Christmas Markets In Oslo

The best Christmas markets in Oslo

When you think of Christmas festivities, winter in the Nordic region probably ranks high in your thoughts. This is where Father Christmas lives, after all! Norway is one of the best countries to celebrate the festive season in, but what can you expect from the best Christmas markets in Oslo?

One could argue that Oslo isn’t as cozy as some of Norway’s other cute cities, such as Bergen and Trondheim. Nonetheless, the country’s capital has its charm — and the city certainly knows how to put on a show during the Christmas period.

You can often expect snow to have fallen by Christmas time in Oslo, making for a magical setting against the soft winter light. Add snow-capped hills and islands surrounding the city, and you’ve got a perfect winter setting.

And while the days are very short, you will find plenty of Christmas markets to fend off those long, dark evenings.

In this article, we will reveal the best Christmas markets in Oslo. You will also learn more about what you can expect from a winter trip to Norway’s largest city, such as whether stores throughout Oslo are open during this period.

And so, without further ado, let’s dive in.

Does Oslo have Christmas markets?

If you’re looking for a trip that involves Christmas markets, Oslo should feature somewhere on your list. The Norwegian capital has multiple Christmas markets throughout the city, with the main ones within close proximity to the main train station.

The main Christmas market in Oslo is alongside Karl Johans Gate, which is the city’s primary shopping street. The market features in the area between the Stortinget building, and it stretches all the way to the Norwegian National Theater.

Elsewhere, you will also find a variety of Christmas markets. Some of Oslo’s outer districts have their own variations, for example. You can also enjoy alternatives in the stretch between downtown Oslo and the city’s main airport, and we will discuss the best Xmas markets in Oslo later in the article.

Is Oslo good for Christmas markets?

The term “good” is subjective, and it depends on what you’re looking for. But generally speaking, Norwegian Christmas markets are fantastic — and Oslo is no exception.

People in Norway put a lot of effort into the run-up to Christmas, and it’s one of the most enjoyable times of the year to be in the country. You can see this very clearly with Oslo’s Christmas markets, the openings of which are eagerly anticipated by the locals.

At Oslo’s Christmas markets, you’ll find all of the typical amenities you might expect from a European Christmas market. You can enjoy gløgg (mulled wine), which is popular in Denmark, Germany, and many other countries.

On top of that, the stools serve traditional Christmas treats — and you can also enjoy a selection of foods fresh from the grill.

If you want to take some souvenirs from your trip home with you, you’ll also find several gifts — including handcrafted goods — at the Christmas markets in Oslo.

Christmas Markets In Oslo

Where are the Christmas markets in Oslo?

The Christmas markets in Oslo are scattered across various stretches in the city. Having said that, the Norwegian capital is pretty small compared to global standards — and getting around is not too difficult.

Most of Oslo’s main Christmas markets are situated in and around the city center. You’ll find one on the peninsula of Bygdøy, which is easily reachable from the downtown area by public transport.

You will similarly find some in a selection of neighborhoods throughout the city, but again — these are easy to reach by foot, bus, train, or tram.

The Oslo districts you’ll find the city’s Christmas markets in are below:

  • Sentrum
  • Gamle Oslo

Further afield, you will also find Christmas markets in:

  • Bærum, which is not in the Oslo municipality but part of the Greater Oslo region
  • Lillestrøm, which is a town just outside of Oslo and well-connected to the city center

When do the Christmas markets in Oslo open?

If you’re looking to spend the actual days over Christmas with your family, you’ll be pleased to know that Oslo’s Christmas markets open well before that. Generally speaking, the Christmas markets in Oslo open on the third weekend in November and stay open throughout December.

Opening times differ throughout the week, so it’s worth keeping this in mind while booking your trip.

While Christmas markets in many European countries close just before the big day, that isn’t the case in Oslo. The main one remains open until New Year’s Day, meaning that you can prolong the festivities for a couple of days afterward — if that’s an easier time to travel for you.

Christmas Markets In Oslo

Is Oslo open during Christmas?

Like all of the other Nordic countries, work-life balance is a huge part of life in Norway. And even though Oslo is the country’s capital, that rule applies here as well. If you plan to visit the Norwegian capital over Christmas, you will need to factor in potential changes to opening hours.

Unlike the UK or the US, Norwegians celebrate the main day of Christmas on December 24th. Almost every shop will be closed in Oslo on this day, and you’re probably not going to see too many people wandering around the city.

While the 25th is more laid back than the 24th, you can expect most shops to remain shut. Tourist attractions will be closed, too, so it’s worth keeping that in mind.

You will find hotels that are open around Christmas, so you can at least find a place to stay in the Norwegian capital during this time period.

Another thing worth noting is that many stores in Norway are closed on Sunday year-round. This does not change over Christmas, so you’ll need to remember that when planning your trip. On top of that, you might have to deal with reduced opening hours during the festive period.

What is the best Christmas market in Oslo?

It’s impossible to determine what the best Oslo Christmas market is because what one person defines as excellent will not be the same as everyone else. Nonetheless, we provide a rundown of the main ones in the city — which will allow you to make a decision for yourself.

Below are the main Oslo Christmas markets, along with a couple that are close to the city center.

Christmas Markets In Oslo

Jul i Vinterland, Karl Johans Gate

Is Jul i Vinterland the best Oslo Christmas market? We would say yes.

Jul i Vinterland is the undisputed king of Christmas markets in Oslo. Located right on the city’s main shopping street, this sizable Christmas market often resembles more of an amusement park.

It’s Norway’s most visited Christmas market, with over 2.2 million people going there in 2019; pretty impressive when you consider that only around 700,000 people live in Oslo.

At Jul i Vinterland, you’ll find several stands selling all kinds of niceties. You can purchase wooden handwork, along with various other gifts. The main attraction for many people is its Ferris wheel, which offers fantastic views of the city from above.

You will, of course, find plenty of food stands at Jul i Vinterland. You can enjoy hot drinks to warm you up in the crisp Norwegian winter air, along with places grilling fresh pølser (hot dogs) and more. If you want to meet Santa Claus, you’ll have the opportunity to do that as well.

Jul i Vinterland also has several amusement park rides that you and your children will love. The park itself is free to enter, but you will need to pay for these rides. Similarly, it also costs money to ride the Ferris wheel. You can purchase tickets for all of these at the park.

Also worth checking out when you visit is the Stjernehimmelen light display, which makes for superb Instagram photos.

To get to Jul i Vinterland, take the train to either Oslo Central Station or Nationaltheatret — the latter is closer. Walk up Karl Johans Gate from whichever one you choose.

Jul på Bærums Verk, Bærum

Just outside of the city’s perimeters is Bærum, an upscale suburb that is part of the Greater Oslo region. It’s a quaint district that is home to pretty nature, cute wooden houses, and more. As a tourist, one of the best places to visit is Bærums Verk — a lovely village that looks like your archetypal Norwegian town.

In the run-up to Christmas, you will find a Christmas market in this part of town. It’s open all days of the week, with longer hours on Saturday — though it also closes earlier on that particular day. You will find a packed program to keep you entertained, and the Christmas market also has multiple eating areas.

To get to the Bærums Verk Christmas market, you can take a direct bus from the main station in Oslo; the journey takes around 40 minutes. You can also take combinations of public transport; depending on what you take and the waiting times involved, the trip will typically take between 40 and 50 minutes.

Note that Bærum is not inside Zone 1 of the Oslo public transport network; you’ll need a ticket that covers Zone 2V.

Christmas Markets In Oslo
Credit: Paal Mork –

The Norwegian Folk Museum Christmas market

If you want to enjoy a day at the museum, Bygdøy is the best part of Oslo to do that. You will find several cool museums here, including the Norwegian Folk Museum. This open-air museum is a microcosm of Norway, with traditional architecture, people dressed in Norwegian clothing, and several other niceties.

Where better to celebrate the festive period than at its Christmas market, then?

For the first two weeks in December, you will find one of Oslo’s best Christmas markets at the Norwegian Folk Museum. You can sample gløgg, along with enjoying traditional Norwegian food and shopping for decorations.

You will also have the opportunity to browse several other stands, along with enjoying a horse ride and more.

At this particular Christmas market, you will also find various forms of entertainment for all ages.

Getting to the Norwegian Folk Museum from downtown Oslo is relatively straightforward. The bus ride takes around 20 minutes from Jernbanetorget, which is the transport hub just outside Oslo Central Station.

SALT Christmas market

SALT is a popular meeting spot for people in Oslo. Here, you can enjoy live music and events throughout the year — with several kinds of festivals, music, and art on show.

The area, which is across the water from the Oslo Opera House, also has a sauna you can enjoy. And for a couple of select weekends, you can soak in the festive cheer at the SALT Christmas market.

This Oslo Christmas market is usually open for one weekend in November, along with another in December. If you come here during this time, you can shop from several handmade products — many of which were made by some of Oslo’s most creative minds.

Even if you don’t go to the Christmas market itself, you can book a sauna through most of December; it’s closed on Christmas Day, but the 25th is an option. Why not combine it with a winter dip in the Oslofjord?…

Christmas Markets In Oslo
Credit: Marius Lauritsen

Jul i Viken, Lillestrøm

If you arrive in Oslo via Gardermoen Airport, you will probably be familiar with Lillestrøm — or at the very least, you’ll know that it exists. The town is part of Viken County, but it’s not far from downtown Oslo by train. The state-run services operating between Oslo and the airport stop here.

While we recommend that you stay closer to Oslo’s city center on your trip, you can still find some accommodation in Lillestrøm. On top of that, though, you might find that the Christmas market is a worthy day trip from the Norwegian capital.

Jul i Viken is held in Lillestrøm from the final weekend of November, and it runs up until around a week before Christmas. At the Christmas market, you will find a range of amusement park rides for the kids to enjoy. You will also have the chance to meet alpacas, try delicious treats, and more.

To get to Lillestrøm, you can take any train heading toward Konningsvær from Oslo Central Station. The journey takes just 10 minutes, and trains frequently run throughout the day. Note that your Oslo public transport pass is not valid for this trip if you only got a one-zone ticket; Lillestrøm is in Zone 2 Ø.

Oslo is a fantastic city for a Christmas getaway

Oslo Christmas markets aren’t as big as those you’ll find in some other European cities. However, that does not mean that they aren’t worth checking out.

Like other parts of Norway, people in the capital take Christmas very seriously — and a visit around this time of the year is guaranteed to be a koselig experience.

Christmas markets in Oslo are a great opportunity to try traditional Norwegian food and treats, along with doing a bit of your Christmas shopping. You’ll find authentic gifts, carefully-packaged foods, and much more.

While Christmas is arguably the best time to visit the Norwegian capital, it would be foolish to say that Oslo isn’t a year-round destination. Those long summer days are, after all, just as magical as the twilight of winter.

Why not find out the best touristy things to do in the Norwegian capital here? And if you’re looking for a place to stay, Oslo has plenty of hotel options you can book.

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