Things to do in Copenhagen at Christmas

September 19, 2019
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Lars Thoning

Scandinavian winters can be so cold that even the mighty Vikings feared them. Luckily, Copenhageners have developed plenty of hygge-filled Christmas traditions and fun wintry activities that you’ll barely notice the freezing temperatures. Here are our favourite things to do at Christmas in twinkly Copenhagen:

Explore the festive displays at Tivoli Gardens

Train Station at Tivoli Gardens
Even the train station at Tivoli Gardens looks festive! | Photo Credit: Visit Copenhagen

We don’t always get snow at Christmas in Copenhagen, despite the hype, but it doesn’t matter when you have Tivoli on your doorstep. What makes it so magical is how they adapt the displays to the different seasons and the Christmas season has to be seen to be believed. The decorations are beautiful and the lovely Christmas market within the gardens features traditional wooden huts with real fireplaces to cozy up in while you do your Christmas shopping.

Experience the festive atmosphere in Nyhavn

Nyhavn harbourside at Christmas
Don't miss the atmospheric market and twinkly lights at Nyhavn. | Photo Credit: Visit Copenhagen

Nyhavn encompasses the entertainment-packed waterfront and is always dressed in her best for Christmas. One of the best Christmas markets in Copenhagen can be found here, right in front of the restaurants, which blocks the view, but you’re rewarded with hot steaming Glühwein, so it’s not all bad.

Taste the best Danish version of Glühwein – Gløgg

mulled wine copenhagen
There's nothing like a hot glass of Glühwein to keep the wintry winds of Copenhagen at bay. | Photo Credit: Urban Adventures

And speaking of Glühwein, Copenhagen, hosts an annual competition to find the best producers of Gløgg. 2017’s winner was Huks Fluks Gløgg; their red-wine based gløgg consists of organic Tempranillo, port wine, white rum, cardamom, bay laurels, juniper berries, ginger, French oak and a lot of love. We can attest to it is simply delicious and just what you need walking around in Copenhagen during December.

Admire the Christmas decorations at Hotel D’Angleterre & Magasin Du Nord

Admire the decor at Hotel :'Angleterre, Copenhagen
See the gorgeous Christmas decorations and nativity scene at Hotel D'Angleterre. | Photo Credit: Visit Copenhagen

A visit to Kongens Nytorv is a must during your stay. It’s one of the most colourful areas during some of the darkest days of the year and the lights and decorations are very pretty and Instagram-able! The lights at Hotel D’Angleterre have become somewhat of a tradition for many Copenhageners to pay homage to in December.

Hit the ice skating rink at Frederiksberg Runddel (hopefully not literally)

The ice skating rink at Frederiksberg Runddel

Frederiksberg is a city within a city, with their own zip code and everything. Do not fear though, it’s easily accessible from Copenhagen’s inner city and this ice skating rink is well worth the journey. They offer skate rental, so no worries if you haven’t packed your skates. It usually gets dark around 4pm, after that you can skate amongst the twinkly Christmas lights.

Warm up in a sauna with a breath-taking view

Enjoy the views as you indulge in a series of relaxing sauna and hot tub experiences at CopenHot. | Photo Credit: CopenHot

CopenHot is the place to sauna. Sailed around canals in a boat with a sauna (there’s a boat captain and everything!), enjoy a stationary barrel spa or gaze at Copenhagen’s picturesque skyline from their panoramic spa. I recommend jumping into the canal to cool down first, to kickstart your Danish spa experience, before settling in at the spa, like true Vikings used to do.

Christmas concerts in a classic church

Enjoy a Christmas concert at Trinitatis Church. | Photo Credit: Visit Copenhagen

Christmas Concerts in Copenhagen are very popular, so it’s definitely worth booking tickets early. The two most popular concerts are the the classical Christmas concert Händels Messias performed in Holmens Kirke in the lead up to the big day of and Concerto Copenhagen which offers classical Christmas music in the beautiful atmosphere of Trinitatis Church. But there are concerts all over – some of them free and some of them paid, so remember to check the churches when you walk on by.

Find a fireplace and settle down for some hygge in front of it

Nimb bar interior
Enjoy the fire at Nimb Bar. Photo Credit: Visit Copenhagen

Nothing beats a proper fireplace at Christmas. We love the stunning ballroom at Nimb Bar, where you can settle down in front of their large fireplace in their comfy armchairs with a cocktail or a cup of tea. Cocktail bar Balderdash also has a roaring fire to enjoy a drink beside, and their cocktails are some of the most innovative in town. Sitting by the fire with a drink and some friends is Danish hygge personified. It’s that warm, cosy glow you get when you’re surrounded by the people you love. If you want to learn more about hygge you should definitely join us for our Hygge and Happiness tour, which aims to

Play Monopoly with strangers

Bastard Cafe Copenhagen
Boardgames, coffee (or cider) and bar snacks. Does it get much better than Bastard Cafe? We don't think so! | Photo Credit: Bastard Cafe

We love a board game at Urban Adventures. If you are anything like us, you will make a beeline for Bastard Café – a board game café that boasts more than 1300 board games, all available for your playing pleasure! The atmosphere is especially fun and festive at Christmas, a time when board games are practically mandatory! The bar snacks here are fun too. We love the ‘Big Bastard Toast of Doom,’ which is a triple-decker-double-cheese-double-meat toast, perfect to keep those hunger pangs at bay as your chess game goes into the early hours…

Bundle up and jump on a bike (yes, seriously!)

Copenhagen cycling in winter
Braving the wintry cold on your bike in Copenhagen has its benefits. | Photo credit: Visit Copenhagen

A little cold won’t stop the locals from bicycling, so why should it stop you? The authorities are rigorous about laying salt down on the bike lanes as soon as there’s a hint of snow, so they’re perfectly safe and it would be a shame not to experience Copenhagen’s inspirational bicycle culture/infrastructure just because it’s a bit cold! It is not only a fastest way to experience the city, but it can also throw up some impressive photo opportunities; crisp days with beautiful low winter sun make the city ‘pop’ in a fashion that can only be experienced in the winters.


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