What to buy in Norway

What to buy in Norway? – Norway souvenirs

What is worth buying in Norway and Oslo, what are the best souvenirs of Norwegian craftsmanship to take home after our trip to this Scandinavian country? During your tour you will often find shops and markets offering the best of Norwegian craftsmanship. Also objects resulting from the country’s history and Viking influences, but also vast shopping streets and small shops . So let’s find out together what to buy during your trip to Norway, bringing home an authentic souvenir , for yourself or for a special person.

Norwegian Craftsmanship

Local craftsmanship has ancient origins, which are rooted in the history of Norway and its traditions. Norwegian art forms began to emerge in the country from the 5th to the 9th century . With characteristic ornamental decorations found on sword hilts and buckles. Today, we can find many objects that are worth buying in Oslo or during your trip to Norway as souvenirs of local craftsmanship. Woodworking also began with the Vikings , for ships and many other everyday objects. Furthermore, the wood is also worked for the stavkirker , the typical churches of the medieval era.

Wood, in fact, has always been a precious material for Norwegian craftsmanship, but so have fabrics, wool and reindeer skin . Norwegian design, especially when it comes to furniture, is today popular all over the world for its quality-price ratio. Another factor that has historically influenced Norwegian craftsmanship is the culture of the Sami people . Another very common material that we can find in numerous souvenirs in Norway, as among the things that are worth buying in Oslo, is pewter . A very malleable metal dating back to the Vikings and used for many objects. Furthermore, how can we forget the culinary specialties for an excellent gastronomic souvenir , such as typical spirits and the best salmon in the world!

So let’s see what is worth buying in Oslo, Norway and the best typical Norwegian souvenirs to take home from your trip!

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Top 10 – What to buy in Norway

There is a huge choice of souvenirs that are worth buying in Norway and Oslo, coming from local craftsmanship. Thanks to its tradition, art and the quality of the materials present, you will find unique Norwegian objects, generated by the various influences and history of this country. It won’t be difficult to find what is worth buying in Norway, bringing home a unique souvenir from your trip . This way, you can remember your experience forever or give a gift to a special person. So, what to buy in Oslo and Norway?

Here are our recommendations on the 10 best Norwegian souvenirs from its craftsmanship!

1. Troll

Magical creatures emerge from the underground, look out of windows, are in the trees or in the parks, camouflaged among the natural elements thanks to their appearance. Scary, ugly or cute, everywhere in Norway you will find trolls, creatures from local folklore who, according to legends, roamed the forests and mountains. They only come out at night , under the cover of darkness, because the light petrifies them. For this reason in many places we can observe trolls carved into rock faces or stones. Furthermore, they can have various sizes , from huge and monstrous ones, to smaller and friendly ones. Trolls are still an element rooted in Norwegian traditions today. Especially in children’s stories and fairy tales of local literature, reaching as far as the Brothers Grimm , in Germany.

The most famous troll is Dovregubben , the king. Created by Nobel Prize-winning playwright Henrik Ibsen in the play Peer Gynt . Furthermore, trolls have also conquered the screens with many films and the common digital jargon with the term trolling : someone who provokes and disturbs other internet users. So, among the best Norwegian items, among the things you should buy in Norway and Oslo during your trip, don’t miss the troll statues. You will find them in many variations and practically everywhere.

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Troll outside a shop in Oslo

2. Rose paint

Among the most popular designs of Norwegian craftsmanship, which we can find as decoration on many objects, is rosemaling. Translated as rose painting , this decorative style is still widely used today for various types of objects, such as furniture . Widespread especially in rural areas of Norway, the first examples date back to the past. In the Hallingdal areas, in Telemark, in the Vest-Agder and Sogn og Fjordane valleys. The motifs that characterize rosemaling are leaves and flowers , together with writings and geometric motifs that enrich the surfaces. Also embellishing them thanks to the bright colours. These decorations are also present on the fixtures of traditional homes in Norway, on interiors, ceilings and walls.

The objects that historically were most enriched with these designs are chests , wardrobes and beds. This style can be traced back to 800 AD, with Viking art and elaborate ship carving . In fact, on the Oseberg ship we can observe the decoration of a coiled snake. Furthermore, from the 9th century Viking art adopted the acanthus leaf, typical of Greek art , often combining it with animal figures. This decoration on the interiors of homes also developed in the coastal area. Especially among the richer families and among the Hanseatic League , then remaining in rural areas. Furthermore, based on the areas we are in, we will find different styles. An object decorated with Rosemaling motifs is absolutely among the unique souvenirs that are worth buying in Norway and Oslo.

decorated box - norway what is worth buying souvenirs oslo norwegian craftsmanship
Box decorated with Rosemaling motifs

3. Aquavit

If you don’t know what to buy in Oslo, don’t miss the typical products of its gastronomy. Among the most popular, as well as simple to transport and store, we find the Akevitt, also called Snaps . A typical alcoholic drink from the Scandinavian area, dating back to the 15th century . Produced by distilling potatoes and wheat , it is then flavored with different spices, such as dill and cumin . This water of life is a spirit very similar to gin, but it does not contain juniper. Today, the major brands of this Scandinavian product are mainly produced in Norway, but also in Sweden by adding fennel. The Norwegian type of this brandy is always based on potatoes, cumin and remains in the barrel for at least 6 months .

Traditionally, this spirit is never missing from the table during the most important holidays of the Norwegian tradition. Accompanying Christmas and national holidays, such as Midsummer Festival. The first appearance of this product was in a letter from Governor Eske Bille of Bergen, who sent the brandy to Archbishop Olav Engelbrektson of Trondheim. He describing it as a natural cure for diseases. In Norway in 1833 there were over 10,000 distilleries, also becoming a very important export product. Then reaching the monopoly in 1927 and rediscovering it only in 2015. Today, the Akevitt is a souvenir that is worth buying in Norway and Oslo as a unique souvenir of the country’s craftsmanship and workmanship.

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4. Viking ships

Among the major attractions to see in Norway, we find the Viking ships and the historical legacies left by these pirates. In fact, one of the most important museums in Oslo is the Vikingskipshuset på Bygdøy , dedicated to Viking ships. Some Viking funerary boats are preserved inside. Among the most important, we can observe the Osebergskipet . This vessel was found inside a mound near Tonsberg . One of the best preserved objects of the period, found only in 1905, dates back to around 800 AD. It is 20 m long and 5 m wide. The other two Viking ships in the museum were also found in burial mounds. Furthermore, this funerary culture is very similar to that of the ancient Egyptians and their funerary boats, such as the Solar Boat of Cheops.

Furthermore, there are many Viking attractions in Norway . Like the Midgard Viking Center in Horten. It allows us to observe a reconstruction of Gildehallen : one of the largest Viking halls. But also the Slottsfjell Museum in Tønsberg, where the Klåstad is located . One of the best preserved Viking ships, sailing into the city harbor on the Oseberg ship. In Larvik, in the Kaupang Viking Town , we can discover the Viking culture in the first settlement of the era. Among the best souvenirs that are worth buying in Norway and Oslo, to bring with us a piece of Viking history and Norwegian craftsmanship, don’t miss one of the numerous small reconstructions of Viking ships. Also ideal as a toy for little ones.

Viking ship
Viking ship souvenir

5. Sami bag

When we talk about Norwegian craftsmanship we must also mention the Sami , the local indigenous people. With still rooted traditions and a culture based on the sounds and colors of nature. Today, they have combined their culture with new technologies. The Sami people are scattered in the north, but their majority of settlements are found in Norway, especially in the Finnmark region . But also in Trøndelag, in the areas called Sapmi . Nowadays the Sami rarely still live a traditional life, moving around inhabited centres, but in many places it is possible to relive their roots. In northern Norway, their way of life is still preserved in many places, camping in the traditional lavvo tent . Admiring the Northern Lights , coming into contact with reindeer or riding a dog sled .

Furthermore, many Sami festivals are also held , such as the Riddu Riđđu festival in Manndalen in Troms in July and the Sami Week in Tromsøcelebra in February. At Easter, however, the Sami Easter Festival is held in Kautokeinoè. Furthermore, Sami folk music, the Joik , is among the oldest European songs. The opening song of Frozen , Vuelie , is by a Sami composer! Duodji , the typical Norwegian Sami craft, is one of his most famous artistic expressions. From the manufacturing of fabrics, shoes, bags and knives, to his typical costume: the kofte . A duodji object is undoubtedly among the things that are worth buying in Norway, like in Oslo, to have a unique souvenir.

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Typical Sami bag

6. Smoked salmon

A trip to Norway is not only an experience of wonderful natural and historical sites, but also a journey through its cuisine and Norwegian craftsmanship. Not just the Northern Lights, fjords, midnight sun and wild nature. Also wonderful fine restaurants and fish markets where you can enjoy some of the best salmon in the world. In fact, salmon is certainly one of the pillars of local cuisine and unmissable as a souvenir from Norway. To make a special gift or to bring home the flavors of this land thanks to the packaging that guarantees optimal transport and conservation . One of the best places in Norway where it is worth tasting and buying salmon is certainly in Bergen , at its fish market.

The perfect place to also find the best fish street food , sushi, salads, sandwiches and much more. A gastronomic souvenir is certainly an excellent option among the things that are worth buying in Norway and also in Oslo during your trip, avoiding putting the usual cups in your bag. Furthermore, farmed Norwegian salmon is also excellent for its characteristics. In fact, its flavor and color make it unique , it is easy to digest and the meat is very compact; also ideal for sushi if you love Japanese cuisine. Finally, Norwegian salmon can also be consumed raw , without the need to kill it due to its quality and farming standards.

Norwegian salmon
Farmed Norwegian salmon

7. Knitting

What better way to protect yourself from the cold Norwegian winter than with a super warm sweater or traditional knit? The result of fine Norwegian craftsmanship, local wool has unique characteristics, as well as being eco-sustainable in many cases. In fact, in the country the tradition of wool manufacturing and sheep breeding has its roots in the Viking period . Thanks to free grazing and very cold temperatures, pesticides are rarely used here to eliminate bacteria and the use of chemicals on the yarn can be limited. Norwegian wool is a material that allows you to create new designs, but also very warm and cold-insulating clothing, also perfect for excursions .

This material, in fact, also regulates the body’s temperature, avoiding being too cold or hot. Among the things that are worth buying in Norway and Oslo as souvenirs, therefore, don’t miss a ball of local wool for those who love knitting. Or, if you prefer to have a wonderful product ready to be worn, you will find knitted cardigans, sweaters with traditional decorations, hats, scarves, very warm blankets and much more!

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Norwegian wool sweaters

8. Pewter objects

Among the materials most used historically in Norwegian craftsmanship we find pewter. An alloy composed mainly of tin , combined in smaller percentages with other metals. It is still used today, as in the past, to create many objects, from works of art to those in common use : saucers, jewellery, plates, trays, trophies and much more… This ancient material was worked by pouring it into brass or iron shapes , then shaping them by hammering or corrosion; while today more modern techniques are also used.

Pewter making is a difficult process , reserved for skilled craftsmen who forge it with patience and skill, creating some of the best souvenirs of Norwegian craftsmanship that are worth buying in Oslo and during your trip to Norway. Among the other various processing techniques, we find chiseling, engraving and embossing, then decorating them with various techniques, including Rosemaling . A definitely unique gift to bring home, or to have as a piece of fine furniture. Furthermore, thanks to its characteristics, the material does not oxidize and remains unaltered requiring special care.

pewter mug
Pewter tankard

9. Trekking clothing

Among the things to do in Norway, this is a destination much loved by hikers, who here can find wonderful routes among unique scenery among the fjords . Thanks to the practically non-existent deforestation and strong protection of its inhabitants, there is an immense faunal and landscape heritage here . In short, an ideal country to choose for a trip dedicated to well-being and nature. Among the most popular treks in the south, near Forsand, we find the one towards Preikestolen , about 8 km long. At 270 m above sea level, we reach this breathtaking pulpit on the Lysefjord fjord. Warning: there are no protections of any kind here! Another unmissable route is the St. Olav’s Way , one of the most famous pilgrimages on the Scandinavian peninsula that starts from Oslo, and the excursion to Trolltunga , among glacial lakes and breathtaking views.

Furthermore, for the fittest, don’t miss the climb to Kjerag , the highest mountain in the Lysefjord with the largest wooden staircase in the world with its 4444 steps. For these treks, obviously, it is recommended to always have the appropriate clothing and shoes, which are essential for these walks. Among the things that are worth buying in Norway and Oslo, you will find many shops for hiking enthusiasts , such as large chains of sports shops . An unmissable souvenir from Norway to start our excursions in the best possible way, also protecting us from the temperatures .

trekking accessories
Trekking accessories

10. Norwegian wooden objects

Norwegian interior design is popular all over the world, mainly due to the quality of its Norwegian wood, as John Lennon sang . In every object made of wood the Scandinavian identity is perfectly distinguishable. Clean, simple and beautiful lines inspired by nature and the Norwegian climate, with prices that are also accessible. Norwegian wood is a long-lasting material with a color that, even untreated, gives a strong sense of homely welcome. Furthermore, this material is widely used to create homes , such as traditional churches, which can blend seamlessly into the surrounding environment.

Among the most popular Norwegian wooden gadgets to see during our trip there will certainly be the Stavkirke , the wooden churches often decorated with Viking motifs. The largest not to be missed is that of Borgund , while that of Luster is the oldest and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. After your trip to Norway, bringing home a piece of furniture as a souvenir is certainly not the most comfortable choice, but you will find many commonly used objects of Norwegian craftsmanship made from local wood.

Norwegian wooden cup
Norwegian wooden mug

What to buy in Norway, the advice of Arché Travel

The main advice we want to give you if you want to make your purchases is to go to Oslo , where you can find the best Norway souvenirs. Furthermore, in Oslo we find the Glasmagasinet department stores , ideal for more conventional shopping, but we will also find numerous luxury boutiques in the shopping streets. Furthermore, the main area to make your purchases in the Norwegian capital is Karl Johans Gate . If you are in Bergen , however, the main shopping streets are Marken, Torgalmenningen and Gamle Strandgaten.

How to Visit Norway?

After having an idea of ​​what to buy in Norway and Oslo and remembering to leave space for your Scottish souvenirs in your suitcase, you are ready for this wonderful trip!

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