The festive season in Copenhagen is a spectacle of light, joy, and community spirit, unparalleled in its vibrancy and warmth. As the chill of winter embraces the city, the streets of Copenhagen transform into a wonderland adorned with twinkling lights, echoing with joyful carols and the scent of mulled wine.
Central to this celebration are the Christmas markets, a tradition that brings together locals and tourists alike in a shared experience of yuletide cheer. Each market, with its unique charm, offers a glimpse into the heart of Danish Christmas, making them a must-visit for anyone in Copenhagen during the festive season— the best time of year if we’re being honest.
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When it comes to Christmas markets, Copenhagen is second to none. The city boasts a variety of markets, each offering a unique experience. Feel the Christmas spirit at the market at Tivoli Gardens, where the historic amusement park is transformed into a festive paradise. Here, visitors can wander among wooden stalls selling everything from handmade crafts to traditional Danish holiday treats.
Another notable market is located at Nyhavn, the picturesque harbor famed for its colorful buildings. During Christmas, this area comes alive with stalls lining the waterfront, offering a stunning view of the canal and the decorated boats.
For those seeking a more contemporary experience, the Christmas market at Fisketorvet provides a modern twist on the traditional market. It features live music, innovative food stalls, and a range of artisanal products, perfect for finding unique gifts.
The Christmas season in Copenhagen is nothing short of magical. As December arrives, the city is adorned with festive lights, and the air is filled with the aroma of gløgg, the Danish version of mulled wine, and roasted almonds. The streets buzz with excitement and anticipation, as locals and tourists alike immerse themselves in the festive spirit.
From the historic buildings of the city center to the modern areas, every corner is touched by the festive magic. Copenhagen transforms into a winter wonderland, where the joy of the season is palpable in every glimmering light and hearty laugh.
For locals and visitors alike, Christmas Eve holds a special place in their hearts. It's a time of togetherness and traditions, with families gathering to celebrate and exchange gifts. And for those seeking a taste of Christmas beyond Denmark's borders, the Alsace-inspired Christmas markets in Strasbourg, France, offer a captivating journey into the heart of European holiday traditions.
Christmas in Copenhagen is not just a time for shopping and feasting; it's a time for community, for coming together under the glow of fairy lights, and embracing the joy of the season.
One of the key aspects for visitors to plan their holiday itinerary around is the opening dates of these festive markets. In 2023, the Christmas markets in Copenhagen are set to open in mid-November, bringing the festive spirit to the city well before the advent of December. So far these are the confirmed dates.
From November 3rd to December 21st, 2023, King’s New Square Christmas Market (Julemarked Kongens Nytorv) and High Bridge Square Christmas Market (Julemarked Højbro Plads) will grace the city's historic squares. These markets are where you'll find a delightful assortment of traditional crafts, delectable treats, and spirited entertainment to usher in the holiday cheer.
For an extraordinary Christmas experience, don't miss Christmas in Tivoli, running from November 17th to December 31st, 2023. Tivoli Gardens, transformed into a winter wonderland, offers a dazzling display of lights, rides, and entertainment that will captivate visitors of all ages.
To step into the pages of a fairytale, venture to the HC Andersen Christmas Market (Julemarked HC Andersen) from November 17th to December 21st, 2023. Named after the famous storyteller Hans Christian Andersen, this market evokes the magic of his tales with its whimsical atmosphere and unique offerings.
A visit to Copenhagen's Christmas markets is incomplete without indulging in the local culinary delights. The food markets are a haven for food enthusiasts, offering traditional Danish Christmas foods. Here are some must-try foods in Copenhagen:
These spherical, fluffy Danish pancakes are a beloved Christmas treat. Served hot and dusted with powdered sugar, they're often enjoyed with jam and a cup of warm gløgg (mulled wine).
A Danish Christmas wouldn't be complete without a comforting bowl of risengrød, a rice porridge made with milk and served with a pat of butter and a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar. Finding the hidden almond in your bowl is said to bring good luck.
Frikadeller: These savory meatballs are a Danish holiday staple. Made from a mixture of ground pork and veal, they are seasoned to perfection and pan-fried until golden brown. Served with red cabbage and pickles, they are a hearty and flavorful dish.
A type of Danish sausage, medisterpølse is a Christmas favorite. It's often accompanied by a rich brown gravy and potatoes, creating a comforting and satisfying meal.
A Danish-style roast pork, flæskesteg features crispy crackling and tender meat. It's typically served with red cabbage and a rich brown sauce, making it a festive centerpiece for Christmas dinner.
These small, crunchy spice cookies are a beloved Christmas treat in Denmark. Flavored with a blend of spices like cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom, they are perfect for snacking and sharing.
These twisted, deep-fried pastries are a Danish Christmas tradition. They are often sprinkled with powdered sugar and enjoyed with a cup of hot chocolate or coffee.
A Danish Christmas lunch or dinner, julefrokost is a feast of cold dishes, including herring, liver pate, cured meats, and cheese. It's a smorgasbord of flavors and textures that's perfect for sharing with family and friends.
The King’s New Square Christmas Market, known in Danish as Julemarked Kongens Nytorv, runs from November 3 to December 21, 2023. This market is a quintessential example of a traditional Christmas market, located in the historic and picturesque King’s New Square in Copenhagen. The square itself dates back to the 17th century, adding a touch of historic charm to the festive atmosphere.
Visitors to the market can expect to see it adorned with beautiful, festive decorations, creating a magical and romantic setting. The market features numerous wooden stalls, evoking a sense of nostalgia and tradition. These stalls offer a variety of items, including unique gifts and delicious treats, perfect for the holiday season. The market's setting and offerings make it an ideal place to experience the enchantment of Copenhagen during Christmas time
The High Bridge Square Christmas Market (Julemarked Højbro Plads), open from November 3 to December 21, 2023, is a remarkable embodiment of traditional European Christmas markets. This collaboration between the event organization Michael Deutsch and the City of Copenhagen has been inspired by various European cities to enhance the festive experience for both visitors and locals engaged in Christmas shopping in Copenhagen.
The market creates a nostalgic Christmas atmosphere with 280,000 sparkling lights, Christmas trees, decorations, secret pixies, reindeer, and Santa’s sleigh, offering a charming Christmas village experience. In addition to shopping opportunities at the traditional wooden stalls, children and adults can meet the market's own Father Christmas from Monday to Friday between 3 pm and 6 pm, with the opportunity to take pictures for free.
The market operates at the following hours: Monday to Wednesday from 11 am to 7 pm, Thursday to Saturday from 11 am to 9 pm, and Sunday from 12 pm to 7 pm. This Christmas market at High Bridge Square thus offers a blend of traditional festive fare and unique experiences, making it a must-visit destination during the holiday season in Copenhagen.
A quintessential part of the Copenhagen Christmas experience is the ice skating rinks. These rinks, set up in various locations across the city, offer a fun and festive activity for all ages. The most famous rink is at Frederiksberg Runddel, near the entrance to Frederiksberg Gardens. Here, under the watchful gaze of the Frederiksberg Palace, skaters glide across the ice, surrounded by the festive market and twinkling lights.
Other winter activities include horse-drawn carriage rides, carousel rides, and, for the more adventurous, a chance to try curling. These activities provide a perfect way to enjoy the festive atmosphere and create lasting memories of a Christmas in Copenhagen.
Tivoli Gardens deserves a special mention when talking about Christmas in Copenhagen. This historic amusement park is transformed into a festive wonderland, with rides and attractions taking on a Christmas theme. The gardens are illuminated with over half a million lights, creating a mesmerizing spectacle.
The Tivoli Christmas market is one of the most popular in the city, featuring stalls selling traditional Danish Christmas goods and international delicacies. The ice rink at Tivoli is a highlight, along with the Christmas shows and concerts that take place in the park. The Ferris wheel, specially decorated for the season, offers a breathtaking view of the city's festive lights.
While there is an admission price, it's worth every penny for the enchanting experience that awaits. Adults (8+) can enter for 110-120 DKK (about 15-16 EUR), while children under 8 years old can enjoy the magic for 50 DKK (about 7 EUR). The memories created at Tivoli Gardens during the Christmas season are priceless, making it a must-visit destination to fully immerse yourself in the joy and wonder of the holidays in Copenhagen.
The HC Andersen Christmas Market, named after the world-renowned Danish storyteller, is a fairy-tale-themed market located at Nytorv Square, running from November 17 to December 21, 2023. This enchanting market brings to life the magic of Hans Christian Andersen's stories, with stalls named after his fairy tales and adorned with thousands of Christmas lights. Visitors can immerse themselves in a festive world of tastes, smells, and shopping, offering everything from Christmas decorations and gifts to jewelry, mulled wine, and hot chocolate.
In addition to the shopping experience, the market is particularly appealing to families and children. It features a genuine nostalgia carousel, a Christmas caravan, and the opportunity to meet Santa Claus. In Santa's house, children can join Mrs. Claus for Christmas creativity and craft their own decorations. There's also a chance to meet a character representing Hans Christian Andersen himself and take pictures with him.
This market encapsulates the spirit of Christmas through its unique thematic focus on Andersen's fairy tales, creating an atmosphere that's not only festive but also culturally rich and imaginative.
The true spirit of Christmas in Copenhagen can be felt in the air itself. It's in the smiles of people sharing a warm drink, the laughter of children skating on the ice, and the joy of families spending time together. This spirit is further embodied in the various charity events and community gatherings that take place during this time, highlighting the sense of togetherness and goodwill that defines the season.
Copenhagen during Christmas is more than just a destination; it's an experience that embodies the warmth, joy, and peace of the festive season. It’s a time when the city comes together to celebrate life, love, and community, making it a truly magical place to be during the holidays.
While Copenhagen offers a distinctly Danish take on Christmas markets, it's interesting to compare it with Strasbourg in France, often known as the "Capital of Christmas." Strasbourg's markets are famed for their traditional Alsatian decorations and historic setting, providing a different but equally enchanting Christmas experience.
The contrast between Copenhagen's modern, design-oriented approach and Strasbourg's traditional charm highlights the diverse ways in which the spirit of Christmas is celebrated across Europe. The Christmas markets of Copenhagen are more than just a seasonal attraction; they are a vivid expression of Danish culture and festivity. From the aroma of mulled wine wafting through the air to the sight of twinkling lights against a winter sky, these markets offer an immersive experience into the heart of Danish Christmas.
Whether it's for the food, the gifts, the decorations, or simply the joyful atmosphere, a visit to these markets is an unforgettable part of any winter journey to Copenhagen. So wrap up warm, and step into the fairy-tale world of Copenhagen's Christmas markets, where every corner holds a new delight and every moment is steeped in festive cheer.
What if you could enjoy every minute in the city without the burden of your bags?