Christmas along the Norwegian Coast

Set sail on a Christmas or New Year voyage with us along the Norwegian coast as it sparkles with seasonal magic.

Bergen is a magical place to explore at Christmas
Bergen is a magical place to explore at Christmas
Photo: Shutterstock

A magical time of year

Winter is always a special time of year on Norway’s coast, but you’ll find it especially magical around Christmas and New Year. Together, the promise of the Northern Lights, the presence of the Polar Night, and a dusting of snow create a fairy-tale atmosphere. 

Spend a few days above the Arctic Circle under the Auroral Zone as you discover Norway's Christmas traditions among astounding fjords and wildlife. Celebrate the end of year against the backdrop of Norway's beautiful coast and picturesque villages. And browse the irresistible stalls of a host of traditional markets. 

Bergen is a magical place to explore at Christmas
Bergen is a magical place to explore at Christmas
Photo: Shutterstock
Bergen's Pepperkakebyen is a sight to behold
Bergen's Pepperkakebyen is a sight to behold
Photo: Kristian Dale

How to make the most of Norway at Christmas

Snow-dusted mountains and markets. Crisp air that clouds from your mouth. Twinkling lights along the shoreline. And if you’re lucky, a festive display from the Northern Lights. The Norwegian coast puts on an unforgettable show for the most wonderful time of the year. 

From dog sledding through the snowy landscape to wandering through the world’s biggest gingerbread town, we’ve rounded up 9 magical ways to experience Christmas in Norway

Bergen's Pepperkakebyen is a sight to behold
Bergen's Pepperkakebyen is a sight to behold
Photo: Kristian Dale

All aboard for a Norwegian Christmas

Throughout December, our ships are decked out with baubles and lights. A Christmas tree sets the scene and the sound of carols fills the air. It’s all about julesteming – getting into the true Christmas spirit! As you sail along the Norwegian coastline, take part in Norwegian Christmas traditions and activities. 

Join your Coastal Experience Team as they host talks and answer your questions about the places, traditions, people, and natural phenomena you're likely to encounter. On Christmas Eve, you could be invited to try traditional Norwegian Christmas foods such as julegrøt, a creamy rice porridge traditionally served at Christmas. In keeping with Norwegian tradition, we’ve hidden an almond inside – and whoever finds it gets a gift.  

Please be aware that the Christmas programme can vary from ship to ship.

Festive activities on your ship

From Christmas Eve to New Year’s Eve, every one of our ships add a variety of festive onboard activities to your voyage. You might find the crew gathering everyone to sing Christmas carols. Or you can pipe icing onto pepperkake (gingerbread) as you sip non-alcoholic gløgg (mulled wine). Perhaps you can join the crew to decorate your ship’s Christmas tree, listen to Christmas music around your ship, or hand-make Christmas ornaments. Looking for a last-minute gift? Take advantage of seasonal discounts when you buy Christmas treats in the gift shop. There are special programmes for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, 26th December, and New Year’s Eve, too.

  • Feast on an abundant Christmas lunch buffet.  
  • Join Norwegian church services in ports, where arrival and departure times permit.  
  • Spend the evening immersed in Norwegian traditions as you celebrate on board.  
  • Gather with other guests and crew to sing Christmas carols.  
  • Help yourself to endless coffee and cake in the bar. 
  • Linger over a Christmas brunch and an evening buffet in the restaurant.  
  • Join Norwegian church services in ports, where arrival and departure times permit.  
  • Help yourself to endless coffee and cake in the bar. 
  • Feast on a Christmas buffet in the restaurant.  
  • Welcome in the New Year with a banquet, dancing in the var, and a toast. 
  • Watch fireworks set off by locals celebrating along the coast. 

Seasonal excursions

Dial up the julesteming (festive spirit) by booking a seasonal excursion. What could be more Christmassy than a magical wintertime activity such as dogsledding, meeting reindeer, immersing yourself in the traditions of towns and villages ablaze with Christmas lights, or visiting a snow hotel? Here are a few excursions to get you in the spirit.

Seasonal excursions

Dial up the julesteming (festive spirit) by booking a seasonal excursion. What could be more Christmassy than a magical wintertime activity such as dogsledding, meeting reindeer, immersing yourself in the traditions of towns and villages ablaze with Christmas lights, or visiting a snow hotel? Here are a few excursions to get you in the spirit.

Excursion

Hjørundfjord - tastes and traditions

Excursion

Fishing Village Visit

Excursion

Kirkenes Snow hotel

Excursion

Trondheim City Walk

Photo: Kristian Dale

A festive feast

As well as special menus, Norway's Coastal Kitchen brings you the freshest, local ingredients – with a Christmas twist. Between Christmas and New Year, your onboard restaurant serves either a Christmas breakfast or premium breakfast. For lunch, choose between a Christmas lunch and a regular lunch with a touch of Christmas. There are Christmassy tastings onboard, too. 

On the Christmas menu, you might find traditional Norwegian dishes such as lutefisk (lye fish), pinnekjøtt (salted, dried mutton), and gløgg (mulled wine). Your New Year's Eve menu is laden with indulgent dishes such as king crab, lobster and chocolate terrine. 

Photo: Kristian Dale

Feel festive on shore

Get into the Christmas spirit when you’re in port. Cities, towns, and villages the length of Norway’s coast bedeck themselves in festive finery, creating a special Christmassy atmosphere for you. With outdoor ice rinks, Christmas markets, and mugs of gløgg (mulled wine) by a communal fire, there really is no place like Norway at this time of year.

Feel festive on shore

Get into the Christmas spirit when you’re in port. Cities, towns, and villages the length of Norway’s coast bedeck themselves in festive finery, creating a special Christmassy atmosphere for you. With outdoor ice rinks, Christmas markets, and mugs of gløgg (mulled wine) by a communal fire, there really is no place like Norway at this time of year.

Bergen

Bergen is at its best for Christmas. Browse its charming Christmas market, visit the world's biggest gingerbread city, and admire Bryggen covered in strings of lights.

Tromsø

Tromsø glitters at Christmastime – often beneath the magical Northern Lights. The main street dazzles with fairy lights, but the Christmas tree at Stortorget is the centre of the festivities.

Lofoten

In this archipelago, Christmas is full of traditions with Christmas streets, cosy Christmas markets, and concerts. Thanks to the Polar Night, there’s a wonderful atmosphere all day long.

Choose your Christmas cruise