Christmas in Norway

Christmas in Roros by Thomas Rasmus Juell Skaug, Visit Norway

Read about Christmas in Norway, Christmas traditions & tours:

The main Christmas celebration is on Christmas Eve; the evening of December 24. People in Norway normally celebrate Christmas Eve with their close family, gathering for the Christmas dinner meal.
Walk around the Christmas tree after dinner is an old tradition in Norway. This tradition is still alive, particularly among families with children.

Public holidays:
December 25 & 26 are public holidays in Norway; shops are closed, but some restaurants stay open. Most shops close at noon on December 24 & 31


Christmas Celebration By CH, Visit Norway

Christmas time in Norway

The Christmas celebration

Christmas presents from close family members and close friends are common among the Norwegians; the presents will normally be stored under the Christmas tree and then after dinner and the walk around the Christmas tree, they will be opened.
A visit from Santa Claus (father or family member) on Christmas Eve is also quite common among families with children.

Winter scenery by Esben Haakenstad, Visit Lillehammer

A typical Norwegian "hytte" in Lillehammer area

Where Norwegians spend Christmas

As Norway is located far north, the days are short in December, thus the Norwegians really appreciate their Christmas celebration, lighting up the dark days! Most Norwegians start planning the Christmas holiday and decorating indoor & outdoor in early December, or even before.
Norwegians normally celebrate Christmas at home with the close family, or at their “hytte” in the mountains (mountain cottage).

Spending week-ends and winter holidays on the “hytte” is typical Norwegian, and skiing is a favourite activity.
About winter in Norway

Christmas tree by Thomas Skyum, Visit Norway

Bringing home the Christmas tree!

Christmas trees

In rural areas it is still common for Norwegians to cut their own Christmas tree in the nearby forests, but most people nowadays buy their Christmas trees. The traditional Norwegian Christmas tree is a spruce, but some Norwegians prefer pine trees, and artificial Christmas trees have become quite popular.

Traditional Christmas Cookies By Nancy Bundt, Visit Oslo

God jul = Merry Christmas

Traditional Christmas meals in Norway:

The Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve is the main Christmas meal, usually served between 5 and 8pm. The meal traditions vary according to the geography of Norway, although the traditions are spreading throughout the country.

In the eastern parts of Norway and mid-Norway they normally eat crisp ribs of pork (called “ribbe” in Norwegian) as the main course.

In the western parts of Norway they prefer dried ribs of mutton (called “pinnekjott”), with potatoes and mashed kohlrabi (German turnip).

In northern Norway they eat “pinnekjott” as well, while some stick to the old tradition with Arctic cod.

On December 25 a large Christmas breakfast or brunch buffet (late) is quite common, and for the rest of the Christmas Holiday the Norwegians normally gather with family and friends for coffee and typical Norwegian Christmas cakes and cookies.

Christmas in Oslo. Photo by Rita de Lange, Fjord Travel Norway

Enjoy Christmas time in Oslo!

Suggested Christmas tours in Norway:

You can experience a magic Christmas at Unesco Roros or at the mountain village of Geilo, with exciting excursions.

You can also choose a relaxing & comfortable Christmas time on a Havila ship – the most eco-friendly ships cruising along the Norwegian coast.

You can book safely with Fjord Travel Norway – a local, Norwegian company. We have been in business for more than 20 years, offering eco-friendly tours based on public transport.

View our Christmas tours & cruises:

Horse sleigh in Roros by Thomas Rasmus Jull Skaug, Visit Norway

Enjoy a horse sleigh ride through Roros!

Norwegian Christmas at UNESCO Roros

Experience an unforgettable stay at the magic town of Roros – a UNESCO world heritage site. The tour starts with a night in Oslo. After your arrival to Roros, you will experience local Christmas traditions, a traditional Norwegian Christmas Eve meal, Dog sledge in the wilderness & a ride through winterly Roros in an open Horse carriage.

After 3 nights at Roros you continue to the historic town of Trondheim for an overnight stay. The next morning you will be picked up for a private, guided tour of this authentic town before you head back to Oslo on the scenic Dovre line.
Duration: 6 nights. December

Read more and book this tour
Traditional Houses Roros by Finn Nilsen, Visit Roros

See the picturesque, wooden houses at Roros!

About Roros:

In this authentic, former mining town you will find about 80 tiny wooden houses in its hilly town center. Roros is located at an altitude of 650 metres above sea level, in a dry inland climate, thus a snowy and wintery December is common.

Make sure to bring warm winter clothes, a woolen hat, mittens and proper winter shoes!

Christmas Holiday in Norway by Terje Rakke, Visit Norway

Enjoy a horse sleigh ride through Geilo

Christmas holiday in Norway

Enjoy a peaceful, white Christmas, a traditional & authentic Norwegian Christmas celebration, horse sleigh ride, the scenic Bergen rail line, the famous Flam Railway & an amazing fjord cruise!

Starting in Oslo, followed by a 3 nights stay at the beautifully located mountain village of Geilo, then on to Bergen, where you will join the amazing Norway in a Nutshell® full day excursion.
Optional: Return to Oslo by train.
Duration: 6 nights

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Sustainable Christmas Cruise In Norway By Havila Voyages

Enjoy an exotic Christmas cruise in Norway!

Christmas cruise package

This cruise package starts with a night in Bergen, followed by a 4 nights cruise with Norwegian Christmas traditions & traditional Christmas meals, then 2 nights in beautifully located, Arctic Tromso, before heading south for a final night in Oslo.
You can add extra nights & Northern Lights trips in Tromso
• Excursions: Aurora Safari in Tromso
• Duration: 8 nights

Read more and book this tour
Northern Lights Norway. Photo By Oystein Lunde Ingvaldsen, Nordnorsk Reiseliv

Magic Northern Lights at sea!

Norwegian Christmas & Northern Lights cruise

A Christmas cruise package starting in Oslo, then on to the Arctic town of Kirkenes, located close to the Russian border, with overnight in an exotic Gamme cabin.
Board the ship for a
5 nights cruise from Kirkenes to Bergen, with traditonal Norwegian Christmas celebration on board, finishing with a night in Bergen.
• Excursion: Dog sledding in Kirkenes
• Duration: 8 nights

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Entrance To Snow Hotel Kirkenes By Kirkenes Snow Hotel

Enjoy an exotic Christmas celebration at a Snow Hotel!

Northern Lights Christmas cruise

Celebrate Christmas at the Snow hotel in Kirkenes! This adventurous trip starts in Oslo, followed by a scenic train trip to historic Trondheim, where you board a ship for a 4 nights cruise to Arctic Kirkenes.
Enjoy an overnight stay in a tiny Gamme cabin by the Kirkenes Snow hotel, before your return to Oslo.
You can add extra nights, overnight in the Snow hotel & Snowmobile safari
• Excursions: North Cape, Reindeer sledge, Dog sledge, King crab safari
• Duration: 9 nights

Read more and book this tour


Questions about these tours?

Contact us:
• Use our contact form
• By e-mail to [email protected], or
• Call us on +47 (55) 131-310
(Mon-Fri 09:00 to 15:30 local time)

What our customers say:

  • Thank you for assisting us with our trip to Norway. We thoroughly enjoyed our time in Kirkenes and the Snow Hotel. The arrangements you made for us were perfect. The lodging was comfortable and the excursions were fun. Tom and I rarely use the services of a travel company when we travel; you enriched our trip and made the planning easy.

    Alison, United States

  • I wanted to thank everybody. We had a wonderful trip. Everything went well and fortunately we had the chance to see the lights while on the cruise. All my friends in Turkey would like to go on a similar trip. So I will be in touch with you. Thanks again and best wishes to all of you.

    Candan, Turkey

  • We just recently completed the Tromso, Northern Lights & Arctic Coast tour. I am writing to say what an amazing tour we had. Everything ran smoothly without an issue, the accommodation was fantastic and the tours were brilliant. We cannot fault the package at all. I would also like to thank Franziska and Lene, they both were fantastic in answering all my questions promptly, whilst booking the tour. Thank you for a wonderful and memorable holiday!

    Robert, Australia