10 Ways to Make the Most of Christmas in Copenhagen

Jul Love Christmas in the Danish Capital

When living in Denmark. I say. Bring on Christmas.

It’s mid-November now. The clock has turned back and the dark descends earlier each evening. By Christmas, we’ll be down to a mere seven hours of daylight per day here in Denmark. No need to fret. Don’t be concerned. Bust out your candles. Turn on those twinkly lights. Let’s get our Jul on. It’s one of the things I adore most about living here in Denmark. And many Copenhagen Christmas activities kick off for real this weekend when Julemanden, Denmark’s version of Santa, switches on all the lights swung over the streets in the historic center city.

(Originally posted November 2016, updated November 2019)

How to celebrate this beautiful and hyggelige* Jul season when here in the capital? There are so many things to do, but these are few of my favorites. Without further ado, here are 10 ways to help you make the most of your Christmas in Copenhagen:

Top 10 Ways to Make the Most of Your Copenhagen Christmas 

1 | Celebrate the Lights

Copenhagen’s center town is a twisty cobble of charming old streets and colorful buildings. And while grey and potentially dreary this time of year, once strung with swaths of greenery and lights so twinkly, even you might not notice the chill at your cheek. Come Saturday, November 16th singers and sausages and yes, Julemanden too, will be on hand to get you ready to start the holidays. Let the lights illuminate the city I say.

Of course, if you miss this event, you can witness the wonder any day throughout the season. My most favorite lane to linger under the lights is probably Kronprinsensgade off Købmagergade, not far from Amagertorv – so sparkly and special.

Copenhagen Christmas Opening Event
Saturday 16 November 2019 | 14:00-16:30
Amagertorv/Strøget, København K

14.00 | Memorial Anchor at Nyhavn | Santa and his elves start the parade off in a horse-drawn carriage where they will move past Kongens Nytorv in front of Hotel D’Angleterre and end at City Hall Square between 14.30 to 15.00.

15.30 | Amagertorv Stork Fountain you’ll find Denmark’s bear friend Rasmus Klump and the seasonal tunes of the Postman’s Orchestra

13.59 | Countdown to Santa turning on the lights

NOTE: Event may be cancelled if it is raining. Check the link above to confirm.

Help us awaken the true Christmas spirit on the 16th November at 4 pm, as we celebrate the switch on of our annual Christmas decorations in the centre of Copenhagen.”
Copenhagen Christmas

10 Ways to Make the Most of Christmas in Copenhagen | From Christmas Markets to Lovely Lights and Warm Spiced Gløgg | from local blogger Oregon Girl Around the World
Kronprincensgade canopy of twinkly lights
Købmagergade near Illum Department Store
2 | Visit a Julemarked | Christmas Markets in Copenhagen

Already starting, Julemarked will pop up on nearly every corner and in every church. And while Copenhagen’s major Christmas markets have a certain kitsch charm, don’t limit yourself to their standard Jule fare. In this city known for design, seek out a design or kunstmarked – an art market. I prefer these unique and special markets full of local artists, creators and makers selling their one of kind art and design market. Click on the link below to check out where to find Copenhagen best little Christmas Markets this year.

Julemarked at Nyhavn Canal

READ MORE: COPENHAGEN’S BEST LITTLE CHRISTMAS MARKETS

3 | Try the Gløgg | Scandinavia’s Warm Christmas in a Cup

Gløgg is Denmark’s version of warm spiced mulled wine. Scandis like it a bit sweeter and always serve it with dried fruit, usually raisins and sliced almonds at the bottom of your cup. You’ll find it offered everywhere come Juletime in Copenhagen. But some are better than others, of course. For the fanciest cup o’ gløgg, head to the elegant and festive Hotel D’Angleterre near the newly reopened Kongens Nytorv. And while maybe an overnight stay isn’t in your Christmas budget – ogling their lights and annual holiday facade is a must do when in Copenhagen. Make it a special afternoon out and step inside for their famous white gløgg and marzipan snowballs by the fire. Hotel D’Angleterre fashions theirs with white wine and apricots. A super swanky Christmas treat.

For extra special seasonal pomp and circumstance – find a place to see the official  unveiling of Hotel D’Angleterre’s 2019 facade in a ceremony on Friday 22 November. Enjoy the sounds of the Royal Lifeguard’s band as the perform tunes for visitors while they wait.

Unveiling of the Hotel’s Holiday Facade
Friday 22 November 2019 | 16.45 – 17:15

Hotel D’Angleterre
Kongens Nytorv, København K

Gorgeous Christmas displays at Hotel D’Angleterre

Discover the City’s Best Gløgg

Want to try the city’s best gløgg? The wonderful food market Torvehallerne hosts an annual competition to taste the top tipples which happens this coming Sunday the 17th of November. Last year they awarded wine and spirit purveyor, Noorbohandelen the title. Of course, I had to try.

So I convinced fellow blogger and Copenhagen ex-local Carolyn Eddie to come with me. We got the inside scoop on what made it a winner last year. First, they infuse vodka, rum and calvados with a secret spice mixture (we guessed cinnamon, cloves and ginger) in casks for two years. Then they take a juicy Tempranillo red wine and blend with the mulled spirits and top off with some white port. This gløgg is spicy and strong and a 45DKK per glass, probably the best deal in Denmark. Who will take home the top glass this year?

Noorbohandelen
Frederiksborggade 21, 1360 København

City’s Best Gløgg Competition at Torvehallerne
Sunday 17 December 2019 | 12.00 – 15.00


4 | See the Tree Lighting at City Hall

A tradition dating back to 1914, every year on the first Sunday of Advent, Julemanden (Santa) parades through the city with the historic Copenhagen Fire Brigade starting at Nyhavn Canal. Around 15:40 he returns to the Råhuspladsen, City Hall, where he will be met by the mayor. Speeches will be made, songs will be sung, Santa and his Nisse will greet the visitors. Then, in a grand fashion, he will turn on the nearly 20-meter spruce tree, lit with 800 LED lights and 100 Christmas hearts.

Tree Lighting at City Hall
1st Sunday of Advent | 1 December 2019
City Hall Square, 1599 København K

Julemandens Nisse help spread the Christmas spirit


5 | Cruise the Canals by Kayak for Saint Lucia Day

The traditional Swedish Santa Lucia parade with candles takes on a Copenhagen twist as kayaks all alit paddle through the canals on Lucia Day. To participate, you must have our own vessel. To rent one from Kayak Republic – you need to show proof of EPP2 level training. Not ready to get out on the water? Watch safely from shore. We love watching them glide through the classic backdrop of the Christmas market on Nyhavn Canal.

Lucia i Kajak
Friday, 13 December 2019 17:00-18:30
Begins and ends at Kayak Republic Børskaj 12, København K


RELATED: SAVOR SOME SWEDISH CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS THIS YEAR

6 | Listen to Christmas Carols by a Choir

Something about carols being sung by a choir that always seems to help set the mood. Seeing them in a historic Danish church decked out for the season? Even better.

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas Holiday Concert
Saturday 7 December 2019 | 19:00
The Suoni Chorus, Suoni Ensemble and Copenhagen International Children’s Choir
Skt Jakobs Kirke
Østerbrogade 59, 2100 Copenhagen Ø

A musical celebration of christmas favourites, both old and new. The Concert features pieces that are arranged and written by composer Siobhan Lamb and performances from The Suoni Ensemble, The Suoni Chorus and The Copenhagen International Children’s Choirs. “

 

Julekoncert

The Copenhagen Boys Choir perform Bach’s Christmas Oratorio in the beautiful Københavns Domkirken with the Copenhagen Philharmonic Orchestra.

Friday 20 December 2019 | 19:30
Copenhagen Drengekor | Boys Choir
Københavns Domkirken (Vor Frue Kirke)
Nørregade 8, 1165 København


7 | Get Inspiration at Royal Copenhagen’s Christmas Tables

Stroll down Copenhagen’s pedestrian walking street known as the Strøget for simply stunning light displays and serious shopping. Pop into the flagship store of Royal Copenhagen china and head upstairs to see this year’s inspiring Christmas table displays. Celebrating the 56th year of the iconic Christmas tables, you’ll find this year’s theme which is sure to offer some quirky, some elegant and some artful ideas for your holiday table.

Royal Copenhagen Flagship Store Julebord | Christmas Tables
Amagertorv 6, 1160 København
Friday 22 November – 31 December 2019
Open during shop hours – see here for specific days and times.


8 | Dance Into Nødderknækkeren | The Nutcracker

This is a tradition near and dear to my heart, having danced in the Nutcracker for seven years of my youth. Depending on the year, you can see it performed here in Copenhagen either with the Royal Danish Ballet or at the Tivoli Ballet who take turns hosting every other year. Either place is magical, but I’m a big fan of seeing performances in Det Gamle Scene, the “old stage” of the Royal Theater right at Kongens Nytorv. For years that Tivoli hosts, you can experience the costumes and sets designed by Queen Margrethe herself. Instead, step into Hans Christian Andersen’s wintery wonderland with the Snow Queen on stage at the Tivoli Concert Hall this season.

Nødderknækkeren / The Nutcracker

30 November – 22 December 2019
The Royal Danish Ballet
Det Kongelige Teater
Kongens Nytorv 9, 1017 København K

Snedronningen | The Snow Queen
1 December to 22 December 2019
Tivoli Ballet
Tivoli Concert Hall
Vesterbrogade 3, 1630 København V

There is no Christmas without the Nutcracker, and it’s great to contribute to Tivoli’s Christmas atmosphere with a Christmas show, even Tivoli in 1874 as a frame. The Christmas Eve of the Nutcracker is one of my absolute favorites; a true classic, embracing adventure and magic for children and their families. With the Queen’s eye for the little extra detail in scenography and costume, the audience is waiting for a world to discover. ” – Tivoli Ballet


9 | Go Ice Skating at the Frederiksberg Runddel

Maybe the Lakes will freeze enough this year to be able to skate upon, but until then – you can glide on the rink that sits outside the Frederiksberg Castle Garden. Don’t own skates? No problem. You can rent a pair or a penguin! 50dkk per 30 minutes.

NOTE: You will need to leave your CPR card or 500dkk as deposit.

Frederiskberg Ice Rink
26th November to 28th February
Frederiksberg Runddel 1, 1621 København V

10 |  Juletide (Yuletime) at Tivoli Gardens Amusement Park

A Copenhagen Christmas is not complete with a visit to Tivoli Gardens Amusement Park. Tivoli is all kinds of wonderful in every season, but it shines at Christmas. Even if you aren’t tempted by rides, you’ll want to come for the lights. Tivoli wears Christmas well and drips with charm. I adore the Julemarked, not to be missed.

Will you be in Copenhagen ON Christmas with nothing to do? Tivoli is open and will light up the sky with the 25th annual Fireworks Festival from December 25th – 26th at 20:45 and the 27th at 23:00 at night. Grab a warm mug of gløgg and enjoy the fantastisk display. Missed the Christmas show? One more chance to see the fireworks on New Year’s Eve at 23:00.

Tivoli Gardens Christmas Season
16 November 2019 – 5 January 2020
Vesterbrogade 3, 1630 København V

NOTE: Because Danes celebrate Christmas on the 24th – the park hours are limited from 11:00-16:00.

When darkness falls over the Gardens you can enjoy the evocative Lucia Parade, which passes through the Gardens at 17:30 on Tuesday 13 December.

Tivoli has a long tradition of candles in the Gardens, and the Lucia Parade complements our tradition beautifully. The choir is made up of a hundred girls.

The parade starts and finishes at Castle Square next to the Tivoli Castle, giving Tivoli’s visitors a chance to enjoy the beautiful Santa Lucia song and other atmospheric Christmas tunes.”
– Tivoli Gardens


READ MORE: COPENHAGEN HAS THE BEST NEW YEAR’S EVE IN THE WORLD

Copenhagen has the Best New Year's Eve in the WorldCopenhagen has the Best New Year's Eve in the World

Are you lucky enough to stay through New Years Eve? I think Copenhagen has one of the best New Year’s celebrations in the world. And I’ve seen a few! The holiday season is seriously spectacular here in Denmark. Cheers from Copenhagen this Christmas season. – Erin

Lots more on the blog all about Christmas in Denmark:

Best Little Christmas Markets in Copenhagen
A Scandinavian Winter Playlist to Create Your Own Hygge
Tasting Danish Christmas Food – Bloggers Share Their Favorites
Don’t Mess With Danish Christmas Dinner
Where to try Risengrød | Get Danish Christmas Porridge at Grød
Denmark is Growing a Sustainable Christmas Season With Organic Trees
Savor Some Christmas Traditions From Sweden This Season

10 Things to Do in Copenhagen at Christmas | Oregon Girl Around the World

hyggelige* = full of hygge, that untranslatable Danish word for a sense of cozy contentment.

23 thoughts on “10 Ways to Make the Most of Christmas in Copenhagen

  1. Pingback: Things I am Thankful for Living In Denmark - oregon girl around the world

  2. Pingback: Faraway Files #9 - oregon girl around the world

  3. Oh I love it, looks gorgeous – made for Christmas! One of those cities where you just have to go full-on festive and embrace the freak out of it. White gløgg and marcipan snowballs by the fire – not sure what that is but I want all of it!!

    1. oregongirlaroundtheworld

      Haha! Embrace the freak out of I try! Gløgg is the Scandi version of mulled wine – usually has some slivered almonds and dried fruit at the bottom – some people eat, some just like for flavor. Marcipan snowballs – I’ll send you a pic!

  4. Pingback: Tasting Danish Christmas Food - Bloggers Share Their Favorites - oregon girl around the world

  5. Pingback: Reasons to Visit Copenhagen in Winter - oregon girl around the world

    1. oregongirlaroundtheworld

      Where in Sweden? We spent a quiet but super quiet Christmas in West Sweden two years ago! I love Scandi Christmas. Glædelig Jul from Denmark!

  6. Hi, what time in December would you recommend? I’m looking at beginning of December, but late November is also available. When do the lights start? I’ve been there a couple of years ago for a month in the summer, but there is a chance I might move there. My plan is to scout how I might deal with the winter and combine it with Christmas activities. Is late Nov. equally nice?
    Thank you.

    1. oregongirlaroundtheworld

      Hej from here! If you really want to test your Danish winter skills – you should come in January when the twinkly hygge is all boxed up for the year. But – Christmas in Copenhagen is pretty darn cute and you can get it late November for sure. Once the Christmas beer has been ceremoniously delivered on J-Day (November 1, 2019) the season has officially started. To get the most bang for your buck though – I’d try for the first weekend in December when the huge tree at City Hall is turned on for the four weeks up to Christmas. Tons of little local artisan Julemarked (Christmas markets) are on that weekend as well. Some of the more commercial Christmas markets will be going late November though and there will be plenty of gløgg to try all around town. Are you moving for a job? Or school? Cheers!

      1. Hi, This is super helpful, thank you! It would be for my partners job, probably for several years. We both really liked it, but 6h of daylight/day is a bit scary…

      2. oregongirlaroundtheworld

        It’s a very lovely place to live – we’ve been here 5 years (also said it would probably be a couple years). And the shortest day here offers 7 whole hours of daylight. It’s really the worst in January, but there are ways of getting through it! And in summer you get 17.5 hours of daylight – so you soak it all up!

    1. oregongirlaroundtheworld

      Define winter. Where are you coming from? It doesn’t snow that much here, but it is damp and cold and dark. Danes say spring starts March 1, but we’ve had flurries as late as April 1 – and sometimes a month of sun in Feb. it all depends. The hardest part for me is the dark. But I come from Oregon where winter is wet and grey as well.

  7. Yes, it would depend. I am used to all kinds of winters, I grew up in Slovenia, where we used to get snow and cold(up to -10), winter would be late Nov. to end of Feb, but the snow wouldn’t really stay. Now it is much milder. I experienced one of the coldest winters in Poland – in 2009 that the frost started to give way in May( that was tough) and my partner is Canadian, I have been there for winter breaks, also cold and snow tends to stay for longer periods. We lived in Paris for 4 years, where it’snot very cold, just moist and grey also – it’s the gray that is the downer…

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