The best Scandinavian Christmas markets for 2022

There’s a lot to love about Scandinavia’s relatively laid-back Christmas markets. Sleigh rides pulled by reindeer, grilled almonds, mulled wine (glogg Where glögg, depending on the country you are visiting) and handmade gifts are just some of the highlights of attending a Christmas market in the region.

Something that is rarely guaranteed, however, is snow. While snow is quite possible in late November and December, much of the region experiences more frequent snowfall from January through March. However, low temperatures are likely, so dress well.

Generally speaking, every Scandinavian city will host at least one market. Some, especially the capitals, will host several. But some of the most memorable experiences can be had in much smaller towns across the region.

Covering them all in one article would be impossible, so what follows is a selection of the best, aimed at international visitors.

Christmas markets in Denmark

The first two markets featured here are at attractions and will therefore require tickets. On the plus side, Christmas markets are just additions to a much larger cultural experience.

Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen: This is a must if you are visiting Copenhagen with children. Many Copenhageners have an annual tradition of visiting Tivoli Gardens during its short Christmas opening season from November 18.

The traditional amusement park and pleasure gardens dons its winter coat, throws open the doors of Santa’s Grotto and lets the smell of cinnamon popcorn linger. All of the amusement park’s regular rides also remain open for the season, with additional Christmas concerts and other special events scheduled.

Den Gamle By, Aarhus: Denmark’s second largest city hosts Den Gamele by, one of the best open-air museums in the Nordic countries. Cobbled lanes and a river are lined with historic buildings relocated from all over Denmark. While you’re there, explore the museums, including Aarhus Story, the Danish Poster Museum and the Toy Museum. Not all of them are easy to find.

From the end of November, the museum creates a lantern-lit promenade through the old town with historic Christmas decorations, elf tales, traditional Danish Christmas dishes and the Christmas shop.

Copenhagen: Arguably the most photographed spot in Denmark, the Nyhavn Canal in the Danish capital turns into the perfect festive party spot to sample some glogg. The neighboring square Kongens Nytorv also has a market with even more stalls, while Hojbro Plads is a popular spot with locals for after-work sausages, pastries and gløgg.

Odense: The historic center of Odense hosts the Hans Christian Andersen Christmas market on the first two weekends of December. Themed around the time when the famous fairy tale writer lived, the market offers authentic entertainment and shopping opportunities including jewelry, knitwear and Christmas decorations.

Christmas markets in Norway

There is a Christmas market in every Norwegian town in December. The capital Oslo is home to several, but for the best party experiences you have to travel elsewhere.

Roros: This tiny former copper mining town is one of the coldest places in central Norway. Unlike many other markets in the region, snow is almost guaranteed at one of the most authentic Christmas markets in the country.

The party atmosphere is such that the town was used to film many outdoor scenes in Netflix’s Norwegian hit House for Christmas.

The market lasts just a few days At the beginning of December, however, people come from all over Norway to enjoy the festive atmosphere of this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Reindeer sleigh rides are popular with families.

Trondheim: Norway’s third largest city hosts one of the region’s largest Christmas markets in its main square, Torvet. Highlights include the Ferris wheel and extensive Sami styling wash where up to 500 people can enjoy live music, reindeer burgers and gløgg in front of an open fire.

Jul i Vinterland, Oslo: Among the various markets of Oslo, Jul i Vinterland is the best known thanks in part to the ice rink. Rental skates are available. Open from mid-November, the market features a ‘starry sky’ walkway with thousands of LED lights, traditional fairground rides and numerous stalls selling crafts and gifts.

Pepperkakebyen, Bergen: Although it is not a Christmas market as such, the Pepperkakebyen is undoubtedly a fantastic festive experience. Open from mid-November, Gingerbread Town is built by thousands of local school children, local businesses and volunteers.

If gingerbread isn’t your thing, Bergen also hosts a regular Christmas market on Festplassen.

Christmas markets in Sweden

As the largest country in Scandinavia, Sweden has no shortage of Christmas markets in December. This is especially true in the capital Stockholm.

Skansen, Stockholm: Just like some markets in Denmark, Skansen is a popular year-round attraction that adds a festive touch in December. The open-air museum unveils a traditional Christmas market on Fridays and weekends between November 26 and December 19. Expect to sample waffles, glögg and toasted almonds by a bonfire before stocking up on candles, crafts and gifts.

Stortorget, Stockholm: The centerpiece of Stockholm’s historic Gamla Stan district, the public square Stortorget is one of the most picturesque places in Scandinavia. Although the market is relatively compact, it is packed with stalls selling everything from wooden toys to ceramics.

For locals, it’s a popular spot for an after-work glögg before heading out for the evening.

Liseberg, Gothenburg: After Copenhagen’s Tivoli, Gothenburg’s Liseberg is perhaps Scandinavia’s most famous amusement park. During his christmas seasonLiseberg offers a large ice rink, festive concerts and plenty of Christmas stalls selling food, drink and gifts.

Gammelstad, Lulea: The Swedish answer to the Norwegian Christmas market in Røros is in Gammelstad, an outstanding example of a traditional church town in northern Sweden. On the first weekend of December each year, the UNESCO World Heritage Site is filled with the 150-year-old Christmas spirit.

Exhibitors are carefully chosen to suit the historic atmosphere of the market, so you’re unlikely to find high-tech gadgets on sale.

Gustav Adolfs Torg, Malmo: If you are visiting Copenhagen, it is easy to take a quick trip over the Öresund Bridge to visit another market in the Swedish city of Malmö. From the beginning of December, Malmö’s large public square Gustav Adolfs Torg hosts traditional rides, live music and stalls.

A word of warning though. The market is only open from Thursday to Sunday on the last weekend of November and the first three weekends of December.

Comments are closed.