stage you’ll find a constant stream of talented artists and bands putting on concerts for the benefit of the Salvation Army’s charity work.
23–26 November, 2–3 and 9–10 December
You’ll get a happy dose of Christmas spirit when visiting the Rådhusplassen square in Haugesund. There you’ll find one of Norway’s largest Christmas fairs with thousands of visitors each year.
From the market stalls you can purchase homemade items such as glass, knitwear, Christmas cakes, cured meats, Christmas ornaments, and other handicrafts. Local bands and choirs contribute to a jolly good start to your Yuletide shopping.
There is plenty of fun for kids at the fair, with the traditional Santa Claus parade as one of the highlights. Also, be sure not to miss the gingerbread town at Gamle Slakthuset, which is only a minute away from the Christmas market.
3 November–17 December
Northern Norway is about much more than the midnight sun – especially as the Christmas spirit is lurking around the corner. And few places in Norway conveys the the mood of this holiday like Henningsvær bathed in Northern Lights.
With mighty mountains and deep fjords as a picturesque frame you can buy local glass crafts and ceramic (or make your own!), dive into regional delicacies such as the Lofot caviar and paté, or borrow a kicksled for cruising the wintry streets.
Remember sensible clothes, though – and keep warm with a cup of cocoa in one of the iconic fishing community’s many cafés.
Save the date!
3 November–17 December
18 November–30 December
2–3 and 9–10 December
Norsk Folkemuseum, Oslo
23–26 November, 2–3 and 9–10 December
In Bergen you can visit Pepperkakebyen – a miniature village constructed entirely from gingerbread cookies.
It is unofficially the world’s largest gingerbread town constructed from approximately 2,000 houses, cars, trains, and ships.
Everyone from kindergarteners to employees at local business has contributed with homemade cookies every year since 1991.
Sentralbadet, Teatergaten 37, Bergen
18 November–31 December 2017
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