Christmas markets in Stockholm

Julmarknarder i Stockholm

Signs from the Christmas market at Skansen in Stockholm
A collage of signs from Skansen's julmarknad

There are three lovely Christmas markets in Stockholm, so Advent is an excellent time to visit, especially if you are lucky enough to be there when the city is covered with a blanket of snow.

2016 Dates

Skansen: 10.00 to 16.00 on Saturday and Sundays from November 26th onwards,
Stortorget: 11.00 to 18.00 daily from November 19th onwards,
Kungsträdgården: 11.00 to 18.00 daily from November 27th onwards.

Which is best?

In my view, the biggest and best julmarknad (Christmas market) is organised by Skansen, Sweden's outdoor museum. It has more stalls, better entertainment and a real sense of the past, with the majority of the staff in period dress. Skansen is also the Christmas market that is the most popular with locals.

Skansen

The entrance to Skansen in the snow

Skansen is on the island of Djurgården close to the centre of Stockholm. On a nice day I recommend walking to Skansen as it is a pleasant stroll along the waterfront. Alternatively, it is a short ferry ride from Slussen or you can take a bus or a tram.

Tickets

Tickets are 170 SEK for adults and 70 SEK for children. There can be long queues, especially during Lucia, so allow plenty of time to get your tickets.

Julmat

A large heart-shaped gingersnap hanging up at Skansen

There are lots of stalls selling julmat (Christmas food), such as glögg (mulled wine), lussekatter (saffron buns) and pepparkakor (gingersnaps).

Hot food

Pancakes cooked outside at Skansen

There are also stalls selling hot food, such as kolbollar (coal buns) cooked on an open fire. If you prefer to eat indoors there are some attractive candlelit cafés.

Dans krig granen

Dancing round the Christmas tree at Skansen

In the centre of Skansen there is always a big Christmas tree with plenty of opportunities for children to dans krig granen (dance round the Christmas tree) to a jolly oompah band. The steps are very easy and there is always lots of encouragement!

Julklapper and julprydnader

Christmas decorations on a sale at the Christmas Market in Skansen

Skansen is a good place to buy your julklapper (Christmas presents) and julprydnader (Christmas decorations).

Historical perspective

Inside one of the old buildings at Skansen

Skansen is first and foremost a museum. Inside the many old buildings there are always guides dressed in period costumes (and often in role) to explain how Christmas was traditionally celebrated in Sweden. Often there are also short folk concerts too.

Keeping warm

Keeping warm at Skansen

Swedes say "Det finns inget dåligt väder, bara dåliga kläder". It means that there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing. In short, if you are visiting Skansen you need to take warm clothes! Nonetheless, there are plenty of open fires to huddle round whilst you sip your glögg.

Halmbock

A traditional straw goat at the Christmas market in Skansen

Look out for the halmbock (straw goat)! In Sweden, people thought of the julbock (Yule goat) as an invisible spirit that would appear some time before Christmas to make sure that the Yule preparations were being made correctly.

A tradition developed of making goats out of straw bound with red ribbons. These days most families have a halmbock which is normally placed under a julgran (Christmas tree). Large versions are frequently erected in town centres at Christmas.

Lucia

Lucia with candles at a concert in Skansen, Stockholm

The are lots of concerts each day during Lucia, but they are extremely popular so be sure to find the venue in good time if you want to see the performance.

More information

To visit the English section of Skansen's website click here.

Stortorget

A view of the Christmas Market in Gamla Stan in Stockholm

Stortorgets julmarknad is free and is in a convenient location in the heart of Gamla stan (the old town).

An Advent Star on a stall at the Christmas Market in Gamla Stan

Stortorget (The Big Square) is packed full of stalls and is surrounded by popular cafés. Despite the crowds it is worth a visit.

Kungsträdgården

Skaters on the ice rink at Kungsträdgården's Christmas Market

Kungsträdgården has the smallest julmarknad, but it has an attractive ice rink! If you like skating, it's the market to head for! Skates can be hired, or you can use your own. They also have a range of stalls and a small stage for entertainment, mainly at weekends.

NK Christmas windows

A Christmas window at NK, one of Stockholm's leading department stores

If you do visit the Christmas Market at Kungsträdgården, do leave time to see the Christmas windows at NK, Stockholm's leading department store, which is nearby. More…

John Duxbury

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