I love to spend December soaking in every moment that leads up to Christmas. Here is a couple of things you should do if you are visiting Oslo during December!
Oslo has gotten a number of Christmas markets during the years and some of them are worth to mention. The markets are starting to pop up the third weekend in November.
Spikersuppa has one of the most iconic markets, being surrounded with one of Oslos prettiest ice skating ramps where you will see gleeful kids having a blast. You can even rent a pair yourself and go at it! The market is filled with food from reindeer burgers, rice porridge and mulled wine.
Youngstorget has a more modest Christmas market, filled with snacks, drinks and crafts- perfect for that little gift you want to bring home.
Blå has a Christmas market every year where you can find knit wear, jewellery, ceramics and more made by local artists.
Norwegian Folk Museum also host a wonderful Christmas market each year wich will give you an insight in old Norwegian history as well as many wonderful gifts, treats and crafts. This is one of Oslos biggest Christmas markets and you can and should spend your entire day here!
Blaafarveværket is well worth a visit if you want to get out of the city- a great option for gift shopping in peaceful and wonderful surroundings. Their cafè even serves Christmas dinners, rice pudding, waffles, porridge and cookies for you to enjoy. They have three shops where the “Blue Shop” offers (their famous) cobalt-coloured glass, the “General Store” which offers candy and other sweets and the Gem- and Jewellery shop which has a selection of gifts. Royal Modum Blaafarveværk is located about one hour drive outside of Oslo. Check out driving directions and how to get there here.
Bærums Verk is just outside Oslo and has an incredible Old fashioned Christmas market each year. Experience the small shops and old houses from the 17th century and get into a cozy, holiday spirit!
“Julebord”/ Christmas party
If you have a bit of time to plan your journey, I would reccomend to book a table at one of Oslos restaurants that offers a “julebord” menu (which is pretty much everywhere). That way you can experience a true, local tradition while eating delicious Norwegian Christmas food like Lutefisk and Pinnekjøtt. Don’t be surprised if you catch a table or three singing and drinking “Lutefisk” songs.
Mathallen and Vulkan has both traditional and not so traditional Christmas food. At Mathallen you can sit down with a bunch of friends or strangers and share a meal from different stalls. The area itself, called Vulkan hosts many restaurants that offers Julebord during November and December. Check out “Vulkan Lavvo” if you want your Christmas dinner to happen outdoors, inside a Lavvo.
Smelteverket is perfect if you are a younger traveller and want to meet likeminded people. They serve a Christmas tapas and is slightly more affordable!
Stortorvets Gjæstegiveri is one of Oslos oldest restaurants being from the early 1700’s. They have a traditional Julebord every year with both Pinnekjøtt and Lutefisk.
Askeladden house is a great place if you are a bunch of people travelling together. Picturesque surroundings and a wonderful, traditional cabin with local food.
Frognerseteren has both a casual cafe and a fine restaurant, much like Askeladden house, you can enjoy a wonderful Christmas meal in beautiful surroundings.
Be sure to book as early as possible!
Get your energy level up and feel restorative after an evening at SALT. What about watching a movie while sitting in their sauna ‘Árdna‘ and drinking a glass of wine? You can even have a dip in the icy cold water of the Oslo fjord while you are at it- prevents colds and keeps you healthy during Christmas. This is a blast!
Enjoy Oslos new, hip and trendy food scene at Vippa, Grunerløkka and Vulkan and take a break from your Christmas shopping! Vippa is the new up-and-coming food court in Oslo, situated at the docks. They even host concerts from time to time! Grunerløkka is the place to be if you want to exprience hipster Oslo at its best! Grab a bite and watch people pass you by- how many hipsters can you spot?
There are many Christmas concerts around Oslo at this time of year- some are sold out in seconds and others are quite small and local. What about the famous Sølvguttenes Christmas concert at Norstrand church? Nothing will get you in the mood for Christmas like Sølvguttene.
Oslo Philharmonic’s Concert is a true tradition and one of Oslos most famous yet.
Others worth checking out is Kurt Nilsen, Odd Nordstoga and Sissel Kyrkjebø.
Want to add some culture while in Oslo- try going to the theater and enjoy yourself some top notch Christmas shows like the nutcracker. Many of the shows are in Norwegian, but you might get lucky and catch some that are more international.
Christmas eve and beyond
Visiting Oslo during Christmas eve and wondering where to go and what to do? Check out Visit Oslo’s page on opening hours and more. Public transport will still be up and running. Most shops will be closed 25th and 26th, some cafes and restaurants might be open for business- Check Visit Oslo for more information. A good time to do some people watching or even go to church even though you are not religious. If you are lucky, you might find yourself a nice family to spend Christmas with.