Last updated November 2023
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.
Update from November 2023:
When we wrote the first version of this article, the intention was for it to be about Christmas activities in and near Oslo. Over the last couple of years, we have expanded the blog post to also include activities that are somewhat further away. Under the description of each activity, you can see how far from Oslo city center it is located. We promise that all the places we mention are really worth the trip!
The Christmas Fair at Norsk Folkemuseum
The Christmas Fair at Norsk Folkemusem (the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History) at Bygdøy is one of the classics on our list. Here you can really feel an aura of 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. Many activities are offered, including horseback riding and carriage rides. We find the Christmas sing-along in the chapel to be especially charming.
- Saturday December 2nd from 11 a.m. –4 p.m.
- Sunday December 3th from 11 a.m. –4 p.m.
- Saturday December 9th from 11 a.m.–4 p.m.
- Sunday December 10th from 11 a.m.–4 p.m.
Where: Bygdøy just outside Oslo city center. Address: Museumsveien 10, 0287 Oslo.
Price: Adults NOK 180, senior citizens NOK 140, young adults (aged 18-25) NOK 140, children (aged 0–17) NOK 0.
Tregaarden’s Julehus Christmas Store and Post Office
A 40-minute drive from Oslo lies Tregaarden’s Julehus (Tregaarden’s Christmas House) in Drøbak. Tregaarden’s Julehus is a Christmas store that is open all year round, and also has its own post office. If you have not yet finished shopping for Christmas presents, there is a lot to choose from at Tregaarden’s Julehus. Aim for an evening visit to the shop and be sure to leave enough time for a stroll in Drøbak’s cozy 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. In the holiday season, from December 1st to December 23rd, the opening hours are the following:
- Monday to Friday: 10 a.m.–7 p.m.
- Saturday: 10 a.m.–4 p.m.
- Sunday: 12 p.m–4 p.m.
- December 25th and December 26th: Closed
- December 27th to December 30th: 10 a.m.–3 p.m.
- December 31st: 12 a.m.–3 p.m.
Where: In Drøbak, approximately 40 minutes by car from Oslo city center. 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 Hotel
Drinking afternoon tea may not be usually associated with Christmas activities, but when the atmosphere is as idyllic as at Lysebu hotel, getting into the Christmas Spirit is easy. The Danish designer Jette Frölich decorates the hotel every year before Christmas, and the result is always magical.
When: Lysebu serves afternoon tea all year round, but it must be pre-ordered no later than Thursday the same week.
- Friday and Saturday: 13:00 p.m and 3:00 p.m.
Where: In Holmenkollen, approximately 30 minutes by car from Oslo city center. Address: Lysebuveien 12, 0790 Oslo.
Price: NOK 495 per person.
The Christmas Market 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 are also 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 25th to December 21st.
- Monday to Friday: 3 p.m.–8 p.m.
- Saturday: 10 a.m.–6 p.m.
- Sunday: 12 p.m.–6 p.m.
On selected dates there is also the Farmers’ Market:
- Sunday November 26th 12 p.m.–5 p.m.
- Saturday December 2nd 10 p.m–5 p.m.
- Sunday December 3rd 12 p.m.–5 p.m.
- Sunday December 10th 12 p.m.–5 p.m.
- Saturday December 16th 12 p.m–5 p.m.
- Sunday December 17th 12 p.m.–5 p.m.
Where: In Bærums Verk, approximately 30 minutes by car from Oslo city center. Address: Verksgata 15, 1353 Bærums Verk.
Price: Free entry.
Snoka Miljø Home Decor Shop
Snoka Miljø is a home decor shop somewhat hidden in the forest. It’s approximately 10 minutes away by car from the town of Kongsvinger. The wooden building doesn’t look particularly special from the outside, but cross the threshold and you’ll find an interior design wonderland behind the brown walls. At Snoka, there is no minimalism – on the contrary, the store has an abundance of ornaments and other decorative treasures in every conceivable shape and color.
Before Christmas, of course, Christmas decorations dominate the space. The shop owners have searched for them all over the world. And boy, have they found many! Strolling around the shop is nothing short of a joy for all the senses. The sight of all the beautiful decorations is perfectly complemented by the sound of the crackling fireplace and not least by the smell of freshly brewed coffee from the adjacent cafe. You should definitely enjoy a cup of it with a slice of warm apple pie and a scoop of ice cream.
When: Snoka Miljø is open all year long. In the holiday season, from October 21st to December 22nd, the opening hours are the following:
- Monday to Friday: 1 p.m.–8 p.m.
- Saturday: 11 a.m.–4 p.m.
- Sunday: Closed
Where: Close to Granli, approximately 1 hour and 25 minutes by car from Oslo city center. Address: Austmarkvegen 372B, 2210 Granli.
Price: Free entry.
Steam Locomotive Ride at Tertitten
At Tertitten, also known as The Urskog-Høland Railway, nostalgia prevails. With its historic wagons, the coal-fired steam locomotive calls up dreams of a bygone era. The train ride itself is not very long — only about 4 kilometers each way — but it is very atmospheric. On the way, the passengers keep warm thanks to wood-burning stoves placed in the carriages. You can look out over a winter landscape that frequently disappears in the dense steam from the locomotive. Halfway through the trip, the train stops at Fossum station where gløgg (mulled wine) and gingerbread cookies are served. And if Santa Claus has time, he may show up to hand out bags of sweets to the children.
- Sunday December 3rd
- Saturday December 9th
- Sunday December 10th
- Sunday December 17th
- Sunday December 31st
Where: The train ride starts at Sørumsand, approximately 40 minutes by car from Oslo city center. Address: Sørumsand center, 1921 Sørumsand.
2nd class: Adults NOK 350, senior citizens NOK 200, children NOK 200.
3rd class: Adults NOK 200, senior citizens NOK 100, children NOK 100.
PS: Tickets must be booked in advance through the website.
Maihaugen’s Christmas Market
For a deeper insight into Norwegian Christmas traditions, it is really worth taking a trip to Lillehammer and Maihaugen’s Christmas market. Maihaugen is an open-air museum with over 200 buildings from different eras, and many of the historic buildings are decorated for Christmas. At Maihaugen you can see how Christmas was celebrated in Norwegian homes from the Middle Ages up until today. There are also a plentiful selection of stalls selling craft products, Christmas ornaments and countless edible temptations. Activities are arranged for the children, such as Christmas workshops, sleigh rides, carving and barn visits.
- Saturday December 2nd from 11 a.m. –6 p.m.
- Sunday December 3rd from 11 a.m. –5 p.m.
Where: In Lillehammer, approximately 2 hours and 10 minutes by car from Oslo city center. Address: Maihaugveien 1, 2609 Lillehammer.
Price when pre-purchasing ticket online:
Adult NOK 145, children (aged 6-15 years) NOK 65, children (aged 0-5 years) NOK 0, students NOK 65. Family discount: Adults with children pay for one child only (up to three extra children free).
Price when buying a ticket at the Christmas market:
Adult NOK 175, children (aged 6-15 years) NOK 80, children (aged 0-5 years) NOK 0, students NOK 80. Family discount: Adults with children pay for one child only (up to three extra children free).
Tip: Set aside enough time to experience the Christmas market. Maihaugen stretches over a large area and has lots of different things to offer. It is certainly possible to go on a day trip from Oslo, but we recommend that you spend at least one night in cozy Lillehammer.
Lokstallen Røykenvik restaurant
We love visiting the restaurant 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, the indoor area heated by the wood-burning stove is most inviting. For Christmas, the restaurant is filled with beautiful decorations and the smell of delicious food. We always order the heavenly rice pudding dessert we just can’t get enough of. A trip to the restaurant should be combined with a visit to their home decor shop on the second floor.
When: Lokstallen Røykenvik is open all year round. From November 15th to December 21st, the opening times are:
- Wednesday to Friday: 12 a.m.–10 p.m.
- Saturday: 12 a.m.–11 p.m.
- Sunday: 12 a.m.–8 p.m.
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 Christmas Market
The Christmas market in Oslo city center, Jul i Vinterland (Christmas in Winterland), offers a pre-Christmas treat for people of all ages. For the youngest visitors, 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 center.
When: Every day from November 11th to December 31st except Christmas Eve.
Opening hours from November 11th to December 22nd:
- Monday to Thursday: 12 p.m.–8 p.m.
- Friday: 12 p.m.–9 p.m.
- Saturday: 10 a.m.–9 p.m.
- Sunday: 10 a.m.–8 p.m.
Opening hours from December 23rd to January 1st:
- December 23rd: 12 p.m.–6 p.m.
- December 24th: Closed
- December 25th to December 29th: 12 p.m.–8 p.m.
- December 30th: 12 p.m.–9 p.m.
- December 31st: 12 p.m.–6 p.m.
Where: In Spikersuppa in the center of Oslo. Address: Spikersuppa, 0162 Oslo.
Price: Free entry.
Cafe Seterstua at Frognerseteren
For one of the most spectacular views of Oslo, head to Cafe Seterstua at Frognerseteren in Holmenkollen. The venerable building is traditionally decorated with Christmas wreaths, garlands, 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 your Christmas preparations.
When: Cafe Seterstua is open all year round, and has the following opening hours:
- 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 center. 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.
The Christmas Markets at Blomsterhagen at Abildsø and Abildsø Farm
Those who want to recreate the traditional Christmas atmosphere from Frognerseteren at home should take a pre-Christmas trip to Blomsterhagen på Abildsø. Here you can buy the most beautiful Christmas decorations and wreaths in all sizes. Personally, we just can’t get enough of spruce needles and red bows! In recent years, we have made sure to visit Blomsterhagen the same weekend as the Christmas market is held at Abildsø farm, just a stone’s throw away. It sells, among other things, apple juice produced from local apples, Christmas cakes, and various handicraft products. In addition, there is an open cafe with lighted fire bowls in the yard.
When: Blomsterhagen is open all year. The Christmas market at Abildsø farm is open the following dates:
- Saturday December 2nd and Sunday December 3rd: 11 a.m.–3 p.m.
Where: In Abildsø, approximately 10 minutes by car from Oslo city center. Address: Plogveien 100, 0680 Oslo.
Price: Free entry.
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!
- Sunday December 10th: 11 a.m.–3.30 p.m.
- Sunday December 17th: 11 a.m.–3.30 p.m.
Where: Rolstad farm is located a 1-hour drive northeast of Oslo city center. Address: Rolstadvegen 50, 2170 Fenstad.
Price: The price for a Norwegian Spruce is NOK 400-500. Subalpine Fir is NOK 500-700. The carriage ride costs NOK 580 and can take up to 5 people. The carriage ride must be pre-booked.