Danish Christmas markets coming to town

It's almost that time of year again, and towns across Denmark are busy organising another year of Christmas markets for the whole family. Here's The Local's guide to eight spots nationwide sure to put you in the holiday spirit.

Danish Christmas markets coming to town
The Copenhagen amusement park Tivoli is just one of many places to celebrate Christmas Danish-style. Photo: Tivoli

The winter brings many things to Denmark; from bitter temperatures and grey foreboding skies, to fields of frost that shimmer in the morning light and the scent of wood smoke drifting through the crisp air. This sometimes magical season brings not only its bracing temperatures, but also the delight of Christmas festivities.

Yet this most beloved tradition of Christmas can leave some with the feeling that Santa Claus, or Julemanden in Denmark, has succumbed to the depths of consumerism, as internet shopping fast makes the joy of a family day at a market obsolete. But wait, is that the sound of sleigh bells or the sound of towns across Denmark organising a festive treat of beautiful Christmas markets through the season? I do believe it may just be the latter, providing a plethora of traditional toys, sweets and gifts for all the family.

Here’s a list of eight delightful Christmas markets that will be on in Denmark this year.

1. Hans Christian Anderson Christmas market in Odense

Photo H.C. Andersen Julemarkedet
Photo H.C. Andersen Julemarkedet

H.C Anderson is Denmark’s most famous storyteller, and the Christmas market in Odense certainly captures his fairy tale atmosphere. The market has a charming old fashioned theme emulating the period in which H.C Anderson penned the stories that captured so many imaginations. Based in the historic old part of town in Odense, it will be open from the December 4-13th on Fridays 3pm to 7pm, Saturdays 10am to 6pm and Sundays 10am to 5pm. More info

2. Nyhavn Christmas market in Copenhagen

Photo: Kim Wyon/Visit Denmark
Photo: Kim Wyon/Visit Denmark

Copenhagen's most-photographed area will soon become a great place to enjoy the delights of a Danish Christmas. Small wooden huts will be selling gifts and a variety of delicious treats to enjoy during the seasonal period. Coupled with the large variety of cafes and restaurants on the street, Nyhavn is a cozy setting to witness how Denmark does Christmas. Opening on November 13, it will run through December 22nd. The shops will be open 11.30am to 5pm Monday to Thursday and Sunday, and on Friday and Saturday it will be open 11am to 7pm. More info

3. Christmas market in Aarhus

Photo: Byens Kunst- & Julemarked/VisitAarhus
Photo: Byens Kunst- & Julemarked/VisitAarhus

Located in the atmospheric and exquisitely decorated Ridehuset equestrian hall, the organizers are promising a smorgasbord of 85 different stalls selling homemade Danish goods. There will of course be the chance to enjoy a warming coffee, a tantalising Christmas punch and some homely baked goods. Opening on November 27th and running till December 20th, open Monday through to Friday 12pm to 6pm and Saturday and Sunday 11am to 5pm. Admission to the event is free. More info

 4. Christmas market in Aalborg

Photo: Michael Damsgaard/VisitDenmark
Photo: Michael Damsgaard/VisitDenmark

To be situated in the centre of Aalborg, the organizers have promised a festive experience that they guarantee will get you straight into that Christmas spirit. So if there is a certain Scrooge in the family, get them down to Aalborg market to see the centre lit up and teeming with Christmas shops. The market will be opening on November 20th and will close on December 23rd. The event is open from 12pm to 6pm on most days, but will stay open later on Friday nights and close at 4pm on Sundays. More info

5. Christmas market in Nakskov

Photo Visit Lolland-Falster
Photo Visit Lolland-Falster

The Christmas market in Nakskov is promising to be a traditional Danish affair if ever you have seen one, offering æbleskiver, klejner and other sweet Danish seasonal delicacies to sink your teeth into. Of course, there will also be a selection of hand craft products and a broad variety of stalls selling regional specialities from local producers. The market will open on November 27th from 4pm to 9pm and then will be open every Saturday and Sunday 10am to 3pm through Christmas. More info

6. Christmas Market in Esbjerg

Photo: Julebyen Esbjerg

The city of Esbjerg will be hosting a Christmas market that will fill the streets with the sounds and smells that people have come to love around the Christmas period. The market will also have an ice rink and music to enjoy after a day of browsing the many stalls offering Christmas treats and gifts. The market will be opening on November 19th and run every day until December 23rd. More info

7. The Old Town Christmas market in Aarhus

Photo: Den Gamle By
Photo: Den Gamle By

Aarhus's The Old Town (Den Gamle By) is an open-air museum that has preserved the by-gone days of Denmark. Their Christmas market is no different, offering a glimpse into Danish Christmas from the 17th century to the beginning of the 20th century with over 30 exhibitions. The market will be offering Danish culinary classics and gift ideas from their old fashioned stores, along with shows during the weekend that should excite all the family. The Christmas market will begin on November 14th and continue through January 3rd. More info.

8. Tivoli Christmas market in Copenhagen 

Kim Wyon/VisitDenmark
Kim Wyon/VisitDenmark

The famous Copenhagen theme park will once again open up for the festive Christmas season. As well as the usual rides, shops and restaurants, the theme park will be boasting 60 stalls selling Christmas sweets, traditional crafts and of course some hot drinks to warm up. The theme park will also be hosting shows and spectacles for all the family to enjoy. The park will be starting its Christmas season on November 14th and it will remain open until January 1st. More info


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Copenhagen’s Tivoli cancels popular Christmas season as lockdown takes effect

Tivoli, a 175-year-old amusement park which is one of Copenhagen’s most famous tourist attractions, has cancelled its hugely-popular Christmas season due to new Covid-19 restrictions.

Copenhagen's Tivoli cancels popular Christmas season as lockdown takes effect
A quiet Tivoli on December 9th. Photo: Nils Meilvang/Ritzau Scanpix

The attraction, where many people normally go in December to enjoy its spectacular Christmas decorations and unique seasonal atmosphere, has chosen to close for the rest of the year as a result of the lockdown in Copenhagen, it said in a statement.

A partial lockdown in Copenhagen and other parts of Denmark, which was announced by the government on Monday and comes into effect today, is the reason for the decision, the statement said.

“Tivoli interprets the government’s and (health) authorities’ message as clearly and unambiguous: We must see each other and meet different people as little as possible until infections are under control, especially in municipalities with tighter restrictions”, the statement read.

Tivoli has been operating under a special booking system since November in a measure introduced to reduce the risk of coronavirus spread.

Although the lockdown does not require outside parks like Tivoli to completely close, all indoors areas would have had to be closed to the public, had the attraction remained open. 

Tivoli is now scheduled to open again for Easter on March 27th, 2021 and is planning an extended summer opening season.

Some of the park’s concert and theatre facilities are still planning to show musicals and other shows from the end of January. The partial lockdown is scheduled to expire on January 3rd.