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Winter in the Norwegian capital

Oslo in December is a feast of Christmas shopping and festive preparations. The first weekend of Advent will see the centenary lighting of the huge Universitetsplassen Christmas tree. 

Photo: Maria Jovoick/Istock

The Jul i Vinterland Christmas market, in the middle of Spikersuppa, welcomes Christmas shoppers up until 22 December, with stalls, festive workshops and entertainment. You’ll also find a superb skating rink, open daily through to February/March. Skates are available to hire for NOK 100.

Photo: Visit Oslo/Frits Solvang

December is a hive of activity. A Christmas concert here (e.g. the Oslo Philharmonic at Oslo Concert Hall, Christmas songs performed with pathos at Kulturkirken Jakob or the charms of Penthouse Playboys celebrating Christmas in their own inimitable style for the umpteenth time at Rockefeller), and a Christmas buffet there (favourites with Oslo residents for Christmas fare include the venerable Theatercaféen, traditional Engebret Café and Lorry, frequented by many of the city’s cultural elite). 

Photo: Kulturkirken Jakob

It’s hard to say just how many kilos of lutefisk, pinnekjøtt and rakfisk these venues serve up over Advent, but be sure to book your table early if you have a mind to sample the capital’s most popular pre-Christmas celebrations.

Photo: Theatercafeen 

Another tradition that has taken locals by storm is communal saunas and winter bathing. Choose between hiring a private sauna with up to 7 friends or join a Sauna Session with up to 120 others at the jumbo Árdna sauna. To cool off, you can choose between fresh-water or salt-water tubs, an outdoor shower or jumping into Oslofjord.

Photo: Endre Lohne

Vigelandsparken is a must for all visitors to Oslo, an exotically beautiful sight with the sculptures covered by a dusting of frost or snow. The first two weekends in December see the annual Christmas market at Norsk Folkemuseum. If the capital has had snow, why not enjoy a trip or two down the Korketrekkeren toboggan run or try out Oslo Vinterpark with its 18 runs? Skis and equipment are available to rent on site. Afterwards it’s just a 30-minute ride by T-banen down to the city centre for a little “after-ski". 

Photo: Colin Walton/Alamy stock photo

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