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The Christmas town

OSLO

The Ferris wheel spins and a couple in love kisses with mulled wine lips.

It's a wonderful, magical time of the year to visit Norway's vibrant capital!

The Christmas town Oslo .
Photo: Making Waves / Tord Baklund / VisitOSLO
The Christmas town Oslo .
Photo: Making Waves / Visit Norway

People come from afar to experience Oslo's Christmas spirit. You'll definitely find a holiday atmosphere at the Christmas market in Spikersuppa in the high street, Karl Johan.

Oslo christmas market ice skating .
Photo: Magnus Furset
Oslo christmas market ice skating .
Photo: Magnus Furset

Spin around in the ice rink! It’s free and open every day during winter.

Bring your own ice skates, or rent a pair here.

Ice skating in Oslo .
Photo: Making Waves / Visit Norway
Ice skating in Oslo .
Photo: Making Waves / Visit Norway

Enjoy a ride with the Ferris wheel, stop by the market stalls, and treat yourself with fresh doughnuts!

Christmas at Karl Johan Oslo .
Photo: Fredrik Ahlsen, Maverix / visitnorway.com
Christmas at Karl Johan Oslo .
Photo: Fredrik Ahlsen, Maverix / visitnorway.com

Next to the Ferris wheel, you'll find the impressive National Theatre.

Here, you can see some fantastic Christmas plays. A concert is a great alternative for those who don't speak Norwegian...

The National Theatre and the ferris wheel at night .
Photo: VISITOSLO/Didrick Stenersen
The National Theatre at night .
Photo: Didrick Stenersen / VISITOSLO

... like when the boys choir Sølvguttene ('The Silver Boys') sings our beloved carols in Oslo Cathedral – they're guaranteed to give you that warm and nostalgic Christmas feeling.

There are many more concerts to choose from in the city.

Sølvguttene boy choir .
Photo: Anne Liv Ekroll
Sølvguttene boy choir .
Photo: Anne Liv Ekroll

With its wide variety of shops, Oslo is arguably the best city for Christmas gift shopping in Norway.

Make sure to visit the high street, Karl Johan, and Bogstadveien, as well as the excellent niche shops in Grünerløkka and the trendy new Oslobukta neighbourhood.

Oslo Christmas market walk .
Photo: Fredrik Ahlsen, Maverix / visitnorway.com
Oslo Christmas market walk .
Photo: Fredrik Ahlsen, Maverix / visitnorway.com

Another great shopping area is Aker Brygge. Take a walk along the charming harbour promenade ...

Christmas at Aker Brygge .
Photo: Didrick Stenersen / VISITOSLO
Christmas at Aker Brygge .
Photo: Didrick Stenersen / VISITOSLO

… and you will reach Oslos Supermarked, an alternative and edgy, yet cosy Christmas market at the cultural arena SALT across the water from the Opera.

It's open the three first weekends of Advent. Find unique ceramics, accessories, clothes, second-hand gifts, and …

Christmas market at SALT .
Photo: Endre Lohne / SALT
Christmas market at SALT .
Photo: Endre Lohne / SALT

... enjoy a sauna session! There are a number of fjord saunas along the waterfront.

You can book a visit in advance or drop in for a steaming hot and/or ice cold shock!

Friends sitting in Sauna at Oslo Badstuforening .
Photo: Finn-Erik Rognan / Visit Norway
Friends sitting in sauna .
Photo: Finn-Erik Rognan / Maverix

Celebrate an Old-fashioned Christmas at the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History, a wonderful open-air museum at Bygdøy.

Here, you can experience Christmas traditions from the past 500 years in old, traditional houses that have been preserved. It's open the first two weekends in December.

Santa gets porridge at Norsk Folkemuseum .
Photo: Christoffer Sandmark, Maverix / Visit Norway
Santa gets porridge at Norsk Folkemuseum .
Photo: Christoffer Sandmark, Maverix / Visit Norway

The traditional Norwegian Christmas dishes varies depending on where in Norway you are.

Luckily, the wide range of culinary experiences in Oslo makes it possible to taste a little bit (or a lot!) of everything.

It might be hard to get a table, since Norwegians love to celebrate Julebord, a Christmas party that involves eating a meal out with friends or colleagues. So, book early!

Christmas dinner .
Photo: Fredrik Ahlsen / Visitnorway.com
Christmas dinner .
Photo: Fredrik Ahlsen / Visitnorway.com

In between the Christmas markets, take a break and sip the best hot chocolate in town at the luxurious library bar at Hotel Bristol, or sample a cup at the renowned patisserie Pascal, in Henrik Ibsens gate.

Hotel Bristol .
Photo: Fredrik Ahlsen / Visit Norway
Hotel Bristol in Oslo .
Photo: Fredrik Ahlsen / Visit Norway

Some Norwegians eat seafood, others ribbe, traditional pork ribs, or pinnekjøtt, lamb ribs, at Christmas. If you dare, taste the famous lutefisk, dried and salted cod, cured in lye!

You can sample it at storied eateries like Lorry Restaurant, or at Frognerseteren Restaurant Finstua, which offers beautiful views of Oslo (and a cosy fireplace).

Scroll below for more delicious restaurants.

Christmas at Frognerseteren .
Photo: CH / Visitnorway.com
Christmas at Frognerseteren .
Photo: CH / Visitnorway.com

Snow is not guaranteed in December – but if there is snow ...

... you can go cross country skiing in the vast open plains around the city. You can also visit Holmenkollen and its ski museum, where you can explore 4,000 years of skiing history and take in some of Oslo's best panoramic views from the ski jump tower!

Holmenkollen, Oslo .
Photo: Terje Bakke Pettersen/VisitOSLO/Normanns Kunstforlag
Holmenkollen, Oslo .
Photo: Terje Bakke Pettersen/VisitOSLO/Normanns Kunstforlag

Holmenkollen is also the home of an impressive art installation, Roseslottet, 'the Rose Castle'.

The installation  is a reflection on World War II and its impact on Norway, and includes more than 200 paintings by prominent Norwegian artist Vebjørn Sand as well as sculptures by Vebjørn and his brother Eimund Sand.

Roseslottet Holmenkollen .
Photo: Sandbox / VisitOSLO
Roseslottet Holmenkollen .
Photo: Sandbox / VisitOSLO

Another winter classic is the toboggan run!

Take the metro to Frognerseteren station and sled down the 2,000-metre trail called Korketrekkeren (the Corkscrew)! If you want to try it again, it only takes 16 minutes to ride the metro back up to the top.

Korketrekkeren toboggan run .
Photo: VISITOSLO/Didrick Stenersen
Korketrekkeren toboggan run .
Photo: VISITOSLO/Didrick Stenersen

Regardless of the weather, there are always excellent snow conditions at the indoor ski resort SNØ.

SNØ invites you to its Christmas market on the last Sunday in November, and the first two weekends in December.

The indoor ski arena SNØ Oslo .
Photo: SNØ
The indoor ski arena SNØ Oslo .
Photo: SNØ

Did you know that Oslo has rapidly become a true hotspot for art in Europe?

Explore the MUNCH museum and the biggest art museum in the Nordic countries, the National Museum. There's also much more for art lovers to explore in and around Oslo.

The National Museum of Norway .
Photo: Børre Høstland / Nasjonalmuseet
The National Museum of Norway .
Photo: Børre Høstland / Nasjonalmuseet

For a romantic end to your evening, you should drop by one of Oslo's rooftop bars! Kranen bar at the top of the Munch museum is pictured here.

Wait until it gets dark to get a magical view of Oslo's festively lit streets.

Kranen rooftop cocktail bar at MUNCH .
Photo: Per Sollerman
Kranen rooftop cocktail bar at MUNCH .
Photo: Per Sollerman

Do you want to know a secret?

Santa lives in Drøbak!

Tregaarden's Christmas House is open all year round, and is just a 40-minute bus ride south of Oslo.

Christmas house in Drøbak .
Photo: Visit Drøbak & Oscarsborg
Christmas house in Drøbak .
Photo: Visit Drøbak & Oscarsborg

Every year, Santa receives about 20,000 letters from all over the world in his letter box in Drøbak, and answers about 3,000 of them. It might be quicker with email, but Santa is a stickler for tradition.

Christmas house in Drøbak .
Photo: Visit Drøbak & Oscarsborg
Christmas house in Drøbak .
Photo: Visit Drøbak & Oscarsborg

A 40-minute bus ride west of Oslo takes you to a vibrant festive spirit at the annual Christmas market at Bærums Verk.

Among the historical buildings, you can explore galleries, arts and crafts, and enjoy a ride with a horse and carriage!

Bærums Verk .
Photo: Bærums Verk / VisitOslo
Bærums Verk .
Photo: Bærums Verk / VisitOslo

For a cosy experience, walk or take the bus up to Grefsenkollen, a hill overlooking Oslo.

Visit Grefsenkollen restaurant, in a historic log building from 1926, or sit outside by the bonfire at OverOslo Bar for a breathtaking bird's eye view of the city.

Grefsenkollen restaurant in Oslo .
Photo: Fredrik Ahlsen / Visitnorway.com
Grefsenkollen restaurant in Oslo .
Photo: Fredrik Ahlsen / Visitnorway.com

Grefsenkollen is a good starting point to explore the woods in the Nordmarka wilderness area.

In December, the days are short, so you can stay to watch the moon and the starry sky. Remember to bring a headlamp, so you can more easily find your way back.

Grefsenkollen in Oslo .
Photo: Fredrik Ahlsen / Visitnorway.com
Grefsenkollen in Oslo .
Photo: Fredrik Ahlsen / Visitnorway.com

There is something magical about the holiday season in Oslo.

But don't worry if you miss Christmas here — there are plenty of fun things to do in the city, year round!

Have yourself a merry little Christmas in Oslo!

Book a lovely hotel stay with our partners at
Radisson Blu Hotels, CityboxScandic Hotels, Nordic Choice Hotels, and Thon Hotels.

Oslo christmas market by the fire .
Photo: Magnus Furset
Oslo christmas market by the fire .
Photo: Magnus Furset

Indulge with tasty Christmas treats

Get inspired

Visit a Christmas town

Christmas the Norwegian way

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Discover more Norwegian holiday traditions and treats.

Take advantage of top offers

See our selection of companies that work hard to make you happy all through your trip.

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