Have you ever heard about the word ‘hygge’?
Today books about ‘hygge’ are sold all over the world with recipes about how to do it and definitions on what this crazy word means, but please know that there is no recipe for how to ‘hygge’ the right way – you need to find your own! We know the truth sucks…
However, if you do want to learn what it is all about, then we suggest visiting Copenhagen during December. This month is magical and definitely a fun time of the year to visit – as long as you bring all of the warm clothes you have.
We get many questions about where to eat and what to do when visiting Copenhagen during Christmas, but don’t worry we got you covered with Christmas food, events, markets & traditions.
Here’s a list of the sections in this article for your convenience:
Tivoli, æbleskiver & gløgg
It is always worth taking a walk in Tivoli and during Christmas it is a really special experience with all the lights, (fake) snow and Santas.
While fresh air is important, we also recommend you to try the traditional Danish Christmas treat ‘æbleskiver’ at Vaffelbageriet (these will be served many places, but get them here!). They are the most amazing balls of fried dough served with jam and confectionary sugar for dipping.
When it comes to drinks then‘gløgg’ (the Danish version of hot mulled wine with raisins and nuts – which you should eat, they are not just pretty, but also delicious after swimming around in the booze) is a must try and why not get it at restaurant Gemyse where they also have an amazing hot chocolate for the children. At Gemyse you can toast homemade marshmallows over the bonfires in their beautiful garden
– THIS IS HYGGE PEOPLE!
Copenhagen Christmas lunch
Danes love to eat and during December it gets really crazy with all the Christmas lunches we do each weekend leading up to the big evening on the 24th (cultural insight: Danes primary celebrate Christmas on the evening of the 24th of December! Not just with a great dinner like most countries, but also by dancing around the Christmas tree singing songs before opening up the presents – it is a full evening performance of hygge!).
These are our recommendations to places with traditional Danish Christmas food:
*Do not visit these if you are going on our Copenhagen Delicacy Tour.
The Foods of Copenhagen Christmas Event
Join our Christmas event which we are hosting together with Winterspring Desserts. We invite you to celebrate Danish Christmas traditions with chef made cakes, tea, and ‘gløgg’ in a cosy tea salon with a view of the Royal Theatre.
You’ll learn about Nordic herbal tea infusions, make your own ‘flødeboller’ (chocolate cream puff) under the direction of renowned chefs, eat an exquisite selection of Danish Christmas cookies, and toast to the season with a glass of warm ‘gløgg’ (Nordic mulled wine).
We’ll share stories about Danish Christmas traditions and talk about how they’re similar or different to yours. In the spirit of the holidays, you’ll leave with a gift from Winterspring which you can enjoy at home.
500 DKK per person and includes tea, gløgg, Christmas cookies, flødeboller, and a small gift.
Wednesday, December 19 from 20.00 – 21.30
Only 10 spots available!
Winterspring Tea Salon at Magasin Kgs. Nytorv
Kongens Nytorv 13, 1095 Copenhagen
Email us to book your spot on firstname.lastname@example.org or book here
Copenhagen Christmas markets
You will find many Christmas markets in Copenhagen during December, but you will truly feel the Christmas spirit while visiting these:
Christiania Christmas Market
Explore the amazing Christmas market in the Freetown of Christiania. The market has existed since the 70’s and you have the chance to support and meet the actual creators of the food and unique artwork you buy here. If you are looking for Christmas ideas & presents this market has great opportunities. Very local and very “hyggeligt”.
Opening hours: December 8 – December 20
Address: Den Grå Hal, Refshalevej 2, Christiania. Entrance is free.
Royal Christmas Market at Kronborg Castle
A little outside Copenhagen you find a beautiful Christmas market at Kronborg Castle (Hamlet’s Castle). Here you find an exquisite combination of handcraft, quality products, Christmas food and Christmas entertainment. A must visit for most locals during Christmas.
Opening hours: November 30 – December 8.
Address: Kronborg 2 C, 3000 Helsingør (Elsinore)
Otherwise you will find markets at Kongens Nytorv and of course in Tivoli.
3 Christmas experiences in Copenhagen
The lights of Hotel D’Angleterre
Watching the Christmas lights and decorations at one of the oldest hotels in Copenhagen is a true spectacle, awaited with anticipation by many locals every year. The decorations are revealed and the lights turned on Friday the 23rd of November and they will light up Kongens Nytorv throughout Christmas.
Do a Christmas canal tour
Hey Captain offers great canal tours during Christmas in covered boats. While sailing through the canals of Copenhagen they even serve hot chocolate or gløgg – this is hygge!
Watch the Nutcracker
Tivoli is doing their own take on the Christmas classic with costumes and scenery by Queen Margrete of Denmark. In this version Clara finds herself in the dreamland of Tivoli and are joined by Tivoli’s famous characters Harlekin, Columbine and Pjerrot.
Christmas Eve in Copenhagen
Are you travelling during the holidays and spending Christmas Eve in Copenhagen? Even though most places are closed for the holidays, we have gathered a selections of great ways to celebrate the evening of 24th of December in Copenhagen.
Communal Dinner at Absalon
Are you up for dinning with locals in a very relaxed manner? Absalon describes themselves as your living room away from home and offers a lot of cultural activities. One of them is a Christmas Eve dinner where everybody helps each other setting and cleaning the table. After the dinner the games begin, we promise you will make new friends this way! Buy tickets.
Christmas at Kokkedal Castle
Have you ever dreamed of celebrating Christmas at a beautiful, old Danish castle? Here is your chance! Kokkedal Castle offers a gourmet Christmas dinner in stunning surroundings. The castle is located just half an hour north of Copenhagen by train. Read more and book your Christmas dinner.
Midnight service at the National Cathedral
Despite not practicing religion in everyday life, most Danes enjoy going to church and singing Christmas carols on Christmas Eve. Join the midnight service at Vor Frue Kirke to share this experience with the locals. Despite of the service being performed in Danish, we still recommend taking part of this cultural phenomenon, because the beauty of the church and the music.
Other ways to bring home the taste of Danish Christmas
During the cold months we Danes love drinking snaps. It is a strong alcohol (35-40%) flavoured with herbs, spices, fruits or berries. If you want to bring some home go look around Torvehallerne for great local varieties. Bornholmer-butikken and Noorbohandelen have a lot of different options in different sizes, some even fit into your carry on!
We eat a special Christmas dessert called Ris a la Mande; a cold rice pudding with whipped cream, chopped almonds and vanilla served with a fragrant cherry sauce. On Christmas Eve we hide a whole almond in the pudding. The one who finds the almond, gets a present, traditionally a marzipan pig. Most artisanal chocolate shops will carry chocolate covered marzipan pigs during Christmas.
If you want to recreate all the amazing Christmas food at home, we suggest bringing home a great cookbook: Female chef Trine Hahnemann has written a beautiful one on Scandinavian Christmas. Find it at her store at Torvehallerne or her food mekka at Østerbro (Sankt Kjelds Plads 14).
Edible advent calenders
Bring home a tasty advent calendar to treat yourself or the ones you love. Some of our favourites are:
Karamelleriet: Tasty handmade caramels in the most beautiful packaging. Get your hands on one of bad boys at their shop at Jægersborggade or at the confectionary section of the department store Magasin.
Johan Bulow: Did you fall in love with licorice? This is how to keep the romance alive during the cold winter. The calendar has so many varieties of the black gold, some are even covered in chocolate. You can find them at Magasin or grab one at the airport on your way home.
Tante T: We know Christmas is the time for sweets, but this calendar still deserves recognition. It is tea calendar! Offering a cup of comforting tea for every day of Christmas, what is not to love? You can find it in their shop at Torvehallerne.
Ro Chokolade: One of the few chocolate gourmet advent calendars, which is not going to take up all the space in your suitcase. But don’t be fooled by its size – the quality is superb and you will love every bite! You can buy it at their shop at Jægersborggade. Don’t forget to try their hot chocolate when visiting.
Merry Christmas everyone!