Christmas For Members

The top Christmas locations in Bergen to get you in a festive mood

Robin-Ivan Capar
Robin-Ivan Capar - [email protected]
The top Christmas locations in Bergen to get you in a festive mood
There are many great places to get into the Christmas mood in Bergen. Pictured is a promenade stand in Bergen lit up with Christmas lights. Photo by Dana Andreea Gheorghe on Unsplash

Bergen in western Norway transforms into a true winter wonderland during the holiday season, offering a magical Christmas experience to both residents and visitors.


Norway's second-largest city, Bergen, is very popular with outdoor-oriented tourists during the summer season.

However, it also has much to offer those seeking to immerse themselves in the holiday spirit in the late Autumn and early Winter.

Visit the Christmas market at Festplassen

Most years, the start of December also marks the setup of the Christmas market at Bergen's Festplassen square.

The Festplassen Christmas market usually boasts a wide array of stalls and vendors offering a broad assortment of foods, seasonal treats (think local sweets and pastries), gifts (clothes, souvenirs…), and crafts of all types.

READ MORE: The best things to do in Bergen on a winter's day

As you stroll through the market, you'll be greeted by the tempting smell of both traditional Norwegian Christmas foods and international food stalls offering a broad range of delicacies.

You can warm up with a cup of mulled wine as you explore the wooden stalls and admire the handcrafted ornaments, local artwork, and unique holiday gifts.

Just expect to pay up – there are usually no discounts at the Christmas market.


Admire the Christmas lights at the main square and Bryggen

Bergen's main square, Torgallmenningen, just a short walk from Festplassen, is another favourite meeting place for locals during the city's Christmas celebrations.

There, you'll find the city's official Christmas tree. If you're in the mood for some Christmas shopping, you can visit one of the numerous shops and boutiques surrounding Togallmenningen, which offer various Christmas treats and gifts.

Once you're done exploring the main square, you'll be just a 10-minute walk from the iconic Bryggen Wharf, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

This historic area is usually beautifully decorated with Christmas lights starting from December, creating a cosy atmosphere.

The Bryggen area has a number of souvenir shops and boutiques that sell handmade gifts, traditional Norwegian crafts, and Christmas decorations.


Gingerbread town

Bergen's Pepperkakebyen is an international holiday season attraction. Photo by Bea Fladstad on Unsplash

Pepperkakebyen: Bergen’s gingerbread town

Bergen's famous gingerbread town (Pepperkakebyen in Norwegian) is a must-visit for families and anyone with a sweet tooth.

The city's many talented bakers (from kindergartens and schools to local bakeries and organisations) create a miniature Bergen entirely out of gingerbread cookies and candy.

It's a delightful display that will captivate visitors of all ages. Visitors are welcome until the end of December, and if you created and donated a gingerbread house, you'll even get a free entry ticket (on the other hand, if you're just visiting Bergen, the ticket will set you back 100 kroner)!


Lighting Advent candles atop Fløyen mountain

In addition to the enchanting Pepperkakebyen, several museums and organisations in the city organise their own Christmas activities, which are usually family-friendly. 

On the four Sundays leading up to Christmas, you can partake in the time-honoured tradition of lighting Advent candles atop Fløyen, Bergen's "city mountain".

In 2023, the lighting of Advent candles takes place on December 3rd, 10th, 17th, and 24th, from 1.15pm to 2.15pm.

The magical Festival of Lights

Lysfest, Bergen's Festival of Lights, marks the city's traditional annual opening of the Christmas season.

The annual lighting ceremony usually takes place on the last Saturday of November, and thousands of locals and tourists gather to witness the illumination of Bergen's streets and buildings.

Lysfest is a highlight of Bergen's Christmas calendar, so if you're planning a visit to the city, timing your trip to coincide with this event is highly recommended - it's a real holiday mood booster.

The festival typically kicks off in the early evening and continues into the night. The event's high point is a majestic fireworks display, which goes on for up to 10 minutes.

Whether exploring the historic Bryggen Wharf and Old Town, shopping at one of the lively Christmas markets, or attending festive events, you'll likely find that Bergen offers a magical experience that will make your Christmas memorable.

Just remember to dress for the season (as the locals say: there is no bad weather, only "bad" clothes), grab a hot beverage of your choice (hot cocoa and mulled wine are both popular options), and enjoy the festive charm that Bergen offers during the winter holidays.


Join the Old Bergen Museum's historical theatre tour

Do you want to know how Christmas in the city was celebrated 150 years ago? Was gingerbread something you ate? And is it true that they ate Dutch cheese on Christmas Eve?

Through careful studies of historical writings, memoir literature, and, not least, 1870s newspapers, the Old Bergen Museum (Gamle Bergen Museum), an open-air museum which consists of 55 wooden houses, has prepared the answers for you.

The theatre tour - which includes actors in costume - takes place on Wednesdays and Thursdays between November 1st and December 14th.

The walk takes place both indoors and outdoors, and is primarily intended for an adult audience, but children can also come along.


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