Copenhagen Christmas Markets
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Also known as the gateway to Scandinavia, Copenhagen is a great starting point or final destination for your winter holiday season because Copenhagen takes Christmas very seriously! Despite its dark, cold and windy winters, the city really comes alive in December. For a small city of only around half a million people, Copenhagen hosts multiple Christmas Markets! Regardless of the weather, these Christmas Markets are packed. So if you’re looking for a trip centered around Christmas Markets, Copenhagen is the place for you!
Most Christmas Markets in Copenhagen open in late November and stay open until 3-4 days before Christmas. The only exception is the Christmas Market in Tivoli Park, which stays open until the end of the year. Another exception are a few artisanal markets which are only opened for one or a few days in late November/ early December. These markets are geared towards gift shopping and sometimes charge and entry fee.
If you plan on visiting Copenhagen only for the Christmas Markets (i.e. going back home for Christmas) I would recommend you visit in early December. Depending on your travel pace, anywhere between 3-5 days should be enough. If you plan on spending Christmas in Copenhagen, I would recommend planning to spend a minimum of 2 weeks in the city and arriving at least one week before Christmas.
You should keep in mind that Christmas is a very important holiday in Denmark and almost everything will be closed on December 24th, 25th, and 26th! Some places might even close early on December 23rd. Plan accordingly and purchase all necessities such as food in advance.
If you can only make it to a few of the Christmas Markets, don’t get too sad. Most Christmas Markets are similar in terms of looks and products available. Vendors are located inside little wooden cabins and they sell a variety of ready to eat foods, hand-made souvenirs, and of course, gløgg.
1. Kongens Nytorv
Located in the heart of Copenhagen, right across from Magasin du Nord and Hotel D’Angleterre, the Christmas Market at Kongens Nytorv is the perfect starting point to your Copenhagen Christmas Market experience. Here you can find a large variety sweet and savoury foods as well as beverages. And if you get cold, just pop into Magasin du Nord to warm up.
Across the street is Hotel D’Angleterre which is beautifully decorated and lights up at night. So grab a snack, a drink, and soak up the festive spirit while enjoying the beautiful sight and smell of smoked meat.
If you are lucky, you may even bump into Santa. You can find more information about the Market (and Santa’s hours) here.
Just steps away, across the street, is another Christmas Market. Decorated with lights, hearts, and little wooden huts lining the famous Canal, Nyhavn doesn’t get more festive than this! Now, regardless of when you visit Copenhagen, Nyhavn is always a must-see.
BEWARE: It gets quite busy. With restaurants on one side and the vendor stalls along the other side, as well as increased pedestrian traffic and a narrower walking space, you are sure to bump into a few people.
This is the place to go for some delicious home-made sweets and a beverage. If it gets too busy for your liking, simply cross the bridge and walk along the other side of the canal (which is a lot less busy) or pop over to nearby Amalienborg and watch the guards.
3. Højbro Plads
Also steps away from Kongens Nytorv (in the opposite direction from Nyhavn), the Christmas Market at Højbro Plads is another must-see. It is located adjacent to the famous Strøget pedestrian street, surrounded by stores, bakeries, and restaurants.
In addition to the Christmas Market, the stores nearby also decorate their display windows with the most beautiful ornaments. Some of those stores are high-end luxury boutiques and they really go all out. Illum, another department store is steps away, and it too gets very festive.
You can find more information about the Højbro Plads Christmas Market here.
Tip: If time permits, you could schedule an entire day around these three Markets. I would recommend starting around midday, so you can see them all in daylight and take a look at the souvenirs before it gets too busy. Pop into the nearby department stores, restaurants/ cafes for meals and snacks. There is also the Guinness World Records Museum if you feel like seeing something different. In the evening make your way back to Nyhavn, grab a beverage and enjoy the sunset over the canal. Then make your way to Kongens Nytorv, and finally Højbro Plads. Soak up the beauty of the lights and vibrant atmosphere after dark.
Opened in the 19th century, Tivoli Gardens is the world’s second oldest amusement park still in operation. Now, don’t let the words amusement park scare you away. While there are plenty of rides, Tivoli offers so much more. Young or old, regardless of weather or season, if you can spare a full day you will have a magical time in Tivoli Gardens.
If you arrive to Copenhagen after Christmas, the only Christmas Market left in the city is the one located inside Tivoli. To access the park (and the Christmas Market) you will have to purchase tickets. Tickets start at 135 DKK for park entry. The Christmas Market is composed of little wooden huts scattered throughout the park. Vendors sell a variety of hand-made souvenirs including clothing. In addition, the park brings out all the Christmas lights and decorations (as well as fake snow), making you feel like you’re in Santa’s little village. In my opinion, this is by far the most festive Christmas Market in all of Copenhagen. Definitely worth a visit if you have the time!
If you are going to visit Tivoli, I would strongly suggest you dedicate a full day for it. It’s worth seeing both in daylight and at night. And if you are travelling with little children, don’t worry about them getting tired. There are plenty of indoor place where you could retreat to warm up, or have a meal/ snack.
The Christmas Market runs from mid November until the first few days of January. You can find more information about Tivoli Gardens, current events and ticket prices here. Make sure to check the website before visiting because at certain times throughout the year there are fireworks displays.
Not for the faint of heart, but a very unique Christmas Market experience. Ideal for the hippies, free-spirited souls, and anyone who is feeling a little adventurous.
If you’re not familiar with Freetown Christiania, it is a small community right in the center of Copenhagen, in Christianshavn, where inhabitants live freely from society and societal rules.
You can purchases hand-made jewelry, decorations, clothing, and more. This Christmas Market is held indoors, in a bazaar-like setting, and it offers a nice refuge from the cold and wind. The Christiania Christmas Market usually runs during the second and third weeks of December; you can find more information and updated dates here and here.
BEWARE: taking pictures and/ or videos is not permitted inside of Christiania.
6. H. C. Andersen
Not to be mistaken with the H. C. Andersen Christmas Market in Odense (which is another city in Denmark). This Christmas Market is named after the famous Danish author, and the stalls are named after his famous stories. Little children can enjoy a carousel and some decoration making with Mrs Claus.
If you are lucky you may get to take a picture with H. C. Andersen and/ or with Santa. Try some butter cookies and hot chocolate, and let the child within you have a blast.
Over the years, this Market was held at various locations around the central Copenhagen. Lately it has been held in Nytorv Square, which is adjacent to Strøget and close to City Hall.
Have you ever experienced a Christmas Market at a brewery? Located right in the brewery’s courtyard, the Carlsberg Christmas Market is sure to appeal to all beer lovers. This is the place to try a mulled beer, also known as ølgløgg. There are also specialty beers on tap, as well as coffee, tea, and souvenirs.
Visiting the Carlsberg Christmas Market is free, but if you are already there, you might as well purchase tickets for a tour of the brewery. NOTE: As of 2020, the brewery is undergoing some renovations, but once it reopens you can find more information as well as ticket prices here. The brewery is scheduled to reopen during summer 2023. When the brewery is open for visits, there are free shuttle buses you can take from central station.
- Copenhagen can get very windy in the winter time. I would recommend wearing a parka to protect your thighs from the wind. A scarf, toque/ headband, and mittens are also a must!
- Copenhagen weather is unpredictable, so don’t over plan your itinerary. On that note, don’t feel sad if you can’t see or do everything on your wish list. Try to enjoy what you can and be present in the moment.
- Copenhagen has lots of cobble stone streets, so bring appropriate shoes and be prepared for walking. I would recommend some flat, warm leather boots.
- Copenhagen is notoriously expensive and so are the Christmas Markets. Budget around 8 USD per snack and anywhere from 10-200 USD per souvenir.
- Copenhagen is vegan and vegetarian friendly. Although traditional Danish cuisine is very meat-heavy, the younger generations are a major driving factor towards ever increasing vegan and vegetarian alternatives. If you don’t eat meat or animal products, don’t worry, you will definitely find some alternatives.
- Most people, especially the vendors at the Christmas Markets, will speak good English. You don’t have to worry about language barriers.