WHY YOU SHOULD VISIT COPENHAGEN AT CHRISTMAS

I know it is only August and with summer coming to an end most of us are desperately chasing the last of the sunshine. I’m guessing that Christmas, therefore, is probably not on your radar just yet. Although I often get asked when is the best time to visit Denmark and in particular Copenhagen. So in order to give anyone time to plan I wanted to share this now.

Copenhagen at Christmas

WHEN TO VISIT COPENHAGEN

Going to the Danish capital in the summer is often what I would recommend. If you love to travel it should definitely be on your bucket list. There is nothing better than eating a traditional Danish lunch sitting in the sunshine in Nyhavn. Enjoying life amongst beautiful old naval buildings and cobbled streets followed by an open boat ride around the canals of Copenhagen. Or going for a stroll through the city to the wonderful old amusement park that is Tivoli Gardens. Late spring or early autumn will do, too.

Experience the wonderful Christmas market in Tivoli Gardens when you go for Copenhagen at Christmas
Tivoli, the 170-year-old amusement gardens in central Copenhagen, used to be only a summer past-time. In 1994, however, the first Christmas in Tivoli opened. The park’s special magic proved to be longer lasting than the short Danish winter days. With thousands of lights adorning the historic buildings and gardens, and with charmingly themed villages and shops full of tasty treats and dazzling decorations, Tivoli oozes Christmas. Add to that the wonderful restaurants and the many thrilling rides, and you are set for a day’s adventure. Photo credit: Anders Bøgild

Although if you are looking for a magical experience I highly recommend visiting Copenhagen at Christmas time. You’ll experience cold and crisp weather and as long as you wrap up warm that is all part of the charm. The city with its mix of beautiful old buildings and clean modern design is lit up. Plus if you are lucky you might even experience snow to make everything glisten.

WHERE TO STAY IN COPENHAGEN AT CHRISTMAS TIME

You are spoilt for choice when it comes to designer and boutique hotels in Copenhagen. Not to mention family-friendly apartments and great hostels. Travelling with children I recommend Tivoli Hotel. You find a whole basement dedicated to kids with a huge ball pit, a climbing wall plus a fantastic pool. Santa stops by every Friday and Saturday from late November to end of December, too. As an alternative, the self-catering apartments of Charlottehaven are another fantastic option for families as are AirBnB’s many private rents.

If you are after a life of luxury then the grand old dame that is the D’angleterre is wonderful and has recently been refurbished. It will add glitz and glamour to your festive trip.

If the walls could speak, they would tell fairy tales of passionate love, lavish banquets and unparalleled grandeur.
Established in 1755, the d’Angleterre is an icon and a historic landmark in Copenhagen. It’s celebrated for its elegance, luxury and style and for being one of the most luxurious hotels in Copenhagen. 
The d’Angleterre is the result of a love affair between two young people. In the middle of the 1700’s Jean Marchal, a servant in the royal court, and Maria Coppy, daughter to the royal chef, fell in love. Maria was known for her cooking talent and Jean knew everything about serving the privileged. Together Mr. and Mrs. Marchal established a restaurant on Kongens Nytorv in 1755. This is where the d’Angleterre story begins.
The founder, Jean Marchal and his successors’ talent and sense for providing exceptional service, hospitality and comfort have carried the identity of the d’Angleterre throughout more than 250 years. This tradition is the foundation of the d’Angleterre legacy.
Today, the owners and every member of staff affectionately carry on the tradition of passion for service that has earned the hotel its 5-star superior rating as the only hotel in Denmark, and they strive to be the leading hotel in Northern Europe. Photo credit: Hotel D’Angleterre

WHAT TO DO (WITH OR WITHOUT CHILDREN)

From skating rinks near beautiful Frederiksberg Gardens with the city’s Zoo to playgrounds as well as the Christmas Market at Tivoli Gardens, Danes do not shy away from the outdoors even at winter.

Every winter, Frederiksberg Runddel, by the entrance to Frederiksberg Garden, is transformed into a wonderful ice rink. This allows you to have fun on the ice throughout the winter season.
Admission to the ice rink at Frederiksberg Runddel in Copenhagen is free, and everyone is welcome. If you have your own skates, you can use the rink around the clock. During the day, you can rent a pair of skates for DKK 50 until an hour before closing time, or you can have your own skates sharpened for DKK 60.
The ice rink is reserved for skaters, and therefore cannot be used for ice hockey games. Furthermore, to avoid clashes, please skate counter clockwise.

As said Tivoli Gardens are something not to be missed. The traditional Christmas market, the many wonderful restaurants and thrilling rides leave something for everyone. Be sure to book tickets for the English speaking Crazy Christmas Cabaret. An (adults!) pantomime playing through most of November and December with a different theme every year. Taking to the stage at the old theatre Glassalen in Tivoli the fabulous cast ensures to keep you laughing all the way into the New Year.

Tivoli Gardens amusement park in Copenhagen is a must for all visitors to the city. It is located just a few minutes walk from City Hall, and with the Copenhagen Central Station as its nearest neighbour, it is very easy to get to.
The park was founded in 1843 and has become a national treasure. Not to mention an international attraction. Fairy tale writer Hans Christian Andersen visited many times, as did Walt Disney and many other celebrities, who all fell in love with the gardens.
Part of Tivoli Gardens’ secret is that there is something for everyone. The scenery is beautiful with exotic architecture, historic buildings, and lush gardens. At night, thousands of coloured lights create a fairy tale atmosphere that is completely unique.

If the cold weather gets too much Copenhagen has plenty of museums to explore from the National Museum, Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek to the Experimentarium.

Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek is an art museum of international stature in the centre of Copenhagen.
The Glyptotek houses over 10.000 works of art divided up into two principal collections.
One is of works from the Mediterranean cradle of Western culture, the other of Danish and French art from the 19th and 20th centuries. Photo credit: Ty Stange

CHRISTMASSY FOOD AND DRINKS

Make sure you book in advance as the Danes love nothing more than eating out in December. Our traditional Christmas lunches are legendary and places like Ida Davidsen, Slotskælderen and Krongborg to name a few fill up long in advance. If you are brave and not afraid of a hangover then snaps with your food and traditional Gløgg at Hvids Vinstue to warm up your frozen limbs after being out and about all day are a must.

In the cosy rooms from 1894 in the centre of Copenhagen, Restaurant Kronborg serves a classic Danish Christmas lunch, following the traditional four “rounds”: fish, meat, cheese and traditional Danish rice pudding with almonds; and of course the finale is the traditional Danish “almond gift”, given to the person who finds the whole almond hidden in the pudding.
All dishes are freshly made in-house, and the waiters take pride in matching tasty beers and aquavits with the different dishes.
More info at www.restaurantkronborg.dk

If you have a bit of a sweet tooth then our Ableskiver (apple dumplings, these pancake balls served with sugar and jam) is all the rave at this time of year. They are a hit with children. You’ll find stalls at Christmas Markets across the city selling the treats.

A GREAT PLACE FOR CHRISTMAS GIFT SHOPPING

Denmark is known for its design both when it comes to fashion and interior. Copenhagen is, therefore, the perfect place to do your Christmas shop and surprise loved ones with stylish unique gifts.

With Danish design on every corner, and a modern take on cool, contemporary fashion, Copenhagen is a shopping haven for visitors. Photo credit: Morten Jerichau

So whether you are visiting with children or going for a romantic couples weekend Copenhagen at Christmas will make your trip both magical and memorable. Find out more at Visit Copenhagen.

Have you visited Copenhagen? What is your favourite thing about the Danish capital?