Christmas Markets In Scandinavia

Discover the best Christmas markets in Scandinavia

When you think of Christmas, what thoughts come to mind? Snow, reindeer, and cute decorations are probably three of many things. Christmas markets in Scandinavia are often the closest you’ll get to the festive season as you always imagined it.

Throughout the north, you will find plenty of cozy Christmas markets that cater to various needs. They’re suitable for children and adults alike, and you can enjoy all kinds of activities — including ice skating and hopping on rides.

The best Christmas markets in Scandinavia are largely concentrated within the region’s largest cities. However, you will also find a selection in some of the smaller towns — many of which are easy to access.

In this article, we will look at the best Scandinavian Christmas markets. Alongside Sweden, Norway, and Denmark, you’ll also discover the coolest places to celebrate the festive season in Finland and Iceland.  

Do Scandinavian countries have Christmas markets?

Yes! Scandinavia is well-known for its Christmas markets, and you will struggle to find a region that better captures this time of year. Even in its “southernmost” regions, the days are short, and the weather is chilly — meaning that the locals go out of their way to crank up the coziness meter.

All of the Nordic region’s largest cities have a Christmas market, many of which run from the end of November until just before or after Christmas. You will also find various festivities throughout those cities and towns, such as bakeries selling themed sweets.

Is Scandinavia good for Christmas markets?

Scandinavia’s Christmas markets are often smaller than in other countries, but they have everything you need. You will find handcrafted goods that you can gift to someone else, along with plenty of “gløgg” (mulled wine — it’ll be glögg if you’re in Sweden or Iceland, and glögi in Finland).

Christmas markets in Scandinavia are often quite interactive, with plenty of fun activities for children. For example, you can go to see the real Santa Claus in Northern Finland. Meanwhile, you can participate in cooking activities at some of the Nordic region’s other Christmas markets.

What is the best Scandinavian country for Christmas markets?

Determining the best Scandinavian country for Christmas markets is impossible because the answer is subjective. It depends on what you’re looking for; if you want something more immersive, one could argue that Denmark’s Christmas markets are the best for you to choose.

If you’re looking for the ultimate Christmas experience, however, you will probably want to venture further north. While you will have little to no daylight, the northern stretches of Sweden, Norway, and Finland will almost guarantee snow every year.

In the arctic regions of the Nordics, you can combine your trip to a Christmas market with other intriguing experiences. For example, it’s possible to go husky sledding in Lapland — and you might potentially get to see the Northern Lights as well.

Christmas markets in Denmark

To make it easier for you to learn about the best Christmas markets in Scandinavia, we’ll divide them up by country. Since it’s the coziest time of the year, Denmark — the land of hygge — is the only logical place to begin.

Below are five Christmas markets in Denmark that are worth visiting.

Christmas Markets In Scandinavia

Tivoli Christmas Market, Copenhagen

Tivoli is one of Copenhagen’s must-see tourist attractions at any time of the year, and the amusement park is popular with locals too. At Christmas time, however, this wonderful part of the city turns into a winter wonderland — regardless of whether snow falls or not.

Once you’ve entered the gates at Tivoli, you will find several stools selling all kinds of hot drinks and sweets. You can also visit one of the amusement park’s many restaurants, and you will — as part of that — have the opportunity to sample Danish classics like smørrebrød.

Of course, you can also try out Tivoli’s several rides. Regardless of how old you are and whether you’re bringing your own excited children along or not, Christmas at Tivoli is an unforgettable experience.

To enter Tivoli, you’ll need to purchase an entry ticket. You can do so online.

Christmas Markets In Scandinavia
Credit: Kirk K

H.C. Andersen Julemarked, Odense

Odense is the third-largest city in Denmark, and it’s also the birthplace of Hans Christian Andersen — one of the world’s most celebrated writers. Andersen’s legacy is clear to see in Odense; most of the city’s main attractions are dedicated to him.

We’d like to ignore the clichés of places that look like they’re from a fairytale, but… it’s kind of hard to with Odense. And when Christmas comes around, it becomes home to one of the best Christmas markets in Denmark.

Odense’s Christmas market is usually held at Sortebrødre Torv. The season for it is a little shorter than most of the other places on our list; it only lasts for the first two weekends of December.

If you want to visit, Odense is an easy day trip from Copenhagen. You can get a direct train, which takes around an hour and a half. If you book early enough, you can find single tickets for as cheap as 99 Danish Kroner ($13.20).

Den Gamle By, Aarhus

Aarhus is Denmark’s second-largest city. If you’re tired of Copenhagen’s crowds, the main city in Jutland is an excellent place to spend a weekend or longer – especially in the run-up to Christmas.

Den Gamle By is one of Aarhus’ best tourist attractions; it effectively showcases what life was like in Denmark of yesteryear. Complete with traditional dress and old buildings, its Christmas experience is well worth trying out for yourself.

The museum is open on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and its festive theme continues from the third week of November until just after New Year’s Day.

Like Tivoli, you’ll need to purchase an entry ticket to Den Gamle By. You can get your tickets online.

Christmas Markets In Scandinavia

Nyhavn Christmas market, Copenhagen

Nyhavn is one of the most-photographed places in Denmark, and it’s one of those rare places that lives up to its hype. In the weeks leading up to Christmas, the harborfront area transforms into a Christmas market with several stands.

You will find places to buy Danish and non-Danish treats, and it’s one of the best places in Copenhagen to sample mulled wine.

Just across the street from Nyhavn, you’ll find another Christmas market at Kongens Nytorv. It’s a little bigger, so you can always go there if you can’t find what you want at Nyhavn.

To get to the Christmas market at Nyhavn, you can take the metro to Kongens Nytorv and walk. Alternatively, it’s a short bike ride from Copenhagen Central Station.

Christmas Markets In Scandinavia
Credit: Sune Bundgaard

Gammeltorv Christmas market, Aalborg

Aalborg is the fourth-biggest city in Denmark. Located in the northern part of Jutland, it’s well off the tourist trail — meaning that you will get an authentic experience and fewer crowds. The city’s main Christmas market is at Gammeltorv, which is right next to Aalborg’s main church.

The Christmas market in Aalborg gives you the chance to say hi to Santa Claus, and you will also find various sweets to indulge in. And, of course, gløgg is very much on the menu.

Close to the Christmas market is an ice skating rink where you can test out your skills. Aalborg is 4-5 hours from Copenhagen by train, depending on whether you take a fast service or not. You can fly from the Danish capital; the journey takes 45 minutes.

You can fly to Aalborg from a handful of international destinations, too, including London, Amsterdam, and Stockholm.

Christmas markets in Sweden

Sweden is Scandinavia’s largest country, and you will find some of the region’s best Christmas markets here. Below are our top picks.

Christmas Markets In Scandinavia
Credit: PG63

Stortorget Christmas market, Stockholm

Stortorget is the main square in Gamla Stan, which is undisputedly Stockholm’s most picturesque district. It’s the oldest Christmas market in the Swedish capital, and 2022 will be its 185th year in existence.

The Gamla Stan Christmas market is relatively small; you’ll find various huts dotted throughout the square. You can enjoy various Swedish Christmas treats, along with glögg. On top of that, you can find ceramics and much more.

In addition to being the oldest Christmas market in Stockholm, this is the oldest in all of Sweden. It’s open from the third weekend in November until just before Christmas.

You can get the metro to Gamla Stan station and walk from there. Alternatively, the ferry from Djurgården stops at Gamla Stan.

Christmas Markets In Scandinavia
Credit: Holger.Ellgaard

Skansen Christmas market, Stockholm

Skansen is one of Stockholm’s most popular attractions, and the open-air museum has something going on year-round. In the run-up to Christmas, you can enjoy plenty of festivities here — including a Christmas market offering goods crafted in Sweden.

In December, you can enjoy various Swedish traditions at Skansen too. Saint Lucia, which is one of Scandinavia’s most popular celebrations, takes place here and at numerous other spots in Stockholm.

Skansen is also open for four hours on Christmas Eve. You can use it as an opportunity to participate in activities and browse the small selection of shops that are open.

Christmas Markets In Scandinavia

Liseberg Christmas market, Gothenburg

Gothenburg is Sweden’s second-largest city and offers more of a laid-back atmosphere than Stockholm. If you want to skip the crowds of the capital, you should consider visiting the Christmas market at Liseberg – which is Gothenburg’s famous amusement park.

The Christmas market at Liseberg has an ice skating rink for you to enjoy, and you will also find gift shops to purchase things for your loved ones. Once you’ve burned a couple of calories, you can consume those at the various stands selling hot chocolate and other sweet treats.

Liseberg also has a selection of live events to celebrate Christmas. You can buy tickets for the park, plus concerts and hotels, here.

To get to Liseberg, you can take a bus or tram from Gothenburg Central Station. Alternatively, it’s around 25 minutes on foot. If you’re arriving internationally, Landvetter Airport has flights to several destinations.

You can also take the bus or train from Copenhagen or Oslo; it’s around three-and-a-half hours from both cities.

Christmas Markets In Scandinavia
Credit: Maria Eklind

Gustav Adolfs Torg Christmas market, Malmö

Heading further south, you can enjoy the Christmas spirit in Malmö; doing so is particularly easy if you’re in Copenhagen. Gustav Adolfs Torg is one of the city’s main squares, and you will find a Christmas market here at selected periods in December.

At the Christmas market, you can enjoy live performances, a merry-go-round, and much more. You can also buy glögg and other niceties.

The Christmas market is at the end of one of the city’s main shopping streets, and it’s a short walk or bike ride from Malmö Central Station. To get to Malmö itself, your best choice is to fly to Copenhagen Airport and take the train.

Alternatively, you can get services from Stockholm and Gothenburg.

Christmas Markets In Scandinavia

Gammelstad Christmas market, Luleå

Heading to the other end of the country, we’re going to Luleå in the Swedish Lapland. Gammelstad is a UNESCO World Heritage Site close to the city, and the picturesque wooden town is worth checking out year-round. During the Christmas season, it transforms into a winter wonderland.

On the first weekend of December, you can join a tour to check out what Christmas was like in centuries gone by. You will also find various stands selling all kinds of goods, along with the chance to participate in horse and sleigh rides — if enough snow has fallen.

You’ll need to purchase an entrance fee for the Christmas market here; tickets are also available in person, but they’re more expensive.

Christmas markets in Norway

Of the Scandinavian countries, you could put a strong case forward for Norway having the best Christmas markets. Or, at the very least, the most picturesque backdrops.

Below are the best Christmas markets in Norway.

Christmas Markets In Scandinavia

Jul i Vinterland, Oslo

Jul i Vinterland is one of the main Scandinavian Christmas markets, attracting millions of visitors annually. Located right in the center of Norway’s capital city, this sizable Christmas market has a large Ferris wheel that gives you excellent views over Oslo and its surrounding areas.

You will find various other rides, too – along with numerous stools that line the area where the Christmas market is located. Here, you can enjoy several Norwegian treats and more.

To get to Jul i Vinterland, you can walk along Karl Johans Gate from either Oslo S or Nasjonaltheateret Station. It’s just across the road from the Stortinget building.

Christmas Markets In Scandinavia
Credit: Wil Lee Wright – Oi! Trøndersk Mat og Drikke

Røros Christmas market

If you want to visit a Norwegian town that’s oozing with history, Røros is not the worst starting point. This small collection of wooden houses dates back to the 17th century, and it’s particularly beautiful in the lead-up to Christmas.

The town’s Christmas market is a relatively short event, which typically lasts for the opening parts of December. You can enjoy horse sledding, along with ordinary sledding, and several stands offering various niceties.

Røros is close to the Swedish border and relatively remote. You can fly directly from Oslo; the flight time is around 50 minutes. Alternatively, the town is a two-hour drive from Trondheim.

Christmas Markets In Scandinavia
Credit: Brendan Campbell

Trondheim Christmas market

Speaking of Trondheim, Trøndelag’s largest city — and the third-biggest in Norway — is one of the country’s most beautiful places to visit. And in December, you will find one of the best Christmas markets in Scandinavia here.

Trondheim’s Christmas market runs for three weeks in December, and it’s one of Norway’s most popular. At its stools, you can find beer brewed in the region; hot meals are also available, as are warm drinks.

The Christmas market in Trondheim is in the city’s main square, and getting there is simple. If you want to travel from further afield, you can get a flight from Oslo; it’s around 50 minutes. International flights to cities like Copenhagen and London also operate. Alternatively, Trondheim has a train station.

Christmas Markets In Scandinavia
Credit: Smiley.toerist

Bergen Christmas market

Bergen is the second-largest city in Norway, and it’s probably the prettiest. The city is a postcard-perfect collection of wooden houses, with seven mountains surrounding it. Did you know that the city partly-inspired Disney’s hit film Frozen, too?

Bergen’s Christmas market runs from the end of November until a couple of days before Christmas. You will have opportunities to buy all kinds of gifts — along with indulging in various treats.

The Christmas market is located on Festplassen, which is close to the city’s main train station. You can get international flights from the likes of Amsterdam and London, along with regional planes from several Norwegian airports — including Oslo and Trondheim.

Christmas markets in Finland

Finland is where the real Santa Claus lives, and as you might expect, the Finns do not take Christmas lightly. Below are some of the must-visit Christmas markets in the country.

Christmas Markets In Scandinavia

Helsinki Christmas market

Helsinki has a large Christmas market in Senate Square, which is where you will also find the city’s main cathedral. Here, you can enjoy traditional Finnish Christmas treats and sip on hot drinks to help you forget about the bitter cold.

The Christmas market in Helsinki also has a couple of rides, such as a merry-go-round. If you head to the top of the stairs next to the cathedral, you can enjoy a particularly picturesque view of the square and its surrounding buildings.

Oh — and if you go to the Vanha Kauppahalli food hall nearby, you’ll find reindeer kebabs. Merry Christmas!

Christmas Markets In Scandinavia

Santa Claus Village, Rovaniemi

Rovaniemi is the home of Santa, and a Christmas visit here is guaranteed to be memorable. At Santa Claus Village, you can meet Santa himself — plus his reindeer. At the village, you can also cross the Arctic Circle — just in case you had that on your bucket list.

You can actually visit the village year-round, but it’s best to do so during the winter months. If you want to stay overnight, you will find a wide selection of accommodation at the village.

Rovaniemi Airport has several direct flights from Helsinki daily. You can also get here by train; the journey takes between eight and 12 hours.

Christmas Markets In Scandinavia

Porvoo Christmas market

Porvoo is one of Finland’s prettiest wooden towns, and it’s an easy day trip from Helsinki. If you visit in December, you’ll want to check out the Christmas market — which takes place for a weekend toward the beginning of the month.

You will find various local foods to purchase from the Christmas market while you’re here, along with gifts crafted by artists in the region.

Porvoo is around an hour from Helsinki, and you can get there by train and bus.

Christmas markets in Iceland

Iceland also has a selection of Christmas markets, and we’ll mention the main ones here.

Christmas Markets In Scandinavia

Hlemmur Mathöll Christmas market, Reykjavík

Despite only being home to just over 135,000 people, Reykjavík is a serious cultural hub. You will find a selection of Christmas markets here, including one in Hlemmur Mathöll.

The Christmas market runs on weekends in December until December 23rd. You will find various Icelandic delicacies, along with baked goods and more.

The food hall is on the main shopping street in Reykjavík.

Christmas Markets In Scandinavia

Ingólfstorg Christmas market, Reykjavík

Reykjavík’s main Christmas events take place at Ingólfstorg, which is the city’s main square. Here, you can watch the lighting of the Christmas tree in early December — which is followed by a live event.

At the square, you will also find an ice skating rink and numerous places to eat. The Christmas village is open throughout December, though it closes on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Scandinavian Christmas markets are unique

Christmas markets in Scandinavia offer something for everyone, and you will find something that meets your needs. If you’re looking for a European city break experience, Copenhagen is probably the best place for you to visit.

But if you’re looking for something a little more unique, heading to the Nordic region’s far stretches — such as the Finnish Lapland — is worth considering.

You will find all kinds of local goods at each of the Christmas markets mentioned, with plenty of activities also on offer. And while you’ll sometimes need to pay for entry, that is not always the case.

Copenhagen is one of the cities we mentioned that has multiple Christmas markets. If you’re planning a trip to the Danish capital in December, why not check out what’s on offer for yourself?

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