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Expat Exchange - Best Places to Visit in Norway for Christmas Cheer
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Aker Brygge in Oslo, Norway


Best Places to Visit in Norway for Christmas Cheer

By Joshua Wood, LPC

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Summary: Plan a day trip or weekend getaway to get some holiday cheer. This article highlights the best places to visit in Norway for Christmas cheer.

As the festive season approaches, Norway transforms into a winter wonderland, offering expats and digital nomads a unique opportunity to experience the holiday spirit in true Norwegian style. From the northern lights to the bustling Christmas markets, there's a magical atmosphere in the air. Whether you're looking to embrace traditional Norwegian festivities or simply enjoy the seasonal cheer, these destinations are sure to fill your December with joy and merriment.

Oslo's Karl Johans Gate

The heart of Norway's capital, Karl Johans Gate, is a must-visit during the holiday season. This bustling street is adorned with festive lights and decorations, creating a magical atmosphere. The Christmas market, Jul i Vinterland, offers a variety of traditional Norwegian goods, from handcrafted gifts to local delicacies. Visitors can indulge in seasonal treats like krumkaker and gløgg while browsing the stalls. The market typically runs from late November to the end of December, providing plenty of time to soak in the festive spirit.

We Recommend: Don't miss the chance to skate on the ice rink at Spikersuppa, right in the middle of Karl Johans Gate. It's a delightful way to experience the joy of the season and a perfect break from shopping at the market.

Bergen's Festive Streets

Bergen, with its charming, historic streets, becomes a picturesque Christmas postcard in December. The city's main event is the Bergen Christmas Market, where you can find everything from artisan crafts to Norwegian sweaters. The famous gingerbread town, Pepperkakebyen, is a highlight, showcasing an entire city made of gingerbread, created by locals. The market and the gingerbread town usually open in late November and run until just before Christmas.

We Recommend: Make sure to taste the local pepperkaker (gingerbread cookies) while visiting Pepperkakebyen. They are a beloved treat and a staple of Norwegian Christmas traditions.

Trondheim's Nidaros Cathedral

Trondheim is known for its beautiful Nidaros Cathedral, which becomes even more enchanting during the holidays. The cathedral hosts an annual Christmas market in its courtyard, with the majestic building providing a stunning backdrop. The market features a range of stalls selling traditional Norwegian Christmas items and delicious festive foods. The Advent Concerts at the cathedral, usually held on weekends in December, are a soul-stirring way to get into the holiday spirit.

We Recommend: Attend one of the Advent Concerts at Nidaros Cathedral for an unforgettable experience of Norwegian Christmas music in a truly historic setting.

Tromsø's Winter Wonderland

For a Christmas experience coupled with the chance to see the northern lights, Tromsø is the place to be. The city's Christmas market is smaller but offers a cozy and intimate atmosphere. Local crafts, warm drinks, and traditional food create a delightful experience. The market is typically open throughout December. Additionally, Tromsø hosts a range of concerts and events in the lead-up to Christmas, adding to the festive ambiance.

We Recommend: Try the local specialty, reindeer sausage, while exploring the market. It's a unique taste of the Arctic and a must-try for any foodie adventurer.

Røros' Christmas Fair

The UNESCO World Heritage site of Røros is known for its well-preserved wooden buildings and rich history. In December, the Røros Christmas Fair (Rørosmartnan) takes over the town with its traditional Norwegian charm. The fair features horse-drawn sleigh rides, a wide array of handcrafted products, and plenty of festive foods. The fair usually takes place in early December, offering a perfect start to the holiday season.

We Recommend: Experience a horse-drawn sleigh ride through the historic streets of Røros for a truly magical and timeless Christmas adventure.

Stavanger's Gamle Stavanger

The old town of Stavanger, known as Gamle Stavanger, is a quaint area with cobbled streets and white wooden houses. During December, it becomes even more charming with its Christmas decorations and lighting. The Norwegian Petroleum Museum in Stavanger hosts a unique Christmas market where you can find oil-related gifts alongside traditional Christmas items. The market usually runs in early December, offering a distinctive blend of industry and festivity.

We Recommend: Explore the Christmas market at the Norwegian Petroleum Museum for an unconventional twist on holiday shopping, where you can find both traditional and industry-inspired gifts.

Lillehammer's Maihaugen

In Lillehammer, the open-air museum of Maihaugen provides a historical backdrop for its Christmas market. With old houses and historical characters, the market offers a journey back in time. You can buy traditional crafts, taste local food, and enjoy horse and carriage rides. The Christmas market at Maihaugen is usually held on the first weekend of December, making it a unique historical festive experience.

We Recommend: Don't leave without trying the julegrøt, a traditional Norwegian Christmas porridge, often served with a dollop of butter, sugar, and cinnamon.

Drøbak's Christmas Town

Drøbak is often referred to as the Christmas town of Norway, and for good reason. This small town by the Oslo fjord claims to be the home of Santa Claus, with its own Santa Claus post office. The Christmas market here is full of festive cheer, with beautifully decorated stalls selling everything from Christmas ornaments to local food. The market typically runs throughout December, and the town's decorations and lights make it a truly enchanting place to visit.

We Recommend: Send a Christmas card from the Santa Claus post office for a special festive touch that friends and family back home will cherish.

About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.


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Aker Brygge in Oslo, Norway

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