Shoppers who live outside Scandinavia and spend more than NOK310 ($62/£31) in a tax-free tourist shop can receive a refund up to 18.5% of the purchase price when they leave Norway.
Bargain hunters head to the Fish Market (Fisketorget). Many local handicrafts from the western fjord district, including rugs and handmade tablecloths, are displayed here. This is also one of the few places in Norway where bargaining is welcomed. The market keeps no set hours, but it is best visited between June and August daily, 7am to 7pm, and September to May, Monday to Saturday, 7am to 4pm. Take bus no. 1, 5, or 9.
Hours -- Stores are generally open Monday to Friday from 9am to 6pm (until 8pm Thurs and sometimes Fri), Saturday 9am to 4pm. Shopping centers outside the city are open Monday to Friday 10am to 8pm and Saturday 9am to 6pm. Some food stores stay open until 8pm Monday to Friday and 6pm on Saturday.
Handicrafts -- In and around Bryggen Brukskunst, the restored Old Town near the wharf, many craftspeople have taken over old houses and ply ancient Norwegian trades. Crafts boutiques often display Bergen souvenirs, many based on designs 300 to 1,500 years old. For example, we purchased a reproduction of a Romanesque-style cruciform pilgrim's badge. Other attractive items are likely to include sheepskin-lined booties and exquisitely styled hand-woven wool dresses.
Shopping Tour -- Norway has a centuries-old tradition of crafts, which undoubtedly developed to help people pass the time during the cold, dark winters when farm families were more or less housebound for months. Some of the major crafts were woodcarving, weaving, and embroidery, and these skills live on today at many local artist and crafts centers. Some of the best areas include Hardanger (around the Hardangerfjord, near Bergen), Song (just north of the Sognefjord, also near Bergen), and Telemark (the district around Skien, within a day's drive from Oslo). For a true behind-the scenes look at Norway, Five Stars of Scandinavia, 2914 Yelm Hwy. SE, #24, Olympia, WA 98501 (tel. 800/722-4126; www.5stars-of-scandinavia.com), will set up a self-guided tour for you, factoring in everything they know about local artisans.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.