Seven great reasons to visit Copenhagen at Christmas time

Peak season for “hygge” in Denmark is December. The lights, the snow, the decorations – it just gets to us Danes and we slow down, complain less and become more mellow.

This makes it a great idea to visit Copenhagen at Christmas time. In this post, I’ll guide you to the most memorable Christmas lights, decorations and activities in Copenhagen.

The perfect Copenhagen Christmas

There are seven things you must do if you decide to travel to Copenhagen around Christmas time:

  • Visit a Christmas market in Copenhagen
  • Buy a Copenhagen Christmas Plate
  • Experience Christmas in Tivoli
  • Feast your eyes on the Christmas decorations on d’Angleterre
  • Stop by the Christmas tree on the town square
  • Drink gløgg (mulled wine) and eat æbleskiver
  • Eat a traditional Danish Christmas lunch

Stop by a Christmas market in Copenhagen

There are a lot of Christmas markets to choose from in Copenhagen, but the most famous and probably also most visited one is the Christmas market at Kongens Nytorv in the heart of Copenhagen. At this market, you can really enjoy the fantastic Christmas decorations and lights on hotel d’Angleterre while shopping for gifts and enjoying the atmosphere.

Close to the Christmas market at Kongens Nytorv you find another Christmas market – the Nyhavn Christmas market. This market specializes in Danish Christmas foods and brews.

If you want to do a Christmas market “a la royale” you can do just that at the renaissance castle Kronborg (this is where Shakespeare’s Hamlet played out) in Helsingør (Elsinore).

If you’re more of a free spirit you might opt for the Christmas market in Christiania. The Christmas market is an unconventional fair with a multitude of stalls offering fine handicraft items, hand-made jewelry, mirrors, paper-cut Christmas mobiles, leather masks among many other things. 

Find the perfect Copenhagen Christmas market for you here.

Buy a Royal Copenhagen Christmas plate

Ever since 1908 Royal Copenhagen has made a Christmas plate with a Christmassy motif. Sometimes it’s a Christmas tree, sometimes it’s snow falling on a church and so on. Some people love them, and if you’re one of them, why not buy one when you are in Denmark. How much more authentic can it get? The new plates cost around 700 DKK. You can buy them online or in the flagship store on Amagertorv 6 in Copenhagen.

Experience Tivoli at Christmas time

Tivoli Gardens is always fun, but a Tivoli Christmas is something else. The amusement park goes all in and creates a winter wonderland with snow, sugar canes, elves, Christmas stockings, crullers and so on.

Thousands of light glimmer in the darkness and even the Tivoli Youth Guard’s parades are illuminated. Santa Claus also has a cozy Christmas bazaar for kids and there are beautiful decorations and small Christmas stalls everywhere. If the Tivoli Gardens dressed in Chrismas doesn’t give you that warm fuzzy feeling, nothing will.

Be impressed by the Christmas lights and decorations on d’Angleterre

It isn’t really Christmas in Copenhagen until hotel d’Angleterre in Kongens Nytorv has been decorated with lights. Every year the owner of d’Angleterre chooses a new theme and carefully selects the most beautiful Christmas ornaments and lights to brighten up the facade of the hotel.

Copenhagen at Christmas
D’Angleterre, a luxury hotel on Kongens Nytorv, is beautifully decorated every Christmas.

Next to d’Angleterre the department store Magasin Du Nord is located. This department store also puts a lot of effort into decoration the facade with lights and ornaments.

You might also like this post: Make the most of 24 hours in Copenhagen

The big Christmas tree in the town square

Every year on the first advent Sunday the big Christmas tree in the town square is lit by Copenhagen’s mayor, Santa Claus the crown princess or someone else. It’s a big celebration, and every year thousands of people show up to celebrate the fact that Christmas is coming closer.

Snack on mulled wine and æbleskiver (aebleskiver)

You can’t do Christmas in Copenhagen without drinking mulled wine and eating æbleskiver (aebleskiver).

Throw some crullers, pancakes and waffles in there as well….just because it’s Christmas, and you’re in Copenhagen.

Eat a traditional Danish Christmas lunch

Food!! Food is very important to Danes. You can keep the ornaments and lights if we can keep the traditional Christmas dishes. Every year we celebrate Christmas by attending Christmas lunches with family, friends and work. It usually involves beer and schnapps and foods like herring, shrimps, eggs, leverpostej (a paté), fish fillets, roast pork and so on. It’s heavy, fatty and sooo yummy while it lasts. In January you feel like you have shamelessly mistreated your body (which you have).

Smørrebrød served at Selma

Some great restaurants to try are Schønnemann, Slotskælderen or Selma (a personal favourite).