Founded in 1843, the Tivoli Gardens amusement park delights guests all year long with its gardens, fairground rides and performances. Every winter, things get even more magical, as between November 18 and December 31 the park celebrates the festive season with a packed calendar of enchanting events.
During the wintry months, the park's numerous gardens – including Boulevardhaven (the hanging gardens), the Columbine Gardens and the Japanese Gardens – won't be bursting with flowers, but they will be all decked out to usher in the holiday season. Miles of twinkling lights line the walkways and hang from the willows, arranged in patterns drawn up by the head jewelry designer for Tiffany & Co. Late-night visitors to the garden will also witness another kind of light show: you can catch Christmas and New Year fireworks.
The Christmas market
The park's Christmas market is another holiday highlight. Vendors set up shop in the gardens, selling traditional sweets, ornaments, handicrafts and more. The market is a fairly new fixture for the gardens, having only started in 1994, but already it attracts more than one million visitors annually. Grab a hot mug of gløgg to warm yourself up while you shop. This mulled red wine, spiced with schnapps-infused cinnamon, raisins and cloves, is a Scandinavian yuletide staple. You'll also see plenty of nisser, figurines of the red-capped elfin creatures from Scandinavian folklore that appear a lot in the holiday decorations of Danish families, guarding hearth and home. You can buy one or several as gifts or souvenirs, but warn the children that nisser can be tricky little sprites, who must be kept happy with their expected tribute of hot porridge on Christmas Eve.
Rides for everyone
The park is home to one of the world's oldest running wooden roller coasters, built in 1914. Its nostalgic design, also typical of the park's other rides, is intended to complement the gardens as well as the architecture of the buildings that share space on the grounds. From the park's charming Ferris wheel, you can take in a great view of Copenhagen. The Flying Trunk is a ride depicting 32 scenes from various fairy tales, many penned by none other than famed author and beloved son of Denmark Hans Christian Andersen, who once visited the amusement park himself. If you seek higher-speed rides that will make your heart race, Vertigo is an excellent choice, spinning passengers 360 degrees at 100 kilometers per hour.
Shows and performances
If the rides leave you light-headed, you'll be grateful of a steady seat in one of the Tivoli theaters – even if the on-stage action is equally dizzying. This year's Crazy Christmas Cabaret has an Egyptian theme, following a zany group of characters traveling to Cairo to find the tomb of the legendary Queen Nefertiti. If you're looking for something a bit more traditional, Stjernedrys og Nissekys is a short musical depicting a Christmas games competition between mythical Christmas creatures. Both shows will take place in the Glass Hall Theater, one of the garden's most beautiful buildings.