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Christmas in Copenhagen: a Scandi winter wonderland | Denmark holidays



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To be in Copenhagen in December is to expertise actually exhilarating tastes of Christmas. The air is heavy with the scent of caramelised almonds which are bought in pink and white striped paper baggage, whereas stalls on the harbourside at Nyhavn are meting out glögg, mulled wine with almonds and raisins. And there’s Julebryg, Tuborg’s Christmas beer, delivered to bars throughout Copenhagen by horse-drawn wagons.

Danes additionally head to their iconic amusement park Tivoli ( In gardens created in 1834, you’ll discover big pirate ships, a Chinese language pagoda and greater than 1m glowing lamps. Denmark’s Queen Margrethe personally designs the costumes for the ballet performances that Tivoli holds every Christmas; this yr it’s The Snow Queen, based mostly on the fable by Hans Christian Andersen.


Tivoli has one of many oldest rollercoasters on this planet, the famed wood Rutschebanen, in-built 1914, nevertheless it additionally has a few of Copenhagen’s finest eating places, together with Brdr Worth, which adheres strictly to traditional Scandinavian delicacies in winter – cod cosseted in butter and cream, and duck with pink cabbage. If you wish to push the boat out, Copenhagen’s most luxurious boutique lodge, the Nimb, is housed in one other of Tivoli’s fantastical buildings.

Glögg it down… the Christmas market in Nyhavn.
Glögg it down: the Christmas market in Nyhavn. {Photograph}: imageimage/Alamy

At Christmas in Tivoli, there’s the scent of actual fir cones, plus glögg and apple pancakes. A department of Illums Bolighus, Copenhagen’s most unique division retailer, sells a few of the most tasteful festive ornaments on the planet, together with the necessities of Danish design. There are candles in each form and kind (however normally white), as a result of the Danes gentle extra candles than some other nation on earth.

Whereas Scandinavia won’t ever be a discount break, Copenhagen’s inhabitants have provide you with methods of mitigating their very own rising prices of residing with a spot of fællesspisning – communal eating. Set-price meals the place everybody sits at lengthy tables and eats on the similar time are at present all the fashion in Copenhagen.

Most well-known is Folkehuset Absalon ( in Vesterbro. A former Lutheran church has develop into a neighborhood constructing, with a restaurant, yoga studio, pottery lessons and not-very-serious actions, together with darts, created as a social mission by Lennart Lajboschitz, the founding father of Tiger. Lots of the periods are held in English as a result of, properly, that is Scandinavia and it’s seen as a wise factor to do, and Absalon’s night meal is blissfully easy – and low-cost. Tickets may be booked on-line, however you too can see if there are locations left by turning up at 5pm. There are Christmas events on Fridays and Saturdays with songs and conventional meals, together with their scrumptious rice pudding, all for 350 kroner (£40).

Name in lights… Tivoli amusement park.
Identify in lights: Tivoli amusement park. {Photograph}: Allan Baxter/Getty Pictures

This ethos is spreading to inns, too. In 2020, Kanalhuset ( opened in Christianshavn, one of many oldest and prettiest elements of central Copenhagen. This buttery-yellow, 18th-century constructing – one other mission of Lennart Lajboschitz’s – was beforehand an orphanage and hospital. Now there are 12 lodge rooms and one other 14 residences with kitchens that may be booked for longer stays. Charges are affordable – particularly for Scandinavia – providing a 7pm night meal for 150 kroner (£18), which everybody eats collectively. Presently of month, it turns right into a feast with custom, tealights and communality in equal measure; which is why, in the meanwhile, I’ll all the time increase a glass of festive beer to the way in which Scandinavia celebrates Christmas.

Mattress and breakfast doubles at Kanalhuset begin at 1,400 kroner (£160);

Extra Scandi escapes

Oslo and Stockholm are additionally stuffed with enjoyable within the festive season


light Christmas tree Christmas tree light in oslo city Norway
{Photograph}: Getty Pictures

The Norwegian capital’s festive season began on 24 November, with a musical ceremony, carols and drinks marking the sending of a tree from a forest on the outskirts of Oslo to London’s Trafalgar Sq., The celebrations proceed primarily outside. The market at Spikersuppa options an ice rink that’s free to swoop round on. And shopping-wise, Oslos Supermarked ( on the Salt arts advanced by the harbour lets you search for handmade or second-hand presents, and have a quintessentially Nordic sauna expertise as properly. Since Oslo is the Scandi capital almost certainly to get snow in December, tobogganing is a necessary a part of the Christmas run-up; the perfect run is between Frognerseteren and Midtstuen metro stations and sleds may be rented.


Deer in SkansenA deer in Skansen park with a view of Stockholm behind
{Photograph}: Spirins/Getty Pictures

If Tivoli is a Scandi Christmas at its most fantastical, Skansen within the Swedish capital returns it to its roots (£18; This residing museum on Djurgarden opens on Fridays to Sundays till 17 December with stalls of probably the most tasteful selection alongside resident reindeer and – in case you are fortunate – a classic tram that takes you there from central Stockholm. (Prime tip: heat up by viewing the glass-blowing first.) Stortorget, a sq. within the quaint and cobbled Gamla Stan, is Stockholm’s oldest Christmas market. It was first held in 1837. At the moment it mixes crafts with stalls promoting huge bars of chocolate – a captivating little bit of Swedish extra. It runs to 22 December.

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