Christmas in Copenhagen

You can’t come to Europe in December without going to the Christmas markets, or Julemarked in Danish. The smaller Christmas markets are usually in November but some of the larger or more tourist-friendly towns have the markets open until Christmas.

Before Mom even came to Denmark, I knew I wanted to go to Copenhagen for the Christmas markets, but more importantly, Tivoli Gardens. I had been told by so many people that Tivoli had the best Christmas market and light display. So, that is exactly what we did. Just a short three-hour train ride, and we were ready to explore Copenhagen and its markets.

We stayed at The Strand, which made for a very short walk to the Nyhavn (new harbor) Christmas Market. This is one of the most photographed spots in all of Copenhagen with its colorful harbor homes.
Nyhavn Copenhagen Denmark
I’m not certain about the tradition of the padlocks. My assumption is it is for lovers to lock and throw away the key.
How sweet … Where is my lock, John?! 🙂
Nyhavn Christmas Market Copenhagen
Nyhavn Christmas Market. The huts are on the left and the restaurants are to the right. Amazingly, a few cars came past us. Also notice the hearts in the middle of the garland. It’s a Danish heart basket with the first believed to be made by children’s author Hans Christian Andersen.

Next up was lunch at Restaurant Els, just around the corner from Nyhavn. We had such a lovely, relaxed lunch where we could look out on the street, it wasn’t crowded and the prices were more reasonable than those just a few paces away on Nyhavn.

My lunch companion.
A cozy lunch view.
Delightful food. I had stjerneskud (shooting star), which is a traditional Danish dish with a variety of fish arranged on the plate, and Mom had Christmas medals with sweet mustard & red cabbage … I think. I had to go to their menu to figure it out. I’m close, I’m sure. 🙂

After lunch we made our way to the Julemarked Kongens Nytorv. This is a larger square near Nyhavn that is flanked by Magasin, the large department store, the Royal Danish Theatre and Hotel D’Angleterre.

Copenhagen Christmas Markets
What surprised me most about the market was the lack of handmade items and the gluttony of food. There were tons of sausage stands, beer, wine and gløgg, cheese, waffles, etc. It makes sense since it is and can be a social outing. I would compare it to our summer street fairs or festivals. You have a few vendors but many people go for the indulgent food. Notice the people standing at the left eating at the picnic areas scattered throughout the market.
Hotel D'Angleterre at Christmas Copenhagen
The extravagant display on Hotel D’Angleterre’s facade

The final “street” Christmas Market we stopped by was at Højbro Plads. It had many of the same vendors with a few different items. Mom gifted me a jacket from a Swedish vendor and she picked up chocolates shaped like tools for her boys – sons and grandsons.

Højbro Plads Christmas Market Copenhagen
Højbro Plads Christmas Market

The most beautiful way to end our evening was a stroll through Tivoli Gardens. This is the second oldest operating amusement park in the world, opening in 1843. Mom and I were not there for the rides, but the lights. This was truly a sparkling winter wonderland.

Tivoli Christmas Copenhagen Denmark
Tivoli Christmas Copenhagen Denmark
Tivoli Swarovski Christmas Tree Copenhagen Denmark
A tree dripping in Swarovski crystals. It is a 10-meter-tall tree dressed with 3,000 crystals, costing 1 million DKK ($150,000).
Tivoli Christmas Santa Copenhagen Denmark
Santa is real and he lives at Tivoli. I didn’t realize this was a paid activity. I took the picture of him through the door where kids were lining up, and I got shooed away by one of the elves. My apologies, Santa, I am a good kid!
Tivoli Christmas Copenhagen Denmark
Tivoli Christmas Copenhagen Denmark
Tivoli Christmas Copenhagen Denmark

After we couldn’t take a bit more holiday cheer, we retired for the evening. The following morning, we made a couple purchases at the Christmas Markets, dropped in Magasin to look around and headed back to Esbjerg. It was a quick, but absolutely delightful trip. No doubt, the Danes know how to to do Christmas on a grand scale.

Tivoli at Christmas
Until next time, hej, hej!


  1. Wow! Copenhagen is gorgeous at Christmas! I’ve only been during the summer; I’ll have to make a Christmas trip! Thanks for all the blogs about your trip. It helps satisfy the travel bug in me!!!!!


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