Picture this: A white Christmas with reindeers and gingerbread. Throw in hot ‘gløgg’ and a bit of traditional Norwegian dancing. Sounds exotic, doesn’t it?
The period leading up to Christmas is a special time in Norway, as the shorter and darker days make for a very cozy time of year. Smoke can frequently be seen from the many chimneys around the country, and candles light up homes during the cold month of December. Most Norwegian towns and cities like Trondheim and Oslo also offer Christmas fairs and markets, seasonal concerts and performances during this time. Bergen is famous for its Gingerbread Town, holiday concerts and other festivities. And what makes the season even more spectacular is that you can catch a glimpse of the northern lights!
Røros – The fairy tale town where you can feed reindeers
This fairy-tale Christmas starts in a horse drawn carriage from the station. From here you are taken into the old UNESCO world heritage town, where small wooden houses and narrow streets set the frame for one of Norway’s most idyllic Christmas markets. Each year people pour into the small mountain town of Røros, for the world renowned Røros butter (served at Copenhagen’s Noma), local beer and reindeer meat. While you are there, do pop by an indigenous Sami family to feed a live Santa’s reindeer.
Trondheim – The Viking capital of Norway
Combine Røros with a trip to Trondheim, the oldest capital in Norway. The city is steeped in history, and the Christmas Market is suitably placed in front of the Nidaros Cathedral – the place where Olaf the Holy, whom christened Norway, is said to be buried, and marks the end of one of the main pilgrimage routes in the world.
Oslo – Christmas spirit comes to the capital
The traditional Christmas Fair at the Norwegian Folk Museum, is the place to experience the best of Christmas traditions from all over the country. With 100 old-fashioned wooden stalls offering homemade crafts and foods, as well as horse drawn sledges and Santa’s workshop, go back in time, and see how Norwegians have celebrated the festival through the years.
Geilo – Skiing getaway
Geilo offers you christmas markets and a skiing getaway in the mountainous area of Norway. The charming market focuses on local food and art, which has been influenced greatly by the mountains and forests. This area has been the source of inspiration for many folk tales including rolls and other mythical figures.
Bergen – The biggest gingerbread town in the world
Each Christmas you can experience a miniature Bergen city made from gingerbread. School children and nursery school children contribute to the tradition each year, making City Hall, ships, cars and small houses. The exhibition can be seen the entire month of December.
*Courtesy Scandinavian Tourism