Photo: Morten Brun / Røros Hotell / trondelag.com
Fjord Tours Articles / 16 Dec 2020

Norway’s Top 10 Christmas destinations

If you are searching for a special place to celebrate Christmas, Norway is the perfect country to visit. Snow, Northern Lights and "Julenissen" are some of the ingredients in a traditional Norwegian Christmas. Here are our top 10 Christmas destinations in Norway!

Jul I Vinterland 2018 VO06656 Photo Didrick Stenersen
Photo: VisitOSLO/ Didrik Stenersen

1. Oslo

The capital may be an obvious and slightly boring choice for some but with decorations and fairy lights everywhere, Oslo is a glorious sight all through December. If you’re lucky, you’ll get a dusting of snow too. The city has Christmas markets, outdoor ice skating and a giant ferris wheel at the top end of Karl Johan gate.

The most unique Christmas fair takes place at the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History on Bygdøy during the first two weekends of December. Experience traditional Christmas’ through the ages and browse the market stalls or attend Christmas decoration workshops.

004587 Baard Loeken Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel
Photo: Baard Loeken / Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel

2. Alta

Christmas can feel incomplete without the cold and the snow, Alta has both in abundance so wrap up warm. At Sorrisniva hotel you get a one of a kind experience of staying in a hotel made entirely of ice; walls, beds, furniture, the lot!

3. Tromsø

Norway is a great place to see the famous Northern Lights, a beautiful natural phenomenon that occurs in the country during the winter months. The best place to view the Northern Lights in Norway is in Tromsø, so if you are in Norway, please make sure you make some space in your itinerary to witness this natural wonder.

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4. Finnmark

Every year during the Christmas in the town of Finnmark, europes longest dog sledding race takes place called the Finnmarksløpet. It is entertaining to watch, and later you can even hire a dog to take you around on a sled, which is an enjoyable experience, especially for children!

5. Notodden

Notodden is home to the largest stave Church in Norway, Heddal stave church. Every year in winter, on Christmas Eve, there is a Christmas mass celebrating what the Norwegians call Juletid. The service is extremely beautiful, with rich decorations and lovely music from the choir. Even if you are not religious, you must make time to witness a Christmas service at any of the churches in Norway.

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Photo: Trym Ivar Bergsmo / Www.Nordnorge.Com

6. Røros

If you’re looking for that nostalgic feeling, charming Røros has precisely what you need. The old mining town with small timber houses is on the UNESCO world heritage list and perfect when you want to avoid the pre-Christmas rush of the bigger cities. 

Pay a visit to the Christmas market during the second weekend of Advent, and to the Røros Church for a magical Christmas concert. You can also join a guided tour through the city or try dog sledding. A trip to Røros can be combined with an unforgettable Christmas concert in the Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim

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Photo: Thomas Rasmus Skaug - visitnorway.com

7. Lillehammer

Lillehammer has a Christmas market holding many interesting events like cookie-baking workshops, gingerbread-making workshops, and Christmas card-making workshops. Around 120 stalls sell food, drinks and other crafts that you can bring back home as souvenirs and gifts for your friends and family.

A visit to the artists and craftsmen at the creative hub Fabrikken is definitely a must, and you should stop by Lillehammer Art Museum, too. Afterwards, you can go hunting for Christmas gifts in the festively decorated streets. If you want to get active in the snow, combine your trip to Lillehammer with a day or two in nearby ski resorts Hafjell and Kvitfjell, usually open from November. 

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Photo: CH - Visitnorway.com

8. Bergen

The narrow alleys of the old Hanseatic city Bergen is a wonderful setting when you want to get into the Christmas spirit. You’ll find a big Christmas market at Festplassen, with a Ferris wheel and merry-go-rounds. The city is also home to the world’s largest gingerbread town. Watch as they switch on the lights at the top of the city mountain Fløien, and round off the evening with a Christmas concert.

9. Henningsvær

In the beautiful city of Henningsvær in Lofoten, the pre-Christmas fun starts at the beginning of November. This authentic fishing village has many quaint niche shops, and the local artists have mastered the skills of glassblowing, candle making, and wool hat design.

Even though the village is quite small, you’ll find several art museums here, too, including the KaviarFactory and Galleri Lofotens Hus. Take a day trip to the Lofotr Viking Museum at Borg or perhaps you want to visit the charming villages of Svolvær or Kabelvåg, with museums, aquariums, and galleries.

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Photo: Robin Strand

10. Christmas on Hurtigruten

Still searching for a unique way to celebrate Christmas? Every year, thousands of people spend the holidays onboard one of the Norwegian coastal express Hurtigruten’s ships. The coast is magical during winter, with snow-covered mountain tops and crisp fresh air. In Northern Norway, you’re likely to see the northern lights dance across the sky. Does it get any more romantic?

On Christmas Eve, all the ships are docked, so you can attend a Christmas service in the local church if you want to.

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Photo: Trond Gansmoe Johnsen / Hurtigruten