Christmas City Break in Copenhagen!
Hans Christian Andersen called Christmas in Denmark “unforgettably magnificent” and he was right! The clever, hospitable Danes celebrate the holiday in the most joyful, heart-warming ways.
Day 1 - Afternoon
After you’ve rested from your flight, take a city tour to acquaint (or reacquaint) yourself with Copenhagen. Then walk along Strøget, the pedestrian street lined with stores showcasing Danish design. Take advantage of extended hours and duty-free shopping, and don’t miss the Royal Copenhagen shops filled with porcelain, Georg Jensen silver, and crystal. On the store’s second floor, “seconds” are sold at 20 to 35 percent below the retail price. Indulge in a dessert at the Old World confectionery in Royal Copenhagen’s Porcelain House.
Day 1 - Evening
After 5 p.m., make your way to Tivoli Gardens, browse through the special holiday market set up there. Watch or participate in the ice-skating on the Tivoli lake. Then enjoy a traditional holiday meal at one of the Tivoli’s outstanding restaurants, or elsewhere-- at Restaurant l’Alsace or Restaurant Wiinblad, at the historic Hotel d’Angleterre at Kongens Nytorv.
Day 2 - Morning
Take a tour in English from the Royal Copenhagen Welcome Center located at the factory at 47 Smallegade; it includes a video, displays, and a visit to a workshop to see artisans creating the famous Blue Fluted design. Admission is free to Copenhagen Card holders; others pay DKK 25. Be sure to visit the factory outlet shop on the premises, and take advantage of the discounts it offers.
Day 2 - Afternoon
Have lunch at the cafe at the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek or the Decorative Arts Museum, and browse through some of the exhibits afterward. Then head to the Carlsberg Brewery for a tour and tasting (weekdays only) at 2 p.m. (there is an earlier tour at 11 a.m.). Here you’ll see the largest beer collection in the world--four chambers filled with 12,000 bottles (and counting). The brewery’s shop sells beer-inspired pens, glasses, and clothing.
Day 2 - Evening
Have a traditional meal at restaurant Els, at Store Strandstræde 3, then stroll through nearby Nyhavn, the old sailor’s quarter of the city, where Hans Christian Andersen once lived. Let the mood of the lights around Kongens Nytorv work their holiday magic on you before you enter the Royal Theater for a performance of the Royal Danish Ballet. Have a nightcap at nearby Hviid’s Vinstue, the A’Porta bar and restaurant, the Hotel d’Angleterre, or one of the waterfront Nyhavn nightspots.
Day 3 - Morning & Afternoon
Spend the morning browsing in the city’s most upscale department stores--Magasin du Nord, Illum, and Illums Bolighus, all within easy walking distance of each other. Farther along Strøget, at 15 Frederiksberggade, you’ll find the Sweater Market, stocked with distinctive Scandinavian sweaters, and on the opposite side of the street, the Amber House (the Amber Museum and Shop is at Kongens Nytorv). From here, make your way one block south to Strædet and explore the antiques shops lining it.
Day 3 - Evening
Enjoy Copenhagen for an evening concert of choral music at one of the city’s churches (the Holy Ghost Church or Our Lady’s Cathedral perhaps) or a lively jazz performance at the Copenhagen JazzHouse. End the evening--and your holiday stay in Copenhagen--with a glass of glogg or Tuborg Christmas beer and a rousing skål (that’s a Danish toast) in the lobby bar of the Radisson SAS Royal Hotel, a Sixties architectural landmark designed by world-known Danish architect Arne Jacobsen.
Day 4 - Morning Departure
If the day seems too short and your shopping list too long, you’re in luck. Stores in Copenhagen are open extra-long hours during the Christmas season, and many of them offer duty-free shopping, representing savings of about 17% on purchases over DKK 300. *
And don’t overlook a particularly rich source of gifts and Danish treasures: Copenhagen Airport. Its more than 40 shops offer an impressive array of holiday shopping possibilities, including designer perfumes, Georg Jensen and Royal Copenhagen items, LEGO blocks, cuddly down comforters, and even Yule Beer.
Christmas in Copenhagen is old-fashioned, not at all flashy. No doubt about it. But in Copenhagen, and throughout Denmark, simple holiday pleasures and traditions, passed from generation to generation, have never gone out of style.
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