TRAVEL ALERT! Important information about the Coronavirus situation in Norway
Dynamic Variation:

There was not an exact match for the language you toggled to. You have been redirected to the nearest matching page within this section.

Choose Language
Toggling to another language will take you to the matching page or nearest matching page within that selection.
Search & Book Sponsored Links
or search all of Norway
Horse and sleigh in Røros, Trøndelag, Norway
Horse and sleigh in Røros.
Photo: Thomas Rasmus Skaug /
Travel Trade

So you’re going on a Norwegian Christmas holiday? Great choice! Here are some of the questions you might have – along with the answers.

  1. 1. I’m dreaming of a white Christmas. Where can I find snow?

    Inland is always more snowsure than the coast, but Oslo and the surrounding eastern and middle part of Norway often have a nice white coat at Christmas, in both cities and more rural areas. The same applies to Northern Norway.

    The southern parts and Fjord Norway are more of a gamble – you’ll probably have to stay away from the coast to have a good shot at snow.

    If you’d like a thorough overview of snow depths for specific locations all over Norway, visit For snow reports that focus more on skiing, Fnugg has got you covered.

    But what to do with all that snow? Well, go skiing, of course!

  2. 2. All I’m craving is some hot cocoa and a chance to buy a pair of knitted mittens. Could you point me to the nearest Christmas fair?

    Just pick a direction. Norway is such a cornucopia of riveting Christmas markets that you could probably survive most of December on a diet of nothing but gingerbread cookies and mulled wine.

    If you’re having trouble choosing, you’d be well advised to look at our guide to the best Christmas markets in Norway. The places range from cities like Oslo, Bergen, Tromsø, and Haugesund to more picturesque locations like the fishing village of Henningsvær in Nordland.

    At the fairs, you’ll find a selection of anything from handcrafted products and delicacies to woodwork, gingerbread towns, Ferris wheels, puppet shows, and pastries. Be aware that most fairs close up shop before Christmas Eve, so make sure to plan your visit accordingly.

  3. 3. I forgot to buy Christmas presents – what now?

    Don’t worry – Norwegian law is pretty generous when it comes to breathless last-minute Christmas shopping. According to the law, stores can “stay open on the last three Sundays before Christmas Eve between 2 PM and 8 PM. On Christmas Eve, regular sales places are to close no later than 4 PM, and they shall remain closed on the first and second day of Christmas”.

    This gives you ample opportunity to shop for a freshly wrapped present you can stick under the tree in the nick of time. If you’re in Oslo, most stores, especially in the shopping centres, are open on Sundays in December. The same goes for Bergen and Trondheim.

    On Christmas Eve, it’s important to remember that many stores close earlier than 4 PM. While some stores in Oslo will close at 2 PM, Christmas comes even earlier (1 PM) for many of the stores in Bergen and Trondheim.

  4. 4. Staying in is not my thing. What can I get up to this Christmas?

    Even though Norway does quiet down quite a bit during the holidays, our nights are not completely silent. Whether you’re in the mood for a Christmas party or a Christmas mass, you can find a large selection of activities by browsing our event calendar.

    If you’d rather relax and see a film, many cinemas are open for most of Christmas, with the exception of Christmas Eve. And no, the films are not dubbed – unless it’s animation, in which case you might want to avoid screenings marked with “norsk tale”.

  5. 5. Can I go Yule goating?

    Sure, but only if you’re a child. The Norwegian tradition of “julebukk” where you go from house to house asking for candy (sound familiar?) during Christmas wasn’t always so child-friendly, though.

    The tradition is a Scandinavian custom that is centred around a person draped in furs, who holds a goat head ornament aloft on a long stick. Creepy in itself, and even more so when followed by a procession of people dressed in rags, symbolising the dead. The Yule goat would make mischief and demand snacks while scaring all the children in the process.

    This tradition mutated over the years, and today it’s mostly about small kids dressing up in Christmasy clothes and knocking on neighbours’ doors for sweets, usually in exchange for a Christmas carol.

    Norsk Folkemuseum, Oslo
    Norsk Folkemuseum, Oslo.
    Photo: CH /

  6. 6. For how long has Norway celebrated Christmas?

    Christmas, in general, is a bit of sponge holiday that has soaked up bits and pieces from various cultures and traditions. Throughout history, it has been a celebration of anything from the god Saturn to the winter solstice.

    The Christian variant of the holiday was introduced gradually in Norway around the year 1,000. The Norse sacrificial feast jólablót (jól = jul, the Norwegian name for Christmas) coincided with the birthdate of Jesus on the 25th of December, a date that had already been moved from sometime earlier in the year to better match Roman holidays.

    Our current Christmas tradition, as it is celebrated today with customs like Santa Claus and singing around the Christmas tree, did not take shape until the 1800s.

    Gålå, Gudbrandsdalen
    Gålå, Gudbrandsdalen.
    Photo: Terje Rakke / Nordic Life /

  7. 7. I’d like to dine out. Are the restaurants open?

    Although Christmas is a time of rest and relaxation for a lot of chefs and waitstaff, there are still plenty of places that will welcome diners, especially in the cities.

    As for ordering traditional Norwegian Christmas food? You can’t go wrong with “ribbe” (pork ribs) or “pinnekjøtt” which is cured lamb cooked over twigs in a saucepan. There are plenty of other culinary traditions, too, as seen in this classic Christmas food test, courtesy of the US embassy here in Norway.

Popular Christmas markets

16 November– 30 December
(Closed 24 and 25 December)

Winter Wonderland in Spikersuppa, Oslo

7–8 December
The designers’ own Christmas market at DOGA, Oslo

30 November–1 December
Maihaugen’s Christmas market, Lillehammer

30 November–1 December and 7–8 December
Norsk Folkemuseum’s annual Christmas fair, Oslo

5–8 December
Christmas market in Røros

28 November–22 December
Bergen Christmas market

6–21 December
Christmas market in Trondheim

28 November–8 December
Christmas market Haugesund

1 November–22 December
Pre-Christmas fun in Henningsvær, Lofoten

5–15 December
Christmas market in Egersund

Christmas the Norwegian way

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Read up on everything Norwegians do and eat before and during the holiday season.

Dynamic Variation:
Your Recently Viewed Pages

Back to top