If you are in Copenhagen, Denmark around the Christmas holidays you are in for a treat!
The city sparkles with holiday lights, Christmas markets pop up, and seasonal food and drink are enjoyed.
Christmas is the time of year when the feeling of Hygge (pronounced hoo-gah) is in the air.
There is no English equivalent for this word, but in essence, it’s about a feeling of comfort and coziness.
Let yourself be warmed by Hygge while you experience these holiday experiences in Copenhagen in 2023.
A holiday visit to the world’s second-oldest amusement park is a must-do! Already fun and beautiful year-round, it is even more special at the holidays.
From November 17 to December 31, the park is decorated with 1000 Christmas trees wrapped with thousands of colorful lights, and ornaments.
There are plenty of rides, including thrill rides, roller coasters, carousels, a Ferris Wheel, and a 100-year-old wooden roller coaster.
Holiday foods can be purchased at stalls and there are family shows in the Glass Hall Theatre and Tivoli Concert Hall.
Christmas Lights and Decorations
What would Christmas be without sparkling light displays and festive decorations?
You can see gorgeous holiday lights and Christmas decorations at the Hotel d’Angleterre, one of the oldest hotels in Copenhagen, and Magasin du Nord, a spectacular 19th-century department store.
Strøget, one of Europe’s longest pedestrian streets is draped with lights and the store’s window displays are magical. Kronprinsensgade is also lovely to walk down.
The flagship store of world-famous china maker, Royal Copenhagen, has stunning Christmas table displays. They’ve been putting together this exhibit since 1963.
The Copenhagen Zoo has a fantastic display of lights and Christmas trees. You’ll even see reindeer walking the grounds.
See our detailed post, Where to See Copenhagen’s Best Christmas Lights.
In the weeks leading up to Christmas, holiday markets pop up throughout the city.
Spend some time strolling past vendor stalls selling unique gift items and traditional Danish crafts. Be sure to try traditional Danish Christmas foods too!
Some of the best Copenhagen Christmas markets are Julemarked Kongens Nytorv, Højbro Plads Christmas Market, and Nyhavn Christmas Market.
For details and even more markets, read our post, Copenhagen’s Best Christmas Markets.
City Hall Square Christmas Tree
In this nearly 100-year-old Christmas tradition, a giant Christmas Tree is lit in front of City Hall on the first Sunday of Advent.
Starting at 3 p.m., from the Nyhavn Canal, Santa parades through the city on a fire truck from the historic Copenhagen Fire Brigade.
The procession goes to City Hall where, in the square in front, musical acts including a brass band, perform.
Once at City Hall, Santa hops off his truck to flip the switch and heads to the massive 65 ft Christmas tree, strung with hundreds of LED lights and Christmas hearts.
Glide across the ice at one of Copenhagen’s ice rinks!
Frederiksberg Runddel, near the entrance to the Frederiksberg Gardens, is Copenagen’s classic rink, surrounded by historic landmarks.
You can skate here for free and if you don't have your own skates, you can rent some at the rink. It is usually open from the last Saturday in November until the last Sunday in February.
The relatively new Broens Skøjtebane is in the heart of the city along the harborfront. Warm yourself up with treats from the nearby food stalls. It is open from November 3, 2023, to February 25, 2024.
The prettiest rink is the Tivoli Gardens ice rink in front of the iconic Nimb Hotel.
Admission is free with your ticket to the park. Bring your own skates or rent a pair.
Danish Christmas Food and Drink
Like many countries, Denmark has its very own traditional holiday food and drink. Now’s your chance to try them!
Gløgg is mulled red wine, spices, cloves, and raisins and brændte mandler is roasted candied almonds.
Æbleskiver are doughnut balls served with jam and risengrød is rice pudding served hot with cinnamon on top.
Honninghjerter are sweet cakes similar to gingerbread, filled with apricot or orange jam, and covered in dark chocolate.
Even beer gets in the holiday spirit as Julebryg (Christmas beer). Tuborg was the first brewery to make Christmas beer.
Each year on ‘J-day', the first Friday in November, the brewery’s employees deliver the brew across the country on horse-drawn wagons.
Today you can find many brands of Christmas beer in shops, pubs, and restaurants.
St. Lucia Kayak Parade
Celebrating St. Lucia is a Christian tradition in both Denmark and Sweden that falls on December 13th, around the winter solstice.
Its spiritual purpose is to bring light and hope into the long, dark winter days experienced in Scandinavia. Festivities include processions of girls dressed in white holding candles.
Copenhagen celebrates in a unique way with a kayak parade!
At 5 pm, kayakers in kayaks decorated with lights paddle along Cophenhagen’s canals while singing Christmas songs.
The procession starts at Kajakhotellet, passing through Nyhavn, Christianshavn, and Højbro Plads, then returning to the starting point at about 6:30 p.m.
Every holiday season the Royal Danish Theatre presents the Christmas classic ballet, The Nutcracker.
The production, with its sumptuous sets and elegant costumes, brings the Christmas spirit to life.
The ballet will warm the hearts of children and grown-ups alike!
The performances run from November 24 to December 22, 2023. Find out more and purchase tickets here.