After last year’s festive break in Vienna, I was definitely up for another European Christmas Market break. After searching for flights, we settled for Copenhagen (£35 return from Stansted with Ryan Air). I am also pleased to say the flights ran on time and my second Ryan flight went smoothly.
Fast Track & Lounge Pass
On the day of departure, the traffic to Stansted Airport was horrendous despite leaving in the early hours of the morning. We got to the airport two hours before our flight time and it was a bit of a rush. Luckily, we had some Fast Track [Gifted] passes and within 2 minutes we had passed security. The process was so quick and straight forward with clear signs.
Kev and I then went off to the Escape Lounge [Gifted] to relax, charge our phones and fill our bellies. The staff had a table reserved for us and before we sat down explained where everything was. I was hungry and headed straight for the fry up. Kev opted for starting with Weetabix. Followed by pastries and coffee and then fruit I think I balanced my meal well.
The Escape Lounge had a great selection of breakfast items, both healthy and not so healthy which was perfect. There was a bar too and half an hour before it was time to go I had a spiced rum and coke and Kev had a beer… and relax! Priced at £27 this was a great way to start our break.
Things to do in Copenhagen
Copenhagen has a reputation for being an expensive city break but is it? I guess it depends on your spending habits, whether you want to splash out or not.
Copenhagen Airport (CPH), is the international airport in Denmark and one of the oldest in Europe. The best way to get from the airport to Centra Copenhagen is a train /tram. Priced at £8 for two this was cheap, quick and reliable. To buy a ticket you simply go to the metro straight from the arrivals gate. The signs are clear and the self-service ticket machines are easy to use.
Getting around is easy. You can walk, cycle, get a scooter or the bus/train.
Christmas Markets (Julemarked)
A lot of the central markets are within walking distance. If we had time we would have traveled away from the centre to see the more traditional ones. I also noticed when doing some research some of them tend to be open only on Sundays. Here are some of the main Christmas Market we came across:
After speaking to many Tivoli was on top of my list. There are mixed reviews of the Gardens but my recommendation would be to visit it. It is more than a theme park with shops, restaurants and beautiful surroundings.
To enter the park you have to pay £14. Yes, it seems crazy to pay just to walk around a theme park but it’s worth it. If you have time in the city and love rides I would get the pass that includes rides because it is about £8 for each ride on a pay and go basis.
We saw the most magical Christmas displays here and the effort that had gone into decorating the gardens was on another level. From a blingy Swarovski tree to beautifully lit gardens, it was a great start to our holiday.
The market to find cute little wooden cabins, selling knitwear and Scandinavian and German delicacies. The markets all have little huts for customers to eat and drink. –
This is by the famous harbourfront that was many moons ago was a place that was a run-down neighborhood. Now it is the place everyone goes to, to get a photo of the row of pretty pastel coloured houses. Here we saw more cute shops and I sipped on a warm Aperol Spritz cocktail.
Located just a five-minute walk from Nørreport Station, the Christmas market on Kongens Nytorv is in the heart of Copenhagen’s city center, by Magasin Du Nord and the expensive hotel, Hotel D’Angleterre (which is beautifully decorated too). This is where we had the best pork rolls.
Hans Christian Andersen
Named after the famous Danish storyteller, the market is can enjoy some Danish dishes whilst sipping on Glogg and shopping. The market has a carousel and is a place for the little ones to visit Santa.
Christiania Christmas market takes place in the Freetown Christiania. Down a little street, where no photos were allowed, you come across many dealers who sell weed (hence the name free town). The indoor main market, in a 19th-century building, is a couple of minutes’ walk from here. With a lot of jewelry, clothes and handcrafted stalls, I wish we had more time here and money. This was the only market we came across that did not accept cash.
About 5 minutes from the main market was a much smaller market that served food and had crafty stores too.
It took about 20 minutes to walk from the centre. On the way back we walked by the canal and it was beautiful
Free Walking Tour
I find this is the best way to learn about a city. The guides are locals who have great knowledge and tips. It is in their interest to give you a good tour because at the end of it you leave them a tip based on what you feel the tour was worth.
Some things we learnt about Copenhagen in our three hour tour:
- Several historic sites had to be rebuilt because they burnt down (The locals love their candles and I agree it gives a warm Hygge (pronounced hoo-gah feeling).
- It rains 179 days a year so worth being prepared.
- Copenhagen is the happiest place to live. Their crime rate is low, they have the cutest cafes to stop for a coffee, they cycle and walk everywhere and their pork-filled cuisine is so delicious.
- Carlsberg was founded in Copenhagen and along with other beers you are sure to find something for everyone here.
- The royals walk around the grounds of the palace like any other member of public. Unlike the UK the press does not bother them.
Magstræde is one of the oldest streets in the city. The famous cobbled road for models and films, the cute row of pastel-colored houses cannot be missed.
To get a 365 view of Copenhagen, head for the parliament, the tallest building in the town, which was previously the Christiansborg Palace. Entrance is free and if you are lucky you may be able to see the horses around from the Royal stables. Another place to can get an aerial view is the top floor of ILLUM, where you with find a cool rooftop.
One famous sight everyone says to visit is Little Mermaid. The bronze and granite sculpture is located at Langelinje Pier and is over 100 years old. It is a tourist attraction and not that exciting ( the tour guide told us it was disappointing and I agree with her though the history behind it is nice). On the way to the statue, you pass The Gefion Fountain which is more fascinating.
Shopping in Copenhagen is like most cities. There are a couple of high-end stores, Magasin Du Nord department store and Illum as well as a wide range of designer and high street shops.
We had a few Hygge moments on our visit. Most of them in markets and sipping mulled wine all wrapped up.
For an affordable(ish) food guide to Copenhagen read my other post.
Are you a fan of Christmas Markets?