Christmas in Tivoli Gardens: a Fairytale Land in Copenhagen

Christmas in Tivoli Gardens: a Fairytale Land in Copenhagen

with 39 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.

39 Responses

  1. Jing
    | Reply

    It must be a magical experience to watch The Nutcracker live. I haven’t been to Copenhagen and the Christmas season looks like a nice time to see it.

  2. trimmtravels
    | Reply

    I loved visiting the Tivoli Gardens last summer when I was in Copenhagen. So neat to know it’s so old and still going strong. I also saw where it was supposedly inspired by Walt Disney! I would LOVE to see it at Christmastime though…your photos are beautiful and I love to visit places anyway at Christmas. How cool you go too see the Nutcracker there!

    • Mei and Kerstin
      | Reply

      Since you love the Tivoli Gardens in summer, you’ll definitely love it even more with all its Christmas decorations! 🙂

  3. Nic Hilditch-Short
    | Reply

    It’s great to see these pictures, when we visited Copenhagen near to Christmas time we just saw the outside as it was a little too expensive for us, being backpackers and also having just flown back from Aus for a surprise Christmas at home before flying back. We loved the city though and plan to return so when we do next time we will visit properly for sure.

    • Mei and Kerstin
      | Reply

      The entrance fee to Tivoli is a bit expensive. But if you go there to see the Nutcracker, the entrance is included in your show ticket. 😊

  4. Jenn and Ed Coleman
    | Reply

    Living in Orlando, we have the opportunity to hang out with theme park designers. Actually, just one – Bill. Anyway, we asked Bill what his favorite park in the world was and he said Tivoli. You stories about Christmas in Tivoli helps me understand where he is coming from. It seems like they bring all the magic of a European Christmas in a single location.

    • Mei and Kerstin
      | Reply

      So Bill has certainly put some of Tivoli’s magic in Orlando’s theme park, right? 😊

  5. Candy
    | Reply

    Wow! I’ve never heard of this place and it looks so magical. The photos of all the light are stunning, especially the Tivoli’s main entrance. I can imagine it being quite cold and I would gladly take a cup or two of Glögg 🙂

    • Mei and Kerstin
      | Reply

      Candy, you should book a hotel next to Tivoli, then you can drink as much Glögg as you want! 😀

  6. Milijana
    | Reply

    Your post got me instantly into the Christmas mood! The whole atmosphere of the Christmas ballet in the Tivoli Garden sounds like superb Hans Christian Anderson’s fairytale by itself. Wish to feel that magic too!

    • Mei and Kerstin
      | Reply

      So glad this post got you into Christmas mood! ☺️ You should definitely travel to Copenhagen to experience the magic of Tivoli, you’ll love it!

  7. Christmas in Copenhagen looks so magical! I have a friend going there so I’ll have to send it him! Thank you for this

    • Mei and Kerstin
      | Reply

      You’re welcome Leah! We hope your friend will get to visit Tivoli! 🙂

  8. Sheila
    | Reply

    You described this so beautifully I felt like I could see it! You really have a way with words. Now I’m adding one more place to my ever-growing list of places I want to visit. Thank you for sharing!

    • Mei and Kerstin
      | Reply

      Thank you Sheila! 🙂 Glad we’ve inspired you to visit this enchanting place in Copenhagen!

  9. Culture Trekking
    | Reply

    Ya know, the first time I went to a European Christmas Market was in Brussels in Belgium. I was honestly a bit disappointed…..well a lot disappointed. I think I imagined something entirely different than what I saw in photos, but this one looks a lot more promising! The nutcrackers, and xmas trees on top of the buildings, and the chandelier like Christmas lights are truly to DIE for.

    • Mei and Kerstin
      | Reply

      We know what you mean: the Christmas market in Brussels is not bad but not the best. Next time should spend a day in the Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen, or.. go to Strasbourg in France instead! 😉

  10. pappasw
    | Reply

    Wow, this looks amazing your pictures are beautiful. I have never been to Copenhagen but it is definatly on my list now.

  11. Sherrie
    | Reply

    This looks so beautiful! I used to live in Solvang which is a Danish-style town in California, so it made me curious about the actual Denmark. This makes me want to go more 🙂

    • Mei and Kerstin
      | Reply

      Oh we also visited Solvang when we were in California, and loved that cute little town! That was before we visited Copenhagen, and I must admit that it also made us want to explore Denmark.

  12. 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 😊

    • Mei and Kerstin
      | Reply

      Oh really? Where in Denmark did they live? Christmas time in Copenhagen is simply magical! You should definitely go there when you get a chance! 🙂

  13. 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!

  14. 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. 🙂

  15. 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! 🙂

  16. 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.

  17. @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!

  18. 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!

  19. 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! 😉

  20. 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!

  21. 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.

  22. 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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