Christmas in Tivoli Gardens: a Fairytale Land in Copenhagen

Christmas in Tivoli Gardens: a Fairytale Land in Copenhagen

with 16 Comments

 

It was 8:30 am when we arrived in Copenhagen. The Central Station was bathed in silence, the streets were deserted, and the only sound we heard was the crackling ice under our feet. Covered in white, the Danish capital was still asleep.

 

We walked out of the station, and glimpsed at a monumental entry gateway bearing the word “Tivoli” on its arch. Although it was still closed in the early morning, the Tivoli Gardens looked wonderfully enticing. Like a timeless Nordic fairytale land shifted out of the 19th century.

 

Modeled after the Jardin de Tivoli in Paris and the Vauxhall Gardens in London, the Tivoli Gardens is the second-oldest amusement park in the world. Opened in 1843, it is believed to have inspired Walt Disney to build his famous theme park. However, Tivoli is nothing like Disneyland, or any other modern theme park that we had ever seen before.

 

 

That same day, when we finally got to walk through the majestic arch of Tivoli’s main entrance, we immediately felt that we were entering a lyrical park.

 

Imagine a maze made of promenade paths, outdoor glass pavilions, exciting rides, romantically-lit coffee shops and restaurants, and delicatessen stores. Hundreds of twinkling Christmas trees and numerous cozy little booths selling keepsakes, woolly knitwear, homemade sweets and hot drinks were luring us towards them.

 

But Tivoli’s traditional Christmas ballet The Nutcracker was the reason why we traveled all the way to Copenhagen. So we swiftly walked past the wonderfully illuminated willow trees around Tivoli Lake to reach the park’s concert hall. Co-produced by the Royal Danish Ballet, this show is performed (almost) every night during late November and the last day of December.

 

 

The second act of The Nutcracker took us to an imaginary place where dancers from all over the world joined Clara in her dream. We were most captured by the Peter-Pan style choreography of the dozens of children, traditionally known as “pages”. In Tivoli’s version, they were dressed all in black, and wore a yellow lantern on their head that looked like a fairytale mushroom: a perfect match with Tivoli Gardens’ marvelous Christmas decor.

 

The enchanting atmosphere of the ballet was not over after the show. As the sky turned darker, the whole park became a magical land, illuminated by over 120,000 incandescent light bulbs. A specific low light intensity ensured a soft glow, providing a cozy, diffuse and romantic touch.

 

One of Tivoli’s most iconic buildings is definitely the Nimb. Inaugurated in 1909, this Moorish style palace is a free interpretation of the Taj Mahal. More than a five-star boutique hotel, the Nimb complex also contains a luxurious Brasserie, a ballroom-sized Bar with chandeliers and a log fire, as well as several restaurants serving gourmet food.

 

 

In front of the Nimb unfurled a pond with lit swan sculptures that seemed to glide upon darkness. We marveled at the poetic imagery, but then a bone-chilling wind rose. It was time for us to stir, unless we wanted to become ourselves ice sculptures.

 

We stopped at several Christmas stalls, frantically seeking for heat, and increasingly became friendly with “Glögg”. Similar to the German Glühwein, this Scandinavian winter beverage is made from mulled wine, mixed with liquor, nuts and spices. It truly tasted like Christmas. The landscape became blurry, clouded, and more and more mysterious. The Glögg seemed to sing out of its cup. Even Hans Christian Andersen himself could not have imagined a better drink.

 

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Christmas in Tivoli Gardens: A Fairytale Land in Copenhagen © Travelwithmk.com

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Travelers - Storytellers

Travelers at heart, Mei and Kerstin have been roaming the world together since 2002. Expats for over a decade, they used to live in Bordeaux, Paris, Athens, and San Francisco. They recently returned to their motherland to get married, and decided to stay to re-explore Luxembourg in depth. While they both have a full time job, they continue to feed their wanderlust by traveling the world whenever they can.

16 Responses

  1. Angela
    | Reply

    My great grandparents came over from Denmark!! I’ve always wanted to go there and hopefully will one day.. now I DEFINITELY want to go at Christmas time!! Thank you so much for this post 😊

  2. Jenna Kvidt
    | Reply

    I love Europe around the holidays! It’s always so pretty to see all the lights and festive markets. We visited several Christmas markets last year and had so much fun. Would love to check out all the pretty sights in Copenhagen sometime! Seeing The Nutcracker there would be so amazing too—sounds like such a cool experience!

  3. Carol Perehudoff
    | Reply

    I love how you set up this story. I felt as if I was walking into Tivoli Gardens with you. I want to drink Glogg and visit the market stalls. Lovely lovely photos, too.

    • Mei and Kerstin
      | Reply

      Thank you Carol! You should definitely visit Tivoli Gardens too when you travel to Copenhagen. 🙂

  4. Elaine Masters
    | Reply

    My heart just leaps at light displays and this is so special. Beautiful displays and nothing like Disney! It feels like you’re somehow steppping back in time.

    • Mei and Kerstin
      | Reply

      No, nothing like Disney. And even Universal Studios can’t top Tivoli Gardens! 🙂

  5. Drew Seaman
    | Reply

    There is simply nothing better than a European Christmas market to get you in the holiday spirit. I’ve heard that Copenhagen’s is great too, and your pictures showcase why. Tivoli all lit up is simply stunning, and exploring the market with a mug of Glögg sounds like perfect way to spend an evening in Copenhagen!

    • Mei and Kerstin
      | Reply

      Yep! There’s nothing like a beautifully lit Christmas market to give you the holiday spirit! But Tivoli Gardens is much more than a Christmas market: it’s actually an amusement park opened all year round. From their Instagram photos, it looks like it’s awesome too during Halloween! 🙂 But then, we’re not sure if they serve Glögg during the other seasons.

  6. @clairesturz
    | Reply

    What a magical place! Glogg sounds very tempting on a cold night, something to keep you warm while you are exploring the beautiful park & watching the Nutcracker! You can’t get much more Christmassy than that!

  7. Paige
    | Reply

    Christmas in Copenhagen looks like a winter wonderland! I’ve never heard of Tivoli Gardens, but now I’m dying to see it at Christmas time. I feel like it won’t look magical at all any other time of year after seeing this! Wow! I would definitely want to sample some of that glogg too!

  8. Eloise
    | Reply

    I had never heard of this place in Copenhagen. All these lights look like you’re traveling in a fairy tale! It’s stunning! I have never seen a ballet show. Reading your post reminded me we put that on our to-do list for 2017. Oops… better hurry!

    • Mei and Kerstin
      | Reply

      Haha! It’s still time to book a last minute flight to Copenhagen! 😉

  9. Kirstie
    | Reply

    Wow, those lights are beautiful it really gives the Christmas feels. It looks like you are being transported into a place where it’s always Christmas. You’re right, it looks like a fairytale. I couldn’t find a more appropriate adjective!

  10. Debra Schroeder
    | Reply

    Wow, Tivoli Gardens and Copenhagen look stunning with all the Christmas decorations. I’ve yet to see The Nutcracker, I can only imagine how magical it was in Copenhagen. Glogg sounds delicious, almost like mead.

  11. Tamara Elliott
    | Reply

    This looks so magical- especially with all the beautiful lights! When we went to Copenhagen this is the only thing we didn’t have time to see- still kicking myself over that!

    • Mei and Kerstin
      | Reply

      Don’t worry Tamara, Tivoli Gardens is open all year round. So you can go there whenever you return to Copenhagen. Although, it might be more magical during Christmas season due to its wonderful winter lights and decorations! 🙂

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