Late November and December are great times to visit Denmark. While the chances of snow are relatively slim, you’re still guaranteed a festive atmosphere at one of Denmark’s Christmas markets.
Scandinavian Christmas markets are renowned for their cozy atmosphere often featuring handmade gifts, reindeer-pulled sled rides and the scent of roasted nuts filling the air.
Here are some of the best examples in Denmark, starting with the capital city, Copenhagen.
Christmas at Tivoli
If you have children of any age, a visit to Copenhagen’s historic Tivoli Gardens amusement park is a must, but especially so during the park’s short Christmas opening season.
One of the world’s oldest amusement parks breaks through the dark winter with dazzling white lights and Christmas trees around every corner.
Small stores sell all manner of gifts while Santa’s grotto is a perennial favorite with kids. Of course, the rides are open during the winter season to keep youngsters occupied while the schedule of concerts and plays offers plenty of treats for couples.
Open from November 19 to the end of the year, Tivoli’s winter season is such a major part of Christmas for Copenhagen locals. But it’s not the only choice in town.
Christmas markets in Copenhagen
Instantly familiar to anyone who has ever searched for pictures of Copenhagen, the Nyhavn canal is transformed at this time of year into a festive party spot ideal for sampling gløgg, the Scandinavian take on mulled wine popular throughout the region.
Nearby, the Kongens Nytorv square hosts a market more focused on shopping. Popular with locals for after-work meetings, food and drinks, Højbro Plads has a strong German influence. Many stallholders even come from Germany for the occasion, so expect German-style sausages along with pancakes and waffles.
Visitors to Copenhagen looking for something a bit different could try the Christmas market at Christiania. The exotic market with unique handmade goods and plenty of food is hosted indoors at The Grey Hall in Christiania, Copenhagen’s most unique district.
While most other markets open in mid-November, Christiania’s doesn’t throw open its doors until December 9.
Elsewhere in Denmark
In a similar style to Tivoli, Den Gamle By in Aarhus opens for a short Christmas season. The open-air museum is an atmospheric place at any time of year, but especially at Christmas.
From November 19, the museum creates a lantern-lit walk around the old town livened up with historic decorations.
Inside the stores, you’ll find storytelling elves and traditional Danish Christmas food. A replica of Denmark’s very first Advent calendar makes for a quirky gift from the dedicated Christmas store.
Elsewhere in Aarhus, the historic cobbled street Møllestien is a wonderful setting for more than 40 stalls. Run by residents of the street, the market’s profits are donated to charities. The Christmas tree plantation and bazaar at Topkær are also worth a visit.
In Aalborg, Gammeltorv square once again plays host to the city’s Christmas market, open every day until December 23. If visiting Aalborg, a trip to Aalborg Zoo is a must to include on your festive itinerary thanks to its annual ‘light walk’ throughout the gardens.
In the historic center of Odense, the Hans Christian Andersen market opens on the first two weekends of December. Stallholders sell everything from jewelry to knitwear. Because of the market’s limited opening hours, Odense fills with people on the market days to enjoy the 19th-century theme and soak up the festive atmosphere.