Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Christmas in Copenhagen

I have to admit, Christmas is my favourite time of the year. I love everything about the season whether it be the multiple hot chocolates , Christmas songs blaring from the radio on repeat or battling the crowds getting gifts there is nothing quite like it. As a recent tradition to really get in the festive spirit I vowed I would go abroad each year and visit some of the incredible Christmas markets other cities had to offer. Last year I visited Copenhagen in Denmark and had the best time exploring this beautiful city.  For those heading there in the next few weeks I have rounded up a few of my recommendations.

This historical, picturesque harbour to me, is synonymous with Copenhagen with it's townhouses painted in bright colours and historic ships moored in the canal. It really does make for a pretty picture. Built in 1671 these townhouses have see famous residents such as Hans Christian Anderson, author of the fairytale 'The Little Mermaid'.  Packed with busy restaurants and bars, Nyhavn makes for a lovely place to sit in the warmth and people watch whilst enjoying a mug of hot Glogg. Whilst I was there they had a Christmas market selling unique gifts from small wooden huts along the length of the canal.

Christmas Markets
This was the main reason for visiting Copenhagen and boy does the city know how to get you in the festive spirit. Instead of having one main market it has smaller ones dotted around the city. My favourite for food were the stalls at Kongens Nytorv, located between Nyhavn and Strøget and overlooking the beautiful Hotel D'Angleterre. I would highly recommend trying Danish Wurst, Sauerkraut and Nudler all of which was delicious. For gifts head to the Christmas market at Højbro Plads, I bought some beautiful Danish decorations their to bring home with me. Also check out the Hans Christian Andersen Christmas Market on Axeltorv across from Tivoli and the market aNytorv at Strøget and have a ride on their Ferris wheel for the best views of Copenhagen.

Tivoli Gardens
When I initially researched the Tivoli Gardens at first glance it appeared to be a tacky amusement park. Luckily I had heard from friends who had visited the previous year at Christmas time that it was a must see and I'm glad we did. We visited at night time and the place was all lit up with spectacular illumination, it really felt magical and even the cold-hearted would find it difficult to succumb to this place. The main draw is for families and children  with over thirty rides, which includes one of the world's oldest functioning  wooden roller coasters. At Christmas they also have over 60 stalls selling food, gifts and decorations. This place really does need to be seen to believed.

We visited this under cover food market every single day during the four days we were in Copenhagen. They sell danish delicacies and it's a great place to duck in from the cold and grab a much needed coffee, I recommend going to the coffee collective. Or sample some of the delicious food on offer from the many stalls serving food and no doubt there will be something to take your fancy. I had a tasty portion of fresh fish and chips and it kept me going for a busy afternoon exploring. They also have a beautiful flower market in Israels Plads Square.

Go in search of The Little Mermaid via Kastellet
We were lucky to get amazing weather during our whole trip to Copenhagen and the day we went on search for The Little Mermaid was no exception. We first had a wander around Kastellet which is one of the best preserved star-shaped fortresses in Northern Europe which is still a functioning military base. The grassy ramparts also provided impressive 360° views and a stunning view of St. Alban's Church.

As you continue to walk around the harbour towards the northern edge of Kastellet you will find sitting on a boulder looking out to sea, The Little Mermaid and probably the city's most famous symbol. Some people don't get what all the fuss as it is pretty small in stature but I love the fairytale and thought the sculpture was beautiful. Never the less the walk is lovely by the harbour and would highly recommend whether you are searching for her or not.

Take a Canal Tour
We hadn't planned to do a canal tour but on the last day we had spare Krohn to use up so decided it would be take one of the hour long tours along Copenhagen's historical canals. It was really interesting and it was great getting an insight into Denmarks history. Although if you do sit outside, make sure you wrap up warm it can get really windy out on the open water.

Is an old Danish concept, used to get Danes through the cold winters and the long dark nights. To enjoy an authentic Copenhagen experience I urge you to find 'Hygge' which idiomatically translated means 'cosiness'. Whilst exploring a very cold Copenhagen, myself and the bf would regularly take comfort in the warmth of cosy cafés, being able to go at our own pace and enjoy life's simple pleasures like sitting in front of a long fire drinking mugs full of hot chocolate was just perfect. Hygge probably explains why Danes are the happiest people in the world. Try it, it's a must.

Have you been to Copehagen at Christmas? 

Linda x


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