The Danish are good at many things; making delicious pastries, being the happiest people in the world and riding bikes everywhere. But if there’s one other thing we’d say they’ve mastered even further, it’s Christmas.

From mid-November to early January, the city transforms into a European Christmas dreamland. Colourful houses dotted along the canal are decorated with wreaths and pine nuts, the entire city centre is suddenly covered in twinkling lights and there’s a Christmas market quite literally around every corner.

If it’s food and drink you’re after, there’s no shortage of gløgg, the classic Danish mulled wine strengthened with a shot of brandy – and the streets are fragrant with the smell of their delicious Cinnamon infused Christmas-style buns.

Truth be told, if there was one word that summed up Christmas time in Copenhagen, it would be magical. So if you’re planning a wintery trip to the Danish capital, check out our short guide on all things Christmas in Copenhagen:


Before we get into all the fun Christmas festivities, let’s get one thing clear. Do not come to Copenhagen in the winter without warm, cosy clothing – it gets pretty damn cold! The average temperature is around 2°C, but it often drops into the negatives.

To enjoy all this wonderful city has to offer, you don’t want to be freezing yourself silly – thermals, jumpers, winter coats, scarves, gloves, bobble hats… bring them all!


The Tivoli amusement park is the oldest of its kind in the world, founded way back in 1843. It’s a great place to visit all year round but really comes into its own during the festive period. There’s an entrance fee to pay but you can stay for as long as you like – and in our opinion, it’s more than worth the price.

Half a million lights in Tivoli Gardens switch on as darkness falls – it’s like a real winter wonderland! We’d recommend spending an entire evening there and enjoying dinner in one of the many restaurants over a glass or two of mulled wine. Then, check out the Christmas light show, go crazy on the dozens of rides and browse the charming market stalls.

Plus, if you’ve got little ones with you, they can meet Copenhagen’s Santa Claus in his sparkling, festive grotto – they’ll love it!


Copenhagen is a great place for shopaholics! The Strøget is the largest pedestrianised shopping street in Europe, and if you’re looking to pick up some Christmas gifts, nowhere can beat it in terms of choice.


Copenhagen has more than just the Tivoli to offer when it comes to Christmas markets. Just wander around the city centre in December when Christmas spirit is in full, Danish-style swing, and you’re sure to come across one – but here are some of our favourites to check out:

Højbro PladsChristmas market 16th November – 22nd December 2018

A local’s favourite, the Højbro Plads is set around Strøget, the famous shopping street, spanning across the city’s historic square and canals. It’s a great place to pick up Scandinavian treats, handmade gifts and to devour some local delicacies. Of course, it’s appropriately decorated with thousands of lights and humongous trees littered with gleaming baubles.

Nyhavn Christmas market – 9th November – 23rd December 2018

Nyhavn harbour has to be on of the most famous spots in Copenhagen. At Christmas time, the cute, colourful buildings are swamped with Christmas lights, ornaments and hundreds of stalls selling handicrafts and food. You’re sure to experience some real ‘hygge’ here – and even though it gets packed, the atmosphere is unbeatable.

Freetown Christiania Christmas market – 8th December – 20th December 2018

For something a little bit different to your standard Christmas market, head to Freetown Christiania. It’s an eccentric, alternative, oriental-type festive bazaar where the local residents sell handicraft items, quirky jewellery, paper Christmas decorations and tons of other things you won’t find anywhere else – and that’s why we love it.

Kongens Nytorv Christmas market, Hans Christian Andersen Christmas marketand the Meatpacking district Christmas marketare worth checking out, too!


Is there a more festive activity than ice skating around to Christmas tunes? Copenhagen has loads of public outdoor ice skating rinks (Frederiksberg Runddel is a good choice) open in the winter time. The best part is, they’re completely free – though you will need to rent your skates if you don’t have your own. Mingle with the locals, try out a backward skate or just fall gracefully on your bum – it’s the perfect Christmas activity!


When you’re completely shopped and ice-skated out, warm up in a steamy sauna. There’s nothing like stepping out of the crisp Danish air and into a hot bath when it’s chilly outside.There are spas sprawled all over the city, but a popular choice is CopenHot, where you can enjoy a simple hot sauna, admire Copenhagen’s harbour from a panoramic sauna or even hop in a sailing spa boat!

Whatever you choose to do in Copenhagen at Christmas time, it’s sure to be an incredible, festive experience. Be sure to let us know how you get in if you decide to take a wintery trip there – and get in touch with us if you need anymore Copenhagen travel tips!

Are you thinking about visiting the Europe, Scandinavia, Denmark and/or Copenhagen anytime soon? United Europe is one of South Africa’s established Travel Companies that specialises in travel to Europe – we know what we are doing.

Please do not hesitate to contact us and we can assist you with options and travel itineraries to help you plan for the occasion!

October 2018

Mark Buck is the Managing Director of United Europe Travel Services (Pty) Ltd, an online and offline travel services company based in South Africa

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