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Expat Exchange - Best Places to Visit in Denmark for Christmas Cheer
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Best Places to Visit in Denmark for Christmas Cheer

By Joshua Wood, LPC

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Summary: Plan a day trip or weekend getaway to get some holiday cheer. This article highlights the best places to visit in Denmark for Christmas cheer.

Living in Denmark - Best Places to Visit in Denmark for Christmas Cheer

As the festive season approaches, Denmark transforms into a winter wonderland, offering expats and digital nomads a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in the Scandinavian holiday spirit. From the twinkling lights of Copenhagen to the traditional Christmas markets in provincial towns, there's a wealth of places to explore in December. Whether you're looking for the perfect gift, a taste of Danish yuletide treats, or simply to soak up the cozy atmosphere, these destinations are sure to fill your holidays with cheer.

Copenhagen's Tivoli Gardens

The heart of Copenhagen's Christmas celebrations can be found at the iconic Tivoli Gardens. This historic amusement park is adorned with festive decorations and thousands of lights, creating a magical backdrop for its annual Christmas market, which typically runs from mid-November to the end of December. Visitors can browse through the numerous stalls selling Danish handicrafts, decorations, and seasonal treats like æbleskiver (pancake puffs) and gløgg (mulled wine). The gardens also host a variety of Christmas shows and rides, making it a perfect spot for both young and old.

We Recommend: Don't miss the chance to try the traditional Danish Christmas brew, julebryg, which is a favorite during the holiday season. The festive atmosphere is further enhanced by the Tivoli Christmas Light Show, a dazzling display that should not be missed.

Aarhus' Den Gamle By

In Aarhus, the open-air museum of Den Gamle By (The Old Town) offers a charming step back in time with its historical buildings and streets decked out in traditional Christmas decor. During December, the museum transforms into a living Christmas card, complete with a historical market where you can find unique gifts and seasonal delicacies. The museum also organizes Christmas workshops and storytelling, making it a delightful educational experience as well as a festive outing.

We Recommend: Be sure to taste the klejner, a fried twisted pastry that is a Danish Christmas classic. Also, take a moment to enjoy the traditional Christmas table settings in the historical homes, which offer a glimpse into Danish Christmas customs through the ages.

Odense's Hans Christian Andersen Christmas Market

The fairy-tale city of Odense, birthplace of Hans Christian Andersen, hosts a Christmas market that captures the imagination with its enchanting atmosphere. The Hans Christian Andersen Christmas Market usually takes place in early December and features stalls inspired by the author's famous stories. Artisans sell handcrafted items, while traditional Danish Christmas foods and sweets fill the air with delightful aromas. The market is a tribute to the city's literary heritage and a must-visit for fans of Andersen's work.

We Recommend: Try the heart-shaped honey cakes, honninghjerter, which are a local favorite. Also, look out for performances and readings of Andersen's tales, which add a touch of magic to the market experience.

Aalborg's Julemarked

Aalborg's Christmas market, or Julemarked, is a festive highlight in this northern city. Held in the main square, the market features a range of stalls selling Christmas crafts, decorations, and plenty of edible treats. The scent of roasted almonds and hot cocoa fills the air, while the sound of Christmas carols and the sight of the beautifully decorated Christmas tree create a warm and inviting atmosphere. The market typically runs from late November until just before Christmas.

We Recommend: Don't leave without sampling the gløgg accompanied by a serving of æbleskiver, the quintessential Danish Christmas treat. The combination of the warm, spiced wine and the sweet, doughy balls dusted with powdered sugar is a true taste of Danish Christmas.

Roskilde's Christmas Market

The historic city of Roskilde, famous for its Viking Ship Museum and UNESCO-listed cathedral, also hosts a delightful Christmas market. Set against the backdrop of the cathedral, the market offers a variety of stalls with crafts, gifts, and festive foods. The market is known for its cozy atmosphere and is a great place to find traditional Danish Christmas items. It usually takes place on the weekends in December leading up to Christmas.

We Recommend: Be sure to enjoy a warm cup of apple punch, a less common but equally delicious alternative to gløgg. Also, take the opportunity to explore the cathedral, which is often adorned with beautiful Christmas decorations.

Copenhagen's Nyhavn

The picturesque harbor of Nyhavn in Copenhagen is transformed into a Christmas postcard scene during December. The historic colorful houses and old ships set the stage for a festive market where you can find everything from Danish Christmas decorations to hand-knit sweaters. The restaurants and bars along the harbor offer seasonal menus and warm drinks, perfect for a chilly winter's day. The Christmas market typically runs from late November to the end of December.

We Recommend: Indulge in a traditional Danish Christmas lunch, or julefrokost, at one of the many restaurants along the harbor. This multi-course meal often includes pickled herring, meatballs, and liver pâté, among other delicacies.

Ribe's Christmas Market

Ribe, the oldest town in Denmark, hosts a quaint Christmas market that captures the essence of a traditional Danish Christmas. The market is set in the town's medieval square, surrounded by well-preserved old buildings. Visitors can enjoy the festive atmosphere while browsing through the various stalls selling crafts, sweets, and warm drinks. The market usually takes place on the weekends in December and is a perfect way to experience Christmas in a historical setting.

We Recommend: Try the local specialty, Ribe æblekage, a delicious apple cake that is sure to warm you up on a cold December day. Also, take a stroll through the cobbled streets to fully appreciate the town's historical charm.

Copenhagen's Christmas at Kongens Nytorv

Kongens Nytorv, a central square in Copenhagen, is another must-visit destination during the Christmas season. The square is beautifully decorated with lights and a large Christmas tree, creating a festive atmosphere. Surrounding the square, you'll find the upscale department store Magasin du Nord, which features elaborate Christmas window displays and a wide selection of holiday gifts. The Christmas market here offers a more upscale shopping experience, with high-quality Danish design items and gourmet food products. The market typically runs from late November to Christmas Eve.

We Recommend: Enjoy a luxurious hot chocolate from one of the gourmet stalls or the nearby cafes. It's the perfect treat to keep you warm while you take in the elegant Christmas decorations and bustling holiday atmosphere.

About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

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