Norwegian cities and villages embrace Christmas with lots of seasonal markets in December. The markets are filled with music and Christmas carols, local handmade products and food specialities. If you are looking for some unique Christmas gifts, the stalls have many treasures that are a little bit more unique than a normal shop product.
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Photo: Visit Bergen / Robin Strand – visitbergen.com
Staring in the West, the Bergen Christmas Market opens on the 28th November and goes on all through to Christmas. Here, there are rich opportunities to have a look in the around 80 market stalls, take a trip in the ferris wheel, try the carousel or warmp up over something nice to eat or drink. With a wide range of activities, both adults and children will find the market enjoyable. The market is at Festplassen in the center of Bergen, around 10 minutes from the bus station.
Bus routes to Bergen:
Going south from Bergen, you will find another market in Haugesund. Their Christmas market takes place at Rådhusplassen (the city hall grounds) from 28th November to 16th December. The activites are varied and includes live music, theatre, nice food and market stalls. Why not use the opportunity to walk through the city and have dinner by the seaside? The Haugesund trip can easily be turned into an all day advent celebration.
Bus routes driving by Haugesund:
Photo: Lærdalsmarknaden / Renate Fosse
North of Bergen, in beautiful Sogn hidden between the mountains, you will wind the village of Lærdal. This is a trading village dating far back in history, but still active and populated. At the beautiful and unique old town Gamle Lærdalsøyri, there will be a Christmas market 23rd November. You can join the lighting of the Christmas decorations, listen to music and try local produce from the stalls. With its old wooden houses and rich history, Lærdalsøyri is a fantastic place to start the Christmas preparations.
Bussruter til Lærdal:
Kristiansand is the capital of the Southern-most region of Norway and has been labelled the Christmas city. Looking at the amount of program throughout November and December, they may well defend the title. Locals and those visiting will find the city central decorated for Christmas, with a Christmas market and ice rink at Torvet from 30th November. From 12th to 23rd December you can also experience the spectacular 3D light show displayed on the church walls twice every evening. For the youngest group, there will of course be Christmas celebrations at the zoo (Dyreparken) as well. Every weekend in advent, 'Christmas at Kutoppen' is open with fun activites.
Bussruter til Kristiansand:
Photo: Norsk folkemuseum
Going east, few events bring you so close to the Christmas feeling as the Christmas market at Norsk Folkemuseum (The Norwegian Museum of Cultural History). Inside the gates of the open air museum, you are taken back to traditional decorations, exciting products and lots of delicious Norwegian food. The exhibitions are open and there will be live music. You can walk through celebrations from different times in history, in the city and in the countryside. Even Santa’s workshop is open. All this you get for a normal entry ticekt at the museum. For those who prefer a more modern market, the 'Jul i Vinterland' market in central is open from 16th November. Here you and your family can try the ice rink, live music, decorations, market stalls and lots of nice food.
Bus routes to Oslo
Photo: Esben Haakenstad / Maihaugen
Continuing the traditional Christmas, futher north in Eastern Norway you can find another market that takes you back in time. Around 15 minutes walk from the bus stations at the city of Lillehammer, you will find the outdoor museum Maihaugen. This is a beautiful outdoor museum with over 200 buildings of different age, all sites for exhibitions and cafes. 30th November and 1st December the Christmas market opens. You will get a chance to visit decorated houses, shop from market stalls, join the Christmas workshop and sleigh rides. Rumour says the atmosphere is magical as dusk falls and the lanterns are lit. Experience the market by travelling with NW162 Øst-Vestekspressen to Lillehammer.