We love Christmas. We actually love this time of year so much that we are constantly looking for new cozy activities that bring out that warm, fuzzy Christmas feeling. We often spend the holiday season in our hometown, and luckily for us Oslo and its surrounding areas certainly don’t lack Christmas spirit. There is a great abundance of activities on offer in December, and here we’ve put together a list of our favorites.
The Christmas Fair at the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History
The Christmas Fair at the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History at Bygdøy is one of the classics on our list. Here you can really feel the nostalgia amongst buildings that are hundreds of years old. The Christmas Fair is very popular, but the area is so vast that it never feels too crowded. In the booths you can buy food and drinks, traditional baked goods, Christmas ornaments and Christmas presents. Among the activities offered are horseback riding and carriage rides. We find the Christmas sing-along in the chapel to be especially charming.
When: November 30th and December 1st 2019 from 11 a.m.–4 p.m. and December 7th and 8th 2019 from 11 a.m.–4 p.m.
Where: Bygdøy just outside Oslo city centre. Address: Museumsveien 10, 0287 Oslo.
Price: Adults NOK 160, Children NOK 40, Parents with children/ grandchildren NOK 320, students/senior citizens NOK 120.
A 40-minute drive from Oslo lies Tregaardens Julehus (Tregaarden’s Christmas House) in Drøbak. Tregaarden’s Christmas House is a Christmas store that is open all year round, and also has its own post office. If you have not finished shopping for Christmas presents, there is a lot to choose from at Tregaarden’s Christmas House. Aim for an evening visit to the shop and be sure to leave enough time for a stroll in Drøbak’s cosy streets. The small town has beautiful decorations and burning candles outside many of the shops that make for a wonderfully charming atmosphere.
When: Tregaarden’s Christmas House is open all year long. Here are the opening hours for the holiday season, as of 2019:
- Monday to Friday: 10 a.m.–5 p.m.
- Saturday: 10 a.m.–3 p.m.
- Sunday: 12 p.m–4 p.m.
- Monday to Friday: 10 a.m.–8 p.m.
- Saturday: 10 a.m.–4 p.m.
- Sunday: 12 p.m–4 p.m.
- Christmas eve: 9 a.m.–12 p.m.
- December 27th–30th: 10 p.m–3 p.m.
Where: In Drøbak, approximately 40 minutes by car from Oslo. Address: Havnebakken 6, 1440 Drøbak.
Price: Free entry.
Tip: Send Christmas cards from the shop’s post office — you can get them stamped with the official Santa-stamp!
Afternoon Tea at Lysebu
Drinking afternoon tea may not be usually associated with Christmas activities, but when the atmosphere is as idyllic as at Lysebu hotel, finding the Christmas feeling is easy. The Danish designer Jette Frölich decorates the hotel every year before Christmas, and the result is always magical.
When: Every day from 2:30 p.m.–4:30 p.m. Note that the afternoon tea must be pre-ordered!
Where: In Holmenkollen, approximately 30 minutes by car from Oslo city centre. Address: Lysebuveien 12, 0790 Oslo.
Price: NOK 275 per person.
Christmas at Bærums Verk
The traditional Christmas market at Bærums Verk is one of our favorite Christmas markets. The best time to visit is on Sundays, as these days also are the Farmers’ Market days. The Farmers’ Market is incredibly popular and attracts a lot of guests. We usually arrive in the afternoon to avoid the biggest crowds in the morning, and also because Bærums Verk is at its most beautiful when the Christmas lights are lit.
When: From November 23rd to December 22nd 2019:
- November 23rd: 10 a.m.–6 p.m.
- November 24th: 12 p.m.–6 p.m. (Farmers’ Market 12 p.m.–5 p.m.)
- November 30th: 10 a.m.–6 p.m.
- December 1st: 12 p.m.–6 p.m. (Farmers’ Market 12 p.m.–5 p.m.)
- December 7th: 10 a.m.–6 p.m.
- December 8th: 12 p.m.–6 p.m. (Farmers’ Market 12 p.m.–5 p.m.)
- December 14th: 10 a.m.–6 p.m.
- December 15th: 12 p.m.–6 p.m. (Farmers’ Market 12 p.m.–5 p.m.)
- December 21st: 10 a.m.–6 p.m.
- December 22nd: 12 a.m.–6 p.m.
Where: In Bærums Verk, approximately 30 minutes by car from Oslo city center. Address: Verksgata 15, 1353 Bærums Verk.
Price: Free entry.
We love visiting Lokstallen in Røykenvik all year long. In the summer it is great to sit outside and enjoy the views of the Randsfjorden lake. The rest of the year it is most tempting to sit inside and enjoy the heat from the wood burning stove. For Christmas, the restaurant is filled with beautiful decorations and the smell of delicious food. We had an excellent visit to Lokstallen last year, and hope that the heavenly creamed rice is also on the menu this year! A trip to the restaurant should be combined with a visit to their interior shop on the second floor.
When: Open Wednesday to Sunday from 12 p.m.–6 p.m. (closed on Mondays and Tuesdays).
Where: In Røykenvik in Brandbu, approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes by car from Oslo city centre. Address: Røykenviklinna 412, 2760 Brandbu.
Jul i Vinterland
The Christmas market in Oslo city centre, Jul i Vinterland (Christmas in Winterland), offers a pre-Christmas treat for people of all ages. For the youngest, there are Christmas crafts workshops as well as a chance to meet Santa Claus himself.
Adults may enjoy the very nice bar area on two floors. Here you can settle down with blankets and heat lamps and watch skaters glide around the skating rink below.
The Christmas ferris wheel offers even greater views. It is 33 meters high and gives you a fabulous bird’s-eye view of Oslo city centre.
When: Open from November 16th to December 30th 2019.
- Sunday through Thursday: 10 a.m.–8 p.m.
- Friday and Saturday: 10 a.m.–9 p.m.
- December 23rd and December 30th: 10 a.m.–6 p.m.
- December 24th and 25th: closed.
Where: In Spikersuppa in the centre of Oslo. Address: Spikersuppa, 0162 Oslo.
Price: Free entry.
Cafe Seterstua at Frognerseteren
For one of the most spectacular views of Oslo, head for Cafe Seterstua at Frognerseteren in Holmenkollen. The venerable building is traditionally decorated with Christmas garlands, Christmas flowers and candles. Fireplaces burn joyfully, and in the cafe the delicious cocoa is always hot. Christmas cakes are available, but instead we recommend that you order a piece of the classic apple pie that Cafe Seterstua is famous for. Cafe Seterstua at Frognerseteren is the perfect place to unwind and recharge your batteries for the rest of the Christmas preparations.
- Monday to Saturday: 11 a.m.–10 p.m.
- Sunday: 11 a.m.–9 p.m.
Where: In Holmenkollen, approximately 25 minutes by car from Oslo city centre. Address: Holmenkollveien 200, 0791 Oslo.
Tip: Rent a sled and go for a ride in Oslo’s most famous toboggan run, “The Corkscrew”, located right next to Cafe Seterstua at Frognerseteren.
Cut Your Own Christmas Tree at Rolstad Farm
We have, of course, saved the best for last. For us, the ultimate pre-Christmas activity is to cut our own Christmas tree at Rolstad farm. A visit here can be combined with a horse and carriage ride and we cannot imagine a better way to start our Christmas celebrations!
When: In 2019 you can cut your own Christmas tree at Rolstad farm on Saturday December 14th, Sunday December 15th, Saturday December 21st and Sunday December 22nd. Opening hours are 10:30 a.m–3:30 p.m. The brewery house will be open at the same times, and it sells homemade treats, coffee and (non-alcoholic) Glüwein. On Saturdays, traditional Norwegian porridge is also served. There is no need to book your visit in advance, just drop in during the opening hours.
Where: Rolstad farm is located a 1-hour drive northeast of Oslo. Address: Rolstadvegen 50, 2170 Fenstad.
Price: The price for a Norwegian Spruce and a sleigh or carriage ride is NOK 900 (Serbian Spruce or Subalpine Fir is NOK 200 more). Visiting Rolstad for the carriage ride only is also possible. This costs NOK 500. The carriage can take up to 5 people.